SEO Glossary > Affiliate


In online marketing, an affiliate is a website that promotes the products of another company and receives a commission for each referral or sale resulting from its promotion. The seller normally provides the affiliate with a "creative" which is the text or banner ad to be used to promote the product or services of the seller. Some affiliate relationships are developed through personal communication between the parties. Some companies, such as Amazon, allow websites to sign up as affiliates through a registration form on their website. In such a situation, the affiliate is provided with a code to embed in their website that serves the ads.

Are affiliate programs legitimate?

Affiliate marketing is a legitimate business. Although in the past there have been scams, if affiliate marketers learn to avoid them they can potentially earn well. Affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme where a person can work two hours a day. Like any business, it requires building an audience to sell to which takes time and effort.

Can affiliate marketing be done without a website?

Affiliate marketing can be done without a website or blog. As long as the marketer has created an audience that they can communicate with, affiliate links can be posted. Affiliate marketers often create audiences on social media, YouTube, or even through email lists.

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing is a business where a third-party (affiliate) markets a business's products in order to gain commissions. In order to do this, the affiliate builds an audience in a profitable niche. Once the affiliate has generated a sizeable audience, they will need to sign up for affiliate programs that sell products that are relevant to their niche. The affiliate program provides the affiliate with a unique affiliate link that is posted to their audience. Whenever someone clicks the link and buys something, the affiliate earns a commission.

When did affiliate marketing start?

Affiliate marketing was started in 1989 by a man called William J. Tobin. He launched the first affiliate program on the Prodigy Network where affiliates were paid a commission on every sale. By 1993, the business was generating more than $6 million annually. Due to the success of his business, Tobin patented the idea in 1996.

Can affiliate marketing be a career?


Affiliate marketing can be a good career option. However, it is important to note that in order to make a career out of it, the marketer will have to create a sizeable audience in a lucrative niche. This takes time and dedication. Of course, the use of affiliate links and the creation of content should align to Google's guidelines.