The definitive advantage of affiliate marketing is the fact that it is a pretty easy industry to join, namely because there are no barriers to entry. It’s just the matter of your decision. All you have to do is to create an affiliate marketing website (but you can also become an affiliate marketer without a website), choose a compelling niche and finally a particular product or products (goods) that are relevant for you to market. Then you simply sign up for a selected affiliate marketing program, and you’re ready to start.
Amazon Associates is an affiliate marketing program run by Amazon which allows you to sell its products on your own website in exchange for a cut of the profits. This enables you to boost your product range, test new types of products on your audience or even build a full business around this and perhaps other affiliate programs. For small businesses that currently sell products online, this could represent a great source of added revenue, if you sell additional products through Amazon, without worrying about getting the products yourself. Amazon conducts the sales and ships them directly to the client.
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.
Advertisers love affiliate marketing because it involves minimal risk. If a sufficient margin is built in as compensation for the affiliate, it becomes impossible to lose money. That’s because affiliates are generally only paid when a sale is completed (i.e., a lead is converted). Advertisers (or “merchants”) pay nothing for leads that don’t convert.
Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks. Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.
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.