What is an affiliate program? Okay, let’s get right down to the nitty gritty. In the old days, before the internet(hahaha), the way a business would promote themselves was to buy advertising on offline outlets like billboards, magazines, tv commercials, newspapers, buy prominent advertising placements in the yellow pages, mailers sent to your home, and so on.
These were, and still are, extremely expensive ways to do market a business. As you can imagine, businesses that had small marketing budgets found it hard to survive as they couldn’t compete with companies that could afford to advertise on those mediums.
Enter the internet. With the birth of the internet, the playing field has been evened. Every company now has access to billions of eyeballs worldwide for free and all they have to do is find some way to get in front of those eyeballs surfing the net.
So how do they get their brand exposed to billions of people who use the internet daily, without spending a fortune in advertising online? Answer. Create free affiliate programs where other website owners and bloggers can promote their products or services in exchange for a slice of the sale- commissions.
Also, you make money with cpa or “cost per action” programs set up by companies that with pay you a commission for “leads” people who sign up on a companies email list or registers on a companies website (usually they sign up for free).
Example. Amazon.com offers an affiliate program that pays you anywhere from 4%-15% of any purchases made by people you refer to them. That might sound small, but let’s say you have a website focused on digital cameras. Your website or blog offers tips, reviews, and advice, on the latest digital cameras on the market today. You then recommend and refer your readers to visit Amazon to buy a camera. If that reader purchases a $2,000 camera, you’d make about $80 just for referring that person to Amazon through an article or post on your website/blog. Imagine if 10 people bought that camera this month, referred by your website.
You can promote anything- plasma tv’s, xbox’s, camera’s, book’s, watches, clothes, mobile phone’s, etc… All you have to do is sign up for free and start placing links and banners on your site/blog. One thing about Amazon. When you do promote a product on your website, like a book and you only make $1 commission on that product, remember that when people buy from Amazon they usually buy more products and you will get a commission from the total sale and not just the product that you promoted.
So, if you referred someone to Amazon and told them to buy this awesome book on digital cameras and they not only bought that book, but saw a camera selling for a good price of $3,000 (for example), then you would make a commission from that as well. Suddenly, your $1 in commission became over $120 in commission. One thing to note is that, the people that clicked the links from your website and purchased products that you recommend don’t pay a higher price than everyone else. They pay the exact same price as everyone else. You get a commission on that sale because you saved the company from having to spend money on advertising in order to reach that client. Make sense?
Many companies also offer Cost Per Actioin (CPA) affiliate programs that pay you a commission for every lead you send to them. Amazon.com is a billion dollar company and they save hundreds of millions of dollars each year on advertising because they have thousands of affiliate partners promoting their products for free.
They are not the only company offering an affiliate program. There are thousands of well known companies that offer affiliate programs for you to join for free. Yahoo, ebay, Netflix, Disney , Warner Bros, Nike, Addidas, etc… On this website,
I recommend a lot of companies or products that I hold in high regards based on my experiences throughout the years. I include my affiliate links on some of the ones that offer affiliate commissions for referrals as I’m confident that you will also be pleased with the product or service that I recommend.
So where do you go to sign up for affiliate programs?
A great place to go to that manages affiliate programs for thousands of companies is Commission Junction. I have been with Commission Junction for over 10 years. They are one of the most respected affiliate companies in the industry and they always pay on time, each and every month. It’s free to sign up with them and you can start browsing through the massive list of companies, divided into categories for your convenience(ie…travel,health, computer, employment, clothing, etc…).
Before you review the list below, it’s important to know that you MUST have a working website/blog up and running with content BEFORE you apply to these affiliate programs. You’ll be denied if your website is “under construction” when you apply for these affiliate programs.
Here are other websites that manage affiliate programs for many well known companies are-
Linkshare.com– Like CJ.com, this company handles the affiliate programs for big well known brands too. They are very well respected and have been around since the beginning.
Pepperjam.com– A newer player in the industry that also handles the affiliate programs for lots of other companies.
Clickbank.com– These guys are the largest online head quarters for affiliate programs dealing in information products, mostly ebooks. There’s an ebook for everything from how to fix xbox’s, get in better shape, mafia wars cheats, to how to make money online.
Neverblue.com– This company is great. It handles lot’s other companies affiliate programs, mostly dealing in lead generation. When you get users to sign up for these companies programs (they would mostly enter their name and email address to sign up for these offers), you get paid for generating leads for the company. This is called- CPA (cost per action). How great is that? The customer doesn’t have to buy anything, just sign up and you get paid for every sign up that you refer to them!
Maxbounty.com– This is another big mainly CPA affiliate site. And a lot more…
One thing to remember is to choose companies that match the topics you cover on your website or blog.
No point in joining an affiliate program for a shoe store/company like Zappos.com if your website is about digital cameras. Know what I mean?
Whatever your website or blog is about, there are “related” affiliate programs that you can join that would compliment your websites articles or products. A travelwebsite can offer affiliate links for hotels, air fares, luggage, travel gear, shoes/boots, cameras, clothing, guide books, etc…
I repeat. DO NOT apply for any of the affiliate programs above if you do not have a website or blog online that has content on it.
You MUST have a working website or blog that is fully up and running because affiliate managers will look over your website/blog before they even consider accepting you into their affiliate programs.
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