What Is Affiliate Marketing?


Ever since the mid 1990’s people have been clamoring for a way to “break through” and experience real success online.

Passive income.

It’s what everyone wants, right?

“Make money while you sleep.”

Of the people who’ve actually had HUGE financial success online, affiliate marketing is how 90%+ of them got their start.

The basic premise is that you, as an affiliate, market other people’s products and get paid a commission on every sale that originates from your efforts.

There are basically 2 ways to make money with affiliate marketing:

  1. As a product developer– you create the product and offer a commission to affiliates who promote your product to their audiences.
  2. As an affiliate– you promote other people’s products through websites you create, blogs, videos, product testimonials, etc.

Now… let’s get into the weeds a bit and really unpack the world of affiliate marketing.


Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income has the best definition of affiliate marketing:

Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s or company’s products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.

While Wikipedia talks about 4 different parties that are involved: the merchant, the network, the publisher and the customer, we’re going to look at the 3 major players:


(Image source: CJ)


Let’s look at each of these 3 components of the affiliate marketing process:

The Advertiser (or merchant): Sometimes also known as the creator, the seller, the brand, the retailer or the vendor. This is the party that creates the product. It can be a big company, like Dyson, who produces vacuum cleaners.

Or, it can be a single individual, like Dan Brock, who created the very system I’m reviewing through this website.

ANYONE with a product to sell can be a merchant: from Amazon, to Dyson, to the solo entrepreneur who develops a digital e-book.

The Publisher (or affiliate): Affiliates can be individuals or entire companies.

The role of the affiliate is to promote the Advertiser’s product. This is where all the marketing (or work) comes in.

This can be achieved through running a review blog of the merchant’s products, for example.


It could also be an entire site, just dedicated to finding cool products around a certain topic and promoting those.


(This is why I’m broke is one of the most popular affiliate sites)

The Consumer: The customer or consumer makes the affiliate system go round. Without sales, there aren’t any commissions to hand out and no revenue to be shared.

The affiliate will try to market to the consumer on whatever channel they see fit, whether that’s a social network, digital billboards or through content marketing on a blog.

Most consumers are completely unaware that they are a part of an affiliate marketing effort, and it really doesn’t matter. It’s totally up to the affiliate.

Some choose not to let their consumers know while more and more affiliates tend to be transparent about their objectives.

The 4th Party:

The Network: In many cases, a network serves as a middle-man between affiliate and merchant.

While you could technically promote an online course someone has created and just arrange a direct revenue share with them, letting a network handle the payment and product delivery puts a more serious note on your affiliate marketing.

The network then also serves as a database of lots of products, out of which the affiliate can choose which to promote.


(Clickbank is an example of a network)



If the idea of passive income (earning while you sleep) is exciting to you, and you have an hour or two a day to devote to developing your business, then (given some time) it’s VERY POSSIBLE for you to create an affiliate empire and live the life of your dreams.

My suggestion would be to start with a proven program like Deadbeat Super Affiliate. Dan Brock has been doing this for years and has made millions of dollars in the process. With the Deadbeat Super Affiliate program, you can learn the tools and tricks he’s used to amass his vast super-affiliate empire!

Affiliate marketing is a good way to get started with doing business online.

Let me know in the comments.