About Affiliate Program, and Affiliate Market in Japan
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About Affiliate Program

What is Affiliate Program What is Affiliate Program?

Affiliate Program, also known as Associate Program, is a type of online marketing, in which Affiliate sites (post affiliate ads) and EC merchants (provide affiliate program) tie-up together and maximize their profit. When a user purchases goods or registers services through affiliate ads on Affiliate sites, EC merchants pay commissions to the affiliates. Therefore, Affiliate Program is often refered as action-based marketing".
Win-WIn Affiliate Relationship

There are many benefits for EC merchants adopting Affiliate Program. They only have to pay commissions when items or services are sold, which leads to low risk and low cost web-marketing. They can also create vast scale sales network online with their Affiliate sites.

For Affiliate sites, there are many benefits too. They can earn ad revenue with lower risk and easier way comparing to other online business. There are no target, no time limit in Affiliate Program (certain cases yes), so they can freely participate in the Affiliate market. Also there are chances that they can earn huge amount of income by affiliate program.

There are two style of Affiliate Program. One is, Affiliate Sites participate directly to EC sites' affiliate program. Good example is Amazon.com. Another way is, Affiliate Sites and EC sites participate in Affiliate Service Provider (A.S.P.) such as LinkShare and Commission Junction. When using A.S.P., the relationship among Affiliate Sites, EC marchants, and A.S.P. becomes as following.

Affiliate Relationship


Current Japanese Affiliate Market Current Japanese Affiliate Market

The origin of Affiliate Program is said that in autumn of 1996, when Amazon.com started Associate Program in the U.S.(system of affiliate program exsited since long time ago). In Japan. the first A.S.P. called "ValueCommerce" started its service in 1999 and which was the real start of Japanese affiliate market (there were several EC sites that adopting affiliate-style web marketing before ValueCommerce)B

The boom of Japanese affiliate program started at the end of year 2003. Business magasines and TV programs started using the term "Affiliate Program", and they also started to introducing people who earn good living money from Affiliate Program. In the middle of 2005, there are more than 500,000 websites participating in affiliate program, and more than 50,000 EC merchants are adopting affiliate programs.

Pople (not company) who participate in affiliate program are called "Affiliaters" in Japan. People who earn more than 300,000yen(US$3,000)/month from affiliate program are called "Super-Affiliaters". Top international EC merchants, such as Dell, Apple, IBM, Sony, Yahoo!, CitiBank, etc are adopting Japanese affiliate program.

In Japan there are more than 20 of A.S.P., but only seven or eight are playing major role in Japanese Affiliate market (introducing them on Japanese A.S.P. List). Most of top EC merchants are using the A.S.P. "LinkShare (Japan)", which is the only A.S.P. related to the U.S. affiliate market.

Japanese Affiliate events have been increasing its number and size. In July 2003, the first "Affiliate Conference" was held in Tokyo, in which about 50 people participated. In April 2005, [LinkShare] held its first Affiliate Trade Fair, which attracted more than 300 affiliate site managers, and more than 30 EC merchants. The size of Affiliate Events in Japan are smaller than US ones, but the frequency and size are growing rapidly.


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Online: 2005/05/28
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