What are affiliate networks really?

4 min readJul 18, 2017

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline

This type of marketing really is the traditional old school type of web business. Exciting stuff! Born to generate money off traffic on established websites and blogs. With that said, I think there are still a lot of people who have the entirely incorrect idea on what it actually is. I was one of these people at one point.

Affiliate Marketing, is actually a type of business model. It is the process of earning money from marketing someone else’s products or services… Marketing… not selling… That’s important to remember… and then generating a commission from each sale… which you actually have nothing to do with.

The structure and process are in its simplicity:

  1. You have a website or blog, etc. (let’s call it platform)… anything with web visitor’s eyes on it.
    Remember, how you get these people’s eyes is where the magic has to happen… and really what you are in charge of: writing articles, or posting images, videos, reviews, whatever you decide.
  2. From your platform, you then have a number of people’s eyes…. And you then give an Affiliate (will get into later) virtual space to display their offer or promotion, or advert… basically an opportunity to put a product or services to your visitors and eyes.
  3. The visitor then engages or doesn’t, but if they do, they then end up leaving your platform and are redirected through the Affiliate, to the true seller or service provider. A clever bit of code tracks provided by the Affiliate tracks your visitors’ movements.
  4. Once sale made, the affiliate program pays you a commission.

Affiliate Marketing, once established, really is a type of passive income. I believe this is its greatest appeal. People need to accept facts, that it takes a lot of work to get to this point, and Affiliate Marketing simply does not work for everyone. It does not.

Very few people will make all their money off Affiliate Marketing, and I think that if you accept this type of business as a means for supplementary income, you have controlled your expectations well.

The general rule is you will need a big audience to be successful. Audience as in followers, or likes, or traffic (the ‘eyes’) on your current blogs or websites.

If you look at some of the most successful common facts on campaigns working well, there are three:

  1. Not keeping all eggs in one basket — in other words, put a variety of products or services. Similar interests and likes and needs.
  2. Not to offer only cheap options, or only expensive, but rather again a variety of similar options or solutions in different price ranges, for example, name brands, and non-name brands. Some people are happy to pay a lot on a car, but not a lot for car tyres…
  3. Match your offerings to your audience. If you have a website selling V8 cars, it is probably pointless trying to punt o-zone friendly products.

Some success stories of affiliate marketing:

The other side of the coin, and a point made in this video I really like about who owns the client in the end:

The other side of the coin, yes, my coin has three sides…. Some interesting points in this video:

Onto the backend of the business.

Affiliates Programs.

These are the companies that sign up other companies wanting to sell things via your websites or platforms. Using your web eyes.

Most Affiliates have their sites divided into two sections, one for people who want to sell products, and the other for those who want to sell products signed with the affiliate. Normally very easy to work out. Here are the big name companies:

Some points and comments I would like to make.

Setting up this type of business has the advantage that you don’t need to really know the product or service you are selling. This is because in most cases, the “selling” and product knowledge is shared on the page you direct the visitor to and you don’t even need to manage that page.

Affiliate Marketing is about maximising return off the same eyes. It’s like when you are in a normal shop, and you went there to get milk, and now you snake your way to the check out till, past all the sweets on all the shelves left and right of you. That labyrinth and maze of sweets are Affiliate Marketing … trading off eyes, and the chance you might want something you see before you get out the shop. It is a win win for everyone involved. The company gets a client, you get a commission, the client gets a product or service which addresses a need or a want.

I want to solve a quick common misunderstanding. AdSense is someone who sells ad-space for other peoples products. Space. Not products. It is not Affiliate Marketing. You earning off clicks…. Not selling a product.

When and if you select an Affiliate Company, be aware of coupon payments, or verifying method. If you want to know more, send an e-mail to me.

Try and get your eyes, to give you their contact information, so you can try to retain the client. This is because of the very biggest flaw in this business plan that being, once the visitor is directed away from your platform, they might be gone for good. And then they belong to the Affiliate company. Especially when you consider the special code used to track a sale can disappear through the clearing of cookies on the user’s device, or if they move to another device.

Originally published at potchefstroomherald.co.za on July 18, 2017.




Network & marketplace for affiliates, influencers, marketers, bloggers, vloggers & local guides as well everyone who wants to earn money through online work.