When formulating a commission structure, the first step is to consider all stakeholders involved in the transaction. Even though affiliate marketing is entirely performance-based — and nary a nickel gets paid unless a transaction occurs — there are several different parties taking a cut of that sale. The affiliate gets a percentage. The affiliate network gets a percentage. And, your affiliate manager might take a percentage. What initially seemed as a no-risk marketing channel could be one of your most expensive.
The seller, whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, is a vendor, merchant, product creator, or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, like household goods, or a service, like makeup tutorials. Also known as the brand, the seller does not need to be actively involved in the marketing, but they may also be the advertiser and profit from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.
The FTC Act prohibits unfair or deceptive advertising in any medium. That is, advertising must tell the truth and not mislead consumers. A claim can be misleading if relevant information is left out or if the claim implies something that's not true. For example, a lease advertisement for an automobile that promotes "$0 Down" may be misleading if significant and undisclosed charges are due at lease signing.
As with many aspects of Web monetization, the exact strategies will vary from site to site. There’s no universally superior affiliate marketing offer or merchant. There are, however, some general guidelines on factors to consider when evaluating potential affiliate marketing offers. We’ll dive into several of these below. We’re using screenshots from ShareASale throughout this article to illustrate the process, but the tasks and terms will be generally similar across the major affiliate marketing networks.
For 17 years, we’ve partnered with digital marketers like you to sell our products to over 200 million customers around the globe. Our digital marketers stick with our Affiliate Network because of our ever-expanding catalog of quality digital products and unsurpassed reputation for reliability – we pay commissions on time, every time so you never have to worry about when you will get paid.

Understand why affiliate marketing is advantageous. Affiliate marketing is inexpensive. Not only is it free to join an affiliate program, but you also don’t have to deal with storing or shipping products or with providing customer support. Also, it is a source of passive income. You can be earning money even when you’re not working at your computer. Finally, it allows you to work from home.[29]


In addition to the foregoing Product Advertising Content and access to PA API, we may make available from time to time for use in connection with PA API sample source code and libraries, each of which will be made available to you under a separate license that accompanies each sample source code or library, as applicable. In connection with PA API, we may also make available specifications, user manuals, guides, supporting materials, and other information, regardless of format, describing the operational and functional capabilities, use limitations, technical and engineering requirements, and testing and performance criteria relevant to the proper use of PA API (collectively, “Specifications”). “Product Advertising Content,” as used in this License Agreement, specifically excludes any sample source code or libraries we make available to you under a separate license and any Specifications that we make available. It also specifically excludes any data, images, text, or other information or content relating to products offered on any site other than an Amazon Site.
What the chart above doesn’t show is the role of the affiliate marketing network (e.g., Commission Junction or LinkShare). From the publisher’s point of view, the affiliate network is involved very early on in the process, generally supplying the ad creative and affiliate links used to refer traffic. They’re also involved at the last (and most important) step in the process: a portion of the commission earned by the affiliate goes to the network who matches them up with merchants and handles the various administrative functions.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.[citation needed]
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