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Articles & Tutorials

Affiliate Marketing

by Bruce Whitehead

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Summary : Being an affiliate means that you (through a website or via email) represent another company, usually referred to as a merchant, that is willing to pay you for the traffic you refer. Merchants use affiliates to increase their exposure on the Internet, and pay them in various ways.

One of the first sites to offer an affiliate program was Amazon.com, one of the Web's leading retailers. Amazon will pay you a percentage of the amount of each sale made through a visitor that you refer. These visitors are usually tracked by some information added to the merchant's qebsite address, or URL. This referring URL will generally look something like this:


The information following the question mark would be a unique identifier of the affiliate or referrer, and will either drop a cookie on the user's browser to remember you, or it will be carried along for the current browswer session to track any sales that occur back to you. Or a combination of methods can be employed – the main thing to understand is that the URL identifies you and compensates you when sales occur.

This system of merchants and their affiliates has worked very well on the Internet, where millions of websites are referring their traffic to merchants of their choice to earn cash. Bravenet has a top-rated webmaster affiliate program that pays you $1.00 for every new member you refer to us to use our free services. This helps us create new members, and it helps you create cash from your referrals - truly a win-win situation.

This system has evolved over time, and now there are a growing number of affiliate reporting sites that act as brokers to affiliate programs offered by merchants across the Internet. These sites give you instant access to thousands of programs you can join for free, directly from just one site. Some of the larger affiliate reporting Sites include:

  • Commission Junction
  • BeFree
  • LinkShare
  • QuinStreet

These sites provide everything you need to get started at affiliate marketing. All the materials, incuding the banners or ad copy you will display on your site or in your email, are available from these reporting sites.

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