A Short History of Affiliate Marketing

History of Affiliate Marketing: Before affiliate marketing came into being, brands used traditional methods of marketing. This meant billboard advertising, live marketing and posters or ads in shops and newspapers.

But with the advent of the internet, it became easier to connect to not only individuals around the world, but customers as well. Modern-day advertising rarely uses the traditional methods of advertising.

Instead, it utilizes  digital strategies to create a communication platform for brands. Through the use of social media networks and blogs, businesses have found ways to cater to their target audience, without having to spend months on strategically designed campaigns.

And this brings us back to affiliate marketing.

As an entrepreneur, you’re familiar with how affiliate marketing works. You recruit an affiliate through an affiliate marketing program, and the affiliate advertises your brand. But how did this way of advertising start? Let’s take a look at its history:

  • Before the internet:The term ‘affiliate marketing’ may sound like it’s new, but it actually existed before the internet. Referral programs existed before the internet even existed. Often times, businesses would ask customers to recommend their services to their contacts. For example, a customer getting a haircut would be asked to recommend the salon’s services to their friends, if they liked it.

The customer would then recommend and distribute pamphlets to their contacts. This would expose the brand, and create a platform for them to advertise their services.

  • After the Advent of the Internet:When the internet arrived, it changed the way we communicated with one another. It let us directly communicate with contacts around the world.

But when blogs became a thing, people started reading blogs for reviews, recommendations and products to purchase.

This lead to businesses utilizing the internet to advertise their products. And with the development of the Web 2.0 and cookies, it became possible to track the impact of marketing online.

The First Affiliate Program: It was William J. Tobin who invested, developed and patented affiliate marketing. He set-up the first affiliate program, starting with his company, PC Flowers & Gifts in 1989.

Soon after, Amazon launched its Associates Program in 1996. The company was the first to use affiliate marketing as a way to attract online customers. This was a milestone for the start of the digital era, and garnered global attention.

In 1998, Citibank and Commission Junction launched the first affiliate marketing networks, creating a platform for small-scale retailers, and offered them payment online solutions. They made it possible for merchants and affiliates to communicate and start a partnership.

Throughout the years, the way of affiliate marketing has changed significantly. It continues to evolve, with new techniques being constantly developed.

LeadDyno offers an impeccable affiliate marketing program, to help businesses and affiliates connect. Take at our affiliate marketing software, or visit our website for further information.

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