Understanding Affiliate Marketing Lingo (Glossary of Terms)


If you enjoyed this post, be sure to sign up to my list to receive exclusive information I don't share publicly about making money via affiliate marketing and SEO.



  1. Adam Riemer says:

    Hi Rae,

    Awesome post. I disagree with one thing though. Many of the programs I come across actually do work with adware because they don’t know better. Many of them assume the partners are driving incremental sales because the toolbars, bho’s, loyaltyware, couponware, reminderware, etc… is not explained to them and they are not shown live examples of how it can work within their programs. These are especially common in programs on many of the major networks, name brands and CPA networks. When the Affiliate Manager learns about it, they then look through their top performers and many times will get scared to kick them out because it will mean removing many of their top performers and tanking their channel. The sales lost from the program can usually be found properly attributed to their proper channels like SEO, PPC, Email, etc… if you are measuring where everything is coming from and the loss from the Affiliate Channel and increases in others.

    The Affiliate Manager usually doesn’t want to remove these partners because they are afraid that their job will be in danger if the channel drops so they deny it. The Networks will often deny it or give you reasons to keep in the program. That is why it is important to have proper channel attribution and to actually download the adware and see how it interacts with your site. Once you do and show it to your higher ups, or the CFO in your company, you can get the ok to remove them, potentially save your company money and then grow an Affiliate friendly and more value adding program.

    The adware can be installed by having the end user install a toolbar or shopping helper that will show coupons, let the person earn cash back by clicking on the ad that is displayed, injecting logos over SERPs, PPC ads or when the shopper gets to the Merchant’s website. The person doesn’t actually even have to go to the Affiliate’s site to have it installed. Some cash back and coupon sites will even contact charities and offer $10 per download if they get their members, etc… to download the toolbar not even knowing it is Affiliate based adware. Other times it comes bundled with screen savers and other things you get for free or pay for online.

    Unfortunately many of the programs I come across on the larger and smaller networks have issues with adware and cause people to lose sales to these applications. This also makes it appear that Affiliate Marketing isn’t working or is less profitable than other channels for Affiliates. In an ideal world, many Affiliate Managers, OPMs and Networks would not allow adware, but unfortunately that would mean less money for all of them so they turn their heads when they find out, deny it or ignore it completely. Some of the networks parent companies actually have coupon and loyalty sites which run in their own networks and other networks that use toolbars and that is another reason they try to not explain it to their Merchant’s and other Affiliate partners. A great resource is to hire Kellie Stevens from Affiliate Fair Play and she can walk you through how to find it, what to look for and what is happening in your programs. I offer these services as well, but only with my management services.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      NOTE: Adam is going to be doing a guest post here on Sugarrae to go a bit more in depth (if that’s possible, awesome comment!) on his above comment. I’m looking forward to it. :)

  2. Vinny O'Hare says:

    OPM should be Outsourced Program Manager. I have never heard the term Online program manager before. :)

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks for spotting that Vinny – I swear my hands simply type things sometimes. ;-) I’d proofed this several times, but I knew it was a large enough post that I was going to miss a few things. Corrected!

  3. Patti Hale says:

    This a great resource! I will be linking to it as a primer for those who want to learn affiliate marketing! (Learned a few things myself!)

  4. Nice job Rae. Thanks for posting.

  5. Good article. I’ll will be sending n00bs this link every time they refer to an “affiliate program” as an “affiliate”. :-)

  6. Terra Affiliate says:

    Hi Rae,

    This post is truly not an earth shattering one, but it is certainly helpful especially to those who are just newbies to affiliate marketing. Thank you.

  7. Hi Rae, Could you comment on services like skimlinks? Do you use them?
    Thanks, Kevin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *