Definition: An affiliate can be a person or company who acts as a middleman between the manufacturer of a product and customers. In this role, he or she provides marketing resources and instructions to sellers to successfully promote and sell their products. The affiliate person or company receives a commission when the customer purchases the product through the direct sale channel of the affiliate’s company.
Affiliates are companies that provide products or services to customers for their consideration. Since they are not their own company, they are not required to file their tax returns. An affiliate is different from a retailer. Although, in contrast, a retailer can be held liable for sales made through their sites by unauthorized persons, an affiliate generally does not have any responsibility for losses sustained by customers who purchase products through an affiliate link.
In the online business world, affiliate programs are the primary way digital products are offered for sale. When someone clicks through to an advertiser’s website, an affiliate program officially gives advertisers access to their prospective customers through a referral pathway. These pathways can be loosely defined as the web pages or forums through which the affiliate operates.
A retailer can be the owner of an online store, a seller of products, or a manager of multiple sites. They may also provide services such as fulfillment or customer service. In addition, a retailer may refer to their business as an “affiliate” (although independent businesses commonly use this term) because they earn a portion of each sale through commission. This type of business model has been around for decades, although it became more popular in the early 2000s as online shopping exploded. Today many different companies offer affiliate marketing services, although not all are created equal.
An affiliate program is a way for retailers to promote their products and services through a referral program. When someone clicks on one of the affiliate’s products or services, the retailer receives a commission.
Affiliate networks include Referral Marketing International (RMI) and Forum Marketing International (FMI). Typically, an affiliate network will offer a free bonus for each sale made through its affiliate program. This can mean that after reaching a certain amount of sales through an affiliate network, the retailer can request that customers purchase their product through their site or another affiliate network.
An affiliate is a business that indicates it will receive a portion of the profit from a sale made by a customer. This section of the internet has become very large over the last several years and is home to hundreds of thousands of niche websites. Thousands of these affiliate businesses make their living through commissions from buying products and promoting them through forums, blogs, and social media.