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Types of Affiliate Marketing

As the Internet continues to grow in popularity, affiliate marketers are taking a larger and larger piece of the pie.

You want to be sure that if you’re paying for a product, it’s going to work.

With affiliate marketing, you can earn commissions from sales of products you recommend to your audience. We’ll tell you the great, the good and the not-so-good about this fast growing and sometimes controversial business model.

Digital marketing, analytics, and cookies made it easy for affiliate marketers to track conversions. This level of transparency turned affiliate marketing into a billion-dollar industry.

Affiliate marketing has become popular in the internet age, but not every affiliate is created equal. There are three main types of this type of activity.

  • Unattached

  • Related

  • Involved


This is a form of marketing in which the affiliate does not have a pre-existing relationship with the product or service provider or customer. This form of marketing is most common in content sites that share information related to the affiliate's product, but are not required to use it.

The goal of SEO affiliate marketing is to achieve top organic web results for set keywords and phrases. Perhaps the most well-known form of affiliate marketing involves, where independent website owners advertise books for a commission on purchases routed from their sites.


A happy medium between unattached and involved, related affiliate marketing is for those who don’t necessarily use the product or service, but who are somehow related to the niche audience.

A related affiliate marketing model involves recommending and promoting products or services that are simply in the same category, but still unrelated.

This is the highest level of affiliate marketing, as no relationship exists. You must be a trusted source to write anything about a product or service, even though it is not yours and you have never used it.

For example, you could link to a clothing brand’s website to sell their dresses from your fashion blog.


As the name suggests, affiliate marketing is where you promote a product and are closely tied to it. You have tried the product yourself, believe in it, and can vouch for its performance.

This may be through marketing or by writing technical manuals. The term is also used loosely to refer to affiliate marketers.

Often, involved affiliate marketing campaigns are associated with product reviews as opposed to buying guides focused solely on price comparisons. Rather than relying on pays per click, involved affiliate marketers use their personal experiences with the product in their marketing efforts, and customers can trust them as reliable sources of information.


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