Commissions can eat into an investor’s returns. Suppose Susan buys 100 shares of Conglomo Corporation for $10 each. Her broker charges a 2.5% commission on the deal, so Susan pays $1,000 for the shares, plus another $25. Six months later, her shares have appreciated 10% and Susan wants to sell them. Her broker charges a 2% commission on the sale, or $22. Susan’s investment earned her a $100 profit, but she paid $47 in commissions on the two transactions. So her net gain is only $53.
Decide on the products you want to sell and choose an online distributor that offers affiliate accounts for those products. Amazon offers thousands of products ranging from books to computers. ClickBank acts as a distributor for thousands of products like e-books and online videos. Some manufacturers offer affiliate programs directly through their own websites. Other manufactures, like Dell, have affiliate programs through third-party services like Commission Junction.
In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing, and (in some sense) display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.