Affiliate internet marketing is a virtual network under which firms and individuals sign up with affiliates on the internet to promote their own business. This online market includes the huge network in which affiliate or publisher make money, as the intermediate party, during business between consumers and suppliers. One can call this network as a conglomeration of mediators between affiliates/publishers and the consumers or suppliers. It allows affiliates to find affiliate programs, which are suitable for their sites and helps websites, which offers programs, to reach the target consumers.

There are many services which are effectively provided by this network for the merchants. Some of the services are tracking technology, payment processing, reporting tools and access to large base of affiliates or publishers. There are many services for affiliates also. These services include payment aggregation, one click application to new merchandise and reporting tool.

In traditional affiliate-network, merchant has to offer his publisher, revenue share or cost per action. The majority prefer revenue method as compared to cost per action.

CPA network and lead generation network are two more types of affiliate-networks. In lead generation market, generation of prospective consumers’ interest or inquiry into business’ services and products is done. It is often associated with marketing activity, which is targeted at generating sales opportunities for investor’s sales force. In CPA (Cost Per Action) market, online advertising and web marketing circles generally takes place.

The main advantage of affiliate-marketing network is that it is free to join any affiliate but the merchant, on the other hand, has to pay corresponding fees. Traditional network-system might charge initial set-up fees and maintain fee records. It is common for affiliate network to charge merchants a small percentage of commission to the affiliate as a fee for their services.


The concept of paying commission and revenue sharing for the referred business is responsible for generating affiliate market and its network. After the launch of World Wide Wide Web in 1994, the translation of share principle to main stream electronic commerce came into picture. CDnow was first to introduce the concept of affiliate marketing. It was initially started by its BuyWeb program. CDnow website was first site for purchasing and accessing music. After this first step, this trend has moved to almost every sector.

Historic Development of the affiliate network marketing

Affiliate market network has grown very rapidly since its inception. The e-commerce sites were viewed as marketing toy in the early days, which become an integral part of the online business in the recent times. According to the universal report, total sales generated through the online marketing network were 2.16 billion pounds in 2006 in UK. The earlier estimation was 1.35 billion pounds in 2005. According to MarketingSherpa’s research, it earned $ 6.5 billion from variety of sources like retail, gaming and gambling, personal finance, telecom, education, publishing and other forms of contextual advertising networks.

Stephen C Campbell (MBA, MSc, MCIM) is a business consultant and internet marketer who has conducted business throughout Europe, Far East & U.S. Learn
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