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Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing mechanism in which a website promotes a company or individual’s products or services on its own site using various forms of creative ads, such as banners or text. These sites earn a commission per sale that results through that marketing funnel.

Affiliate marketing is based on relationships. Affiliate marketing structure has typically three core players: the advertiser, the publisher and the consumer.

  1. The advertiser. You are the advertiser if you are the one paying people to help sell or promote your business.

  2. The publisher. The publisher is the company or individual getting paid to promote the advertiser’s product or service.  

  3. The consumer. The consumer is ultimately the one who determines whether the relationship between the advertiser and the publisher works. The consumer sees the ad -- a banner on the publisher’s site for example -- and either clicks the ad that takes them to the publisher’s website or doesn’t. This process is called conversion.