Like every phenomenon in the process of further development and maturation today, affiliate marketing has a particularly interesting genesis behind it. As we see many new market giant, like imperialdeal.com, it is easy to wonder where did it all begin?
Probably, in 1989. In this year, in fact, the American entrepreneur William J Tobin realized for his company, PC Flowers and Gifts, the first online affiliate marketing program on the Prodigy network.
Since then, many companies have followed the same model. For example, in 1994, online music retailer CDNow.com launched the BusyWeb program. Web sites offering album and movie reviews could host links connected to CDnow’s site and earn a commission on each purchase made through their site.
Two years later, in 1996, it’s Amazon.com‘s turn to launch its Associates Program. The program, in a very simple way, pays affiliates who facilitate the sale of each product with a commission. This model paved the way for subsequent affiliate programs and solidified Amazon’s position as the most popular online retailer.
In order to assess another milestone in this journey we must then move to 1998, when five students from the University of California, Santa Barbara started Commission Junction, an incredibly successful online advertising company that today is among the top affiliate marketing providers in the world.
In 2000, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes a report entitled “Dot Com Disclosures – Information about online advertising” that provides official guidelines to advertisers and regulates the industry in the United States.
In 2003, the first Affiliate Summit is organized at Baruch College in New York by Missy Ward and Shawn Collins. The event is promoted as a workshop for affiliate managers and is still one of the leading events in the industry today.
In the meantime, affiliate marketing begins to spread with particular incisiveness also in Europe. In 2007, Google acquired the online advertising company Double Click and renamed it as the Google Affiliate Network (GAV), a project that was closed in 2013.
In 2012 Geno Prusakova starts the now famous Affiliate Management Days event in San Francisco to provide the marketing public with specific training on affiliate management, while the following year is the year of big data: online data is used by big brands like Google and many big online casinos to develop their digital presence. There’s a big focus on content that’s tailored to user habits and based on online searches and location – a big impact on affiliate marketing as sophisticated new techniques become more widespread.
Even the next year, in 2014, it’s easy to see how affiliate marketing has spread across almost every industry, with Google earning over $13 billion a year, or 22% of total revenue, through Google AdWords / AdSense.
The following years have been another reason for affiliate marketing to expand, and it has been able to come to terms with some amazing innovations, suggesting that the future is more than bright!