The affiliate program is probably the best return for your effort with the least demand on your time. This has an appeal to the Boomer Entrepreneur since we want to run the business and not have it run us. We want to have time to “kick back and smell the roses”.
The attraction to this model is that it is virtually risk free except for your time. It costs you nothing to sign up as an affiliate. You recommend the product and send your visitors to the website where the product is sold and if the customer purchases the product, you are paid a commission. Amazon.com is credited with being the first businesses on the Net to fully develop the affiliate concept and now all the major companies have affiliate programs.
When you sign up as an affiliate, you will be given an affiliate number, and a special link to use for linking to the affiliate website. This link will send your visitor to the business site and at the same time tell the business that you sent the visitor so you will receive the commission in the case of a sale.
There are companies that do the accounting and act as the coordinator between affiliates and the companies they represent. These are called affiliate program providers (APP’s). One of the major sites for handling affiliate accounting is called Commission Junction. It handles eBay and others. The major site for electronic products is ClickBank. Other sites are BeFree, Linkshare, and Performics. A German APP is Affili.net.
Commission Junction is the largest APP and handles many great companies. To fully explore what is available, you need to sign up at CJ and look for affiliates there. You will be able to see who the companies are and the commission structure of each. You can then join the program right in CJ without having to go to each company and apply.
I suggest that you join CJ and study the many companies that are represented. Take note of a few that you feel might be ones that you would like to represent. Don’t join the affiliate program yet, but go to Google and research the company website. See if they sell themselves well and will support the sales effort that you are going to expend to sell their products or services. Also, from CJ, you can link to the landing page in the company website. Go there and check it out to see if it sells well.
Step by Step Start
The following will lead you through the sign up process as a Commission Junction publisher. This process is longer than most that you have previously completed. Be prepared to complete two pages of information. The second page is long and detailed.
First page: Select your language, country, and currency. Click NEXT.
Second page: After swearing to abide by the rules and regs, you will be asked for information about your newsletter or website (URL). If you have a website, you can enter it. If not, make up a name for the eZine that you may plan to publish. For this application, you must make up a newsletter name if you do not have a website (URL). Be creative!
You will then be asked about your promotional methods. Click the Website/Content and Search Engine Marketing buttons. Next click “NO” on the radio button that asks if you donate any proceeds to charity (unless you want to do so).
Next you will be asked to enter all the information needed for setting up your account. You might have to attempt this page a couple of times since you might not have all the info you might need the first time. A key item you will need is social security number or tax ID if you are registering as a business. If you want to have your payments direct deposited, get a blank check so you will have the info to set up the banking information.
When you finish giving CJ your entire pedigree, click “Accept Terms” and you are on your way. Check your Inbox for an email from CJ with your acceptance message and password.
Sign up for Commission Junction at
Once you have received your acceptance email from Commission Junction, log in to www.cj.com and use your password to enter. When you are logged in, you will be on your Commission Junction Home Page. It shows your account status and basic accounting info. It also shows the new advertisers on CJ. You might see if any of these look appealing since you can jump right on them and get a head start.
Near the top of the page click on “Account”. This is where you can update the information that you entered on your application.
Now down to business. Click on the “Get Links” tab near the top and you will be presented the page where you can find advertisers. There are several ways to view it: By category, by advertiser name, by Smart Zone, and by relationship which will list all the accounts with which you have an established relationship.
As an example, to find a company with which you are familiar (eBay), select the Category view and in the left column under Commerce, click “Auctions”. The page that is presented will contain various auction sites, but you will recognize most of them as the various eBay sites for the USA and other countries.
To join an affiliate, click on the “View Links” in the box with the affiliate name. You will be presented with the various banner ads and links for the affiliate. Pick one and click on it. If you are not a member of the affiliate program, you will be presented a page describing the program and at the bottom of the page is a button “Join Program”. Click this and see the response. Sometimes you will be accepted immediately and sometimes you will get a message that you will be notified after your application has been reviewed. Go ahead and join eBay USA since you should be accepted immediately by it.
The sequence of “Get Links” and “Join Program” is how you sign up for the affiliate programs that you want to represent. It is all in Commission Junction and it makes it very easy for you to grow an affiliate program as your online job.
Note: Some affiliates require that you have a website when you sign up with them. You can build a website later and reapply if this affiliate program is one you want to pursue as an online job.
A word of caution: Becoming an affiliate does not automatically make you rich. Becoming an affiliate establishes the relationship to let you promote a product and get paid for successful promotion. It is up to you to do the work of driving traffic to the affiliate site. If you do your job well, a percentage of the traffic will purchase from the site and you will be paid a commission for those purchases.
This concludes your education about Commission Junction. It is a powerful website and is a “must join” if you are going to create an affiliate program.
Good luck with your future affiliate programs.
Copyright 2006 John Howe, Inc.
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John V. W. Howe is an entrepreneur, author, inventor, patent holder, husband, father, and grandfather. He has been involved in entrepreneurial activities for over 40 years. He founded www.boomer-ezine.com and www.retirement-jobs-online.com to help Boomers (baby boomers) become entrepreneurs when they retire.
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