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Affiliate systems are based on the principle of commission. The technical basis in the virtual world of the World Wide Web is the link. Such an affiliate link contains a special code that uniquely identifies the affiliate to the merchant. Simply put, this means the retailer recognizes who referred the customer through the link with the Partner ID. Depending on the business model, a commission is calculated for pure clicks on advertising material ("Click"), transmission of qualified customer contacts ("Lead") or sale ("Sale"). Unlike the merchant (literally: reseller; here also program provider or operator), who offers goods or services, the affiliate only acts as an interface between the reseller and potential customers.
Thus, if someone clicks on such an affiliate link, they will be redirected to the relevant retailer's page. Here, parameters are passed that allow a publisher to specifically affect the sales generated. This method is called tracking. Cookie tracking allows a visitor to be assigned and tracked using a cookie. The cookie stored on the visitor's hard drive enables subsequent recognition and tracking (even with delayed and interrupted interactivity). Tracking using cookies is the most popular method in affiliate marketing to be able to assign a person to the corresponding affiliate.
With affiliate marketing systems in online cooperation management, companies market their products and services by linking them to partner websites. Commissions are often paid for sales generated or measurable success. This can represent an advantage for the supplier of the product, but also a disadvantage for the supplier of the advertising space, since the commercial risk of the supplier of the product is transferred to a not insignificant part to the supplier of advertising space depending on the choice of the supplier. condition model. Since the ad space provider's inventory cannot be increased indefinitely, it will first consider which affiliate program it expects the best results from. This creates pressure on the supplier of the product to find a fair billing model.
Affiliate marketing can in principle also be implemented without the Internet ("offline"). This can be done using printed vouchers containing a code to identify the publishers. Compensation is either a payout per lead or a payout per sale.  Subsequent processing then usually takes place online again.