Affiliate networks play an important role in the relationship between affiliates and merchants. They are the meeting point, which is why most affiliates and merchants will be a member of at least one of them. This chapter focuses on what affiliate networks are and how they work, with the process being explained for both affiliates and merchants. The chapter concludes with five popular affiliate networks in the industry at this moment with most prominent features and benefits highlighted for each of them.
The technology we have available today allows us to massively automate many tasks that had to be manually done only a few years ago. This has reduced the level of technical ability required for people do things like build their own websites, set up landing pages and build lists of subscribers. You can literally build a website within minutes today, even if you have zero technical computer skills.
In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent[14] on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.[9]
Since you’re essentially a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you, and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams.
To those on the outside, affiliate marketing can seem like a black box. It’s inner workings are mysterious to most marketers and in many companies it’s not treated with the same seriousness as other channels. Some marketers, only familiar with the bad reputation acquired by some industry players in the 2000s, deride it as a source of spam and little more.
For example, the content on Super Weddings is useful whether you're organizing a wedding today or next year. All the content on the site is created accordingly. To make things easier for the audience, it is separated into categories to make it very convenient for the reader to find what they're looking for. This, of course, is also very good for SEO. 
If this looks like a product that you might want to promote, you want to head over to your spreadsheet and enter all the information here in the different categories. Of course, you want to take a good look at the sales page to make sure that product is a good fit for your audience. To do that, click on the link at the top of the box. In this case, the sales page is a video, which is very common for Clickbank products. You just want to watch the video and see if it’s something that your audience would appreciate. If you get to the point where the product seems like a good fit, the sales page is a good fit, then you want to buy the product just to make sure. A lot of times on Clickbank, there are products with really great sales pages that make all these promises, and then when you buy the product, it’s actually not very good. Just to make sure you don’t burn any bridges with your audience, just buy the product. It’s usually pretty affordable, just to make sure that it’s something that they will appreciate if they end up investing in it.
Education occurs most often in "real life" by becoming involved and learning the details as time progresses. Although there are several books on the topic, some so-called "how-to" or "silver bullet" books instruct readers to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become out of date,[37] or suggest strategies no longer endorsed or permitted by advertisers.[38]

Next, I’m going to walk you through the information that’s in this box, because this is a lot of information in this little box and it can get overwhelming if you don’t know what all these terms mean. The first thing you want to pay attention to is the average amount of money per sale. This is not how much the product costs; this is how much an affiliate makes on average for one sale of that product. When you look at the stats line, this basically drills that down into a little bit more detail. The initial sale is $20.65. Why does this go all the way up to $26.80? That’s because there’s a re-bill feature. What that is, is basically they buy the product, and then there’s an add-on or another option for that person to sign up to some membership site, and that’s how much they make on average from the re-bill. If you average everything together, this is how much the affiliate makes with everything considered. 

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As an affiliate marketer, there are many dos and don’ts when it comes to marketing products. The Affiliate Marketing Diploma Course guides you through appropriate marketing of products, how to track the performance of your affiliate scheme, and why content should come first. You’ll discover ways to drive traffic to your site and improve your affiliate marketing performance, with special attention paid to conversion rates.
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In the case of cost per mille/click, the publisher is not concerned about whether a visitor is a member of the audience that the advertiser tries to attract and is able to convert, because at this point the publisher has already earned his commission. This leaves the greater, and, in case of cost per mille, the full risk and loss (if the visitor cannot be converted) to the advertiser.
You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  
If the above locations do not yield information pertaining to affiliates, it may be the case that there exists a non-public affiliate program. Utilizing one of the common website correlation methods may provide clues about the affiliate network. The most definitive method for finding this information is to contact the website owner directly if a contact method can be located.

Geno Prussakov of AM Navigator said: “In 2018, we will see significantly higher numbers of affiliate marketing programs run in truly smart ways. Their output will be increased through (i) continuous diversification of affiliate base (by now Google has done a great job teaching everyone “not to put all eggs in one basket”), (ii) extensive use of available technologies (for better attribution, wider reach, shrewder decisions), and (iii) lessons learned from deep(er) analysis of what’s really going on in the program (from the value that different types of affiliates bring throughout customer journey to lifetime customer value of affiliate-referred conversions).”


Instead of building from the ground up, many networks are leveraging technology that already exists, then building on top of it to customize their systems. We see this all the time with HasOffers. For example, Kiip, a mobile advertising network with powerhouse clients like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Wrigley, Pepsi, and BMW, decided to build on top of HasOffers instead of starting from scratch. “After sitting down with the HasOffers team, it quickly became clear that we could rely on something that was already built and allow our engineers to focus on developing our secret sauce,” said Corrigan Neralich, Senior Director of Advertising Operations.
Affiliates work to introduce their visitors to the merchant’s brand. They might write a post about a new product or promotion on the merchant’s site, feature banner ads on their site that drive people to the merchant’s site, or offer visitors a special coupon code. If people come from that affiliate’s site and make a purchase, that affiliate gets paid.
Some commentators originally suggested that affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant's internet service provider (ISP) within that website's content would be appropriate. If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the context of the articles and information about sports. The goal, in this case, is to publish quality information on the website and provide context-oriented links to related merchant's websites.
This piece of technology enables a whole specter of activities such as managing affiliates, tracking sale-related data, monitoring and paying commissions, etc. When combined, these functionalities are an incredibly useful tool for merchants, which is why most merchants think about using affiliate software for affiliate program management. The difference between self-hosted and hosted software is explained as well as how they work. In the final section, you will find the list of five popular affiliate software along with the features and benefits they come with.

When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won't allow email marketing. 
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