Affiliate networking and marketing has taken the internet by storm and its here to stay and it makes up a large part of the most successful online companies. Beware though… there are a lot of scammy affiliate programs out there on the net.
This section will clarify and help you get a footing with how affiliate programs work and what you should know about them.
Even large brand names such as Walmart, Amazon and Best Buy use affiliate programs to make money. They wouldn’t be doing it if wasn’t working.
Most people’s initial experience with affiliate networking may be negative… there are a lot of scammy people out there doing bad sales but when done right… it’s seamless and not visible.
The Ins And Outs Of Affiliate Programs
Becoming an affiliate is easy, just follow these steps:
- Become a member of an affiliate network
- Find the affiliate program that your customer would like
- Advertise product on your site
- Direct traffic to the affiliate owner’s website.
Naturally you should only go with products your customers would like.
High quality products do not always sell the best. There are many affiliate programs out there offering what seems to be total crap and yet they’re total money makers.
Since you image is on the line decide carefully what products you’ll offer.
Because the affiliate program you choose should be related to your website you don’t have to directly market the product, just advertise your website and with enough traffic you’ll be making a nice steady income.
There are affiliate networks where you can find affiliate programs but many large companies and vendors also provide their own separate affiliate program.
Affiliate Terms You Should Know
Affiliate: An entity that’s paid money to promote someone else’s products or services.
Merchant: An entity providing the affiliate program for people to join up to. These are the people selling the products and items.
Affiliate Network: A network where affiliates and merchant come together to offer and join up to affiliate programs.
Publisher: The entity that wants to become an affiliate.
Advertiser: Same as merchant.
Creative’s: This is the advertising material that either your or the merchant provide.
Tag: The part of a link given to the affiliate to keep track of the fact that the user came from you.
Qualifying link: The link used to direct users to the affiliate program so you can earn a commission.
Required URL: This is the affiliate location where you send your users.
CPM: Cost per 1000 impressions.
CPC: Cost per click.
CPA: Cost-per-action. Some merchants will offer you a small amount of money if you get someone to take an action that doesn’t involve a purchase (signing up to a newsletter for instance).
EPC: Earnings per 100 clicks.
EPM: Earnings per 1,000 impressions.
CPL: Cost-per-lead. A lead is someone who joins the merchant’s newsletter, or fills out a survey or takes some sort of action that could possibly lead to a sale down the road.
PFP: Pay for performance.
PPA: Pay per action. Same as CPA.
PPI: Pay per impression.
PPL: Pay per lead.
PPS: Pay per sale.
RON: Run of network.
ROS: Run of site.
CR: Conversion ratio. The CR is the percentage of clicks or views needed to achieve something like a sale or lead.
ROI: Return on investment. If you invested $500 and your earned $1,000, your ROI would be 100%.
COOKIE: A file that is used to remember information about a website user that is to be used at a later time.
InVue: Ads that are like pop-up ads but they appear in the front blocking the content behind it. You can’t drag or move an InVue window. They are not separate windows but instead exist as a part of the website being browsed.
Interstitial: This is a type of ad that’s displayed between the page you’re on and the page you want to go on. There is usually a button that the user has to click on to move to the next page or they must wait a few seconds for the ad to forward them automatically.
Joining An Affiliate Network
The signing up process is straight forward, just follow the directs provided be the affiliate network.
There are several requirements you need to join an affiliate network. You must have a website which will be reviewed by the network and you usually will need an EIN or SSN.
Affiliate networks want to see that you’re legitimate and that you’re not out there to scam people.
The process can take anywhere up to 10 days.
Avoiding Scams And Staying Legitimate
There are many people out there all wanting to make money. They’re willing to go to any lengths to get it. There are many rules governing how things can be sold and what can be sold. Ignorance is not a defense in court so be careful what you get yourself into.
Just because it’s online doesn’t make it legal… duh! Check to see which country the affiliate program is based out of. It might be legal in their country but not yours.
You can check with the better business bureau at:
If you do come across an illegal or fraudulent program you can report it with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at:
You should always investigate the programs you sign up for by doing research of them online. This isn’t fool proof of course but if their bad… you’ll probably read about it.
Read the terms and conditions of the affiliate program carefully and always know what you’re getting yourself into.
Legal But Not Nice Affiliates
Even though the affiliate program is legal it can still be shady and untrustworthy. Avoid affiliations with companies that don’t offer money back guarantees.
Make sure the company has a good reputation and has good service records. You don’t want to become affiliated with a bad company. It will make you look bad.
Check the company’s background history to make sure they haven’t been in any legal trouble. Always look online for reviews of the company and what other affiliates think of them.
- Avoid companies that don’t have contact information or are difficult to learn about. You want open trustworthy companies.
- Avoid companies that don’t offer support for their affiliates.
- Never sign up with an affiliate that requires a fee for you to join them.
- The companies that have slack requirements are usually worth avoiding. Go with companies that check your website and have strict rules on how you’re allowed to promote them.