Affiliate marketing is one of the driving forces behind e-commerce. In theory, it allows for various parties on the internet to profit from it in some way.
Also, it encourages more people to get involved in the world of e-commerce, because starting and maintaining a business centered on affiliate marketing isn’t necessarily costly; though, doing it does require a substantial investment of time and/or money to be seen as an expert in your niche which is essential to maintain traffic and sales as an affiliate.
Does Affiliate Marketing Really Benefit The Consumer?
While this type of affiliate marketing program can benefit the end consumer, the question is whether or not it really does. The jury is still out on this one and likely will be for some time.
The big problem is that it does benefit the consumer, but only in some situations. In other situations the consumer is actually hurt, in however a small sort of way.
What affiliate marketing does is allow third-party companies to act as middlemen between another company’s product or service and its potential customers. They do this by advertising on behalf of that company’s product by directly or indirectly pushing it on their own website.
In exchange they receive a commission or flat fee for any transaction made through their affiliate links. Oftentimes they will be paid out even when no transaction is completed. This usually happens when you are involved in CPA marketing.
How Can This Help The Consumer
First let’s look at how this helps the consumer. It does so by providing more ways for people to discover products and services that are relevant to their needs and wants. If they visit a website to get information on a specific topic for instance, that website may suggest a book they were previously unaware of.
The person can then visit the page where the book is being offered for sale and choose to buy it.
In that example the consumer was helped. They had a problem, which was the need for information. They visited a website for information and along with it they got a book to help them even more.
Another example would have a person visiting a website because they wanted to use the site’s service. The service may be a forum, a social network, a gambling site, marketing blog or pretty much anything else. They will then be offered links to products associated with that service.
In the gambling example they will likely see links to poker accessories that they can order online. Again, this can easily be seen as a benefit as it brings the e-commerce world closer together.
However There Can Be A Downside For Consumers
The downside to this though is that there is so much money available to be made from affiliate marketing, that it’s becoming an overly saturated field. This means thousands or even millions of web pages are competing for visitors solely in the hopes of getting those visitors to follow a link that will make the web page money.
The result is that it can actually be harder for consumers to find what they are really looking for because their internet searches are being steered towards pages that don’t actually offer any benefits at all.
The person wanting information, as in the first example, won’t get it as easily because so many pages aren’t truly a valid source for information at all and only serve to confuse and frustrate the consumer usually into not buying the product they were looking for.
Does this downside outweigh the upside for consumers? Opinions will differ that’s for sure.
Which way will things lead in the future? Only time will tell.
To be truly effective today in affiliate marketing it is a very wise choice to opt for a WordPress blog and create as much relevant content on that site as you can, making you the leading authority on the subject. This has two main benefits it will give your consumers the trust factor and the search engines will look on your site more favorably in the rankings.
Once these two elements come together the traffic will come and the money will flow.