Affiliate Program

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a type of marketing that uses a rewards-based system to motivate second-party affiliates for marketing a certain product. Not to be confused with referral marketing, the companies–or publishers of referral marketing–use several methods to generate a more prominent online presence on search engines, e-mail databases and websites. This type of marketing is often overlooked by advertisers, as it rarely sways customers on a large scale. Nevertheless, e-retailers still practice this, as their presence is reserved to the cutthroat online marketplace.


The majority of affiliate groups use pay per sale or revenue sharing methods, while others employ smaller-scale ways to gain receive compensation.

Cost per click and cost per action, for example, depend on the users actually clicking advertisements and seeing the content. With the exception of China, however, these methods have been greatly diminished online because of click fraud problems where the statistics can be skewed by the affiliates using them.

There is less incentive for affiliate marketers to put in proper content in the case of cost per mille (1000 views) and cost per click, so many companies just use affiliate companies that generate actions and sales on their websites. This leads to “performance marketing”, where the affiliate marketers are similarly treated to members of a sales department. It is a more incentive-based system, even if the affiliates cannot actually sell the product. Rather, they can only promote it.


It is very difficult to run an effective affiliate marketing program, as there are many competing groups that use spamming, false advertising and blatant trademark infringement to get attention. On the other hand, proper affiliate marketing can bolster a company’s internet presence enough to make them hugely successful. Recently, affiliate marketing has created a growing offshoot known as outsourced program management. There are so many facets to cover that it takes highly-specialized teams to create an online presence. Proper outsourced program management also prevents legitimate companies from being victims of spam and false advertising. Furthermore, this has effectively replaced marketing and sales management sectors of e-commerce websites.


Some affiliate markets have adopted controversial and even illicit methods to generating hits and views. One way they do this is by placing data feeds on their website to become more relevant on search engines. Data feeds generally contain the same content as valid merchants, but these websites do not sell anything, and are considered spam. Fortunately, Google has found ways to remove these duplicating websites from its search engine. A more appropriate method for generating search engine prominence is by actually providing relevant material for the readers, and having links to products they may want to buy in the text.

One major countermeasure used by consumers is adware, or various different programs that block out popups and ads to create cleaner websites. Affiliate marketers soon realized that they needed to change their tactics, so now they are finding ways to integrate advertising and product buzz within the content.

Still, some affiliate marketers choose to bid on certain words that they can hyperlink to e-commerce websites, though some advertisers and websites have now banned this practice. Nowadays, most of the illicit marketing affiliate groups have been chased off into anonymous forums. There is a continuing trend of trial-and-error entrepreneurship that dictates the affiliate marketing industry, fueled mostly by the adaptations required to survive as a company. The market, then, has a lot of trouble regulating itself.