What the Heck is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing in a Nutshell
Affiliate marketing is a form of performance based advertising. Whereas with a traditional advertising buy – let's say it's in a magazine – an advertiser pays an up front fee to place their message and gambles that they will make money, with performance advertising the advertiser pays no up-front cost for the placement. Rather, they pay a fee every time a specific action – purchasing a product, signing-up for a service – is taken. Affiliate marketing contacts content publishers and merchants working in relevant market niches, often through an affiliate network.

What is an 'Affiliate'?
An 'affiliate' is just a fancy name for anyone who publishes content. Affiliates can have many types of platforms – a social networking site, a blog, an e-mail newsletter – anything really. The affiliate groups compelling content to drive traffic to their site. They embed relevant advertisements in their site, either directly in the content or adjacent to it. If the affiliate is compelling, users will click on the offers displayed on their sites. If the user takes the merchant's desired action, the affiliate receives a commission.

What is a 'merchant'?
A merchant is an advertiser with a product to sell. They develop ad-content and place it on affiliate sites. The affiliates generate content to drive users to the affiliate's site and convince them to click on the merchant's offer. When the user takes the merchant's desired action – purchases a product, applies for a credit card, signs-up for an e-mail newsletter – the merchant pays a commission to the affiliate.

What is 'affiliate network' and why do we need them?
The paradigmatic example of affiliate marketing is Amazon.com. Amazon developed a program in the late 1990s where content publishers can sign-up for an 'affiliate account'. A publisher, let's say a blog about mortgage lending, reviews a book called Learning the Basics of Mortgage Lending and includes a link to purchase it. If the user clicks the link and buys the book, the affiliate receives a commission equal to a percentage of the purchase.

This model works well for an industry giant, but most merchants do not want to (or can not) invest in the internal capacity to place affiliate ads in this manner – it just is not cost effective. Enter the affiliate network. Affiliate networks connect content publishers with merchants. A merchant develops a campaign and gives it to the network. The affiliate network gives its affiliates the opportunity to place the offer on their site if they feel it will perform well there. The affiliate network takes care of all the grunt work from serving ads to making payments to affiliates. This way the exciting opportunities afforded by affiliate marketing are open to a much larger group of merchants and publishers.

Of course there are endless refinements, skills, and trick-of-the-trade to be explored, but that's affiliate marketing in a nutshell.

Affiliate marketing is a form of performance based advertising. Whereas with a traditional advertising buy – let's say it's in a magazine – an advertiser pays an up front fee to place their message and gambles that they will make money, with performance advertising the advertiser pays no up-front cost for the placement. Rather, they pay a fee every time a specific action – purchasing a product, signing-up for a service – is taken. Affiliate marketing contacts content publishers and merchants working in relevant market niches, often through an affiliate network.

What is an 'Affiliate'?
An 'affiliate' is just a fancy name for anyone who publishes content. Affiliates can have many types of platforms – a social networking site, a blog, an e-mail newsletter – anything really. The affiliate groups compelling content to drive traffic to their site. They embed relevant advertisements in their site, either directly in the content or adjacent to it. If the affiliate is compelling, users will click on the offers displayed on their sites. If the user takes the merchant's desired action, the affiliate receives a commission.

What is a 'merchant'?
A merchant is an advertiser with a product to sell. They develop ad-content and place it on affiliate sites. The affiliates generate content to drive users to the affiliate's site and convince them to click on the merchant's offer. When the user takes the merchant's desired action – purchases a product, applies for a credit card, signs-up for an e-mail newsletter – the merchant pays a commission to the affiliate.

What is 'affiliate network' and why do we need them?
The paradigmatic example of affiliate marketing is Amazon.com. Amazon developed a program in the late 1990s where content publishers can sign-up for an 'affiliate account'. A publisher, let's say a blog about mortgage lending, reviews a book called Learning the Basics of Mortgage Lending and includes a link to purchase it. If the user clicks the link and buys the book, the affiliate receives a commission equal to a percentage of the purchase.

This model works well for an industry giant, but most merchants do not want to (or can not) invest in the internal capacity to place affiliate ads in this manner – it just is not cost effective. Enter the affiliate network. Affiliate networks connect content publishers with merchants. A merchant develops a campaign and gives it to the network. The affiliate network gives its affiliates the opportunity to place the offer on their site if they feel it will perform well there. The affiliate network takes care of all the grunt work from serving ads to making payments to affiliates. This way the exciting opportunities afforded by affiliate marketing are open to a much larger group of merchants and publishers.

Of course there are endless refinements, skills, and trick-of-the-trade to be explored, but that's affiliate marketing in a nutshell.

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Fashion Industry Fueled by Bamboo Charcoal

Bamboo is referred to as “the Black Diamond” in Japan and Southeast Asia, bamboo charcoal fibre use is an emerging trend in the fashion industry as manufacturers look to combine fashion with function.

Green Earth News previously wrote about the many gains of bamboo charcoal so it must come as no surprise that those positive aspects extend to the fabric made from bamboo. The charcoal is created by heating bamboo at temperatures of 800 degrees and then the charcoal itself is processed and mixed in with fabrics as part of the growing field of nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology is defined as the “understanding, manipulation, and control of matter at the length mentioned above, thus, the physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials (individual atoms, molecules, and bulk matter) might be engineered, synthesized, or altered to develop the next generation of improved materials, devices, structures, and systems.” Hence, textile attributes for instance softness, durability, water resistance and breath-ability may be enhanced with the use of Nanotechnology.

The several positive features of bamboo charcoal fabric include:

Easier on sensitive skin – The fabric inhibits bacterial metabolism causing fewer allergic skin reactions than other fibers sterilized with antimicrobial agents.

Reduces Static buildup – This is really a conductive material so it keeps a balanced charge in fabric to reduce static buildup.

Superior Washing and Durability – Bamboo charcoal fibers are quick-drying and because the charcoal nano particles are embedded in the fabric rather than simply coated onto the surface, the fabric may be washed numerous times with no adverse effect on the charcoal qualities.

Moisture Regulation – Bamboo charcoal yarn has a cross-section filled with various micro-gaps and micro-holes so compared to conventional fabrics, it is better at moisture absorption and ventilation. The fabric keeps the wearer dry and comfortable on hot days.

While the bamboo fabric technology is still relatively new, only gaining momentum in Asia from the mid-1990s, its uses are growing widespread ranging from clothing to carpeting to bedding. As they look towards more environmentally friendly fabrics that offer the same feel and durability of synthetic fabrics, bamboo charcoal is often a surprising but strong contender.

Another fine contender stemming from the world’s most renewable resource – bamboo – is viscose from bamboo fabric, offering a wide selection of fashion trends from bamboo clothing to bedspreads, baby blankets to luxurious bath towels.

How to Make the Maid of Honor Wedding Toast Memorable

The maid of honor is usually someone who is very near and dear to the bride’s heart. It will usually be a sister, or a very close friend. This person will know a lot about the bride, maybe even some things that her own parent’s don’t know about. Being the maid of honor at someone’s wedding is a wonderful privilege, so don’t miss your chance to help make this the most memorable day in the bride’s life.

You can make the maid of honor wedding toast memorable in many different ways. You can use humor or sentiment but either way you should entertain the crowd and touch the bride’s heart. The downloadable eBook “You Can Be a Wedding MC” is filled with information you can use to make your speeches fun to listen to.

Start out with a funny story about the bride and yourself to share with guests. It might be a story that happened in childhood, an embarrassing moment, or even an instance where the bride helped you in some way, or was a big part of your life. Just use one story and take the speech from there. Avoid using multiple stories because the speech should be short and sweet. You want to avoid people getting bored because the speech is taking too long.

The maid of honor wedding toast is a very important part of any wedding so you should not take it lightly, or show up unprepared. Make the speech memorable without stealing the thunder of the bride or her mother. Your speech is going to be very memorable to the bride so make sure that you put a lot of thought into it and don’t be surprised if she starts to tear up while you are giving it.

How to Lower Your Car Insurance Rates Online

There are many ways to lower you car insurance rate some a bit more challenging than others. The list below is by no means the only ways to lower your rates, but definitely reflects the most common methods to insure that you are obtaining the lowest car insurance rates online that are possible.

Protect your credit rating: Nowadays, insurance companies will compile an insurance score when calculating your insurance rates. This score is significantly impacted by your credit score. This results in the following formula- the lower your credit score the higher your insurance rates and of course a higher credit score will reflect a lower rate on your car insurance.

Shop Around: This looks simple, but in today's world of instant gratification, consumers are sometimes quick to make decisions and fall for a company's claim of offering you the highest rate. The best way to rate shop is to go online and visit one of those sites that will provide you with quotes from multiple insurance companies and even place them in a graph so you can do a full analysis yourself.

Change your cars drive status: What do I mean? When insurance companies pose the question how many miles do you drive to work and / or school- there is a purpose behind it. The further you drive the more chances you have to get into an accident. Considering that a lot of us are changing our modus operandi to and from work / school due to escalating gas prices (car pools, bikes, etc) -it behooves you – (and of course your premium rate) to inform your company of your change in weekly driving arrows.

Before you purchase that new or even used car look into the insurance costs associated with that vehicle: Your car insurance rates are based on how much your vehicle costs, its safety features (anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices), its theft record in your city, and even the parts (that revved up v8 engine might come with a higher insurance rate than the v6).

Get Married and / Older: Now this one of those things that just has to happen- but if you fall within the "I just got married" or "I just got older" it is time to do some rate shopping. A lot of insurance companies offer multi-car discounts and without doubt your insurance rates will continue to drop over your lifetime. The older you are the more responsible you are.

Remain Loyal: If you have home owners or rental insurance consider getting your car insurance from the same company. Almost every insurance company will discount your insurance when you carry more than one policy with them

Change your occupation: Now depending on what you do for a living this might be impossible, however a recent study shows that people in more stressful occupations such as (lawyers, company executives, etc) tend to drive while on the phone, drive faster, and are more accident pron. Because of these they have proportionately higher rates than for instance- teachers.

Be a good student: Most insurance companies will discount your car insurance rates if you are in high school or college and you maintain "B" average or better.

Take defensive driving classes: Insurance companies look favorably on those who take the initiative on learning how to drive safer, and they will reward you with lower rates if you do so.

Increase your deductibles: The higher your deductible the lower your rates. Of course a high deductible is no fun if you get into an accident. Do a cost analysis. If your monthly premium on associated with your low deductible is significantly more than your monthly premium with a higher deductible you might be better off and actually save some money with the higher deductible and the lower rate.

Research other available discounts: Each auto insurance company will have its own set of discounts, depending on where you live and of course that particular insurance companies policies.