Websites and services based on Web 2.0 concepts—blogging and interactive online communities, for example—have impacted the affiliate marketing world as well. These platforms allow improved communication between merchants and affiliates. Web 2.0 platforms have also opened affiliate marketing channels to personal bloggers, writers, and independent website owners. Contextual ads allow publishers with lower levels of web traffic to place affiliate ads on websites.
Affiliate programs are arrangements where an online merchant that’s selling products pays an affiliate website a commission for any sales generated from their referral traffic. The affiliate website places affiliate links pointing to the merchant’s site to track transactions. Each agreement between an affiliate and a merchant features the commission structure and payout information.