The history of where affiliate programs started way back when to where they are now.


Learn all about the history of affiliate marketing from its humble beginnings.

     Affiliate knowledge is the foundation of your long term affiliate marketing success.  






The History of Affiliate Marketing

The affiliate marketing concept is believed to have originated in a manner similar to the "word of mouth" advertising that occurred long before the Internet, heck, long before we even had electricity. Someone likes a product, tells someone else and this new person buys it. After awhile product vendors realized the power (and zero cost) of word of mouth advertising and began to offer "incentives" to people when they told others about the product or service.

In New York after the depression in the late 1930's there were little cards printed that gave a 10% discount to people that bought their meat at a local butcher. These cards (sometimes stacks of them) were given to any customer that walked in the shop and this is how it worked... A person would hand out these cards to friends, family and people at work. On the back of the card the person handing them out was required to write in their assigned id number. When a holder of the card went to the butcher shop and handed in their 10% discount card at the time of purchase, the amount was written on the card and it was given to the person responsible for "awards", this person today would be called the affiliate management company.

Now the good part, the person who originally handed out the card would earn a 5% commission on the total amount of this new customers first purchase. While a great marketing idea, you can see how it could rapidly get out of hand with each new customer also receiving cards to hand out, more id numbers, a person solely dedicated to tracking cards turned in, amounts spent by customers, and paying out the commissions. However there was an easy solution and it worked well... the butcher simply stopped printing cards, finished paying out the remaining commissions owed yet still maintained a large following of new customers and business boomed for years.

So affiliate marketing is nothing new, the only difference now is that you can get involved in affiliate marketing without handing out business cards that offer a discount, you simply need a web site, web site traffic and you must be associated with an affiliate management company.

During the early 2000's, conceiving and running an affiliate program was rather costly. Now there's a range of cutting edge software that reduces the cost of your affiliate venture dramatically. The affiliate marketing has led to the emergence of a new generation of entrepreneurs - the affiliates. Affiliate marketing has proven to be an effective money making tool for those that decide to get involved in it while tapping into the advantages of the Internet.

There has been consistent growth in the success rates of the affiliate companies in the past few years. Not only the big players but the single affiliates have also grown and done well. The internet has changed the world; has changed how we work, it has changed how we advance in our careers, it has even changed how we think. Websites are no longer just a tool for providing information, now they can provide information" and" earn a nice income for the owners and Webmasters.

You'll be surprised to know that affiliate marketing has only a brief history behind it and the story of its origin is rather simple. According to certain circles the concept of affiliate marketing was sparked off in a cocktail party, where a lady approached Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon with the intention of selling books from her website. The subject led him to devise a way for a webmaster to link to the Amazon site and receive a commission on the books sold. This led to the creation of the Amazon Associates Program in July 1996 which involved placing of banner or text links on the affiliates’ site for individual books with direct link to the Amazon’s home page. Now every time a visitor was directed from the associate’s site to Amazon and purchased a book, the associate received a commission.

Since its inception in mid-1990’s, affiliate marketing has come a long way and in the new millennium, we find more complex kinds of affiliate programs all over the internet. The use of advanced tools and marketing styles have changed a lot. It's now a more mature and higher tech medium of advertising with the use of such tools as cookie stuffing, data feeds, auto refreshing offers, iframes and product selection widgets, all of which add new dimensions to affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing has become the most effective tool for promoting all kinds of products and services on the Internet.

Something else that has changed over the years is the consistent increase in the number of affiliate management companies. These companies sprouted up to handle the massive amount of advertisers/merchants that wanted to move their product and the huge number of affiliates that wanted to earn a commission for helping them do that. As these affiliate companies grew and became larger the competition between them also increased. They fought to secure the accounts of advertisers while at the same time also fought to gain and keep affiliate marketers who were the ones that controlled the Internet traffic through their sites and blogs.

Now, affiliate companies, merchants and affiliates are as common as there are websites!

Credit: This article written by Whitney Jacqueline, V.P. of Jasco Network. For questions please contact her at: Whitney Jaqueline, main team core website: Lotto Magic Network

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