Used as an adjective, it describes a Web site, company, or marketing program that promotes products and/or services provided by a merchant in return for a commission. Affiliates aim to drive targeted traffic to a Web site, usually an e-commerce merchant, via a link or search utility on another Web site.

Affiliate programs, thought of as a kind of "digital franchising," pay affiliates a commission on the sales they generate at the merchant site (usually 5-25%), while providing an extra service to visitors on the affiliate site (such as the option to buy books or music).

Historical perspective: Pioneered by, which had more than 500,000 participating Web sites within the first year of launching their affiliate marketing program in 1996, there are now hundreds of thousands of affiliate companies.

See also : affliliate link  
NetLingo Classification: Online Marketing