In Affiliate marketing a merchant compensates its affiliates for each customer (or visitor) brought by the affiliate
The affiliates provide purchase-point click-through to the merchant.
The main actors are the :
– merchant the company who provides the goods or services to the clients,
Merchants favor affiliate marketing because the merchant does not incur a marketing expense unless results are accrued.
If an affiliate does not generate sales, it represents no cost to the merchant.
– network that contains offers for the publisher to choose from and also takes care of the payments,
The network gets a percentage or a fixed amount out of the revenue shared by the merchant
– publisher aka ‘the affiliate’,
The affiliates provide purchase-point click-through to the merchant.
– customer the ones who require the goods or services of the merchant

Some merchants have their own in-house affiliate software. In such cases a publisher can connect directly to the merchant and a network may not be required. The market has grown in complexity. This brings in secondary players like affiliate agencies, super-affiliates and specialized third party vendors.

Eighty percent of affiliate programs today use revenue sharing or pay per sale (PPS) as a compensation method, nineteen percent use cost per action (CPA), and the remaining programs use other methods such as cost per click (CPC) or cost per mille (CPM, cost per estimated 1000 views).

Publisher recruitment
Affiliate networks that already have several advertisers typically also have a large pool of publishers. These publishers could be potentially recruited, and there is also an increased chance that publishers in the network apply to the program on their own, without the need for recruitment efforts by the advertiser.

Almost any website could be recruited as an affiliate publisher, but high-traffic websites are more likely interested. Relevant websites that attract the same target audiences as the advertiser but without competing with it are potential affiliate partners as well.

Certification and training

Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. Education occurs most often in “real life” by becoming involved and learning the details as time progresses where training resources used include online forums, weblogs, podcasts, video seminars, and specialty websites.

Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing and in some sense display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.