Home Lessons & Videos Introduction How To Identify Affiliate Sites

How To Identify Affiliate Sites

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How To Identify Affiliate Sites

2008-09-11 11:06:52

Affiliate marketing can be quite subtle - most people using the Internet are unaware that affiliate marketing exists, yet it’s the reason behind a lot of the content on the Internet; therefore one of the first things you should learn when getting started as an affiliate is How To Identify Affiliate Sites. Once you start to spot affiliates you'll realize exactly how pervasive affiliate marketing is, and it might just give you ideas for your own affiliate business!

Affiliates In Paid Search Listings

One of the places where affiliates are most obvious is in the paid advertisements on search engines like Bing or Google.

These affiliates will be promoting their websites through these advertisements, paying for each person who clicks on their ad.

The idea with this sort of marketing is that the money they earn in affiliate commissions is enough to pay for these advertisements, with a bit left over. However, because they have to pay for you to visit their site, you'll often find that they're a little more to the point than affiliates who don't have to pay for their traffic. (You can read more about why this might be, in our overview lesson on PPC Affiliate Marketing)

Let’s take at an example from a Google search on the phrase "learn guitar”.

Look at the search results in Google: the ads along the right hand side of the page are clearly marked "Sponsored" or "Ads", otherwise known as paid advertisements. You can also see sponsored ads just below the search bar, as seen on the image above when we have searched for "guitar lessons".  

Depending on what you search for you might see ads in the list that have been placed by merchants themselves rather than affiliates; Like for example, you may see similar affiliate ads below: 

Telltale signs that an ad has been placed by an affiliate include any mention of reviews... there's always the favored affiliate catchphrase "Don't buy anything until you've read these reviews!"

These are very obvious affiliate ads. Another favorite affiliate hook is the mention of a “scam” – for example "Guitar lesson scams".

Nobody likes to be scammed, and everyone loves a scandal, so a lot of advertisements use this "scam" hook to get people clicking. Lets’ take a look at this website for example:


This site appears to be a review site built to target more than just the ‘guitar lessons’ affiliate market - however, let’s take a look at just the "The 6 Best Websites for Online Guitar Lessons" section of the page, where they've given a number of affiliate products ratings out of five stars with a couple of brief points. If the visitor clicks on this link they'll be taken to the merchant site through the affiliate's affiliate link.

If you also noticed, you can see the last column titled, Detailed Review, where you can click the "Review" button and the link will take you to see the full review of the product, for example “Guitar Tricks”.

All the links on this page are affiliate links. An affiliate link is a link that (generally) places a cookie in the visitors browser to say to merchants “This visitor, X, came from affiliate Y’s link”. This helps the website track affiliate sales, and means that if the visitor comes back to buy at a later date the affiliate will earn a commission Affiliate links don’t harm the visitor in any way - the visitor doesn't end up paying any more for the product than if they bought directly from the merchant – in fact the affiliate actually helps the visitor to find a product they were looking for.

Affiliates In Natural Search Results

Not all affiliates choose to promote their websites through paid advertisements, however. A lot of affiliates rely on traffic that comes from normal search results in the search engines.

We call these search results "organic" search results, or "natural" search listings. You'll also hear people talking about SERPs, which is short for "search engine results pages".

For those of you who are new to these terms, the difference between natural search results and paid search results is that with the natural search results your listing is free, but you have a lot less control over how and where your website appears.

The natural search listings are the sites that the search engines deem to be most relevant to the particular search term, ranked in order of relevance. The problem for webmasters is that we never really know what the search engines are thinking; all we can do is guess and try to make our websites look as relevant as possible.

This gives rise to a whole area of Internet marketing called Search Engine Optimization, which we cover in other parts of Affilorama. But for now let’s take a look at affiliate sites that seem to be doing well in the SERPs for the term "dog obedience".

It can be a little more difficult to spot affiliates in the natural search results because they tend to be a little subtler than in the paid search results. We've got a few here which look like they could either be affiliates or merchants selling their own lessons. For example below http://www.barkbusters.ca is a merchant site, but sites like http://www.dogobedienceadvice.com or http://www.dog-obedience-training-review.com could be either merchant or affiliate sites.

Reviews, free advice, and "learn the best way" are all tried and true methods affiliates employ to gain traffic, so let's have a look at the site offering “free obedience training advice”, http://dogobedienceadvice.com.

If you take a look at the front page for this site you can see that it seems to follow a fairly similar formula to the last website we looked at.- up front they have a review of their ‘Top Dog Training Guide”, and further down the page we find more reviews to other top ranked products. All links to these guides will be affiliate links.

Since this is an SEO site there must be more content here - you can see that on the left panel there is a list of articles about dog training: how to deal with jumping dogs, stopping chewing, digging and so on.

If you click on "Dealing with a whining dog" you're taken to a page with a lesson on stopping your dog from whining. And here go those recommended products again!

Let’s take a look at one more affiliate site from the natural search listings, this time from Let's find another affiliate site in the natural search listings. I'll do a search for "Pet training" in Google.

If you follow through one of the top sites listed, you can see down the right hand side, that they're promoting a number of pet training eBooks.

You can tell they're likely to be affiliate products because if you were to click on them you'll be taken to a completely different site; if you hover over the links you'll (sometimes) see in your status bar (at the bottom of your browser) that the link looks a little convoluted, with hop.clickbank.net in it.

That means that the product comes from ClickBank -- an affiliate network. You can also see some ads on the side that look like affiliate products too. This site doesn't seem to offer any reviews: they simply have a "recommended" column and some ads.

Lesson Summary

In this lesson you’ve learned:

A few things you can use to spot obvious affiliate sites:

  • How some affiliates are making money in a few different markets
    • Deriving traffic from paid search listings.
    • From the natural search listings.
  • Sites comparing and reviewing products are often affiliate sites
    • Sites promoting products or services they did not create are often affiliates
    • Catchphrases like Reviews" "ratings" "learn the truth!" "scams" etc, often indicate affiliate sites.



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Questions & Comments + Add a comment

Reply Jariya 1752 days ago
I'm a beginner interested in affiliate marketing. First of all I need to have a website.can the same company design a website and park it. How much would be the cost for building a website? Can you tell me the procedures for parking? If we use blogger.com/Wordpress or any other blogging sites how the earning is shared between the blogger and the sponsor of the blogs? Thanks.
Melissa Johnson1750 days ago
Hi, Jariya!

That's a lot of questions all at once:

For website, you need both a domain and web hosting. You can get free web hosting from sites like Blogger/WordPress, but they'll give you one of their free domains. For a more professional look, you need to buy a separate domain and link them.

The cost of building a site depends on how much you can do yourself and who you hire, so it's really hard to say. I recommend actually visiting the Affilorama forum to talk to other members about their own experiences with site building: https://www.affilorama.com/forum/

You can also check out our site-building resources here: https://www.affilorama.com/site-building

Hope that helps!
Reply Kelechi Nwachukwu1720 days ago
Hi...I am a very newbie in affiliate marketing. I have a website already hosted on wordpress and Ive already started out on the home business niche. Will I be required to get another website?
Melissa Johnson1718 days ago
Hi, Kelechi --

That depends on what affiliate niche you choose. if you endorse products still in the home business niche, one site should be fine. If you choose a different niche and unrelated products, you're better off creating a second site with its own branding.

Hope that helps!
Reply Demba Dibba1517 days ago
I have a blog but my problem is how to link my blog ads site
Melissa Johnson1515 days ago
Hi there!

I'm afraid I don't understand exactly what you're asking. However, if you need technical help, you can always reach out to our support team.

Reply delvin forde1402 days ago
I am a new bie to affiliate marketing before I found your site I already have a domain and a website am I on the right track or what else do I need to go firward?
Melissa Johnson1399 days ago
You are on the right track!

Keep going through our free lessons. You can also participate in our forum and talk to others who work in affiliate marketing: https://www.affilorama.com/forum/

If you have any questions, you can always reach our support team at https://www.affilorama.com/support/
Reply Angela Sachs1333 days ago
Hello I am new here. I was a member of another teaching affiliate site that offered 2 free websites for its members. I had a good start on content with my 1st site. I did learn a lot about how all that works. However, when I tested the site( not logged in) I found that my affiliate link to a related product was Not clickable. This is very upsetting, I feel mislead and lied to.
I was quickly informed that I had to become a Premium member in order to be able to ad working affiliate links to my free websites.
With that in mind, do all free websites outside of affiliate teaching groups block affiliate links? For example, if I created a web site on Webs.com for free, will affiliate links work?
Melissa Johnson1332 days ago
Hi, Angela!

That is not a question I know the answer to! I've never heard of such a thing.

Your fellow affiliates over on the Affilorama forum may be able to share their own experiences with paid vs free sites and affiliate links, though. https://www.affilorama.com/forum/
Christopher Patterson921 days ago
Hi Angela, I see that you were having difficulty with affiliate links on a website. Was this a Wordpress site? If so, how did you set up your affiliate link? I know a couple of ways to get around the problem you are having. If your site is based through someone like SiteRubix ( created by an affiliate training programme company they can set you up with a limited site and stop certain things from working eg Plugins) Most free site software allows affiliate links.
Reply Abbe 1303 days ago
Hi Angela,

The best way to start promoting affiliate links is to buy your own domain and hosting. Then you will have freedom to test a lot of things.

Please feel free to contact me if you need any help in this regard.

Reply Hannah Chester1251 days ago
Is this going to be updated given that Google isn't doing right-side ads anymore?
Melissa Johnson1249 days ago
Hi, Hannah!

Thanks for letting us know! I'll make a note to get this updated.
Reply mary borromeo1197 days ago
Melissa Johnson1196 days ago
Hi, Mary!

Building a website isn't free, but it doesn't have to be expensive either. Your basic costs will be buying a domain and hosting. You may also choose to sink some funds into web and graphic design or content creation -- but those are optional.

A website is a really important part of a good marketing strategy these days, because everyone expects businesses to have an online presence. Social media has its limitations as far as what is possible to do (and they often have restrictions on affiliate links), and email lists need a place where people can opt in. It's absolutely worth the investment.

Hope that helps!
Reply Michael Poulsen1193 days ago
Hi my name is Michael and I am returning back to affiliate marketing. 6 years ago I read a lot about affilorama and even sold few items from click bank. Now I have move to denmark and I work with a designer who sells ladies bags. Is there any chance for people like me who want to promote goods like ladies bags and other products on the danish market by signing up or even getting the affilojetpack? And how often do affilorama teach its subscribers about new strategies regarding such good?
Melissa Johnson1183 days ago
Hi, Michael!

AffiloJetPack does include a large variety of niches, but I believe most of them are digital projects, not retail goods. If you have questions about the specifics of AffiloJetpack, I recommend contacting our support team -- they'll be able to answer your questions! https://www.affilorama.com/support

In addition, you can always connect with our staff and other affiliate marketers working in a huge range of areas through the Affilorama forum. https://www.affilorama.com/forum/

Hope this helps!
Reply Mildred 1052 days ago
I now have some few ideas on affiliate marketing. Based on my needs, I am interested on doing AffiloJetpack. But before I actually buy it, do I need to do some research myself on my topic and the products? Or will Affilo jet pack have nich topics and recommended products already?

Also, the gathering visitors to my site... I think Affilojetpack does not have that in their package so I really want to master that part first. How to attract visitors to my one page website (for a start).

I am really interested. I got a lot of questions that I really want to buy the blue print but I think I'll just save my money for the jetpack. This is my plan and I hope you can add some input or comment to it.

I will master how to gather visitor, and think of my five Niche topics and at least three products for each before I buy the Jet pack. Also, I will get my self familiar on how to gather traffic to my websites because I think Jetpack will only focus on when there are visitors to the site.

While the Jetpack does most of the work for me for 12 months, I will work on studying the Affiloblueprint so that after 12 months, I can take it from there and perhaps do the business myself - the hiring of content writers and maybe the writing the content myself... But should I desire to renew the jetpack for another year, will, will the jetpack continue where it left off with regards to the newsletter content so that it will not be repetitive?

I am new with very few background on this BUT I am willing to do my best on this one. I MUST DO MY BEST.
I need Affilorama's help and I know Affilorama can help me. Thanks
Justin Golschneider1050 days ago
Hi Mildred! I'm thrilled to hear that you're interested in AffiloJetpack.

AffiloJetpack comes with pre-researched niches for you to choose from, with article outlines already made and numerous profitable affiliate products chosen for each niche. It also comes with plenty of training and driving traffic to your website, including (I might even say especially) one-page sites. It covers both getting visitors to your site and turning those visitors into buyers.

The newsletter series that comes with each niche lasts for one year and then ends. You can always add more newsletters to extend the length of it if you want, but generally, it's a better idea to put that time and energy into getting new subscribers instead, as it's a fact of email marketing that the value of subscribers gradually decays over time.

You can count on us being there to help you throughout the process, and you can get support through both the standard Affilorama support team and the Jetpack-only forums and video lessons.

I look forward to seeing you join! :-)
Reply Marcus 982 days ago
I am new to affiliate marketing and I have few questions!

1. I am not a native English speaker and I am a bit confused about the term "affiliate".

Can you help me understand if the term affiliate is used only to describe people/sites who promote other peoples products or it's also (sometimes) used to describe the merchants who provide products to be sell by others?

2. As I understand from this video/article when somebody access my affiliate site (when I will have one :)) and from here goes to the merchant site and not buying anything at first site visit, but the client buy something next visit ... than I will receive a commission anyway! Is this valid for any or most of the merchants? And how many times (with how many future purchasing products) will be this available?

Thank you in advance,
Justin Golschneider980 days ago
Hi Marcus!

1. Your understanding of the word "affiliate" is pretty good. When we use it, it is meant to describe people and sites that promote other people's products and earn a commission on sales. There are other definitions in the business world, though.

Generally, when talking about one of the merchants who sells the products that affiliates promote, we say "vendor" or "merchant." If you hear us call one of them an affiliate, it's a mistake on our part. :-)

2. Most vendors are set up to work that way—for example, that's how Amazon works. You can always contact the vendor to ask and make sure before you start promoting them. It's worth noting that there's usually a time limit, such as 30 days, so it's best to try to get people to purchase on their first visit whenever possible.
Reply John Rey909 days ago
I'm planning to buy worpress business plan, so how many website can I make with wordpress.com?
Justin Golschneider909 days ago
Hi John! I haven't used WordPress Business, I would try contacting them to ask.
Reply Sophia C Melendrez851 days ago
Hi! I was very interested in starting a mommy blog and incorporating affilate links in my blog to make it profitable. First I need to make my blog and fill it with content , or do I have to? Can I jump right on in the affilating part of my blog? There are so many mommy blogs out there I want mine to stand out . I guess what I am trying to say is that I am trying to find a happy medium in making my site look more like a blog with real content (about parenting) instead of a site just with affilate links... that seems boring I guess. I want to learn how to do both i suppose.
Justin Golschneider851 days ago
Hi Sophia! Great content should be your top priority; if you don't have it, nobody will visit your site and your links will go unseen. However, you can certainly incorporate affiliate links into your content from the very beginning. :-)
Reply Alex 831 days ago
Hi there,

Thanks for the content.

Can one only really do affiliate marketing if they have a niche that they themselves are interested in? What I mean is, is it really like having your own blog and including some associated links to products to buy? There are only one or two things I could perhaps blog about, and these things may not be niche enough or have enough product value, how does one work round this?

Thank you
Reply Solomon Arthur796 days ago

Hi There,


Please can I take some of your valuable contents here to my new blog and link it back to AFFILORAMA.COM?
Reply Stephen 689 days ago
My name is Stephen from Nigeria. I'm interested in afilojetpack, how much can I make from it monthly.And I want to base on health niche, please I need an honest answer
cecille.l686 days ago
Hi Stephen,

It's difficult to give a definite amount because earnings from an affiliate marketing website depends on commission you receive from the products you're promoting in it.

I suggest you look at the products you'll be promoting and the commission they offer so you can gauge how much you'll stand to get if you promote the product over a period of time.

All the best!
Reply Toni Glock530 days ago
Hi I'm new. I just want you to know that this part of the lesson answered a lot of secrets in affiliate marketing. Thank you.
Reply Susan 501 days ago
Hey there. Are you generally able to sell multiple products on one site? Eg: If I have a website for Weightloss & Diet resources, can I sell multiple affiliate products/programs on my website? Or is this generally frowned upon in the terms and conditions?
cecille.l495 days ago
Hi Susan,

You can have one website about weight loss and diet resources and promote several different weight loss and diet products on it. The weight loss niche is huge though so it's best to focus on a specific sub-niche first, like promoting a particular diet plan and promoting products that will help you stick to that diet plan.

Hope that helps. All the best!
Reply evergreensustainabilityllc300 days ago
html5: Video not properly encoded
While watching the video, it stopped, and this is what was displayed on the screen.
cecille.l299 days ago

I'm sorry for any inconvenience or confusion caused. I checked the video and it is working fine. Could you try clearing your browser's cache and playing it again?

If the issue persists, please try using a different browser.

Please let me know how you get on.
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