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For example on WWW Treasure Hunt site at http://www.wwwtreasurehunt.com I have two affiliate programs. I needed one affiliate program to compensate for Treasure Hunter sign-ups and one to reward affiliates for advertisers. For first option, I used a script which I obtained from Superscripts at http://www.superscripts.com/agentspro/cgibin/agents.cgi?salad which my hosting company installed and configured for me for free. This script allows treasure hunters to sign-up from an affiliate site without actually leaving it. For second option, I chose to have whole site replicated but had it configured specifically to track advertiser sign-ups only.
If you don't have your own merchant account, you could use a service like Clickbank. They provide a payment facility and will track your affiliate sales. You can find out more by visiting http://hop.clickbank.net/?hollyj55
If you have your own merchant account but want an outside company to handle and track your affiliate program, you could use a service like either http://www.linkshare.com or http://www.cj.com/ who make it easy and handle everything for a fee.
When deciding on which service to use to set-up your affiliate program, think of things from affiliate's point of view and what's important to them. A key factor to running a successful affiliate program is having happy affiliates. Make things easy for them. Offer different banner sizes, text links, real-time stats and e-mail notification when sales are made.
Once your affiliate program has been set-up, you'll need to promote it. As a starting point, list your site at http://www.revenews.com, http://www.associateprograms.com/ and http://www.affiliatebroadcast.com. These sites also provide information on marketing your own affiliate program.
The point is there are lots of options for you to choose from. Depending upon your circumstances, financial situation and whether you sell products or services, but which every method you choose, you could soon be on your way to becoming next Amazon.com!
Holly Janion is the webmaster for Wade's World Ltd, an Internet solutions company at http://www.wadesworld-usa.com. Her latest creations can be seen at http://www.wwwtreasurehunt.com and http://www.view-home.com. Holly can be contacted at mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org