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What is Affiliate Marketing, and What is An Affiliate Marketing Network

This is from an interview I did with Carrie, who asked me a bunch of questions she has heard people ask me over and over.

I'll be posting the answers to these questions over the next few days.

Affiliate Marketing is basically the idea that there are people who want to sell stuff on the Internet and people who want to buy stuff on the Internet. And then there are people in the middle who know how to communicate ideas and concepts to the people who want to buy stuff. And so the people in the middle connect the people who want to buy stuff with the people who have stuff to sell.

Because maybe the people who have stuff to sell, maybe if I sell Harley Davidson motorcycle accessories, I don't want to get good at marketing on the Internet. So I have someone, I'm willing to pay someone if they deliver me someone who actually buys; I'm willing to pay that person a percentage of whatever they deliver to me.

So that's kind of the idea, it's basically a paid salesperson on the Internet - it's just leveraging the power of the Internet to create that kind of income coming in without necessarily having, you know shaking hands, or cold-call or something to get this person to actually buy from the vendor. So, I'm in the middle.

An Affiliate Marketing Network then is another step in that process. So let's say there's the guy who has the Harley Davidson motorcycle part, and he doesn't know how to get in touch with me, who's communicating with the buyer, so there's a middle-ground, a network, that he can go to this Affiliate Network and say, hey, I want you to show me how to setup all the tracking code and all the stuff on my site and I want you to go out and recruit people who will talk to the people who will buy from me.

So there's kind of four players in that scene; there's the person who has something to sell, there's the network itself, there's the person who's communicating with the buyer and the buyer. And one of the advantages of going with a network, or we can talk about that in just a minute, but that's basically the idea of what an Affiliate Marketing Network is. It connects the vendor, or the person with the product, with the, or, you know in some cases, they're called advertisers; so we'll use those terms interchangeably, advertiser, a vendor, a person who has products and then on the other side there's the person who is actually communicating with the audience, and those people are called publishers, affiliates, associates, Amazon calls them associates; so there's all kinds of names there but don't get hung up on the terminology. But that's basically the idea.

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