How have you been successful with affiliate marketing

The history of affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is an indispensable channel of making money on the Internet today. In this article we will guide you through the time travel of affiliate marketing. The past of affiliate marketing takes us back to the beginnings of the World Wide Web.

Amazon wasn't the first affiliate program

Despite the enormous success of Amazon, other companies were already using the affiliate marketing strategy before the world-famous online mail order company. The rumor that Amazon was the first affiliate program worldwide can be explained by its previous great popularity. Small affiliate programs had no chance against the large corporation, although they developed the idea of ​​affiliate marketing before Amazon.

What would Amazon be without this one cocktail party?

Amazon did not hesitate to enter the affiliate marketing business for long either. Rumor has it that the company's internal idea of ​​affiliate marketing came about in 1996 at a cocktail party.

The Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, made professional contacts in this way, here with an Internet operator who offered Bezos to present books on her Amazon website. She linked presented books to the Amazon shop and received a commission in return. And so the principle of affiliate marketing hatched from its egg.

The company developed an advertising strategy based on affiliate marketing, which was still simply ingenious, and was even launched in the same year. Perhaps because of this measure, Amazon is still one of the largest and most well-known online sales networks in the world today.

The first affiliate programs

If you have now hoped to find the "only true, first affiliate program", we will unfortunately have to disappoint you. The history of affiliate marketing does not give a clear source reference as to who was the first affiliate program operator on the Internet.

Well-known examples of the first merchants:

What we call affiliate marketing today was developed by CDNow as the first official affiliate system.

In 1994 the founders of the online shop, Matthew and Jason Olim, started one of the first affiliate programs.

They offered operators of music websites the option of integrating banners and text links on their websites that point to CDNow to link. The partners received a pro rata commission for successful purchases made by Internet visitors.

If we go further back in time, we stumble across a company called PC Flowers and Gifts COM, which was founded in 1988 by William J. Tobins.

Just one year later, the founder is said to have developed an affiliate program for the online flower shop PcFlowers. According to online research, the company had sales of $ 6 million in 1991.

Although we do not know whether the partner program contributed to this amount, it would be possible [...].

And where there is money to be made, advertising is not far.

As early as 1998, five students from Santa Barbara University developed the online advertising company Commission Junction - the current CJ partner of Conversant.

This company is still one of the most successful online advertising companies worldwide that has more than favored affiliate marketing and is an important point of contact for merchants and publishers.

Affiliates in exchange

In 2003 the first affiliate summit took place under the name "Affiliate Summit" in New York with around 200 participants. There, webmasters could exchange ideas, learn from one another and discuss progress and problems. The Affiliate Summit is still a popular travel destination for affiliates and the leading conference when it comes to current industry topics relating to affiliate marketing.

Even Google ventured into its own affiliate network. However, the project officially only existed for two months - from February to April 2013 - and was quickly taken off the agenda. "In the future, Google should concentrate more on the products that bring the 'customer' the greatest added value and Google, vice versa, the greatest return," said J. J. Hirschle, the head of the Google Affiliate Network, at the time. It was worth a try [...] and you never know what the search engine provider has in store for the online marketing world.

Even if there is no “first” affiliate program to be found in affiliate marketing, there is an extensive and exciting story behind the principle that certainly has an exciting future ahead of it.