In the 2000s, with more and more Internet users and the birth of iPhone, customers started searching products and making decisions about their needs online first, instead of consulting a salesperson, which created a new problem for the marketing department of a company. In addition, a survey in 2000 in the United Kingdom found that most retailers had not registered their own domain address. These problems made marketers find the digital ways for market development.
Merchants or advertisers are those who have a product to sell. They are interested in increasing their profit by working with affiliates and allowing them to promote the product on their behalf. Merchants do so by using an affiliate program where they provide everything needed for the promotion of the product(s) including the affiliate links. The course represents a guide for merchants to create an affiliate program and a strategy to encourage affiliates to join.
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Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates". Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.