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What Is Affiliate Marketing And Can I Get Rich Using It?

Simply put, Affiliate Marketing is the Internet version of commission sales. You make a deal with a company where they agree to pay you some amount of money to display some type of ad to visitors at your site to get them to go to the company's site and do something.

That something may be as simple as clicking on the ad itself (Pay Per Click), identifying themselves to the advertiser for further action (Pay Per Lead), or getting the visitor to buy something, either on the spot or within an agreed upon timeframe (Pay Per Sale).

There is tremendous debate about who started the first affiliate program, but Amazon's is probably the most successful (it was started in 1996). Around that time Linkshare, arguably the first affiliate network, was launched. I met with the Linkshare folks when they were first getting started, and they struck me as clever people with a great idea. BeFree, another early ad network that is now part of Commission Junction, was another company that got in early.

Unfortunately the dot com bust also caused a bust for affiliate marketers. Google's Adsense, combined with a growing economy and Internet ubiquity, brought the business and ecommerce in general back to robust growth.

Can you get rich from affiliate programs? More generally: Can you get rich from Internet Marketing?

Sure. This is America. Just don't expect to get rich overnight. There's no such thing as getting rich quick. It takes time, energy, and a lot of hard work. The poster boy for getting rich off the Internet has to be Darren Rouse of problogger.net. Darren admits to making several hundred thousand dollars a year with his blog, which shows other people how to make money on the Internet.

My first observation in getting back into the online world after six years offline is that the people who seem to be making the most money are the people who have products and services that they sell to people who want to make money on the Internet. I think that's pretty funny, but it's not going to last forever.

What's the formula? It's all about numbers. Get people to visit your site, engage them with your content and your ideas, and get them to do something that will make you money. The more people you can get to the site, the more chances you have to get people to take the action that enriches you.

Since you're reading this article I am assuming that you think you have a program for getting people to your site that is working well. If not, you shouldn't be reading about Affiliate Programs…you should be reading about programs for getting good traffic to your site, which I plan to cover at a later time.

Here are some examples of sites that make money, and how much they make (they are from sites for sale listings around the Internet):

A myspace.com support website has 60,000 unique visitors a day and makes about $1.8M per year.
A free tattoo website has 1,500 visitors a day and makes about $6000 a year.
A weight loss blog has 1,600 visitors a day and makes $36,000 a year.
A dictionary, encyclopedia and reference site has 1,800 visitors a day and makes $2,400 a year.

How much will you make? It all depends on the nature of your site, how good the content of your site is, how well the ads are integrated into the site, and if you have chosen the right offers for your audience.

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