In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular monetization techniques for niche publishers in 2014, being used by hundreds of thousands of sites in a wide variety of verticals. Affiliate marketing is popular for a number of reasons, including the potential for success with a relatively small audience and the deep pool of affiliate partners willing to pay to acquire new customers.
It’s also important to research their payout structure. Not all payouts are the same and tier affiliate marketing often offer different payouts. Some might pay you on the first offer but pay you nothing on any upsells. Ideally, you should be paid for every transaction. In doing your research, you’ll find out which affiliate payout structures are the most profitable.