In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent[18] on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.[13]
A key objective is engaging digital marketing customers and allowing them to interact with the brand through servicing and delivery of digital media. Information is easy to access at a fast rate through the use of digital communications. Users with access to the Internet can use many digital mediums, such as Facebook, YouTube, Forums, and Email etc. Through Digital communications it creates a multi-communication channel where information can be quickly shared around the world by anyone without any regard to who they are.[28] Social segregation plays no part through social mediums due to lack of face to face communication and information being wide spread instead to a selective audience. This interactive nature allows consumers create conversation in which the targeted audience is able to ask questions about the brand and get familiar with it which traditional forms of Marketing may not offer.[29]

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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