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Affiliate programs are undoubtedly one of most powerful systems of business available today. When they first appeared, they were a stunning example of how powerful traditional strategy of joint-venture marketing, when combined with power of internet, created an entire new industry that solved biggest problems faced by webmasters and web merchants.
For webmasters who specialized in creating valuable web content and building web traffic, problem was how to effectively convert their traffic into a viable source of revenue.
For web merchants who had to spend their energies on creating good products and delivering them to customers, problem was how to do web promotion in a cost effective way.
Affiliate programs quickly became a natural solution to these problems, offering merchants a way to market their products in a "cost per sale" manner, while allowing content publishers to profit from recommending affiliate products to their visitors.
As a result of huge success of affiliate marketing, there is now an incredibly large number of affiliate programs for publishers to choose from. These vary in type of products offered, reliability of affiliate merchants, and many other areas. An unfortunate problem for affiliates is that it is often very difficult to decide which affiliate programs will make them most money in limited space available in their ezines and websites.
A small but rapidly growing number of merchants, in their attempts to stand out from among crowd of available affiliate programs, and sign up good affiliates, have begun to offer affiliate programs that pay affiliate referral commissions to multiple levels of affiliates.
In doing so, they offer affiliates opportunity to leverage their efforts through viral nature of such programs and maximizing value of their visitors.