What Are the Different Types of Online Affiliate Programs?

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  • Written By: R. Kimball
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Images By: n/a, Rawpixel
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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Online affiliate programs vary based upon the players and products included within the program. Each merchant may designate how its affiliate marketing program will function. Some programs are used for gaining visitors, while others are created predominantly to increase sales of a given set of products or an entire store. Each marketing program’s parameters will determine the relationship between the merchant, publisher, customer, and affiliate network.

Marketing programs whose goal is to increase views may use a variety of online affiliate programs to gain incremental interested parties. One group of programs asks publishers to send customers to them in order to gain access to special coupons or rebates associated with a specific product campaign. Another group of programs wants the publisher to provide information about a specific Web site or online market to that publisher’s readership. These programs pay the publisher for sending the customer to the appropriate location.

Those programs that are working to increase sales directly define their online affiliate programs so that the publisher must use a link to a product, service, or store. In order to receive payment, the customer must purchase something after accessing the requested product or service. These programs usually pay on a commission basis, depending upon the product sold and the volume of products a publisher has referred in a given time.


Search affiliate programs request that a publisher allow the merchant to place advertisements on the publisher’s blog or Web site. The publisher is paid a commission whenever a reader clicks on the advertisement. These online affiliate programs are considered pay-per-click programs. The customer clicks on the advertisement to get additional information, and the merchant pays the publisher for placement.

Some online affiliate programs work to gain additional members for their Web sites or newsletters. These programs request each publisher send customers to the sign-up pages on a specific Web site to receive a newsletter or become a member of a specific Web site. Payment for these types of marketing programs varies by program. Each program defines its parameters.

File sharing programs try to get publishers to request that their readers publish or make available files on their computers to third parties. These types of online affiliate programs usually ask users to upload copyright-protected files, movies, or other forms of electronic information to a specific affiliate network or to make the same files on their computers available to other parties. These networks are generally illegal and can be dangerous.


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