At the other end of the spectrum is the small merchant who is only willing or able to work with a handful of affiliates. In this case, the merchant and affiliate may come to an agreement and utilize a “low tech” solution to determine commissions earned (e.g., a custom referral path and an earnings statement powered by Google Analytics). This type of affiliate relationship will typically develop when there is a logical affiliate relationship between two parties, but the merchant isn’t interested in opening up the affiliate program to a wide range of partners via an affiliate network.
Reversal rates are generally in the low single digits; it’s standard for about 1% of transactions to be reversed. If you see offers with extremely high reversal rates, that could be a red flag. It doesn’t mean you should necessarily stay away, but it’s worth understanding why so many transactions are returned. For example, there’s something strange going on with this merchant:

(b) The Local Associates Products will be made available for Amazon customers to purchase through a specific page on Amazon.com assigned to each Local Associate (such page, the “Recommendations Page”). The Recommendations Page will include either a general Amazon.com search bar or a selection of Local Associates Products curated by you. Amazon reserves the right to modify the Products included in the Local Associates Products on any Recommendations Page. You must direct all Local Associates Program marketing to the Recommendations Page to be eligible for Qualified Purchases.
Our Multi-Site tracking features provide you with the opportunity to analyze, monitor, and compare performance of each site, as well as the overall commissions earned. Using our tools, you can analyze specific fields, such as timeframes, individual programs, or the overall performance of the system. This information, which can be assembled into useful reports, allows you to tweak your approach in order to develop the most profitable and efficient strategies for your site.
AWIN is probably best for experienced affiliates who can hit the ground running without a lot of guidance or feedback from the network. There is a $5 fee charged to apply to become an affiliate, but if you’re approved, the $5 will be added to your account. If your application is denied, however, you will lose the $5 fee. AWIN operates globally, but it is most heavily concentrated on British and EU merchants.
There is a reason why many major merchants prefer to utilize affiliate marketing networks instead of setting up their own infrastructure. Just as the administrative burden can become overwhelming for publishers with multiple relationships in place, it can be too time consuming for merchants as well. Maintaining direct affiliate relationships involves building out an infrastructure to track referrals, calculate commissions, and process payments. While that may sound like a relatively straightforward process, it can become a major investment with plenty of potential complications and liability issues.
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[19] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[20]
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