The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.[8][9]
Before online marketing channels emerged, the cost to market products or services was often prohibitively expensive, and traditionally difficult to measure. Think of national television ad campaigns, which are measured through consumer focus groups to determine levels of brand awareness. These methods are also not well-suited to controlled experimentation. Today, anyone with an online business (as well as most offline businesses) can participate in online marketing by creating a website and building customer acquisition campaigns at little to no cost. Those marketing products and services also have the ability to experiment with optimization to fine-tune their campaigns’ efficiency and ROI.
But getting 1000 visitors to any given affiliate site meant I'd have to get about 10,000 visitors to my own site. If I could do that every week, I'd be doing OK for a small business site with a marketing budget close to zero. But I was already learning that it takes time and money to get 10,000 visitors a week. And let's see... for all my traffic generating efforts I would pull in a cool $180 a month? It didn't take a genius to figure out that it might not be worth the effort. I passed.
I loved the landing page idea. This would be very effective in one case ONLY. If you are promoting a product or a an eBook this would work very fine OR increasing an Email list by offering something for FREE. You know in this life “Nothing is for FREE”. So you are giving your visitor for an example “A guide to how to install a blog template in wordpress or blogger” or “how to monetize your blog?” a FREE guide will drive this visitor to type his email and hit the subscribe button right away. But if the visitor a PayPal Button he just click the MAGIC X button on the top of his browser. Landing pages are very effective when you know how to use them.
The very best of these combination programs offers the gold affiliate the same percentage on an ongoing cumulative basis, meaning all future purchases over the lifetime of an introduced client’s relationship with a dealer are commission producing. For a wealthy client or a keen investor this could easily run to millions of dollars over several years.
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Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[19] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[20]
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