Compensation Factory

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Commission Factory is an affiliate marketing network based in Sydney, NSW Australia. Commission Factory has three client sets that it services within the Performance-based advertising space, such as the Affiliate, Merchant and Agencies.

Commission Factory clients include retailers operating online, such as David Jones, SurfStitch, The Iconic and others.


  • 1 Company history
  • 2 Ownership
  • 3 Awards and recognition
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Company history[edit]

Commission Factory was founded in 2011[1] by its current Managing Directors, Zane McIntyre, Mario Johnston and David Hayman. The initial launch of the Commission Factory platform and Affiliate tracking software on July 15, 2011 was regarded as Version 1.0. On October 8, 2012 Commission Factory launched version 2.0[2] and the first major upgrade to their Affiliate network since the initial launch. To date Commission Factory has over 300 online retailers as part of their network that range from small, mid to large merchants and state they are one of the largest Affiliate network’s in the southern hemisphere with 55% market-share.[3]

During the lifecycle of their first software version and the launch of the second, Commission Factory’s office was located within the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre, a Business incubator reserved for small business and innovative startups. Due to the company’s self-funded and minimal initial startup capital[4] the Innovation Centre offered a space in which the Directors were able to grow the business with the least amount of overheads possible.

In February 2013 they relocated to their current office in Maroochydore to allow for further expansion.[5]

In March 2016 the company and all staff were relocated from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and interstate to a new head office in Sydney, New South Wales.


Commission Factory is a privately held Australian Proprietary Company, Limited By Shares since March 9, 2011.[6]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Anthill SMART 100 – A rank of Australia’s 100 most innovative products or companies. Voted 64/100.[7]
Cool Company Awards – Runner-Up as one of Australia’s “Coolest Companies”.[8]

See also[edit]

  • Affiliate network
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Affiliate tracking software


  • ^ “Commission Factory – Crunchbase” cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  • ^ “Affiliate Marketing’s Popularity Surge Triggers Commission Factory Upgrade”. Power Retail.
  • ^ “Affiliate marketing agency AffiliateTraction opens in Australia”. mUmBRELLA.
  • ^ “Commission Factory working the web in new ways”. Sunshine Coast Daily.
  • ^ “New premises commissioned”. Sunshine Coast Daily.
  • ^ “Australian Business Search – Commission Factory”.
  • ^ “SMART 100 Winners Revealed 2014”. Anthill Online.
  • ^ “Strong end to 2012 for Innovation Centre clients”. Sunshine Coast Daily.
  • External links[edit]

    • Commission Factory Company Website


    CJ Affiliate

    CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction) is an online advertising company owned by Alliance Data operating in the affiliate marketing industry, which operates worldwide. The corporate headquarters is in Santa Barbara, California, and there are offices in Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, New York, NY San Francisco, CA Westlake Village, CA and Westborough, MA in the USA,[1] and in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden and South Africa.[1]


    • 1 beFree, Inc. / Value-click, Inc.
    • 2 See also
    • 3 References
    • 4 External links

    beFree, Inc. / Value-click, Inc.[edit]

    Former Commission Junction competitor beFree, Inc. was acquired by Value-click, Inc. in 2002,[2] before Commission Junction.[3] beFree was gradually phased out in favor of Commission Junction. On February 3, 2014 Value-click, Inc. announced it has changed its name to Conversant, Inc., bringing former Value-click, Inc. companies Commission Junction, Dotomi, Greystripe, Mediaplex, and Value-click Media under one name. Conversant was bought by Alliance Data in 2014.[4] Commission Junction[5] continues to be known as CJ Affiliate.

    See also[edit]

    • companies portal
    • Affiliate marketing
    • Affiliate programs directories
    • Affiliate networks


  • ^ a b “Contact page”. Archived from the original on 2011-09-09. Retrieved September 8, cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  • ^ Internet Retailer (March 11, 2002),Value-click and beFree to Merge Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, Internet Retailer, retrieved May 27, 2007
  • ^ Rebecca Lieb (October 10, 2003), Value-click Snaps Up Commission Junction, News, retrieved May 27, 2007
  • ^ “Alliance Data to Acquire Conversant, Formerly ValueClick, for $2.3 Billion”. AdvertisingAge. September 16, 2014.
  • ^ “Commission Junction: The Best Place For Affiliate Marketers”. 2016-08-30. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  • External links[edit]

    • CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction)
    • Commission Junction UK


    Associate monitoring software program

    Affiliate Tracking – Dashboard example

    Affiliate Tracking Software is used to track the referral, endorsement or recommendation made by one person or company to buy products or services from another person or company. Tracking is necessary to manage and reward or compensate the participants of an affiliate marketing group of participants or affiliate networks. The original concept comes from Affinity marketing. The participants that agree to promote or be promoted are called “affiliates”. Those that promote and recommend are called “marketers” and the ones that have the products or services that are promoted are called “advertisers”.

    The software is the enabler to credit referrers based on performance of clicks, confirmation of page views and impressions of advertising material (banner, links, etc) of the “marketers”, while also confirming purchases and transaction of monetary values of the “advertisers”.

    Several online businesses create affiliate networks to manage affiliates that promote their products and services. Affiliate platforms are companies that intermediate and manage both marketers and advertisers, operating as a broker.

    The core of affiliate marketing software is tracking the various aspects of a given action, that are commonly categorised in five types:

  • CPC (Cost per click)
  • CPA (Cost per acquisition)
  • CPM (Cost per impression)
  • CPS (Cost per sale)
  • CPI (Cost per install)
  • CPL (Cost Per Lead)
  • CPV (Cost Per Visitor)
  • CPO (Cost Per Order)
  • Tracking refers to user-client IP detection, browser detection, marketer’s affiliate referral and advertiser’s completed transaction.

    The main feature of affiliate marketing software is consolidation of data to provide dashboard for marketers and advertisers so that all activity can be tracked and verified in a consistent manner, demonstrating transaction value, transaction fees, traffic origins and destinations, geography and payment balance.

    Although affinity marketing refers to marketing to persons sharing the same interests, the derived affiliate networks is closely related to sales channels and sales campaigns paying sales commissions, the reason why a solid and reliable software is required to prevent fraud and provide security and privacy for the parties involved in the transactions.

    Affiliate network software has other features like:

    • Generating Tracking Codes: Tracking of all clicks and leads require a special unique URL which contains the affiliate id and perhaps the campaign number, that is parsed to the advertiser’s site and then associated with a user cookie to identify landing page, visit date, expire date, user identification and related sales closing information. These tracking URLs are also called as tracking codes. The software can generate a code, token or shortened URL, or can track by affiliate name.
    • Tracking Time and Location: Tracking time and location of impression, click, lead and sale, usually gathered from user cookies, sent back from the advertiser’s server site to the tracking software server for consolidation.
    • Tracking Source: Not just the location source, as previously cited, source also refers to web page originating the URL link (blog article for instance) and source type (banner, keyword, search, chatbot or other), that gives both marketers and advertisers the information to improve context and maximize click-through ratios (how many times are required to show a banner to have someone click on it) and sales conversion (how many clicks are required to have someone buy the referred product/service).
    • Tracking Affiliate: Identify volume and effectiveness. Volume in traffic and effectiveness is how successful the affiliate is in selling (or making money for the network).
    • Fraud Detection: The need of fraud detection has increased with the expansion of affiliate marketing industry and the availability of IP changing software, chatbots that can simulate clicks and purchases, and even hacking to inject data into the software database to inflate affiliate credits and ratios.
    • Tracking GEO, ISP, Browser, Device, OS, IP etc.


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    Affiliate network

    An affiliate network acts as an intermediary between publishers (affiliates) and merchant affiliate programs. It allows website publishers to more easily find and participate in affiliate programs which are suitable for their website (and thus generate income from those programs), and allows websites offering affiliate programs (typically online merchants) to reach a larger audience by promoting their affiliate programs to all of the publishers participating in the affiliate network.


    • 1 Uses
    • 2 Performance network
    • 3 See also
    • 4 References
    • 5 External links


    Traditional affiliate networks enable merchants to offer publishers a share of any revenue that is generated by the merchant from visitors to the publisher’s site, or a fee for each visitor on the publisher’s site that completes a specific action (making a purchase, registering for a newsletter, etc.). The majority of merchant programs have a revenue share model, as opposed to a fee-per-action model.

    For merchants, affiliate network services and benefits may include tracking technology, reporting tools, payment processing, and access to a large base of publishers. For affiliates, services and benefits can include simplifying the process of registering for one or more merchant affiliate programs, reporting tools, access to product API’s and payment aggregation.

    Affiliates are generally able to join affiliate networks for free, whereas there is generally a fee for merchants to participate. Traditional affiliate networks might charge an initial setup fee and/or a recurring membership fee. It is also common for affiliate networks to charge merchants a percentage of the commissions paid to affiliates, this is known as an ‘over-ride’ and is payable on top of the affiliates commission.

    Performance network[edit]

    In addition to the traditional networks, performance networks also exist. Performance networks are typically networks that, in addition to performance based promotions also offer CPM- or CPC-based display advertising. Performance networks, on the other hand, are often so-called “Middle Men” who are themselves affiliates of merchants via the traditional affiliate networks.

    See also[edit]

    • Advertising network or ad network
    • Affiliate programs
    • Affiliate marketing


    External links[edit]


    Associate advertising and marketing

    For marketing to a specific interest group, see Affinity marketing.

    Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.[1][2][3][4][5]


    • 1 Structure
    • 2 History
      • 2.1 Origin
      • 2.2 Historic development
      • 2.3 Web 2.0
    • 3 Compensation methods
      • 3.1 Predominant compensation methods
      • 3.2 Diminished compensation methods
      • 3.3 Performance/affiliate marketing
    • 4 Multi-tier programs
    • 5 From the advertiser’s perspective
      • 5.1 Advantages for merchants
      • 5.2 Implementation options
      • 5.3 Affiliate management and program management outsourcing
      • 5.4 Types of affiliate websites
      • 5.5 Publisher recruitment
    • 6 Locating affiliate programs
    • 7 Past and current issues
      • 7.1 E-mail spam
      • 7.2 Malicious browser extensions
      • 7.3 Search engine spam
      • 7.4 Consumer countermeasures
      • 7.5 Adware
      • 7.6 Trademark bidding
    • 8 Compensation disclosure
      • 8.1 Lack of industry standards
        • 8.1.1 Certification and training
        • 8.1.2 Code of conduct
      • 8.2 Marketing term
      • 8.3 Sales tax vulnerability
      • 8.4 Cookie stuffing
      • 8.5 Click to reveal
    • 9 See also
    • 10 References
    • 11 External links


    The industry has four core players:[citation needed]

    • the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’)
    • the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments)
    • the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’)
    • the customer

    The market has grown in complexity, resulting in the emergence of a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates, and specialized third party vendors.[citation needed]

    Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing, and (in some sense) display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.[citation needed]

    Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.[citation needed]

    Affiliate marketing is frequently overlooked by advertisers.[6] While search engines, e-mail, and web site syndication capture much of the attention of online retailers, affiliate marketing carries a much lower profile. Still, affiliates continue to play a significant role in e-retailers’ marketing strategies.[citation needed]



    The concept of revenue sharing—paying commission for referred business—predates affiliate marketing and the Internet. The translation of the revenue share principles to mainstream e-commerce happened in November 1994,[7] almost four years after the origination of the World Wide Web.

    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]

    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]

    Cybererotica was among the early innovators in affiliate marketing with a cost per click program.[13]

    In November 1994, CDNow launched its BuyWeb program. CDNow had the idea that music-oriented websites could review or list albums on their pages that their visitors might be interested in purchasing. These websites could also offer a link that would take visitors directly to CDNow to purchase the albums. The idea for remote purchasing originally arose from conversations with music label Geffen Records in the fall of 1994. The management at Geffen wanted to sell its artists’ CD’s directly from its website but did not want to implement this capability itself. Geffen asked CDNow if it could design a program where CDNow would handle the order fulfillment. Geffen realized that CDNow could link directly from the artist on its website to Geffen’s website, bypassing the CDNow home page and going directly to an artist’s music page.[14] (Amazon) launched its associate program in July 1996: Amazon associates could place banner or text links on their site for individual books, or link directly to the Amazon home page.[15]

    When visitors clicked on the associate’s website to go to Amazon and purchase a book, the associate received a commission. Amazon was not the first merchant to offer an affiliate program, but its program was the first to become widely known and serve as a model for subsequent programs.[16][17]

    In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent[18] on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & (October 1994), (October 1995), (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.[13]

    Historic development

    Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[19] MarketingSherpa’s research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[20]

    In 2006, the most active sectors for affiliate marketing were the adult gambling, retail industries and file-sharing services.[21]:149–150 The three sectors expected to experience the greatest growth are the mobile phone, finance, and travel sectors.[21] Soon after these sectors came the entertainment (particularly gaming) and Internet-related services (particularly broadband) sectors. Also several of the affiliate solution providers expect to see increased interest from business-to-business marketers and advertisers in using affiliate marketing as part of their mix.[21]:149–150

    Web 2.0

    Websites and services based on Web 2.0 concepts—blogging and interactive online communities, for example—have impacted the affiliate marketing world as well. These platforms allow improved communication between merchants and affiliates. Web 2.0 platforms have also opened affiliate marketing channels to personal bloggers, writers, and independent website owners. Contextual ads allow publishers with lower levels of web traffic to place affiliate ads on websites.[citation needed]

    Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google’s affiliate network.[22][23] New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.[citation needed]

    Compensation methods

    Main article: Compensation methods

    Predominant compensation methods

    Eighty percent of affiliate programs today use revenue sharing or pay per sale (PPS) as a compensation method, nineteen percent use cost per action (CPA), and the remaining programs use other methods such as cost per click (CPC) or cost per mille (CPM, cost per estimated 1000 views).[24]

    Diminished compensation methods

    Within more mature markets, less than one percent of traditional affiliate marketing programs today use cost per click and cost per mille. However, these compensation methods are used heavily in display advertising and paid search.

    Cost per mille requires only that the publisher make the advertising available on his or her website and display it to the page visitors in order to receive a commission. Pay per click requires one additional step in the conversion process to generate revenue for the publisher: A visitor must not only be made aware of the advertisement but must also click on the advertisement to visit the advertiser’s website.

    Cost per click was more common in the early days of affiliate marketing but has diminished in use over time due to click fraud issues very similar to the click fraud issues modern search engines are facing today. Contextual advertising programs are not considered in the statistic pertaining to the diminished use of cost per click, as it is uncertain if contextual advertising can be considered affiliate marketing.

    While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat “Cost Per Day” with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.

    Performance/affiliate marketing

    In the case of cost per mille/click, the publisher is not concerned about whether a visitor is a member of the audience that the advertiser tries to attract and is able to convert, because at this point the publisher has already earned his commission. This leaves the greater, and, in case of cost per mille, the full risk and loss (if the visitor cannot be converted) to the advertiser.

    Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser’s website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.

    Affiliate marketing is also called “performance marketing”, in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives.[25] Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers’ internal sales department.

    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.

    Multi-tier programs

    Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher “A” signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher “A” attracts publishers “B” and “C” to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers “B” and “C” will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher “A”.

    Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.[citation needed]

    From the advertiser’s perspective

    Advantages for merchants

    Merchants favor affiliate marketing because in most cases it uses a “pay for performance” model, meaning that the merchant does not incur a marketing expense unless results are accrued (excluding any initial setup cost).[26]

    Implementation options

    Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.

    Affiliate management and program management outsourcing

    Uncontrolled affiliate programs aid rogue affiliates, who use spamming,[27] trademark infringement, false advertising, cookie stuffing, typosquatting,[28] and other unethical methods that have given affiliate marketing a negative reputation.

    Some merchants are using outsourced (affiliate) program management (OPM) companies, which are themselves often run by affiliate managers and network program managers.[29] OPM companies perform affiliate program management for the merchants as a service, similar to the role an advertising agencies serves in offline marketing.

    Types of affiliate websites

    Affiliate websites are often categorized by merchants (advertisers) and affiliate networks. There are currently no industry-wide standards for the categorization. The following types of websites are generic, yet are commonly understood and used by affiliate marketers.

    • Search affiliates that utilize pay per click search engines to promote the advertisers’ offers (i.e., search arbitrage)
    • Price comparison service websites and directories
    • Loyalty websites, typically characterized by providing a reward or incentive system for purchases via points, miles, cash back
    • Cause Related Marketing sites that offer charitable donations
    • Coupon and rebate websites that focus on sales promotions
    • Content and niche market websites, including product review sites
    • Personal websites
    • Weblogs and websites syndication feeds
    • E-mail marketing list affiliates (i.e., owners of large opt-in -mail lists that typically employ e-mail drip marketing) and newsletter list affiliates, which are typically more content-heavy
    • Registration path or co-registration affiliates who include offers from other merchants during the registration process on their own website
    • Shopping directories that list merchants by categories without providing coupons, price comparisons, or other features based on information that changes frequently, thus requiring continual updates
    • Cost per action networks (i.e., top-tier affiliates) that expose offers from the advertiser with which they are affiliated with their own network of affiliates
    • Websites using adbars (e.g. AdSense) to display context-sensitive advertising for products on the site
    • Virtual currency that offers advertising views in exchange for a handout of virtual currency in a game or other virtual platform.
    • File-Sharing: Web sites that host directories of music, movies, games and other software. Users upload content to file-hosting sites and then post descriptions of the material and their download links on directory sites. Uploaders are paid by the file-hosting sites based on the number of times their files are downloaded. The file-hosting sites sell premium download access to the files to the general public. The websites that host the directory services sell advertising and do not host the files themselves.
    • Video sharing websites: YouTube videos are often utilized by affiliates to do affiliate marketing. A person would create a video and place a link to the affiliate product they are promoting in the video itself and within the description.

    Publisher recruitment

    Affiliate networks that already have several advertisers typically also have a large pool of publishers. These publishers could be potentially recruited, and there is also an increased chance that publishers in the network apply to the program on their own, without the need for recruitment efforts by the advertiser.

    Relevant websites that attract the same target audiences as the advertiser but without competing with it are potential affiliate partners as well. Vendors or existing customers can also become recruits if doing so makes sense and does not violate any laws or regulations (such as with pyramid schemes).

    Almost any website could be recruited as an affiliate publisher, but high traffic websites are more likely interested in (for their sake) low-risk cost per mille or medium-risk cost per click deals rather than higher-risk cost per action or revenue share deals.[30]

    Locating affiliate programs

    There are three primary ways to locate affiliate programs for a target website:

  • Affiliate program directories,
  • Large affiliate networks that provide the platform for dozens or even hundreds of advertisers, and
  • The target website itself. (Websites that offer an affiliate program often have a link titled “affiliate program”, “affiliates”, “referral program”, or “webmasters”—usually in the footer or “About” section of the website.)
  • If the above locations do not yield information pertaining to affiliates, it may be the case that there exists a non-public affiliate program. Utilizing one of the common website correlation methods may provide clues about the affiliate network. The most definitive method for finding this information is to contact the website owner directly if a contact method can be located.

    Past and current issues

    Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users’ computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.

    E-mail spam

    In the infancy of affiliate marketing, many Internet users held negative opinions due to the tendency of affiliates to use spam to promote the programs in which they were enrolled.[31] As affiliate marketing matured, many affiliate merchants have refined their terms and conditions to prohibit affiliates from spamming.

    Malicious browser extensions

    A browser extension is a plug-in that extends the functionality of a web browser. Some extensions are authored using web technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Most modern web browsers have a whole slew of third-party extensions available for download. In recent years, there has been a constant rise in the number of malicious browser extensions flooding the web. Malicious browser extensions will often appear to be legitimate as they seem to originate from vendor websites and come with glowing customer reviews.[32] In the case of affiliate marketing, these malicious extensions are often used to redirect a user’s browser to send fake clicks to websites that are supposedly part of legitimate affiliate marketing programs. Typically, users are completely unaware this is happening other than their browser performance slowing down. Websites end up paying for fake traffic number, and users are unwitting participants in these ad schemes.

    Search engine spam

    As search engines have become more prominent, some affiliate marketers have shifted from sending e-mail spam to creating automatically generated web pages that often contain product data feeds provided by merchants. The goal of such web pages is to manipulate the relevancy or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, also known as spamdexing. Each page can be targeted to a different niche market through the use of specific keywords, with the result being a skewed form of search engine optimization.

    Spam is the biggest threat to organic search engines, whose goal is to provide quality search results for keywords or phrases entered by their users. Google’s PageRank algorithm update (“BigDaddy”) in February 2006—the final stage of Google’s major update (“Jagger”) that began in mid-summer 2005—specifically targeted spamdexing with great success. This update thus enabled Google to remove a large amount of mostly computer-generated duplicate content from its index.[33]

    Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as “thin affiliates”.[34] Such websites were either removed from Google’s index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.

    Some commentators originally suggested that affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant’s internet service provider (ISP) within that website’s content would be appropriate. If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the context of the articles and information about sports. The goal, in this case, is to publish quality information on the website and provide context-oriented links to related merchant’s websites.

    However, more recent examples exist of “thin” affiliate sites that are using the affiliate marketing model to create value for Consumers by offering them a service. These thin content service Affiliates fall into three categories:

    • Price comparison
    • Cause-related marketing
    • Time-saving

    Consumer countermeasures

    The implementation of affiliate marketing on the internet relies heavily on various techniques built into the design of many web-pages and websites, and the use of calls to external domains to track user actions (click tracking, Ad Sense) and to serve up content (advertising) to the user. Most of this activity adds time[citation needed] and is generally a nuisance to the casual web-surfer and is seen as visual clutter.[citation needed] Various countermeasures have evolved over time to prevent or eliminate the appearance of advertising when a web-page is rendered. Third party programs (Ad-Aware, Adblock Plus, Spybot, pop-up blockers, etc.) and particularly, the use of a comprehensive HOSTS file can effectively eliminate the visual clutter and the extra time and bandwidth needed to render many web pages. The use of specific entries in the HOSTS file to block these well-known and persistent marketing and click-tracking domains can also aid in reducing a system’s exposure to malware by preventing the content of infected advertising or tracking servers to reach a user’s web-browser.[citation needed]


    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.

    Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware. Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants’ reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor’s affiliate program. Eventually, affiliate networks were also forced by merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics,[35] LinkShare’s Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum,[36] and ShareASale’s complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers.[37] Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.[38]

    Trademark bidding

    Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[39] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser’s trademarks.

    Compensation disclosure

    Bloggers and other publishers may not be aware of disclosure guidelines set forth by the FTC. Guidelines affect celebrity endorsements, advertising language, and blogger compensation.[40]

    Lack of industry standards

    Certification and training

    Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. There are some training courses and seminars that result in certifications; however, the acceptance of such certifications is mostly due to the reputation of the individual or company issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is not commonly taught in universities, and only a few college instructors work with Internet marketers to introduce the subject to students majoring in marketing.[41]

    Education occurs most often in “real life” by becoming involved and learning the details as time progresses. Although there are several books on the topic, some so-called “how-to” or “silver bullet” books instruct readers to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become out of date,[41] or suggest strategies no longer endorsed or permitted by advertisers.[42]

    Outsourced Program Management companies typically combine formal and informal training, providing much of their training through group collaboration and brainstorming. Such companies also try to send each marketing employee to the industry conference of their choice.[43]

    Other training resources used include online forums, weblogs, podcasts, video seminars, and specialty websites.

    Code of conduct

    A code of conduct was released by affiliate networks Commission Junction/beFree and Performics in December 2002 to guide practices and adherence to ethical standards for online advertising.

    Marketing term

    Members of the marketing industry are recommending that “affiliate marketing” be substituted with an alternative name.[44] Affiliate marketing is often confused with either network marketing or multi-level marketing. Performance marketing is a common alternative, but other recommendations have been made as well.[citation needed]

    Sales tax vulnerability

    In April 2008 the State of New York inserted an item in the state budget asserting sales tax jurisdiction over sales to residents of New York, based on the existence of affiliate links from New York–based websites to Amazon.[45] The state asserts that even one such affiliate constitutes Amazon having a business presence in the state, and is sufficient to allow New York to tax all Amazon sales to state residents. Amazon challenged the amendment and lost at the trial level in January 2009. The case is currently making its way through the New York appeals courts.

    Cookie stuffing

    Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor’s computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates’ cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.

    Click to reveal

    Many voucher code web sites use a click-to-reveal format, which requires the web site user to click to reveal the voucher code. The action of clicking places the cookie on the website visitor’s computer. In the United Kingdom, the IAB Affiliate Council under chair Matt Bailey announced regulations[46] that stated that “Affiliates must not use a mechanism whereby users are encouraged to click to interact with content where it is unclear or confusing what the outcome will be.”

    See also

    • Affiliate tracking software
    • Internet advertising: E-mail spam, e-mail marketing, post-click marketing, Website monetizing
    • Advertising methods: Ad filtering, ad serving, central ad server, pop-up ad, contextual advertising, web banner
    • Marketing tactics: Guerilla marketing, marketing strategy, evangelism marketing, viral marketing, word of mouth marketing
    • Search engines: Search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click, click fraud, paid inclusion
    • Industry calculations: Click through rate (CTR), cost per action (CPA), cost per click (CPC), cost per impression (CPI), cost per mille (CPM), effective cost per mille (eCPM)


  • ^ Brown, Bruce C. (2009). The Complete Guide to Affiliate Marketing on the Web: How to Use and Profit from Affiliate Marketing Programs. Ocala, FL: Atlantic Publishing Company. p. 17. ISBN cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  • ^ Ulaner, Kevin (2017). Affiliate Marketing: The Beginner’s Step by Step Guide to Making Money Online with Affiliate Marketing. CreateSpace. pp. 5–6. ASIN B01MU0P6EH.
  • ^ Magnuson, Alain (2018). Affiliate Marketing: How to Create Your $100,000+ a Year Online Business. Reykjavik, Iceland: Hafsteinn Þórðarson. p. 6. ASIN B07CJX9GVH.
  • ^ Singh, Surabhi (2017). “Affiliate Marketing and Customer Satisfaction”. In Singh, Surabhi. Driving Traffic and Customer Activity Through Affiliate Marketing. Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference (imprint of IGI Global). p. 2. ISBN 9781522526575. OCLC 982088904.
  • ^ Goldschmidt, Simon; Junghagen, Sven; Harris, Uri (2003). Strategic Affiliate Marketing. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. p. 43. ISBN 1843763907. OCLC 248974143.
  • ^ Prussakov, Evgenii (2007). “A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing” (pp.16-17), 2007. ISBN 0-9791927-0-6.
  • ^ Shashank SHEKHAR (2009-06-29). “Online Marketing System: Affiliate marketing”. Feed Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2011-04-20. During November 1994, CDNOW released its BuyWeb program. With this program CDNOW was the first non-adult website to launch the concept of an affiliate or associate program with its idea of click-through purchasing.
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  • ^ Gray, Daniel (1999-11-30). “The Complete Guide to Associate and Affiliate Programs on the Net”. McGraw-Hill Trade, 30 November 1999. ISBN 0-07-135310-0.
  • ^ US 6029141 
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  • ^ Dion, Hinchcliffe. “Social Media Goes Mainstream”. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
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  • ^ December 12, 2002, LinkShare’s Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum,, retrieved June 26, 2007
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  • ^ Rosso, Mark; Jansen, Bernard (Jim) (August 2010). “Brand Names as Keywords in Sponsored Search Advertising”. Communications of the Association for Information Systems. 27 (1): 81–98
  • ^ FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials. (2013-06-27). Retrieved on 2013-09-19.
  • ^ a b Alexandra Wharton (March/April 2007), Learning Outside the Box, Revenue Magazine, Issue: March/April 2007, Page 58, link to online version retrieved June 26, 2007
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  • ^ IAB, Friday, 27 March 2009 IAB affiliate council strengthens voucher code guidelines Archived January 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  • External links

    • Affiliate marketing at Curlie
    • Affiliate Programs at the BOTW Directory


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