Affiliate marketer Shawn Collins of answers the question, what is an affiliate?

Q: What is the meaning of an affiliate?

A: An affiliate is somebody who sells products and services for other companies online for a commission, whether it be a percentage of a sale or a flat fee.

An example would be a big fan of the New York Yankees who creates a fan site for the Yankees. They might write blog posts, recaps of games, and share photos.

And then they could have a link to, where their readers could buy a jersey for one of the stars on the team, a ball cap, and other products related to the team, such as throwback jerseys for legends like Derek Jeter, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio.

So, an affiliate would have some themed site for the topic they want to cover, and they monetize it with links to relevant products and services for their visitors to buy.

It’s just commissioned based selling, like years ago when women would go door to door to sell Tupperware products. They would get a commission on the sales they generated.

Affiliate marketing is the same, except it’s taking place online, instead of in a neighborhood.

In the ecosystem of affiliate marketing, you’ve got a few players, the affiliates, which are also know as publishers; merchants/advertisers, who have the products or services that affiliates promote; and then the affiliate networks, who provide reporting and tracking for affiliates and merchants.

An affiliate will apply through the affiliate networks to the various merchants, and if/when they are accepted into a given affiliate program, they will grab some unique tracking code, and add it to their blog, newsletter, paid search campaign, social media, or wherever else they are promoting their affiliate links.

Good luck as an affiliate.

Got an affiliate marketing question? Ask it at