The terms of an affiliate marketing program are set by the company wanting to advertise. Early on, companies were largely paying cost per click (traffic) or cost per mile (impressions) on banner advertisements. As the technology evolved, the focus turned to commissions on actual sales or qualified leads. The early affiliate marketing programs were vulnerable to fraud because clicks could be generated by software, as could impressions.
The first follows the startup path we outlined above: You have a disruptive idea for an app or piece of software, you validate the idea with real customers, and then raise money to hire developers or a development studio to build, launch, and scale your software. If you’ve done everything right, your software will be accepted to the Apple and Google Stores and you’ll make money every time someone downloads it or pays for a premium feature.

1. Finding a mentor – When you first get started with affiliate marketing, you need guidance. You will have a million questions to ask and having a mentor really does make a significant difference in terms of starting you off in the best possible way and giving you the correct advice you need to start taking action and build your internet business.

Most people need to take a step back and understand where money is even coming from on the web. Sharpe says that, when asked, most individuals don't actually even know how money is being made on a high level. How does Facebook generate its revenues? How about Google? How do high-trafficked blogs become so popular and how do they generate money from all of that traffic? Is there one way or many?

The rest of the story: 1998 saw the launch of the first affiliate networks – Commission Junction and Clickbank. These networks made affiliate marketing a lot more accessible to online retailers smaller than Amazon, by offering payment solutions and facilitating exchanges between merchants and affiliates. Soon after, in 2000, the United State’s Federal Trade Commission published guidelines for the sector, which helped cement its legitimacy in the online marketing world.

If you’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.