Affiliate programs (also referred to "associate," "reseller," and "partnership" programs) are Internet based revenue-sharing "partnerships" employed by companies to market their products and services on the web.
The owner of the affiliate program provides the products and services and handles the billing and order fulfillment. The Affiliate provides the marketing receives a commission for sending customers to the Affiliate Program Owner's Web site.
In short, affiliate programs provide an easy method of creating and maintaining mutually beneficial, performance-based, online joint venture and reseller relationships.
Affiliate programs are popular because they are easy to join, in most cases they are free, and they offer a way for website owners to easily provide quality content while earning additional revenues from existing traffic and relationships.
Most quality affiliate programs will provide their affiliates with marketing deliverables such as various sizes of banner ads, graphics, sales letters, tips on how to best market their products and services, and sophisticated tracking systems to report on commissions