Affiliate Program is a more advanced kind of MLM ( Multi- Level-Marketing) program, where an affiliate is remunerated against his service to refer others or making a sale of the respective product or service. On average about 60 Million people around the globe surf Google on money related matters everyday, and a proportionate amount of people search for a legitimate Home Based Business. Jupiter Research forecasted that U.S. online retail sales will reach $65 billion in 2004, and will continue to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 17% through 2008 and sales will top $117 billion by that time. Obviously, internet-based home businesses (specially affiliate programs) will only comprise a fraction of that total, but the growth trend is certainly applicable.
The Rise of Affiliate Program-
Late Corey Rudl probably the most influential net guru of all the time, who deceased on 2nd June this year on a pathetic car accident might rightly coined out traffic as lifeblood to a website. There are billions of websites in the net with different subjects and topics. But whatever the subject be, every webesite need traffic to live up to its full potentials. By the mid 90s, there were only a handful of web sites in the net. But with advent of new technologies and shifting of market to net way, a large number of webmasters jumped recklessly into the foray. Invariably, a cut through competition among the websites cropped up for traffic and publicity. The webmasters started to adopt new ploys and maneuver accordingly everyday to allure more visitors to their site. The concept of Affiliate Program mooted out of such an maneuvering, as I think.
Its really tough to earmark the inception of the concept of Affiliate Programs, as there is no clear documentation on the first Affiliate Program. But roughly the history of Affiliate Program can be traced back to 90s, as a manifestation of cool marketing strategy borne out by some of the Adult Sites of that time. Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon.com, came up with the idea of an online referral commission system. Amazon.com launched their affiliate program in July 1996. Though a handfull of web sites were operating with the idea, but Bezos introduced the modern look and flavour of affiliate program and popularized it, so often he been mistaken to have launched the first ever affiliate program.
However, Affiliate Program is proved to be relatively low cost method of online marketing. Even the most successful and sought after web gurus like Ken Evoy, Corey Rudl, Tery Dean have used and recommend the power of affiliate program. The net giants like ClickBank, Amazon, eBay already have set their examples with respective Affiliate Programs. Forrester Research reported a record $64 billion in online sales during the first half of 2004-a 32% increase over 2003. And they predict that figure will hit $184 billion by the end of the year. You believe or not, 45% of the total online sales are generated by the Affiliate Programs alone. For more feedback and future of Affiliate Program please review the free article by Elena Fawkner.
- Selecting the best Affiliate-
There are hundreds of Affiliate Programs in the net making a bit zimig with liar and fraudulence. A third of them either phichers or email- grabber. So it will be prudential to be extra cautious in selection of an Affiliate Program and trying to stay aloof of the hoax.
In selection of an Affiliate I particularly keep in mind the following criterions-
- Product/Service: If you let me to point out the most common blunder that every new netbie commit at their first endeavour of affiliate marketing, my answer is failure to filter out an Affiliate Program with a unique product. With a product that is ontravening to the theory of price to value, with a neggardly back-end support you can't go ahead in long term as you are dispersing probable customers with dejection from your site. Promote an affiliate program that is in lineage with the theme of your website. Otherwise no matter howsoever fierce your marketing strategy you deploying, you are doomed.
- Credibility: Try to go through the history of the Affiliate Program you are about to join.. How old it is, what is daily traffic statistics and its trend etc. Older the Affiliate, more the reliability. A hoax site often changes its name or will not survive more than three years. Alexa and LinkPopularityCheck provide good web report on a web site's link popularity, daily traffic status and google rating. I prefer Alexa web report to know the reliability and consistency of a web site . However, you can use Copernic as an alternative to Alexa or both in selection of an Affiliate Program.
- Security: A quality Affiliate Program never asks for your secrets (like Pay-Pal account, credit card number etc) at least on sign up. Often they use HTTS url or secured connection for transaction purposes. Use eBay Toolbar as a safety guard to protect your Pay-Pal and eBay accounts. Don't disclose your secrets to any ananimous program before judging their authenticity.
- Training: Any Affiliate Program that focus to excel in long term, never and never can ignore the importance of quality training and education to their affiliates. A quality Affiliate Program generally provides 24/7 training and help desk facility. Before joining any affiliate program, I use to put a mail to the help desk asking for their suggestion and feedback on a certain topic that their FAQ skip. This way I can judge their promptness of service delivery and their value to customers. Proper trainig session is so crucial to a newbie at their startup that no affilate program can overlook it.
- Referral Matrix: Prior to join an Affiliate Program, ensure how deep the matrix level goes. Deeper Affilate Matrix = More Residual Income potential. A good Affiliate Program generally offers at least 5 levels deeper matrix. Recently, I have noticed some of the Affiliate Programs, which have impletemented Forced Matrix System, where every new comer earns from the advertisement of their upline as Spill Over.
- Tracking System: Another critical thing you must ensure that, whether the Affiliate Program you are going to join provides a quality down-line management and tracking system or not. If yes, then try out it in the trial period instead. Don't believe in fluffy guarantees.
My friend, from my last three years of experiance in internet marketing I can say that anybody can make a full time living from affiliate marketing in a short span of time with a little or no initial investment, provided he is really serious and persistent. In my last three years I have seen a lots of changes in the trend of affiliate marketing. But still I prefare Affiliate Marketing as a good choice over thousands of other money pooling ideas because of its simplicity, optinos to earn a consistant income with minimal effort and time.
About the author:
Purna Borkotoki is a part time Affiliate Marketer and blogger. His blog Referral Demagogue is a daunting job from the self-styled blogger, where he unveils every tip and trap of online marketing. His real life online journal is his mouthpiece, where he unveils every facet of online marketing he learnt throughout his three years of online venture. For more Free Affiliate Program resources and articles,Syndicate The Feed.