Affiliate Marketing

What Is An Affiliate Program And How Does It Work?


When starting to look into affiliate marketing, there are many new terms that are presented.

One of the most common questions is “What is an affiliate program?”

In this article we will look at what they are and how they work.

We will also look at where to find the best affiliate programs for your online business.

There are also links to articles with more information and also details on a free training offer.

What Is An Affiliate Program?


Online retailers rely on traffic to their websites and products in order to make money.

Pretty obvious statement.

Without people visiting their product pages, they are not going to sell.

They want, and need, as many people as possible to visit their product pages.

Most will use techniques such as search engine optimization and social media in order to achieve this.

However, many will also set up an affiliate program.

How it works is actually a very simple concept.

If you are interested in learning affiliate marketing, you should read the following articles.

The how to start affiliate marketing  article will tell you how to get started in this amazing industry.

The what is affiliate marketing explained guide will give you a full overview.

The program will pay affiliates a commission or bounty in exchange for any sales they refer to the companies products.

The program will allow the affiliate to use special referral links to products on the company website and often includes tools such as banners.

The affiliate can post these links and banners on their own websites and social media in order to drive traffic to the companies product pages.

Think of it like having an army of online sales people who only get paid when they actually produce sales.

A commission is usually a percentage of the sale generated.

A bounty is usually a fixed amount.


If an affiliate program pays 7% and the affiliate refers $3000 worth of sales, then the affiliate will earn 7% of the $3000 which equals $210


If a program offers a $5 bounty for each person referred that signs up to a free offer, then if the affiliate refers 500 people who sign up, then they earn 500 x $5 which is $2500.

The special links and banners that the company provides will each have a special I.D. included in the URL that sends the person to the product page.

This special I.D. tells the affiliate program which affiliate referred the customer so that the affiliate is credited for any sales they refer.


Jim joins a fitness supplement affiliate program that pays 10%.

He posts the special links to the fitness supplement site on his blog and social media.

Any time anyone clicks on those links, they are sent to the fitness supplement website and the software on that site knows that it was Jim’s links they clicked.

If they buy anything from that website, Jim will earn 10% of the sales total.

The more people that click through Jim’s links and make a purchase, the more Jim earns.

As you can imagine, this is great for both Jim and the fitness supplement website.

The site gets more potential customers and sales sent their way and the more sales that Jim refers, the more money he earns.

There are two kinds of affiliate program.

“In – House” and as part of a network.

In – House Affiliate Programs


This type of program is set up and maintained by the company themselves.

The company will create all the special links and banners and will keep track of any commissions earned from sales.

The company will also take care of paying their affiliates their commission directly by direct debit each etc.

Affiliate Program Networks


A network is a third party company that helps affiliates and merchants find each other.

A network may have 100’s if not 1000’s of affiliate programs all in one place.

This allows affiliates to join and browse many programs to see which one they are interested in promoting.

It is also beneficial for the merchants because they do not have to go looking to recruit affiliates.

They simply post their program in the network and affiliates will find them there as they browse the program selection.


The fitness supplement program decides to join a network.

Their program details such as commission rates and banners are posted there for affiliates to view and potentially join the program.

Jim joins the network and is browsing through the fitness related affiliate program section.

He finds the companies program and joins.

He has access to all the special referral I.D. links and banners.

The company now has a new affiliate who is out promoting their products and producing sales for them.

Networks will also handle the payment of any commissions or bounties to affiliates by direct debit rather than the company doing it directly.

This is beneficial to the company because they do not have the extra workload of handling each affiliates pay out directly each month.

It is beneficial to the affiliate because if they are members of multiple affiliate programs, they will get paid all at once from one place instead of having to keep track of multiple payments from multiple companies.

Here is a video from the Rakuten Youtube Channel that shows this practice in action.

Where To Find Affiliate Programs

Here are some examples of affiliate programs and networks you can join if you decide to get the training required to be an effective and successful affiliate marketer.


One of the oldest and well known affiliate programs, the Amazon associates program allows you to link to any product on amazon and earn commissions or bounties.

Best Buy

An established and famous electronics retailer, the Best Buy affiliate program has a huge selection of products and is a trusted brand.


Commission Junction is one of the largest affiliate networks in the world. they have a huge number of programs from famous brands in their network.


This is another large and well known affiliate network that has a large selection of famous brands.

Those are just a few examples of the options available.

You will notice on a lot of online shopping site websites that you will find a page that is labeled “affiliate program” or “partner with us”

Do some Google searches and you may be surprised at which large companies already have affiliate programs.



If you are interested in learning the skill set for free you can read about this free affiliate marketing training course



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