The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.[8][9]
Although it differs from spyware, adware often uses the same methods and technologies. Merchants initially were uninformed about adware, what impact it had, and how it could damage their brands. Affiliate marketers became aware of the issue much more quickly, especially because they noticed that adware often overwrites tracking cookies, thus resulting in a decline of commissions. Affiliates not employing adware felt that it was stealing commission from them. Adware often has no valuable purpose and rarely provides any useful content to the user, who is typically unaware that such software is installed on his/her computer.

I 1st learned about affiliate marketing back in 2005 when I went on Walmart.com as a thought came to me to visit the site for no reason. Not long afterwards, I started a free blog on blogspot, not knowing what I was doing nor knowing anything about blogging. 2006 came and I flew to Santa Barbara, California to an event to see how real affiliate marketing was. Then I struggled as years went by with online marketing. I made money from eBaY, Walmart, and a few other affiliate programs. Been hooked ever since. I do create content now on a daily basis and love the side hustle millionaire mentality. I wish I knew how to do this back in 1999 when I was still working crappy jobs. I prolly would’ve been close to $20 million richer by now and loaded with $ gUaP $ ! :-)


It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales. 
If your audience is looking to launch an online business, migrate their ecommerce platform, or simply interested in ecommerce content, we encourage you to apply for the BigCommerce affiliate program. Our team will carefully review your application. Once approved, you will receive access to support, tracking, reporting, payments, and have your own unique affiliate link to track every referral you generate. BigCommerce is committed to the success of our affiliate partners.
Affiliate marketing has now invaded Hollywood? We know it invaded US politics in Washington as some politicians (current and retired) are silent affiliate marketers or in MLM. Maybe we can look forward to hearing in the next few years about more celebrities going from actors and actresses to home-based affiliate marketers. Wouldn’t that be something?
Hey Miles! I'm a total newbie when it comes to this and this article has been EXTREMELY helpful, so thank you! I am extremely grateful! I do have a question though and I'm hoping you have an answer and/or an alternative solution to this. I'm trying to use a custom domain name with my ClickFunnels account by integrating it via WordPress. I've installed the ClickFunnels plugin on my WordPress site and connected it with the API key and was able to set up the pages I wanted and the links I wanted to use for each step of my funnel, however; whenever I go to the links to test the sites it just redirects to a 404 page. I'm not sure what is going on and I can't find anything on the internet that suggests why this is happening. The weird thing is that I can get the Optin page to work if I set it as the Homepage in the ClickFunnels plugin but when you advance to the Thank You page it uses the bulky unattractive ClickFunnels link. Have you seen this before? If not, do you have a better way of using custom domain names with ClickFunnels?

In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy.[10] By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking.[11] In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.[12]
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