​Following are basic definitions of terms you should know to understand the concepts of affiliate marketing.

 Affiliate: An independent agent who promotes products and services on behalf of a business in an effort to gain new customers for the business.


Affiliate ID: An unique identifier (typically created by the affiliate at the business's website or sometimes assigned to the affiliate by a business) that indicates which affiliate to pay for new business.

Affiliate link: A string of code that includes the affiliate ID and that, when clicked, redirects to a business's website. This link is used in the affiliate's promotional efforts.

Auto-responder: An email service that automatically responds to requests to receive promotional email. Auto-responders only send  email (i.e. they cannot receive email).

Commission: A payment made to the affiliate whose promotional effort results in revenue for a business.


Convert/conversion: A lead converts to a sale when money changes hands from the lead to the business.

Downline: The people who enter a  promotion after you, either directly (through your own effort) or indirectly (through another affiliate's effort).

Lead: A potential buyer who has been influenced by the affiliate to consider a business's products and services.

Leverage: The investment of a relatively small amount of time, money or effort for the assured expectation of much greater return on that investment.


Market: Buy and sell.

Market saturation: The point at which so many people have what's being promoted, it's no longer profitable to continue promoting it.

Marketing list: A list of email addresses of current, past and potential customers.

Matrix: A structure used to track the number of sales generated by and the subsequent commissions due to an affiliate.

Opt-in form: A form displayed on a website to collect a visitor's name and email address. When a site visitor submits the form, it grants permission for promotional email to be sent to him or her.

Payment processor: A service, such as Cash App, Skrill or PayPal, often used by a business to handle commission payment from the business to the affiliate.


Promote: To encourage the purchase of a product or use of a service; advertise.


Referral: An affiliate-generated lead who subsequently becomes an affiliate of a business.


Customer: Buyer of a product or user of a service.


Residual commissions: Additional money paid to the affiliate, generated from subsequent purchases made by customers the affiliate previously generated (i.e. requiring no additional effort by the affiliate).


Sponsor: The person who introduces or who is credited with introducing someone to an affiliate opportunity. Although it might seem to imply more, a "sponsor" (relative to affiliate marketing) does nothing more than make an introduction.

Traffic: Website visitors.

Upline: The people who enter a promotion before you. Your sponsor is your direct upline.



Website: Any commercial or personal page on the Internet with an independent web address (i.e. a URL). For example, Amazon.com and Apple.com are commercial (or business) websites; your Facebook timeline and many blogs are personal websites. An affiliate link can be a website if when clicked it goes to an independent page associated with the link; however, if it redirects to the promoted business's web address, the affiliate link is not a website.



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