Affiliate marketing is quite popular form of digital marketing. And this is a performance based form of marketing wherein the retailers commission or compensation received for the services provided would depend upon the number of customers they can acquire due to the influence exuberated in the form of marketing efforts. Think of affiliate marketing as a reward. So it generally can be understood as a reward based program depending upon the sales. In the present world it has become quite popular, but how exactly did this practice come into being?

Before the Internet also the term affiliate marketing exited. Though not many are aware of this fact since it is a preconceived notion that it has always been used according to the online context. But it is true that this concept has been around since before the advent of the Internet. But even till this date, this concept of affiliate marketing exists even offline. Don’t believe me? Well how many of you have got a discount at your hairdresser when you referred a friend? I am sure a lot of you did, so this indeed is an example of the extremely popular concept of affiliate marketing. But this marketing gimmick wasn’t as widespread as it is now because before the use of the World Wide Web, this technique proved to have a few too many hurdles. Because, it is essential for the monetary payment in this technique, to be able to track the referral code and in the olden days that wasn’t quite possible. The Internet revolution pretty much changed the way we lead our lives.

The Internet revolution wasn’t confined to only one aspect, everything and anything was changed and advertising was no exception. Internet proved to be the holy grail of information. People began trusting the Internet for any information they required. They started looking at it for reviews of products, information and even recommendations. The Web became an indispensible part of an individual’s life. So it is not a surprise that even the field of advertisements was revolutionized. There came a need to change the strategies of advertising. The number of technological developments kept on increasing. It didn’t look like the Internet was a phenomenon that had to be taken easily. It was here to stay and it still it. With the introduction of cookies and Web 2.0, these made the possibility of tracking the impact advertisement had on the aspect of buying. To track the impact the Internet had on customers. Now to this, let us add the Internet explosion in the form of ecommerce in late 90’S and the advent of blogs in early 2000 and the tech savvy generation that was to follow. All these things paved the way for the introduction of affiliate marketing.

The very first program for affiliate marketing was the brainchild of William Tobin and he implemented this. Not just that, he even patented it. He, as we know it today conceived the concept of affiliate marketing, and he also set up the first affiliate program for his company in the year 1989. That’s how affiliate marketing came into being. The second company that took up affiliate marketing is Amazon. The ecommerce giant used affiliate marketing in the year 1996 launch one of its associated programs. This indeed is considered to be a milestone in the history of affiliate marketing, because it totally perceived the way in which people and industry perceived affiliate marketing. And this attracted global interest and even retailers wanted to find a way in which they could implement it for themselves. And after this there was no turning back. In the year 1998, the first set of affiliate networks was launched. And the two things launched were the commission junction and the clickbank. For online retailers, this proved to be quite a helpful innovation. Because it made affiliate marketing a lot more easy and accessible for smaller retailers and it also offered payment solutions and exchange between merchants was also facilitated in an easier manner. In the year 2000, the Unite States Federal Trade Commission, that controlled trade regulation in USA, provided guidelines for this sector. And this provided the required validation to build for the legitimacy and validity of affiliate marketing in the world of marketing.

By the year 2012 in the United Kingdom, affiliate marketing represented a little over 6% of the entire nation’s online economy and a little over £9 billion in the form of sales according to the statistics published. Affiliate marketing is a field with immense potential and with the online stores trying to best each other; the scope of it is ever increasing. Affiliate marketing is not just confined to the western and European nations, but even the Asian market has made a place for itself in the global market.