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Affiliates, Publishers and Merchant Services
Article on affiliating, merchant services & partnering with related services/networks or

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Affiliates & Merchandising
Profit from your website

Wether your site is big or small, personal or commercial, it can earn a little pin money to offset the hosting costs and provide a wealth of free automatically updating content at the same time! There are even options for those who don't want advertising banners on their webpages and companies that allow you to customise and sell your own products online.

Individuals, artists, bands and musicians can access a range of services, like the opportunity to sell their music or promotional products (T-Shirts, Mugs, Baseball Caps......) from their own online shop without having to produce the merchandise or need any programming knowledge. Webmasters can join affiliate or partner schemes which provides them with a small commission from the advertiser or the ability to use content on their site that would otherwise be unavailable or required to pay a licence for use.

An affiliate program is a service provided by a website or merchant which pays another website a commission on the amount of clicks, leads, and/or sales referred. This can be very rewarding for both the affiliate and the merchant. As an affiliate you can offer links to other websites on your website that may be of interest to your users and get paid by those other websites either on a per click, per lead or per sale basis. (depending on the actual program offered)

Affiliate Networks are companies that provide anyone who owns a website with the potential to earn commission for displaying an advertising banner or text link to promote related products and services from their site. Registration is usually free, although many companies will review the website before approval, after which you can add the text links, banners and content to your website just by cutting and pasting a piece of code into your webpage.

The commission structure varies considerably with publishers or partners earning between 1% to 50% commission on click throughs, impressions or sales which are usually paid by PayPal, Cheque or Direct Deposit. It pays to advertise products or services that are either related to the websites content or that you can personally recommend. All sales, shipping and tracking transactions are taken care of by the affiliate marketing company, which eliminates the need for a merchant account plus online statistics are provided. Check the terms and agreements before signing up for a program, some (like Commission Junction and CafePress) charge a fee to publishers who do not achieve a minimum amount of sales per month.

As a merchant, offering an affiliate program can greatly enhance traffic to your site and hopefully increase your revenues.

Companies, Small Businesses and Sole Traders can set up and operate their own affiliate / partnership programs or use an affiliate network company who acts as a go-between for the advertiser and publisher. An alternative option would be to purchase their own affiliate marketing software and/or sell webspace to other companies for advertising related products services.

Browse the Affiliate Company Directory, E-commerce & Merchant Services, or check your favourite sites to see if they have an affiliate or partner program you can join. Remember that you are liable for tax on any earnings and some companies require publishers to provide their tax id or sign an agreement to that effect.

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