Affiliate marketing has been described in various ways but basically they all have the same meaning. On the Internet today affiliate marketing has solidified its place in the world of e-commerce business. Essentially, affiliate marketing is a cooperative effort between a merchant and the affiliate’s website.From a merchant’s perspective, for many years now, affiliate marketing has proven to be very cost effective. By teaming up with various website owners merchants can now essentially have a World Wide Web sales staff operating strictly on commission with no other overhead. This is a very attractive scenario for the merchant or advertiser and with today’s explosive growth of online buying it has become a win-win business model for both the merchant and the website owner.Each and every day more and more people come across and become more interested in affiliate marketing and how they can make money from participating. And just like any new startup business the failure rate in affiliate marketing is quite high. Most people new to affiliate marketing don’t understand the intricacies of affiliate marketing and what it takes to be successful with an affiliate website.When I work with people just getting started in affiliate marketing probably the biggest misconception that people who are just getting started have his understanding the difference between advertising and marketing.I would say that the vast number of affiliate marketing sites that I work with and come across would be more accurately define as affiliate advertising. These sites generally will not last very long in the competitive arena of affiliate marketing. Conversely, I also work with people who go to the other extreme and believe that they have to be the “seller” of whatever product or service they feature on their website. The truly successful sites and the ones that make a good living for the website owner understand what it means to market not only their website but their affiliate product as well. Certainly, selling and advertising are components of marketing but they have to be combine in an overall consistent approach that ultimately makes their websites sell.In the affiliate marketing business model the affiliate is compensated for every visitor that they send to a merchant site and then purchases from the merchant a product or service being offered. Affiliate compensation can vary greatly between affiliate programs and the products that they offer.Many of the affiliate marketing programs out there today are being managed by affiliate networks. These affiliate networks are composed of various merchants and affiliates. Each having their own function when it comes to affiliate marketing. An affiliate network acts as a third-party between the merchant and the associated affiliates of the merchant. Essentially the network provides the technology to deliver the merchants campaigns and offers to the various affiliates and keep track of sales and statistics for both parties. Also, an affiliate network will collect the commission fees from the merchant and then pay the affiliates who have earned said commissions.The benefits of being an affiliate marketer are many. The affiliate is a website owner that markets and promotes one or more merchants and their products via the affiliate program. Affiliate marketing can quite possibly provide a full-time income for the affiliate. And although much of the marketing surrounding affiliate marketing would indicate that this is not only possible but rather easy; simply isn’t true. Just like any business it takes hard work and persistence to be truly successful.Affiliate marketing can be a great situation for someone wanting to start up their own business and work from home. The level of success defined is a personal thing and certainly affiliate marketing offers all levels of success.From a pure business standpoint, affiliate marketing offers low startup costs and very little overhead. That’s the easy part. Once you have your website up and you have found some good affiliate programs to offer your visitors, the true challenge is getting those visitors to your website.And thus begins an entirely new topic in the arena of affiliate marketing. Because without visitors there are no commissions. If you would like to learn more on affiliate marketing and how to become a successful affiliate marketer, please visit my website.