The terms of an affiliate marketing program are set by the company wanting to advertise. Early on, companies were largely paying cost per click (traffic) or cost per mile (impressions) on banner advertisements. As the technology evolved, the focus turned to commissions on actual sales or qualified leads. The early affiliate marketing programs were vulnerable to fraud because clicks could be generated by software, as could impressions.
Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware. Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants' reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor's affiliate program. Eventually, affiliate networks were also forced by merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics, LinkShare's Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum, and ShareASale's complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers. Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.
For example, when I first started back in 2009, I learned from a service called Solo Build It. I knew absolutely nothing about building an online business, let alone what “affiliate marketing” even meant. However, they changed my life and taught me how to build money-making websites online, which is what I’ve been doing with my life ever since. This is another great service to consider and you can read my review of Solo Build It here.
The entire reason I created this site is because as an affiliate marketer, I started getting upset with the lack of ethics and misinformation being spread from MANY affiliate marketers, especially as it pertains to the “make money online” niche. So many online marketers out there promise you quick easy money if you just sign up and pay for this or that. Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. Growing an affiliate marketing business is just like starting any other business – it takes time, effort, and a lot of trial and error. I won’t get into it here, but if you’d like you can read my honest article about how long it takes to earn a full-time living with affiliate marketing.