First and foremost, when it comes to marketing anything online, it's important to understand how money is made and earned. In my phone call with Sharpe, he identified several items that were well worth mentioning. Once you understand where the money comes from and how the industry works, you can then better understand how best to position yourself and your offer so that you can reap the benefits of the making-money-while-you-sleep industry.
Affiliates can also help your company tap into new audiences and reposition inventory so that it is relevant to them. For example, perhaps your site is entirely in English, with no exposure to the Hispanic market. One of your affiliates may translate your copy into Spanish and target that market, thus bringing new customers to you. Such a tactic — translating text — would be expensive and time consuming. So increased commissions for those new customers would help offset the affiliate’s initial investment.
When traffic is coming to your website or blog, nearly unfettered, it gives you the opportunity to test out a variety of marketing initiatives. However, without that traffic, you're forced to spend money on costly ads before really determining the effectiveness of your offers and uncovering your cost-per acquisition (CPA), two things which are at the core of scaling out any business online.
If you have identified merchants for whom you think you could generate substantial revenue through an affiliate marketing relationship, there’s no reason not to attempt to set up a direct relationship. There’s also not much magic to pursuing this type of arrangement; if there isn’t a pre-existing relationship, start by reaching out to your potential partner and telling them a bit about your site.
The web became a place where people could find information, news, products, opinions, inspiration, data. Terms like e-commerce, website traffic and banner ads emerged. As the world increasingly decided to spend their time and money online, marketers began inventing ways to leverage this communication channel, and opportunities for website owners to partner began. Content creators conceptualized ways to monetize their sites – ways to get paid for the exposure they could give merchants to their site visitors. Merchants found ways to reach new audiences and pay only when they converted.
In November 1994, CDNow launched its BuyWeb program. CDNow had the idea that music-oriented websites could review or list albums on their pages that their visitors might be interested in purchasing. These websites could also offer a link that would take visitors directly to CDNow to purchase the albums. The idea for remote purchasing originally arose from conversations with music label Geffen Records in the fall of 1994. The management at Geffen wanted to sell its artists' CD's directly from its website but did not want to implement this capability itself. Geffen asked CDNow if it could design a program where CDNow would handle the order fulfillment. Geffen realized that CDNow could link directly from the artist on its website to Geffen's website, bypassing the CDNow home page and going directly to an artist's music page.