Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. There are some training courses and seminars that result in certifications; however, the acceptance of such certifications is mostly due to the reputation of the individual or company issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is not commonly taught in universities, and only a few college instructors work with Internet marketers to introduce the subject to students majoring in marketing.[41]
There’s a good reason why ClickBank is still a strong contender, however it does tend to focus more on digital products which may be of questionable quality. Yes, the review process is more professional these days, but it’s still primarily focused on selling digital products, especially “how to make money” courses and the like. That being said, there are some genuinely high-quality products on offer, and few affiliate programs are bigger than ClickBank, especially in selling (primarily digital) books.
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[19] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[20]
The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them. 
If your audience is looking to launch an online business, migrate their ecommerce platform, or simply interested in ecommerce content, we encourage you to apply for the BigCommerce affiliate program. Our team will carefully review your application. Once approved, you will receive access to support, tracking, reporting, payments, and have your own unique affiliate link to track every referral you generate. BigCommerce is committed to the success of our affiliate partners.

AWIN is probably best for experienced affiliates who can hit the ground running without a lot of guidance or feedback from the network. There is a $5 fee charged to apply to become an affiliate, but if you’re approved, the $5 will be added to your account. If your application is denied, however, you will lose the $5 fee. AWIN operates globally, but it is most heavily concentrated on British and EU merchants.
A multinational company may set up affiliates to break into international markets while protecting the parent company's name in case the affiliate fails or the parent company is not viewed favorably due to its foreign origin. Understanding the differences between affiliates and other company arrangements is important in covering debts and other legal obligations.

This was also done by MyNetworkTV in the 2009-10 season in Des Moines, Iowa and Memphis, Tennessee after it lost their individual affiliates in those markets to other networks as it offered the network's last season of WWE Friday Night Smackdown to the local CW affiliates in both cities without forcing them to carry the remainder of MyNetworkTV's schedule.
Hey guys. Great post with detailed, actionable content. I would like to add my ‘2 cents’ if that’s ok. You are absolutely right with offering a ‘free gift’ in exchange for someone’s name and email address but I have found short reports have worked best for me. If you give away too much information for free they don’t tend to get consumed so the trust isn’t built with your subscriber. Your free gift is the first point of contact with your prospect so it’s unlikely they will read an entire ebook but if you give them a short report which they are able to consume in about 20 mins and they get tremendous value from they are more likely to listen to you in the future and buy your recommendations. A big mistake i see a lot of affiliates make is the content they use for their free giveaway. They think just because it’s given away for free that they can just throw together some PLR material and use that. Unfortunately that doesn’t cut it these days and will damage your relationship with your prospect rather than strengthen it. The best way is to carry out some research in your marketplace and see what pains and frustrations your prospects have and create your free giveaway around that.
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.[citation needed]
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