Affiliate marketing has increased in prominence with the internet age. Amazon popularized the practice by creating an affiliate marketing program where websites and bloggers put links to the Amazon page for a product being reviewed or discussed in order to receive advertising fees when a purchase is made. In this sense, affiliate marketing is essentially a pay for performance marketing program where the act of selling a consumer on a product is outsourced across a potentially vast network.
The technology we have available today allows us to massively automate many tasks that had to be manually done only a few years ago. This has reduced the level of technical ability required for people do things like build their own websites, set up landing pages and build lists of subscribers. You can literally build a website within minutes today, even if you have zero technical computer skills.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.