1) Gross Profit Margin – This is the first place I start. Clearly you can't offer 50% commissions on items that you only have a 20% profit margin or you'd be out of business fast (and probably in debt). So start by determining your minimum, median, and average gross profit margins on items in your store. You may also want to determine these numbers separately for each category or product type since it's possible to offer different commission rates for each product category, depending on how complex you'd like to make your program. In my experience, the simpler the better when it comes to commission structure, but technically anything's possible.


As search engines have become more prominent, some affiliate marketers have shifted from sending e-mail spam to creating automatically generated web pages that often contain product data feeds provided by merchants. The goal of such web pages is to manipulate the relevancy or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, also known as spamdexing. Each page can be targeted to a different niche market through the use of specific keywords, with the result being a skewed form of search engine optimization.
Understand the basics of how affiliate marketing works. Many online retailers who sell products or services offer affiliate programs. If you decide to sign up for a company’s affiliate program, you get a tracking link to put on your blog. When visitors click on that link, the link stores a cookie in their browser that remains for a set period of time, such as 60 days. If the visitor purchases a product from that merchant site within the time period, you earn a sales commission.[26]
We may change your Account Identifiers or Data Feed Access ID from time to time. An Account Identifier that is a private key or a Data Feed Access ID that is a password is for your personal use only, and you must maintain its secrecy and security. You may not sell, transfer, sublicense, or otherwise disclose your private key or password to any other person or entity. An Account Identifier that is a public key or a Data Feed Access ID that is a username is not secret.
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.
Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users' computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.
Once you acquire a customer through an affiliate, you can then market directly to that customer going forward. It’s important to figure out the lifetime value of your customer as that can also help you decide what commission to pay. With this information you can decide if your acquisition costs are correct or you may decide to be more aggressive with payouts to get those customers in the door.
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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