Welcome to the lucrative world of Affiliate Marketing. In Affiliate Marketing a company pays an affiliate (you) to generate sales from a button, banner, or link placed on your website, newsletter, e-mail or pay per click ad.

There are thousands of companies in hundreds of industries that will pay commissions to you for leads, registrations or sales.

It is extremely easy to become an affiliate. There are several large Affiliate Program Providers (APPs). APPs serve as go-betweens for companies and affiliates. For you as an affiliate, these APPs provide a valuable service. They collect payment from the merchants and consolidate affiliate reporting and payments.

An APP brings companies and affiliates together to form partnerships. A partnership works like this: the affiliate places links to the merchant on their website, newsletter, emails, or Pay per Click ads such as Google AdWords. When a potential customer clicks through the link they are sent to a specified page of the merchant's site. When they complete the action desired by the merchant (fill out a form, buy something, etc.) the affiliate is compensated. The APP facilitates all aspects of the partnership and tracks all elements of the transaction.

Joining an APP is totally free and there are no personal purchase requirements. You just fill out a form. In some cases, applying affiliates must wait a few days for approval, but usually acceptance is automatic.

The top five APPs are: Commission Junction (CJ), Clickbank, Linkshare, BeFree, and Performics.

CJ is the largest of these Providers and manages the network, tracking and reporting on activity in real time, as well as handling monthly commission payments. CJ tracks billions of affiliate link impressions each month. CJ's clients include leading online marketers: eBay, Capital One, NextCard, and The New York Times Home Delivery.

Every month Commission Junction either sends you a check or deposits your commission directly into your bank account according to your preference.

Because affiliates are so beneficial to merchants many new merchants join CJ and other Affiliate Program Providers every week.

Affiliate Programs are the ideal way to make money quickly and easily online. (No need to come up with your own product or concern yourself with any of the hassles or headaches involved in actually stocking, selling or distributing a product). Just figure out a clever way to promote the product or service effectively and then sit back and collect your monthly commission checks. Or, better yet, have them deposited directly into your bank account.

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