Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network, the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer. The market has grown in complexity to warrant a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialized third party vendors.

Key Terms To Understanding Affiliate Marketing:

advertiser The advertiser is the Web site owner or merchant who pays affiliates for sending traffic to their site to make purchases or generate leads. Also called merchant. affiliate The Webmaster or site owner who earns revenue, usually commission-based, for conversion of leads, clicks or sales on the advertiser’s site. affiliate program An automated marketing program where a Web advertiser recruits Webmasters to place the merchant’s banner ads or buttons on their own Web site. Webmasters will receive a referral fee or commission from sales when the customer has clicked the affiliate link to get to the merchant’s Web site to make the purchase.