Why is affiliate marketing not considered unethical

Why? How so? Why? - Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing explains:

What is Affiliate Marketing? How can I use it for my business? Does affiliate marketing actually benefit me? I often hear these questions from customers, colleagues, family or friends. So it's time to take a closer look at affiliate marketing.

How it all started or for a cocktail with Amazon

Affiliate marketing has its roots in classic recommendation marketing.

Jeff Bezos is said to have met a website owner at a party in 1996. Over a cocktail, she offered him to present books from Amazon on her website. She wanted to link the Amazon offer during the presentation and demanded a commission from Bezos for this. This laid the foundation for Amazon's affiliate program, which still exists today.

The myth still persists that Amazon introduced the first affiliate program in 1996. There is, however, evidence that smaller companies had already used this marketing mix instrument before. However, due to the lack of size, these could not prevail over Amazon.

The first summit of the affiliate industry did not take place until 2003 in New York at the "Affiliate Summit". Even industry giant Google officially ventured into its own affiliate network from February to April in 2013. But this project was pulped back in favor of other projects after only 2 months.

Today we have a large number of different providers on the market and we can look forward to further developments.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

There are three important "people" in affiliate marketing.


The term comes from English and describes the dealer. The merchant is the operator of the affiliate program and offers a commission for the sale of his products.


The term publisher is also often used. These are the sales partners in a partner program. For a commission, the publishers present and sell the merchant's products via their website or use other advertising channels.


The network represents the intermediary between the merchant and the affiliate and is responsible for the technically smooth process of the provisioning. At the same time, the network supports the search for further potential publishers and protects merchants from fraud.

These three partners enter into a business relationship with each other as follows:

The 90s called and wanted the referrals back

If I am asked about offline affiliate examples, I like to mention the friendship advertising known from the 90s, which still exists today mainly in the area of ​​newspapers and magazines. The newspaper subscriber advertised grandma, grandchildren, aunt or mother-in-law and was able to choose a product of his choice, mostly free of charge or for a small fee, from toasters to egg cookers. Another example is classic recommendation marketing, known from Tupperware, Vorwerk or Avon.

How can I use affiliate marketing for my business?

It is important to know that affiliate marketing can be seen as part of the marketing mix - and much like SEA - is performance driven.

Affiliate marketing is particularly interesting for web shop operators. Because through affiliate marketing new customers can be generated, but also existing customers can be addressed. Provided that you have a well-managed program, the affiliate channel can become the fourth pillar of revenue generation alongside SEA, Social and Organic.

Before setting up an affiliate program, you should do a careful research. It is important to see whether there are already existing partner programs, whether there are enough suitable affiliates or whether you are operating in the absolute niche market. As a rule, the less you find, the more difficult it becomes. If there are hardly any affiliates in a niche, it is correspondingly difficult to acquire them and build a successful program. The acquisition of suitable affiliates is essential for the success of your own program.

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Featured image © Matthias Enter / Fotolia