What is an affiliate program?

Simply put, affiliate programs, also called associate programs, are arrangements in which an online merchant pays to affiliate a commission to send them traffic. These affiliate post links on their websites pointing to the merchant site and are paid according to a particular agreement. This agreement is usually based on the number of people the affiliate sends to the merchant’s site or the number of people they send who buy something or perform some other action.

If a link on an affiliate site brings the merchant site traffic or money, the merchant site pays the affiliate site according to their agreement.

So in the case of an affiliate program, the affiliate helps to make the sale, but merchant does everything else: take the order, collect the money and ship the item to the customer.

Recruiting affiliates is an excellent way to sell products online and is an effective marketing strategy. This is the main reason why I established the AFI affiliate marketing agency – to help merchants get started or improve their affiliate marketing activities.

Affiliate programs date back to 1996 when Amazon.com popularized this idea as an internet marketing strategy. Amazon.com attracts affiliates to post links to individual books for sale on Amazon.com, or for Amazon.com in general, by paying affiliates a percentage of the profits if someone clicks on the link and then purchases books or other items.

Although the idea is old, affiliate programs and affiliate marketing, in general, is still very new in many European countries and many business verticals.

Read more: Affiliate marketing explained

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