When it comes to understanding affiliate marketing, it’s best to think about it as traditional sales agent strategy which has worked very effectively for so many years.

Companies have always been faced with a simple choice when it comes to their own products; they can employ their own sales force, or they can employ sales agents. These are effectively self employed sales agents who work on a commission basis for products sold. And this is very close to the modern, online affiliate system.

And there are still some of the old considerations to be thought through before you sell by proxy. Sales agents are hired guns and will obviously put their heart and soul into a product that they know will sell and also fetch them a reasonable commission to make a good return. Companies find this sometimes hard to accept and will often wonder why sales agents are not more ‘entrepreneurial’ when it comes selling their products. But agents don’t have the blood, sweat and tears invested in products, as heavily as the companies themselves.

But on the flipside, running your own employed, dedicated sales force requires commitment both in terms of money and time.

Online affiliate marketeers play the numbers game. They want to deal with products and services that make them money, and not waste their time on something that just won’t sell. Real estate on a successful affiliate website can be a lucrative space, so the owner of that website is not there to do many favours. What they want to see is traffic and lots of it.

So when you thing affiliate marketing, think sales agents, and you get the picture.