You may have heard of ClickBank, one of the oldest and most popular affiliate networks. A billion-dollar company, ClickBank specializes in digital products like e-books and software, as well as membership sites. If you are comfortable selling information and don’t want the management and administration hassles of “real” businesses, this may be a good starting point. Its commissions can be anywhere from 10% all the way to 75%.

If you have identified merchants for whom you think you could generate substantial revenue through an affiliate marketing relationship, there’s no reason not to attempt to set up a direct relationship. There’s also not much magic to pursuing this type of arrangement; if there isn’t a pre-existing relationship, start by reaching out to your potential partner and telling them a bit about your site.


Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware. Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants' reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor's affiliate program. Eventually, affiliate networks were also forced by merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics,[35] LinkShare's Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum,[36] and ShareASale's complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers.[37] Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.[38]
(b) Amazon Marks Limited License. Amazon grants to you a non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable, non-assignable, revocable right and license to display, publish, and reproduce Amazon Marks that Amazon may provide to you from time to time in connection with Local Associates Program solely for the purpose of marketing Local Associates Products. Amazon reserves all right, title, and interest in and to its Intellectual Property Rights and no title to or ownership of any of Amazon’s Intellectual Property Rights (including with respect to Amazon Marks) is transferred or licensed in connection with this Local Associates Policy. “Intellectual Property Right” means any patent, copyright, trademark, or trade secret right and any other intellectual property or proprietary right in any jurisdiction, including any and all applications, registration and rights of registration, reissues, divisions, continuations, substitutes, renewals, and extensions in respect thereto, and any causes of action related to any violation, infringement or misappropriation thereof. Upon the termination of your participation in the Local Associates Program by Amazon or you, you will immediately cease and discontinue all further use of the Amazon Marks, any and all licenses you have with respect to the Amazon Marks will automatically terminate. You will promptly (within 7 calendar days) stop using and remove or destroy all Amazon Marks and any other materials provided or made available by or on behalf of Amazon to you under this Local Associates Policy.
(v) You will not cloak, hide, spoof, or otherwise obscure the URL of your Site containing Special Links (including by use of Redirecting Links) or the user agent of the application in which Program Content is displayed or used such that we cannot reasonably determine the site or application from which a customer clicks through such Special Link to an Amazon Site.

Online advertising started to take shape – Cost Per Mille (CPM) models and paid placements were important components of the marketing mix, but difficult to measure. An emphasis on quality traffic and conversion helped transition marketers from buying impressions and site visitors, to paying exclusively for traffic that resulted in a sale and affiliate marketing lead the charge.


This Local Associates Policy applies to any registered business that offers face-to-face customer experiences and that facilitates customer purchases on Amazon.com (“Local Associates Program”) operated by an Associate in one or more of its owned or operated facilities registered on the program portal at https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/local Associates Site (such portal, the “Local Associates Portal” and such facilities, the “Local Associates Facilities”). In order to participate in the Local Associates Program you must (A) be an owner or authorized employee of a registered business, (B) apply through the Local Associates Portal, (C) have your application accepted by Amazon, (D) not be also registered for the Amazon Associates Program, and (E) comply with the applicable provisions of the Associates Program Operating Agreement, including this Local Associates Policy.
At its core, affiliate marketing is an online referral program where merchants pay commissions to publishers on sales generated by customers they’ve referred. The merchant can be an online retailer like eBay, or a service provider. Individuals and companies referring the traffic are called publishers, or affiliates, who publish content on the web promoting the merchant’s offerings. Customers are the people that click on the promoted content and make a purchase or complete a specified action. Payment is typically in the form of commission, but sometimes merchants offer a flat rate for a specific action, or a bonus for a type of visitor. EPN offers both commissions and bonuses.
(b) Influencer Page. This Influencer Program may include an Amazon Site influencer page registered through Amazon and assigned to you (“Influencer Page”). With respect to Special Links that direct customers to your Influencer Page, the related Session will be measured as beginning when our customer clicks through to your Influencer Page. The Influencer Page is a “Service Offering” for all purposes under the Agreement. With respect to any text, pictures, compilations, lists, comments or other data or content you submit to Amazon in connection with the Influencer Program (“Influencer Content”), you will not submit such Influencer Content if it violates any standard included in Section 1 of the Participation Requirements.
Website conversion is also a big issue. Affiliates often determine how much effort they will devote to promoting your product based on the Earnings per Click (EPC) that the merchant generates for them. This calculation is based on their commission rate and the conversion rate of your website. If you have a website that converts really well (gets people to make the purchase), you may be able to offer lower commission.

The easiest thing to do is to sign up for an affiliate marketing network like Commission Junction. They provide a marketplace where your affiliate program will be advertised to other affiliate marketers. They also provide the tracking software for your affiliates so you don’t have to build your own tracking system. In some ways this is better because it takes care of the trust issues. Affiliates are always suspicious of whether or not they’re getting credited for the sales they generate. By having an intermediary take care of transaction tracking and payments, the fear of being cheated is alleviated. 

This is the standard affiliate marketing structure. In this program, the merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the product after the consumer purchases the product as a result of the affiliate’s marketing strategies. In other words, the affiliate must actually get the investor to invest in the product before they are compensated.
A question we overhear frequently from our new clients is where to start when setting up an affiliate marketing commission structure with their partners. Not paying enough can make it hard to find reps to work with, but overpaying can slash your profits. We’re here to help. The first thing we recommend is that you segment your affiliates by offers so you can better track your marketing efforts. Second, check out these four questions that will help you determine your commission rates for your affiliate program.
You will ensure that the information in your Associates Program application and information otherwise associated with your account on the Associates Site, including your email address, other contact information, and identification of your Site, is at all times complete, accurate, and up-to-date. We may send notifications (if any), approvals (if any), and other communications relating to the Associates Program and the Agreement to the email address then-currently associated with your Program account. You will be deemed to have received all notifications, approvals, and other communications sent to that email address, even if the email address associated with your account is no longer current.

There’s a good reason why ClickBank is still a strong contender, however it does tend to focus more on digital products which may be of questionable quality. Yes, the review process is more professional these days, but it’s still primarily focused on selling digital products, especially “how to make money” courses and the like. That being said, there are some genuinely high-quality products on offer, and few affiliate programs are bigger than ClickBank, especially in selling (primarily digital) books.


Media reporter Mathew Ingram tweeted, "Not great for media who rely on affiliate revenue[,]" potentially a nod to popular gadget reviews The Wirecutter, which was acquired by The New York Times. Technology journalist Michael Morisy quipped, "Amazon reworks affiliate program, cutting commissions 50% for electronics. Guess they think Jet threat has passed?" in a reference to up-and-coming Amazon rival Jet.com, which sold to Walmart in a deal largely regarded as a failure for the startup.
If part of your affiliate strategy is to allow brand rights to select PPC affiliates (either as direct to merchant PPC or as a complementary PPC campaign through a landing page) you will have to consider the commission levels that are paid to these affiliates. If the commission paid on the sale does not cover the affiliates click costs with additional profit margin, then a PPC campaign would not be a viable offer for the affiliate.

The emergence and evolution of the Internet created an opportunity for different types of publishers – ranging from individuals with a Facebook account or blog, to content review sites, deal aggregators, and app developers. As people continue to invent new ways to refer traffic to merchants, new models will surface, but here is a quick list of the popular models today, summarizing the primary promotional method.
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[19] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[20]
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