In the last decade, the Internet has exploded from a niche product used by a few techie types to a mainstream tool used by just about everyone. The World Wide Web, once used merely as another promotional device by companies looking to advertise, has become a mainstream force in conducting business. There are now more than a billion Websites and many of them exist only to conduct business, offering products directly to the public without the necessity of a conventional storefront. The market for all products on the Internet has become quite competitive, however, and companies are always looking for additional ways to help make more sales. A system to do just that has become quite popular in recent years, as it offers money-making opportunities even for Website owners who do not have retail sites. That system is known as affiliate marketing.
In the Internet sense, affiliate is a system where a business pay owners of other Websites, or “affiliates” if they send customers to the business that results in a sale for that business. Affiliate programs may work in a multitude of ways, but a popular and simple system consists of a small text link on Website A that may have some relevance to site A’s content that connects to the retail site B. If a customer on site A sees the link, clicks on it and makes a purchase from site B, the owner of that site pays the affiliate a small fee. The system works well for both parties. The affiliate gets paid for doing relatively little work; creating a text link takes just a few minutes and need only be done once. The business benefits, as it only has to pay affiliates for actual sales, as opposed to advertising through other media in hopes of attracting customers.
One popular implementation of affiliate marketing is Google’s Adsense program. Websites offer advertising space on their site, which search engine giant Google fills with ads that are related to that site’s content. If a visitor clicks on one of the ads, the site showing the ad collects a small amount of money. This system is working so well that Google now employs hundreds of thousands of affiliates.
Can you make a living through affiliate marketing? It is possible, and thousands of people claim to be doing just that. Most, however, simply supplement their income with the added revenue from affiliate programs. The opportunities are practically unlimited, as is the sheer scope of the variety of products that one can offer. A popular product is software or electronic book downloads; there are numerous Websites devoted exclusively to the sale of both types of products. The best way to go about it is to do a bit of research and see what sorts of products are available through affiliate intermediary companies, such as Commission Junction or Clickbank. If you can find products that complement your site’s content, you can soon be earning extra money via a few simple mouse clicks.
©Copyright 2006 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing , a firm devoted to informational Websites, including a site about search engine optimization .