Different Types of Affiliates

Affiliate marketing has been around for a couple of decades now. Obviously the industry has grown as incumbents have started utilizing newer techniques to perform better. Over a period of time, a whole ecosystem of affiliates has evolved.

Affiliate marketing, now is no longer a simple choice. Instead, it is a complex business wherein companies have to choose a mix of different types of affiliates that can provide the optimal results.

In this article, we will discuss about the different types of affiliates as well as the advantages and disadvantages that apply when we choose them.

Personal Websites

The web is full of self-proclaimed experts that cater to different niches. They have their personal websites where they provide expert opinions related to different products like travel, home improvement etc.

Over a period of time, some of these blogs become quite popular and end up having millions of followers worldwide. They provide a perfect opportunity for affiliate marketing. These web owners can mix the promotional message in their content for having maximum appeal. This kind of affiliate marketing strategy only works well when users have an unshakeable belief in the blog or website.

Using affiliate marketing too brazenly will weaken this belief and will therefore be counterproductive! The key here is content. The perceived genuineness of the content is the make or break character here.

This is also a great opportunity for people who are passionate about something to make a living out of it. If you like cosmetics, you could make a blog or a YouTube channel out of it. Once you get popular, the money will start flowing in the form of affiliate marketing commissions from endorsements that you make in your content.

E-Mail Marketers

E-mail based affiliate marketing is the equivalent of cold calling. There are companies which specialize in this field. It is difficult to obtain any results here. However, given the low cost of this strategy any revenue that is generated can be considered a bonus.

E-mail affiliate marketing revolves around obtaining a relevant database. Once, a database has been acquired, e-mails are sent out with the best possible offers. Sometimes, affiliate marketers give part of their commissions as cash back in order to sweeten the deal for the customer.

It is easy to guess that not many people will respond or act upon such e-mails. Hence, the effectiveness of this campaign is low. However, given its low cost companies tend to use this strategy a lot.

As individual affiliate marketers, personal websites can be used to generate a database which is then sold to e-mail marketers. Selling the same database to different marketers helps generate a lot of revenue. Lots of individuals have made their fortune doing so.

Loyalty Websites

Loyalty websites partner with a group of vendors to market their products. They build a website, make it popular by giving outrageous discounts and then use it to refer vendors to their customers.

Loyalty websites work best when affiliate marketers give the users discounts which are funded by their commissions. They could give the discount right away with each purchase or they could build a loyalty system that allows accumulation of points to provide a significant discount on a big purchase. This is one of the most effective forms of affiliate marketing today. The special discount coupons that all of us receive in our e-mails are the result of these loyalty websites.

Registration Only Affiliates

Registration only affiliates provide the same deals as loyalty websites. However, they do so for premium products. One of the problems with affiliate marketing is that brazen marketing strategies by affiliates leads to the dilution of a brand’s image.

Hence, registration only affiliates ensure that they do not intrude into the privacy of the customers. They market products in a very classy way. This strategy is favorable for some high end brands who do not want to dilute their brand image by associating it with hard selling marketers.

Registration only groups are difficult to form since they require customers to agree to receive e-mails and other promotional material. However, luxury brands will pay a handsome price to access your network, if you have built one.


Affiliate networks are a boon for both affiliates as well as merchants. For the merchants they provide a variety of services under one umbrella as well as the predictability of dealing with a single organization.

On the other hand, for affiliates it provides access to a larger number of merchants as well as risk mitigation. The terms of payments are guaranteed by the network for a fee. The risk of collection from the merchant is not the individual affiliate’s responsibility if they join such a network.

Different types of affiliates have also lead to increasing levels of complexity. Each of these types provides a different quantity of leads as well as a different quality. The end result varies quite a bit depending upon the types of affiliates used. Hence, this field has become increasingly complex and specialized.

Bigger merchants are now hiring employees to manage what they call their “affiliate marketing mix” which means the optimum combination of these different types of affiliates.

❮❮   Previous

Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)

The article is Written and Reviewed by Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.

Marketing Management