Role of content providers in affiliate marketing

We have drawn a complex diagram of the role of content providers in affiliate marketing:

Customers

Search Engines

Natural search results

Flow of customers Flow of money

Search Engines

Natural search results

Flow of customers Flow of money

Customers

Other websites

Other websites

Links

Figure 21 - Role of content providers in affiliate marketing

The diagram above suggests that affiliate marketing is a form of promotion outsourcing, where content providers take care about merchant's promotion and receive compensation based on their performance. But why merchants actually need content providers and why they do not take care about the promotion themselves?

A probable answer would be that affiliate marketing is much more efficient than keeping the promotion in the house. With affiliate marketing, merchants can take advantage of dozens or hundreds of individuals with lot of experience and lot of new ideas and they do not need to care if they succeed or not. Merchants only spend money on promotion, which proved to work. Moreover, affiliate marketing does not mean that the merchant cannot do its own promotion too.

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