Residual Affiliate Programs

Residual affiliate programs offer ongoing income where you can make money online or make money from home. Find out more about residual income, affiliate programs, and what types of affiliate programs are available.

What Is Residual Income?

Residual means “what is left over as residue.” The common and customary meaning for the term residual income is “income that is above and beyond what one needs to pay personal debts, including mortgage, utilities, credit cards, etc.” Another term for it isdiscretionary income. A second meaning, for which the plural residuals is often used, is “payments made for repeated use of work” and can apply to a television show or a piece of writing, for example. Residuals are one form of passive income, income that comes without active participation in a business, but it is not the only kind of passive income. Investment income is another example of passive income that is not considered residuals.

What Is an Affiliate Program?

An affiliate program is a marketing program in which a website owner forms an affiliation with a company for which he or she provides advertising of one sort or another.  The affiliate may host banner or other types of ads and/or blog about or write reviews of the company’s products.  When visitors to the affiliate’s website pursue a connection to the company that meets the terms of the contract, the affiliate gets paid. Possible payment arrangements include:

  • Pay-per-click (or cost-per-click), in which the merchant pays the affiliate on the basis of how many visitors to the affiliate’s site click on links to the company site
  • Pay-per-sale (or cost-per-sale) in which a click-through is not enough – the affiliate does not get paid unless and until a sale is generated after the visitor clicks through to the company from the affiliate site
  • Pay-per-lead (or cost-per-lead) in which the merchant pays the affiliate when the visitor who clicks through completes some type of sign up that puts him or her in an ongoing relationship with the company

What Are the Types of Affiliate Programs?

There are several types of popular affiliate programs. In the programs known as two-tier programs, there is a multi-level marketing structure that allows affiliates to profit from both commission sales and also recruiting of other affiliates. In the programs referred to as residual affiliate programs, a visitor who comes to the company through the affiliate is forever linked to the affiliate, and that visitors subsequent purchases of goods or services also create a payment to the affiliate. These subsequent payments are often linked to payments the visitor makes on a monthly basis, such as membership fees or service fees. Another name for residual affiliate programs is lifetime commissions programs, which is another way of stating that once an affiliate refers a customer, the customer’s purchases earn the affiliate continued commissions for the life of the relationship.

Thoughts About Residual Affiliate Programs

Some people consider residual affiliate programs the best type of affiliate program because they are the only one that doesn’t just pay once.  On the other hand, because they often are provided by companies with one type of products and services—those with recurrent monthly charges—they may limit the type of products and services that an affiliate has to choose from.  The question is, what fits best with the affiliate’s goals and website.

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