With all the marketing options available to small business owners today, it is hard to decide where to focus your money and energy to get the best results. In previous posts we have covered using  PPC campaigns and social media advertising to reach potential customers. Today our focus is on affiliate marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based internet advertising method where a business or individual (publisher) can earn a commission by promoting another business’s products or services (advertiser) on their website. The affiliate (publisher) is rewarded when a customer or visitor is gained by the merchant (advertiser) through the affiliate’s website.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Have you ever noticed that when you start searching for a product online, almost magically you begin to see ads for the product you searched out on various websites? It’s no coincidence—you have been cookied. (Don’t worry, this kind won’t sabotage your diet.) This means that websites using cookies have gathered information on your website activity and that information has been packaged and saved. Affiliate marketing relies on first-party cookies to remember links or ads clicked on by a website visitor. When a visitor views an affiliate’s website and clicks on the merchant’s ad, a cookie is used to track that activity and commission amount. The data collected (parameters) is stored within the link information along with other anonymous data for attribution.

Popular Affiliate Program Networks and Tools

Looking for reputable affiliate networks and affiliate tools? Here are some sites that have been well rated by various affiliate network reviewers. Of course, there are many more out there, and it is important to perform due diligence before choosing a network.

CJ Affiliate



Rakuten Affiliate Network (formerly LinkShare)

Digital River


Ebay Partner Network




Are you interested in using affiliate marketing to generate revenue for your small to mid-sized business? We can help. OpenVine specializes in affiliate marketing as well as other internet marketing solutions. Contact us today to learn more, or check out all of the online advertising services we offer.

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