When Was Affiliate Marketing Started?
Allow me to take you on a trip down memory lane, are you game?
Affiliate Marketing officially began in 1989 but it’s been around our world for just a little bit longer than you probably know. The truth is affiliate marketing was here before the world wide web came to be. It had a different face but it had the same concept— basically, it’s a commission earning through sales promotion. However, we got to give credit to the internet for allowing affiliate marketing to gather steam and fly off.
Affiliate marketing today as we know it — is something that happens on the internet. You click on a button and you get brought to a page and then the owner of that page gets paid a fee for that single click that you made. It’s what the older generation of businesspeople would probably call a referral.
Let’s say, your hairdresser recommends you buy a certain hair product. She offers you a discount for it, you purchase the product and after the sale is completed, your hairdresser gets a commission from that sale.
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And of course, anything that happens online compared to what happens in the physical world is techier. In the online world, you can get the data that you like with online tracking links, some techy stuff that will make business or expanding it a whole easier. Affiliate marketing has been around a while and now the internet has made it even more accessible.
The worldwide web has made it easier for business people to make a sale. With just a flick of your fingers, you get connected to someone on the other side of the globe. It’s fast and simple. You could sell your item to another person anywhere on this planet as long as there’s internet access. Like it or not, the worldwide web has leveled up affiliate marketing to a higher level. From then on, novel marketing techniques have evolved and flourished. Needless to say, shipping was a crucial element in this new business.
Now let’s talk about Amazon. It’s impossible to talk about affiliate marketing, its history, and how it came to be without talking about Amazon. It is the first business that employed affiliate marketing. It is also the first company that made affiliate marketing accessible to the masses. They had a system called Associates Program, which allows a person to sign up and offer links on their website.
This was set a quarter of a century ago, 1996 to be exact — and as they say, the rest is history. The concept was simple and straightforward, the user gets a commission for referring new buyers. Amazon was the first business to use affiliate marketing and made it into one of its marketing platforms. Other companies followed suits and based their programs and strategies on this. As we know, affiliate marketing presses on and is growing still by leaps and bounds.
Cookies, not the sweet kind, were invented along with the popularity of affiliate marketing. These “cookies” were attached to keep track of what customers were doing and as they say — this changed the course of affiliate marketing. Cookies are small data that are stockpiled in your browser. The purpose is to help the browser follow and track what you are doing.
If you’d like to go back to what you were doing or you’d like to recall a thing or two, these cookies are very helpful. Now cookies are not just helpful to you. They’re also very helpful to affiliate marketing — cookies allow affiliate marketers to know pertinent information regarding potential buyers — like where certain information is coming from. It’s easier to reach out to know what the person is interested in.
In 1998, two years after Amazon has set up its affiliate marketing program, other affiliate networks opened opportunities for affiliate marketers. Two big affiliate networks that played a big part in the history of affiliate marketing are Clickbank and Commission Junction.
Smaller companies outside the Amazon sphere were able to utilize affiliate marketing in their businesses. This has greatly aided many firms in establishing and allowing their businesses to grow and at the same time helping other people to make money in the process.
As in all things, change is the only consistent thing in this world. Therefore some things in affiliate marketing to a certain degree have changed over time. Even if the idea is basically the same, one needs to stay informed and updated with the current trends in the affiliate marketing business. Getting ahead of the curve by staying abreast with the latest trend is a great way to keep you on the top.