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.
Advertisements promoting credit repair, promising loans for a fee in advance, or touting investment opportunities may trigger application of the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule if the ad allows consumers to order goods or services by telephone. In general, this Rule does not apply to general media advertisements. If you're advertising credit repair, advance fee loans, or investment opportunities, or offering to recover money paid in previous telemarketing transactions, however, the Rule likely applies to you. Among other things, the Rule requires that certain disclosures be made before a customer pays for the goods or services. The Rule also prohibits material misrepresentations.
To protect themselves, catalog marketers should ask for material to back up claims rather than repeat what the manufacturer says about the product. If the manufacturer doesn't come forward with proof or turns over proof that looks questionable, the catalog marketer should see a yellow "caution light" and proceed appropriately, especially when it comes to extravagant performance claims, health or weight loss promises, or earnings guarantees. In writing ad copy, catalogers should stick to claims that can be supported. Most important, catalog marketers should trust their instincts when a product sounds too good to be true.
For example, building up a big base of traffic won’t deliver much of a reward if you’re working with the wrong affiliate offers. Similarly, doing a great job marketing the ideal offers to an extremely small traffic base won’t translate into much revenue. Each of these three points must be implemented and improved together, or else you won’t see results.
In the beginning, the operating expenses of the affiliate business are almost non-existent, comparing to other industries. You work online so that you can do it from your home well enough and then you only have the basic electricity and ISP subscription costs to cover. Optionally, there are additional expenses related to setting up a domain, web hosting operator and also some minor costs about designing layout, etc. - Provided that you decide to establish your affiliate marketing website.
Let’s start with the first scenario above. Suppose an affiliate is generating $100,000 in monthly revenue for a merchant, and getting $25,000 in monthly commissions. In this case, the network between the two may be taking $10,000 a month for its part in the process. In this case, the merchant may attempt to go around the network and set up a direct relationship with the affiliate–perhaps with a 30% commission.

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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