How Exactly Do Affiliate Programs Work?


The concept behind affiliate programs is quite simple. Internet companies want to attract additional visitors to their sites. They would love it if you would put a link from your site to theirs so that they could attract even more traffic. So how do they entice you to put up a link to their site? - They Pay You!

How Does This All Function Exactly?

  1. You Apply - Let's say you want to become a member of the affiliate program of "" First, you apply to the program through an online form on the web site or through an online form at an affiliate administrator's site. An affiliate administrator is a company that acts as a middleman between you (the affiliate web site) and Having an affiliate administrator helps to assure you that is accurately tracking and distributing the payments that you deserve.
  2. Your Site Is Reviewed - then usually reviews your web site to make sure that you are not a porn site or something else objectionable that they don't want to be associated with. Occasionally companies are even more selective about their affiliates than just the obvious reasons.
  3. You Gain Access To Links - You will choose (or be given) a special user name and password with which you will login to either's special affiliate portion of their web site or a customized portion of the affiliate administrator's site. Here, you will have access to many features which may include: various banner ads, buttons, search boxes and text links to's home page and possibly also to certain category or product pages on their web site. All these links will be in the form of simple small blocks of HTML code that can be easily cut and pasted into your site. This HTML will include customized code that refers to your account so that any visitors to your site who click on this link will be credited to you. Even if you do not know HTML and are using a web site programming software such as Frontpage, this is an easy process.
  4. You Add Links To Your Site - You will incorporate any or many of these links into your web site however you see fit. (Obviously, prominent placement will drive the most traffic to and make you the most money.)
  5. Check Success Reports - Many affiliate programs, especially those run through affiliate administrators, will allow you to check your success (or lack thereof) statistics. Usually you can check these reports 24 hours a day. And they can be quite comprehensive with many different breakdowns of how you are doing.
  6. Get Paid - There are a few different payment structures that might use. They might pay you "per click." This means that you will be paid for every time that a visitor on your site clicks on the link to Typical rates range from 1-15 cents per click.

Another payment structure may be "per lead" or "per signup." This means that you will be paid when a visitor to your site clicks on the link to and then performs some action - such as registers for free info, gives an e-mail address, or signs up for some kind of membership even if it is free. Typical payments vary greatly in this regard depending on the business that is in. Possibly from 5 cents to 50 dollars per lead or signup.

Another popular payment structure is "per sale." This is common for many internet retailers. For example if sells books, they might pay you 10% of whatever sales occur during a visit by someone who clicked through off your site. Typical payments could range from 2-50% per sale, or a flat fee per sale of $1-100, and/or a flat bounty of $1-100 for a sale to a new customer of

Get Paid When? - You will get your money usually in the form of a check mailed to you. Many affiliate programs will pay you once a month or once every three months. Also many will withhold payment until you have accrued at least some threshold such as $20-50. This is to cut down on the costs of sending out hundreds or thousands of checks to affiliates who have only earned a couple of bucks so far.