Marketing Terms



The publisher/salesperson in an affiliate marketing relationship.


The affiliate carries out the advertising or sales of the affiliate marketing relationship, depending on which analogy you prefer. The affiliate gives wider distribution to the affiliate merchant‘s products in return for compensation based on performance. The affiliate’s source of distribution usually comes in the form of Web site traffic or email list subscribers.

Affiliates face the daunting task of choosing from among the thousands of available programs to maximize revenue. Comparing the commission rates is not enough; fine print in the contract must be checked for red flags, destination sites and creative units must be analyzed for conversion potential, and the financial strength of merchant partners must be evaluated.

Affiliates have traditionally been smaller sites run by individual webmasters and small businesses, but some large companies have integrated affiliate programs into their revenue mix. Some companies even participate as a merchant of their own program and as an affiliate of other programs.

Related Terms

affiliate marketing, affiliate merchant, affiliate network, return days, two-tier affiliate program

view all terms in the Affiliate Marketing glossary or all terms in the Digital Marketing glossary