de Sousa, Director, AbleStableInternet
affiliates are individuals and businesses who run
websites that promote or sell services and products
on behalf of others, and by so doing, gain a commission.
This article aims to provide an overview of the various
myths, models, and methods relating to Internet affiliation.
Why Creatives Consider
If you run a website that offers creative services,
it's possible you may have considered offering software
use to your
clients. For example,
say you're a busy designer. Perhaps you've discovered
a great program that has transformed the way you
manage support communications with your clients.
You might consider that your clients might also benefit
from this software. By offering the software as an
affiliate on your website, you could make them aware
of the product that may be of considerable benefit
to them, and at the same time receive a small commission
it is sold in this manner.
Be aware however, becoming an affiliate changes
your website's purpose. You will be part creative,
part advertiser. This can be to your advantage as
being an affiliate may increase revenue if you have
a very busy site with visitors who are
interested in the product/s you are promoting,
are also other issues
The focus of your site to attract new clients may
be diluted as you invite them
a link that may take their custom or interest away
from your core
Awash with Affiliates
Most banner ads and a high proportion of text links
on the Internet are placed as a result of an affiliate
arrangement. The majority of 'free' or resource websites
offer links to thousands of products, many driven
by an affiliate model in which the merchant will
pay per click, or per sale, for each referral.
It's fairly easy to tell when there's an affiliate arrangement when browsing.
Passing your mouse over a link and looking at your status bar at the
browser window will normally show the true destination, unless the webmaster
has altered this default behaviour. Rather than
link to a web address,
likely see a far more complex affiliate ID URL which allows the affiliate to
tracked until the point of commission. This address
will fleetingly appear in your browser address field before you find yourself
redirected to the destination you had originally anticipated.
marketing is when a software publisher offers the
opportunity for others to promote or sell their
products from their website in return for a commission
on leads or sales. To achieve this, the website
owner needs to register with an 'Affiliate Program'
known as 'associate', 'reseller', or 'referral'
will need to display
ads, text links, or product links on their website,
in email campaigns, or in search
Affiliate Programs are expected to account for
a colossal $53 Billion of E-Commerce sales in 2005.
From a merchant's perspective, Internet
them to extend their marketing
reach by advertising on web sites other than their
own. The website owner, or Affiliate, gets paid
a percentage based on the sale or lead value. Remember,
the affiliate network will also be taking a commission
from the merchant, so unless the product or service
for sale is at a high price, the revenue
per sale for the affiliate will be low. High volume
sales are generally the
key to a successful affiliate arrangement.
can become an
through a company who may be inviting website
owners to join their own
program, or via one of the many Affiliate Program
businesses who connect 'Merchants' (those who
provide products and services) with
Affiliates. I'm not going to list the networks
here as evaluating these networks is outside
the scope of this article.
however that not all affiliate program networks
are created equal. Any website owner can download
a free CGI
Internet and set themselves up as offering such
a service, however these sites are very unlikely
to offer a useful network of merchants, and their
and procedures will most probably be poorly thought
through, potentially insecure, and unreliable.
If you're a merchant or potential affiliate,
before signing up. Review their administration
areas as these will indicate the level of service
they offer which should include comprehensive
sales and commission reporting. Above all, ensure
their payment procedures are
associating yourself with an affiliate program
is to generate revenue. The last thing you'll
want to do is spend time and energy on developing
your affiliate area only to be let down by an
Planning, the Key
Affiliate marketing isn't going
to deliver a single sale unless the merchant,
and affiliate network is working effectively
as a team: the merchant needs to provide a high
product or service that has a good reputation
and high sales; the affiliate needs to be
clear about their target audience so
appropriate products and services are promoted
according to the focus of the site; and the affiliate
needs to provide an
administrative backend that serves both the merchant's
and affiliate's needs to effectively
track, sell, and ensure commissions are appropriately
Research and planning is the key to ensuring
marketing success when using an affiliate model.
needs to be of value to its audience, websites
need to be well presented with good graphics
and body text, and the customer should pay
for the products or services on offer in an easily
understandable, secure, and prompt payment environment
delivered by the merchant.
affiliate model used to be viewed as
and fast way to generate revenue on the Internet.
The truth is that making significant money through
affiliation is not as straight forward as many
Internet marketers would have you believe. It
takes a great deal of effort to make a success
of affiliation. If you don't
majority of the larger affiliate program networks
withhold the most lucrative affiliate deals to
all but the most successful merchants and affiliates.
These chosen few will be introduced privately and
behind the scenes to one another by representatives
of the affiliate program network. They will develop
'channel' partnerships that will prove to be very
lucrative for all parties.
As with all commerce and capitalism,
guys will always tell
guys there's a pot of gold waiting at the end of
the rainbow. Sometimes however, we forget it's
the big guys who control when the sun shines and