The Associates Program is free to join, and we provide resources on the Associates Site to help Associates succeed with the program. We have never authorized any business to provide paid set-up or consulting services to our associates, so please be wary if any business like that (even one attempting to appropriate the Amazon name) reaches out to offer you costly services.
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.