There are no industry standards for training and certification in affiliate marketing. There are
training courses and seminars that result in certifications. Some of them are also widely accepted,
which is mostly because of the reputation of the person or company who is issuing the certification.
Affiliate marketing is also not a subject taught in universities. Only few college teachers work with
internet marketers to introduce the concept of affiliate marketing to students majoring in marketing for
Education happens mostly in "real life" by just doing it and learning the details as you go. There are a
number of books available, but readers have to watch out, because some of the so-called "how-to" or
"silver bullet" books teach how to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become
out of date or that advertisers do not permit anymore some of the strategies endorsed in the books.
OPM companies usually mix formal with informal training, and do a lot of their training through group
collaboration and brainstorming. Companies also try to send each marketing employee to the industry
conference of their choice.
Other resources used include web forums, blogs, podcasts, video seminars and specialty websites that try
to teach individuals to learn affiliate marketing, such as Affiliate Classroom, whose founder Anik
Singal won the first place and $15,000 in the Young Alumni Category of the University of Maryland $50K
Business Plan Competition in 2006.
Affiliate Summit is the largest conference in the industry, and it is not run by any of the Affiliate
networks, many of which run their own annual events.
Code of Conduct
Main article: Code of Conduct (affiliate marketing)
A Code of Conduct was released by the affiliate networks Commission Junction/BeFree and Performics on
December 10 2002. It was created to guide practices and adherence to ethical standards for online
"Threat" to traditional affiliate networks
Affiliate marketers usually avoid this topic as much as possible, but when it is being discussed, then
are the debates explosive and heated to say the least. The discussion is about CPA networks
(CPA = Cost per action) and their impact on "classic" affiliate marketing (traditional affiliate
networks). Traditional affiliate marketing is resources intensive and requires a lot of maintenance.
Most of this includes the management, monitoring and support of affiliates. Affiliate marketing is
supposed to be about long-term and mutual beneficial partnerships between advertisers and affiliates.
CPA networks on the other hand eliminate the need for the advertiser to build and maintain relationships
to affiliates, because that task is performed by the CPA network for the advertiser. The advertiser
simply puts an offer out, which is in almost every case a CPA based offer, and the CPA networks take
care of the rest by mobilizing their affiliates to promote that offer. CPS or revenue share offers are
rarely be found at CPA networks, which is the main compensation model of classic affiliate marketing.
The name "affiliate marketing"
Voices in the industry are getting louder that recommend a renaming of affiliate marketing. The
problem with the term affiliate marketing is that it is often confused with network-marketing or multi-
level marketing. "Performance marketing" is one of the alternative names that is used the most, but
other recommendations were made as well, but who is to decide about the change of a name of a whole
industry. Something like that was attempted years ago for the search engine optimization industry, an
attempt that obviously failed since it is still called SEO today.