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Search Engine Marketing, Inc - Driving Search Traffic to Your Company's web site by Mike Moran, Bill Hunt

Multiple Streams of Internet Income by Robert G. Allen


Starting a business takes long hours, demands passion and unquestioned commitment. Affiliate programs can help you to start a profitable online business, allowing you to sell another company's service or product and make a commission on every sale or lead. The reason affiliate programs are so great for beginners is that you only need to focus on marketing - not making - your product. But you have to be patient, persistent and open for new ideas.

No matter how small your website is, you can make some money with affiliate programs. Paste in any affiliate banner or text link and you'll get some sales eventually. But to really make money you have to have the right combination of key elements:

  • Content
  • Traffic
  • The right affiliate program.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a convenient form of advertising in which a company pays its affiliates a commission for the clicks, sales or leads generated through the affiliates marketing activities. It is an efficient system for selling products or services over the Internet, allowing online merchants to promote their goods on thousands of Web sites.

Some advertisers offer so called "multi-tier" affiliate programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical network of affiliates and sub-affiliates. The affiliate signs up with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the referred visitor. If the affiliate attracts other publishers to sign up for the same affiliate program using their affiliate link, all future sales by the joining publishers will result in additional, lower commission for the affiliate marketer. This simple system rewards a hierarchical chain of publishers who don't know of each others existence, yet generate income for the higher level affiliates.

Amazon.com created the first large-scale affiliate program, and since then affiliate marketing has become a multi-billion dollar industry, a vital part of all merchants marketing efforts. There are many programs available today and selecting the best one is not an easy task, but educating yourself about affiliate marketing basics can ease the confusion. The first decision you must make is whether you would like to become an affiliate, acquire affiliates, or both. Starting your own affiliate program is an ideal path if you operate an e-commerce site, since the affiliate traffic may increase your sales. If you own a personal content site it is a good choice to join affiliate programs to bring in some income.

Affiliate networks

Affiliate networks are a great advantage for both the merchant and the affiliate. The merchant will get potential access to a large pool of affiliates that are typically available in a popular affiliate network. The affiliate has a great number of programs to choose from, and does not need to make a certain sale amount for one particular merchant, but rather for the entire range of merchants in the network, before getting paid. The affiliate can also put more trust in a network rather than a merchant's independent affiliate program.

A few of the most popular affiliate networks:

  • Commission Junction one of the most popular affiliate networks. Finding and joining an appropriate affiliate program is easy.
  • LinkShare A network with more than 600 merchants, with some big name companies including Dell, Nordstrom, Target, Disney and American Express.
  • ClickBank has a huge array of downloadable products, mainly ebooks.
  • Performics with some well known brands like America Online, Blair Corp., Bose, CompUSA, Eddie Bauer, HP Shopping, Kohl's, PC Connection, and many more.
  • LinkConnector is a new and promising network, offers pay per click, pay per lead and pay per sale programs.
  • Share a Sale pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, and pay-per-click programs. More than 700 merchants to choose from.

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