The creation of affiliate marketing
is credited and patented by a man named William J Tobin in 1989 (wikipedia.org, "affiliate marketing"). However, it’s not a new concept. Revenue sharing
, the off-internet version of affiliate marketing was in practice long before the internet began (wikipedia.org, "Revenue Sharing").
One way to think about the idea is to consider an old school non-internet-based business that pays commissioned sales representatives to go out and sale their products. Think of the old days of door-to-door salesmen. It’s a common practice in the business world and has been for ages. The internet has just expanded this opportunity to more people.
Yes, this also brings to mind the idea of independent consultant companies such as Avon, Arbonne, and more. Many people have hesitations to these kinds of programs because they tend to be very limited in product earnings, high inventory requirements and more focus on building a pyramid sales team.
This is not what the affiliate marketing concept is about. Affiliate marketing is a legitimate service-based business with no limitations to specific company products, no inventory requirements and no pyramid teams. Affiliate marketers simply get paid for providing a marketing service for a partner business client.
It is important to note that many affiliate marketing beginners participate in affiliate marketing programs to learn valuable skills. In turn, they may also later promote these same programs for a commission. Many times, this gets a negative view from audiences that view it as a “pyramid scheme.” Again, this is simply providing a marketing service for the creators of the program. Keep in mind that any consumer that has used and truly valued a product (in this case the affiliate marketing student) will be more successful at sharing its value to others.