An affiliate programme is basically very simple more.

An affiliate signs up creating an affiliate username and password. They receive an affiliate URL which they use to advertise your site.

Here are some examples:

The is replaced with the affiliate's own username and this URL is used on their website in text links, graphic links, email links, even offline promotions. When a potential buyer clicks through to the affiliate's URL, a cookie is set in their browser. A cookie is a piece of information that a website can store in the visitor's browser, and in this case our affiliate stores the referring affiliate's username.

The cookie remains in the visitor's browser when they leave your site, even when they turn off their computer and log back in a month later. The only way it will be deleted is if the visitor deletes their cookies manually, but for the average web surfer a cookie remains in their browser for a long time.

When the visitor returns to purchase your product the affiliate script is triggered by tracking code that has been added to the "thank you" page that shows up after an order is finalised. It then searches for the cookie, and if present, rewards the affiliate with the appropriate commission.

Typically, the code in the "thank you" page will contain the final purchase price of the sale (most shopping carts are capable of this) and the script will calculate the commission based on that value. Our affiliate application also has an optional IP tracking mechanism which will track referrals in the short-term (less than a day, usually per visit) if the visitor's browser doesn't accept cookies or they delete their cookies before they buy.