What is an Affiliate Business Program?

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Affiliate Programs

Affiliate business programs have become a popular way for companies to increase their sales and reach new customers. An affiliate business program is a type of performance-based marketing where businesses reward affiliates for driving traffic to their websites. Affiliates are usually bloggers, influencers, or website owners that promote the company’s products or services in exchange for a commission. It’s an effective way to boost sales and engage customers without investing much time or money.

A Glimpse Into Affiliate Networks

If you’re looking to expand your website’s revenue, you should consider joining an Affiliate Network. These companies facilitate 100s of millions of orders annually and offer thousands of products and services for budding affiliate marketers to promote and earn commissions on. People are buying stuff online, like never before. It is a great time to become a blogger/affiliate marketer.

An affiliate network acts as a middle-man, that connects bloggers and affiliates “publishers” with companies “merchants” who offer products and services.

An Affiliate Network is basically a one-stop-shop for affiliates, and provides the computerized systems to make this intricate process work, thereby eliminating the need for the affiliate marketers to worry about it. There are millions of products available for the affiliate to choose from too.

The affiliate signs up to promote one of these products and earns a commission for every sale. And in some programs, these commissions can be recurring too. The affiliate “publisher” promotes on their website/s, via their social media accounts or through email lists they have built over time.

affiliate network diagram
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The two ways Affiliates earn commissions

Currently, affiliate networks have two ways that affiliates can earn commissions.

Fee for Action:
Affiliates are paid for every visitor who completes a specific series of steps on the merchant’s site. These can include signing up for a newsletter, registering for the mailing list, giving feedback on a survey, buying a product, etc.

Revenue Share:
Affiliates get a share of the revenue, for putting the merchant’s ad on their website. Affiliates get a specific share of the revenue that the merchant has generated from the ad.

An important thing to remember is that publishers can participate in affiliate networks for free, but not the merchants. A regular affiliate network has an initiation fee and monthly charges for using their services and tools.

What’s in it for Merchants?

Sales increase Graph
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A boost in sales revenue:
Many companies have had great success with affiliates. Sure, they have to pay commissions, which sometimes can be quite high, but they get customers that they may have never been able to attract. Some companies have increased total revenue by a significant amount in a short period of time. Most companies have affiliate programs nowadays – this is proof that it is working for them, and they cannot afford not to participate.

Pay only for performance:
Merchants have never had it better. Connecting with affiliate marketers is a great way to do business because they only pay for performance.

No sales team to hire:
Merchants never have to meet their digital sales team, and sophisticated tracking systems are in place to allow Merchant, Network company and the Affiliate see exactly what is going on.

Automated systems track everything:
Merchants set their fee schedule based on their own specific parameters. When a sale is recorded, the network company’s software automatically calculates which fees go to each party.

What’s in it for Bloggers/Publishers?

freelance opportunity
What is an Affiliate Business Program? 15

Affiliate programs offer a lot of benefits for publishers. Here are some of them:

Easy to Join:
The first thing about affiliate marketing is that it is easy to join. You don’t have to be an expert on anything to become a successful affiliate marketer, Just sign up and start promoting.

No Financial Risk:
With affiliate marketing, financial risk is almost non-existent. In most cases, a blogger doesn’t have to invest a single penny with any company offering an affiliate program.

Multiple Income Sources:
Bloggers can make a very nice passive income by receiving commissions for promoting online products and services. They can work with as many affiliate marketing programs as they want.

Easy Management:
The merchant provides the blogger with all marketing material. This way, the blogger doesn’t have to create links or design banners. Just insert them into your website or blog, and you’re all set.

Considerations for a Successful Affiliate Program

What is an Affiliate Business Program? 16

Key factors every blogger should know to be a successful affiliate marketer:

Selecting the Right Product:
You should develop the skill of choosing the right service or product for your audience because the right product/service will determine the success or failure of your affiliate marketing attempt.

Create Engaging Content:
You have to educate the viewer about the new product/service, but you have to keep your content exciting and engaging.

Your revenue share/commission depends on the volume of your sales. However, it is not necessary that high sales volume results in maximum commission. The majority of the successful affiliate programs give an initial commission on each signup and then a recurring commission on both a monthly and yearly basis. These are the best programs to join because the commission does not stop after the initial sale. Also, some programs have “lifetime” commissions. So you get paid as long as the customer buys things from that company, which could be years!

Honest Reviews:
You have to be honest and transparent with your audience. More often than not, novice bloggers exaggerate the details of the product and provide misleading information just for the sake of a sale. This is a disastrous move because if you annoy your customers, they will leave you for good. If you do this, you might be saying goodbye to yeas of commissions from sales.

What are some good Affiliate Networks? 


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ShareASale is one of the largest and most popular Affiliate Network platforms today. They’ve been in business for just shy of 20 years. They periodically make improvements to their platform to make it better for merchants and affiliates alike.

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 The Good 

  • Customer service is great.
  • Easy to sign up, and it’s free.
  • The tools are excellent.
  • Extremely broad range of Merchants, products, and services.
  • Generous commissions
  • Ability to easily search Merchant information.
  • Allows the affiliate to customize long URL links.
  • Monthly payments are reliable.
  • Accurate and easy-to-use reporting.
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The not so good

  • No PayPal option for payments to affiliates (only ACH direct deposit or a check by Mail/FedEx).
  • Merchants can drop out, thereby putting affiliate payments at risk.
  • Some products are of questionable quality – be very selective.
  • Stiff competition for the best products.


What is an Affiliate Business Program? 20

Clickbank has been around for 20 years. It offers tested, proven, and reliable network Platform from which affiliate marketers can utilize to earn excellent commissions by selling products and services online.

Clickbank is pretty much the Mecca for digital products available to the Affiliate Marketer that they can promote to their potential customers while earning a commission on each sale.

Like all Networks, some products they offer are questionable, so it pays affiliates to do their homework in order to keep their followers happy.

Thumbs up

The Good 

  • A vast range of products – primarily digital.
  • Easy, no cost sign up.
  • High probability of finding a product for your niche.
  • Generous commissions (set by the merchant).

Thumbs Down

The not so good

  • Some products are of questionable quality – be very selective.
  • Merchants can drop out, thereby putting affiliate payments at risk.
  • Stiff competition for the best products.
  • The User Interface is a bit dated
  • They can deduct “dormancy fees” from an inactive account that has a positive balance.

Joining an Affiliate Network is a great way to access thousands of products that can be promoted and to generate income.

How to START YOUR OWN Affiliate marketing business

Internet Business
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You can read here about how to join one of the most successful affiliate marketing companies in the world, where they train you in all aspects of affiliate marketing, including how to set up and run your own online business.

They also have a list of the best affiliate network companies.  It’s free to try it out.

You can read more affiliate networks in Wikipedia.


While Affiliates need to do their homework in order to find a merchant who is reputable and that has products best suited for the affiliate’s niche market, the payoff can be well worth the effort.

This article only covers two major Affiliate Networks. There are many more.  It’s a glimpse after all, into this powerful business model.

If you’re not an affiliate marketer/blogger yet and are wondering how to make additional income online, then learn how you can start your very own online affiliate marketing business.

Check out my other articles on affiliate marketing here.

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6 thoughts on “What is an Affiliate Business Program?”

  1. Thank you for this well-detailed article, I have learned a lot from reading your article, affiliate marketing is a good idea for making an income because it’s true that these days people are doing a lot of their shopping online. And they do need information about products and services. I do have a question though, you said that an affiliate can join as many programs as they want, but for a beginner how many affiliate programs do you recommend to join? And also can one do a review of a product without using the product themselves?

    Thank you so much

    1. Hi Rose,
      I would say that the number of programs to join may depend on experience level and your email list depth. It’d probably be best to locate a really good affiliate program and test out with various marketing methods. Here is a link to a post about reviewing products. Hope this helps.

  2. Hi Ana,
    I enjoyed your article on Affiliate Business Programs. Just by reading this article I have a pretty good idea of what is involved in affiliate marketing. And, more importantly you have listed and recommended two reputable companies. This will save me some time in my search for which Affiliates are the best to use. Thank you.

    1. Hi Chas,

      I am spending time researching companies and making sure that if I sign up, they are reputable and worth signing up. I am careful as there are a lot of scams out there, and I want to share useful information with others that may be new to affiliate marketing. I am glad that you found my article beneficial as I want to help others.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.


  3. This is a very interesting post, especially for new affiliate marketers. I know some training platforms give you some idea what affiliate networks are but just how they operate is sometimes not discussed. I like the fact that the merchants on the affiliate network sites are already checked out and are found to be in good standing thus eliminating the need for the blogger to worry about the reputation of a company they are advertising for. I myself am a user of Shareasale and I have no complaints.

    1. Hi Ruthlyn,
      I agree with you, understanding the affiliate networks can be very confusing, and it takes time to grasp the ins and outs. I really like that WA has a top list for Affiliate Programs to choose from to help any blogger select the best network that best suits their interest.

      Thank you for stopping by.

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