Technology

The History of Affiliate Programs – Designed for Success!

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Affiliate Programs, or Associate Programs, as they’re sometimes called, are a huge source of income for hundreds of thousands of aspiring affiliate marketers. These programs came onto the scene only recently; that is, within the last decade. The history of Affiliate Programs is somewhat obscure, at least in the opinion of some affiliate researchers. Let’s look at what they’ve dug up. Affilerator is that DOE Training and Guidance that will help you do it via Affiliate Marketing.

Amazon.com – the first?

Many history reports give Amazon.com credit for being the first to introduce an Affiliate Program for the purpose of increasing sales in July, 1996. According to them, Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, had a conversation at a cocktail party with a woman who owned a website and wanted to sell books about divorce on her site. Mr. Bezos allowed her to put a link to Amazon.com on her website and every time someone clicked on this link and bought a book, she would get a commission. On the Amazon.com Associates Program Frequently Asked Questions page on their website, this relationship was the creation of Affiliate Programs. They claim to be the “first on the Web” to launch an Affiliate Program. Now, however, with some deeper research, it’s believed that it was actually the adult website marketers who were the first to use this marketing strategy.

Whether you agree or not with the content of adult websites, many of the marketing strategies created by them laid the groundwork for what is now the norm in the affiliate marketing industry. Some of the very innovative and cutting-edge programs they initiated are:

  • cost-per-click (not in use anymore because of the high volume of fraud)
  • cost-per-acquisition (to replace the cost-per-click)
  • streaming video
  • pay-for-view content
  • coercive click conversion
  • community publishing

These creative technologies became the standard in the Affiliate Program industry. And they’re continually setting precedents that website owners are following.

Some of the other companies, outside of the adult section, who had earlier introduced Affiliate Programs are:

  • S2.com (Summer, 1994)
  • PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October, 1994)
  • AutoWeb.com ( October, 1995)
  • KBkids.com ( January, 1996)
  • EPage.com ( April, 1996)

So Amazon.com’s claim may not be totally accurate. But the bottom line was: the Affiliate Marketing industry had begun!

Affiliate transactions needed to be tracked

Now there were millions of transactions being conducted and they needed a sophisticated tracking system to keep everything running smoothly. Originally, spreadsheets were used but, with the massive increase in volume, a better solution was sought. Several companies took up the gauntlet and created software programs that could handle this huge volume of transactions and track it effectively. These companies, known as Affiliate Management Networks, play a major role in the efficient operation of Affiliate Programs today.

LinkShare and BeFree are two Affiliate Management Network companies that started up in 1996. They were followed in 1998 by Commission Junction. These companies are considered to be the top three in the industry today. There are books and programs you can buy that can teach you how to turn typing ads into a potential income but for those looking for data entry services from home, they need to realise that affiliate marketing and pay per click advertising is not the same thing as a typical online data entry service.

Tracking the trackers

All these Affiliate Programs needed to be tracked, too. Information about the industry was all over the place and it became a challenge to sort it out. So, again, some wise minds got together and came up with a much-needed system. This system would sort out the information and arrange it in an organized manner on a website, thus providing an informative and productive source for Affiliates.

In 1997, James Marciano was wading through this sea of information and couldn’t find one central place that would help him generate revenue for his site, theSquare.com. So he founded Refer-it.com, a search engine for affiliate programs, with ratings and details.

Then, in January, 1998, Allan Gardyne had similar frustration in trying to find an affiliate program directory. So in February, 1998, he started his own version, a one-page associate program directory called AssociatePrograms.com. Allan’s site has now grown into one of the most sought-after affiliate program directory sites, featuring tips, articles and resources that’ll boost any affiliate marketers business.

Others followed suit in quick succession – they knew a good thing when they saw it. Some of those catching onto this trend and launching their own programs later that year were 2-Tier.com and ReveNews.com. Now Affiliate Programs were organized and efficient.

Another business opportunity opens – training

Now that the affiliate marketing industry was firmly grounded, there arose another opportunity, another void that needed to be filled. Who would train all these fledgling entrepreneurs? There were many who stepped up to the plate to take on this challenge. The value of these trainers cannot be underestimated – the Affiliate Marketing business can seem very involved if you don’t know your way around websites.

However, the trainers made this seemingly complicated business much easier to navigate. One of the most touted of these, according to experts, is James Martell. Mr. Martell has created an easy-to-follow 8-step program called James Martell’s Affiliate Marketers Handbook. This is the definitive affiliate marketing course for the beginning entrepreneur, or for the advanced affiliate marketer. Also available from James Martell is his Affiliate Buzz, a twice-a-month audio newsletter offering helpful tips and important up-to-date information on affiliate marketing – a valuable tool to keep you in touch as you build your websites.

Most successful businesses these days offer ongoing support by way of seminars. Affiliate Programs are no exception. To get top-notch training you can attend the seminars presented by some of the major players in the Affiliate Marketing industry. Here’s an example of a few:

  • Commission Junction University – the first of its kind, held annually in Santa Barbara, California. This program offers performance-based marketing strategies, as well as techniques for getting the most out of their own website.
  • LinkShare Symposium – held in New York City. These symposia provide a forum for the exchange of productive and innovative marketing practices – by invitation only.
  • Internet Affiliate Marketing Summit – held in Miami and the Bahamas, great places to go to learn!

There are many other companies offering training for entrepreneurs in the Affiliate program industry. So an affiliate marketer is never alone!

The Affiliate Program industry thrives

If you have any doubts about the success level of Affiliate Marketing, there are many statistics showing the tremendous growth of this thriving industry. More and more people are finding the freedom that every one of us seeks, through this rewarding home-based business. For example, LinkShare had a growth rate of 26,000% last year! Have you ever seen figures like that before? They speak for themselves!

Although the Affiliate Program industry has only a brief history, it’s a fast-paced one, filled with technological advancement. As new technologies and ideas are created, the history of Affiliate Programs progresses quickly. This history is my no means over. And you can be a part of it. affiliate program empowers your web traffic with many advantages Users can send fax online through computers, tablets, and other compatible electronic devices If you want to experience this thrilling ride, jump on board – there’s no time like the present. And hang on – it’s going to be an exciting future!