How Does an Affiliate Program Work?
How Does an Affiliate Program Work?

How Does an Affiliate Program Work?

Editor ’ south note : This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving virtual Ecommerce as the successor .
As you are probably aware, what is called an “ affiliate broadcast ” or “ associate platform ” is a relationship in which a merchant pays you ( the “ affiliate ” ) for links from your web site to his site. normally, the affiliate is paid only when an actual sale is made by the merchant as a result of your connect .
This kind of advertising ( and it IS advertising ) is called Pay Per Action ( PPA ), since the consort international relations and security network ’ t paid for carrying the merchant ’ s advertise connect or graphic on his web site, but only when a visitor performs a certain action ( visits, fills out a form, makes a purchase ) .

An Example from

The Affiliate Program method acting was pioneered by To give you an estimate of how this works in action, I ’ ll identify ’ second program briefly.

You sign up as an affiliate on their locate and are assigned an Associate ’ s ID. Mine happens to be “ wilsoninternetse ” .
Let ’ s say I have a reappraisal of a hot fresh book on my web site, such as The E-Commerce Book: Building the E-Empire by Steffano Korper and Juanita Ellis ( ISBN 0-12-421160-7 ). I would link the entitle so it takes my visitor directly to the book ’ s description on ’ s locate. here is what a url to The E-Commerce Book looks like
hypertext transfer protocol : //
Notice the elements : My Associate’s ID is last in the URL. Just before it you find the ASIN ( Amazon Standard Item Number ), which in the case of books is the lapp as the ISBN ( International Standard Book Number, a singular number assigned to every ledger and record edition published ) .
When the visitor clicks on this link, the web waiter is programmed so that the visitor will be sent to the web page for the book with that ISBN number. At the same time my Associate ’ mho ID will be recorded with the visitor ’ south school term ID ( an arbitrary number assigned to each visitor every time he enters the web site ), so that if the visitor makes any purchases on that school term, I will be credited with their purchase .
While every merchant chooses their his requital system, this is how presently works ( submit to change ) :

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  • If my visitor purchases the exact book I have linked to, I receive 15% of the sales price of the book.
  • If my visitor gets to the site, begins to browse around, and ends up buying another book, then I get 5% of the sales price.
  • Payments are made quarterly, so long as the total commission due that quarter is more than a minimum amount.

today The E-Commerce Book, regularly $ 39.95, is on sale for 30 % off or $ 27.97. If you purchased it from my connect I would make 15 % of $ 27.97 or $ 4.20. If you purchased the book after coming through another link from my site, I would make 5 % of $ 27.97 or $ 1.40 .


One of the reasons affiliate programs are so popular is that that offer a win-win situation for both merchant and affiliate .
Merchant Advantage
The merchant ’ s cost for advertising a particular product is limited ( largely ) to the share paid to an affiliate, and the merchant only has to pay when a buy is actually made. This is much better than banner advertise, where the merchant pays whether or not any buy occurs. In fact, the measure paid to an consort for a purchase through an affiliate associate is probably only 10 % to 20 % of the monetary value of that sale through streamer advertise ( which charges in cost per 1000 banner views, CPM ) .
What ’ s more, if your visitor likes, he is probably to go directly there the adjacent prison term he wants to purchase a reserve, and has potentially gained a customer for life. ( Of course, if the same visitor uses another liaison on your site to purchase another bible, you ’ ll get citation for that purchase besides. ) You can learn more about affiliate programs from a merchant ’ s point of view in Web Commerce Today newsletter, Issue 8, “ A Merchant ’ s Primer of Affiliate Programs ” ( hypertext transfer protocol : // ), where I explain how to set up such a program.

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Siteowner Advantage
The siteowner stands to make some money, indeed long as adequate visitors click on the affiliate links and make purchases. You don ’ t have to go to the trouble of setting up e-commerce functions, take recognition cards, or transport products ; you just join some consort programs and let person else do the “ cheating work. ”


If something sounds besides good to be true, it credibly is. To be realistic, you need to see consort program income as a nice bonus to your main source of tax income, not the main source itself. To generate substantial income you need : ( 1 ) a set of traffic, ( 2 ) merchants with generous payout policies, and ( 3 ) products well-targeted towards the visitors who come to your locate. The truth is that few sites generate enough traffic to make a fortune of money with affiliate programs .

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