An affiliate, like a franchiser, is a commercial entity that makes a profit by promoting a product that is made by another company. That profit is usually called a sales commission. A car dealer can be considered a kind of affiliate; he promotes the cars, talks to customers at his own lot and sells XYZ brand of car. He never actually puts the car together, he just presents it in an appealing way.
Once again, an affiliate website promotes a product or service that someone else (company XYZ) made for a share of the profit. Usually these commissions are very low compared to the net profit made by the company providing the ‘affiliation sales’ program.
- An affiliate signed up with XYZ Affiliate Program
- He set up a website to blog about XYZ Brand and the upcoming 50% OFF holiday sale
- He logs into his control panel at XYZ Affiliate Program website and checks his commission earnings
- He doesn’t create the product, only advertises it using banners, links and sometimes email newsletters
Sometimes on the web people will be talking about “affiliate websites” but they actually mean “affiliate program”; Amazon has an affiliate program but is not an “affiliate website”. eBay.com has an affiliate program but it is an auctions website. The difference is clear once you understand what an affiliate marketer does.
What are the advantages of an affiliate website?
Without much of an overhead and the risk that comes with owning a company that creates tangible products, the affiliate website is very “lightweight” in its function: promotions of the product, reviews of the product, blogging, social media and ad boxes. Meanwhile, the owner of the affiliate program which pays out commissions must deal with customer complaints, customer returns, customer satisfaction, etc.
The job of the affiliate marketer (the owner of an affiliate website) is to honestly and clearly portray the benefits of owning or using XYZ product or service. It’s that simple. The rest is a lot of technical fine-tuning of websites, words, colors and various back-end software that no one ever gets to see, except for the website administrator(s) and staffers of the affiliate website.
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