Gartner Research

Affiliate Programs: An Introduction

Published: 10 July 2001

ID: G0090704

Analyst(s): Rochelle Shaw


Affiliate programs, also known as associate or revenue-sharing programs, are marketing techniques that offer payments to Web sites for referring users to another specific Web site. The affiliate Web site embeds either a banner ad or link to the other site; when a visitor to the affiliate site follows that link and then either registers for its service or makes a purchase, the affiliate site receives a commission fee. In other words, the vendor site shares a percentage of the purchase price with the affiliate or rewards it for bringing in a new registration. While revenues generated this way tend to be low, affiliate marketing retains its popularity because it is cost effective and requires little risk.

Table Of Contents
  • Technology Basics
  • Technology Analysis
    • Business Use
    • Benefits and Risks
    • Selection Guidelines
  • Technology Leaders
    • Be Free, Inc.
    • Commission Junction
    • LinkShare Corp.
  • Insight

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