It’s no secret that Amazon is a pioneer in ebooks and expanding opportunities for indie authors. But Amazon also led the way in online affiliate marketing. In 1996, Amazon was a small online book retailer run from Jeff Bezos’ garage. With a limited marketing budget, Amazon decided to tap into readers’ love of books to help spread the word. Instead of having an initial outlay of money to buy advertising, Amazon paid people a commission when they referred buying customers to Amazon. This commission was paid after the customer bought, eliminating upfront marketing costs.
Absolutely. Affiliate marketing is a viable and legitimate way to monetize your blog or website. Tens of thousands of merchants run affiliate programs and will pay you a commission for sending them sales. However, there are some scams centered around affiliate marketing. You'll find information on how to spot affiliate scams – and avoid them – here.
Next, retailers have to decide which affiliate network to use. The networks provide the back-end technology needed to operate an affiliate program: software that tracks which sales should be attributed to which affiliates; an easy way for affiliates to upload advertising banners and logos; accounting systems that debit a merchant’s account and issue payments to affiliates for their commissions. The networks typically charge merchants a flat fee of $500 a month or 20 to 30 percent of affiliate payments (whichever is higher).
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Amazon has long offered short-term bounties and bonuses around specific products, but the new system gives the company more power than ever to promote certain brands and categories. Affiliates hawking Amazon’s own products, like Prime Video, Prime Music, and Kindle Unlimited, will receive significantly higher rates than physical versions of the same media from traditional publishers.
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