There are two popular variations of the basic affiliate model:
- Two-tier programs. These programs offer commissions based on sales and sales recruitment; they are similar to the old “Amway” business model — now called Quixtar. Not only can you, as the affiliate, generate income from sales, clicks or leads, you can also get paid for the activity from other affiliate sites you have referred to the merchant.
- Residual or Lifetime programs. You may find merchants with a subscription business model offering residual programs. For every visitor you send who becomes a client, you receive a regular commission for as long as that client keeps purchasing the merchant’s goods or services.
Businesses can create affiliate programs around actions that are important to them — not all businesses sell products, but they all have sales goals. Perhaps a business wants to encourage newsletter subscriptions or promote registrations for a conference. If you understand how affiliate programs work and the accounting technology behind them to monitor the activity of affiliates, you can help businesses create the affiliate marketing programs that meet their needs.