Tech moves fast! Stay ahead of the curve with Techopedia!
Join nearly 200,000 subscribers who receive actionable tech insights from Techopedia.
An affiliate program is an automated electronic program that involves a Web advertiser and recruited webmasters. The webmasters, as affiliates, place the company's advertisements on their individually owned websites.
The ads in affiliate programs are linked to company websites and are referred to as affiliate links. Affiliates generally have to apply for the affiliate programs, though the majority of the affiliate programs cost nothing to join. When an online visitor click the affiliate link, the visitor is redirected to the advertiser's website and if the customer/visitor makes a purchase, the affiliate is then paid a commission.
Another term for affiliate program is affiliate model.
Affiliates decide within their affiliate programs which banners or ads they're going to place on their websites. This decision is based on their individual calculations of which company ads their website visitors are most likely to be interested in. They will also agree to affiliate programs based on which merchants have the best commission structure, although the structure is not usually considered very high-paying or profitable.
The most common forms of affiliate programs are pay-per-lead and pay-per sale. Affiliate programs are considered the least expensive online advertising tool for driving traffic to a website. Unlike pay-per-view or pay-per-click, affiliate programs pay based on performance.