If you have a website and you are not involved in any of the thousands of affiliate programs available on the Internet, you are loosing great opportunities to make some extra income. As in the case of some top affiliate marketers this extra income might even transform into thousands of dollars.

Affiliate program is one of the most effective methods of producing sales second only to direct mail. According to Forrester Research, a marketing research company, in this year 21% of all online sales will be generated from affiliate sites promoting affiliate products. If you do your homework right, you too can earn handsomely from the correct use of affiliate programs.

What is an affiliate program?
The concept of affiliate program is based on the age-old business practice of referral service. This is quite common in many industries. An attorney, for example, gets a certain percent of commission if he refers a client to another lawyer. Back in 1996 Amazon.com started the first widespread use of referral service on the Internet. If a client comes to Amazon.com and buy a product using a link provided by Amazon, from a website which signed affiliate partnership agreement, that site receives 10 to 15% commission from the sale. The Amazon Affiliate Program became so successful that it prompted others to follow the suit. Today, affiliate programs became ubiquitous on the Internet making them one of the primary methods of online marketing of products and services. Affiliate Program can be defined as Internet marketing system where a company allows and helps third party websites, called affiliates to post link and refer clients in return for a predetermined flat-fee or percentage-based commission.

Various Affiliate programs
There are two ways of running an affiliate program: The company owns and handles the program itself, using certain software. The company uses third party administered affiliate programs. The reasons why many companies prefer to hand over management of their affiliate programs include technical aspects, cost factor and human factors. - Companies do not have to spend money on developing, running and updating the software. - Proven technology allows companies to concentrate on their job of selling their products and services. - Many prospective affiliates prefer third party managed programs, because they rightfully ponder, in this case the program owners have less chance to cheat their affiliates. Find below a list of some leading third party affiliate program administrators: http://www.befree.com http://www.linkshare.com http://www.cj.com http://www.clickbank.com

However, this does not mean that you should avoid company run affiliate programs. On the contrary, some of the most successful and best affiliate programs are run by the owners.

If you find an affiliate program that suits your requirement and you feel that the company is a reputable one, by any means you should give it a try! By Nowshade Kabir

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