This page is a quick cross reference for some of the terms I use throughout the blog.

Affiliate Link

An affiliate link is a url (a web address) that contains an identifier specific to you, e.g. http://programx.xom/?rid=12345. The 12345 is your affiliate id or referral id

By promoting that url, anyone that joins the program becomes your referral and means that you have the potential to benefit from them, maybe financially or in other ways. It also means you’re their sponsor and that gives you a responsibility to help them.


Bizops is the slang but well accepted term for business opportunities. While almost any program online can create income in the form of commissions, bizops is reserved for those programs whose sole purpose is to make money, rather than programs that have a different purpose but also can generate commissions.

There isn’t always such a clear distinction but usually there is.

Credit Link

In credit based mailers a member earns credits by opening the email and clicking on the credit link. This takes them to the advertisers web page. The email may also have links within it but generally only one specific link is the one that earns credits.

Downline Builder

A downline builder is a system whereby a member of a site or program can enter their referral IDs for other programs so that when they get referrals to the main program, those referrals may also join other programs through the original member’s referral links.

A downline builder could be a section within a program such as a traffic exchange. Or, it could be a standalone program whose main function is as a downline builder.

Downline builders are an example of leverage.

A Good Sponsor

A good sponsor is one that cares more about you and your success than their own financial gain. A good sponsor is one that helps you whether or not there’s any financial incentive to. A good sponsor is one that can be called on to help.

Having said that, not all sponsors will have enough knowledge or experience to help you effectively. In that case, please don’t blame them; ask them if they would mind putting you in touch with their sponsor. That way you can work further upline until you find someone that can help you in the way that you need.


A landmine is a ‘device’ for getting you referrals (or sales) long after you deploy them. The idea is they’re deployed and then require no further work but they could give results later.

An example would be that you’re a member of a forum and you have a signature that includes an affiliate link. You make some contributions in the forum, each having your signature attached. In the future someone may see your comment, like it and go to the link in your signature. Bingo, you get a signup or sale with no effort.

There are many ways to place landmines but to be effective they have to be appropriate to where you deploy them. I’ll have a page about landmines in due course because they’re a powerful concept.


Leverage is gaining an advantage over the normally expected outcome. If you want to tell everyone about a new film, you could call each of your friends and tell them. Or you could just put one post on facebook and let them all know – that’s an example of leverage.

A better example of leverage is a multilevel program because you introducing 10 referrals could lead to hundreds or thousands of members in your downline or team.

Leveraged Advertising

This form of leverage refers specifically to getting leverage while advertising. A simple example would be putting two flyers instead of one inside an envelope. Since you have to pay postage anyway, you get more leverage by putting in two flyers.

One has to be careful; the second flyer could significantly lower the response to the main flyer. But usually the benefits of posting two flyers would outweigh using only one.

In an online context, this might mean placing a small add for an additional program on the same page as an advert for something else.

Lure Onto A List

The dubious sounding art of bribing someone onto your list with a view to selling to them later or getting them to join a program.

Where something may be too difficult to sell to someone landing on a page, the usual tactic is to lure them onto your list (your autoresponder) by offering them something for free. E.g. If you’re trying to sell a high item ticket like a camcorder, you might have an optin page that offers them a free report entitled “10 things to look for in a modern camcorder”. They would be interested, signup for your list and from there you can work your magic over the course of your email series to increase the probability that they buy.

Mailing Frequency

In mailers, the interval in days (sometimes hours) that you have to wait after sending one mail before you can send another.

Multilevel Programs

A multilevel program is one in which the benefits of signing up referrals extends beyond that of just your direct referrals. For example, in a traffic exchange you typically earn 10% of any credits your direct referrals earn. If they earn 1000 credits in a given time, you’re given 100 credits as a bonus for having introduced them.

In a multilevel traffic exchange you’d also earn a smaller percentage of the credits any of their referrals earn and that could apply down 2-6 or possibly more levels.

The great thing about this is that if everyone introduced say 10 referrals then you’d have 10 referrals on level 1, 100 on level 2, 1000 on level 3. And this isn’t pie in the sky, it really can happen. The other great thing is when you reach critical mass, meaning the referrals you introduced already, directly or indirectly are active so they’re bringing in more referrals even if you’re not! Thus your team takes on a life of its own and just grows.

Multilevel programs are awesome – they’re also a great example of leverage. When applied to bizops you have to be careful to make sure the bizop isn’t a ponzi or pyramid scheme (a scam). When applied to traffic exchanges it usually only refers to the credits earning, not monetary commissions (though a few traffic exchanges have multilevel commissions too)


An opt-in is someone who registers on a squeeze page (opt in form) to sign up to (usually) an autoresponder, newsletter or program. Most usually it’s used to refer to someone signing up for a newsletter rather than registering for a program but either could be considered opting in.

Sometimes used in the context of an opt-in form or an opt-in page – meaning a page that has a box for someone to enter (typically) their name and email address. Because they opt-ed in, the marketer can now safely email them – if they’re responsible. They could still be accused of spamming if they send too many emails or the email content is too different from what the person signed up for.

Primary Program

Working online, it’s normal to join and promote more than one program. Typically people join programs that we term ‘bizops‘ – programs whose main function is to earn money for the member as well as secondary programs. It’s not a universal definition but I use the term primary programs to mean the programs you feel are going to contribute to your online income. Secondary programs are those that support your promotion of your primary programs, e.g. traffic exchanges. See Secondary Programs for more details.

Residual Income

Residual or passive income is an income that you get multiple times for a ‘sale’ you made once. It’s the ultimate type of income because generally it requires little or no ongoing work, it just comes in month after month.

If your business is selling products with a one-off fee then you have to meet a sales quota to maintain a given level of income. If what you’re ‘selling’ has residual income attached then you don’t need to do anything to maintain a given level of income and any selling you do increases your monthly income – it’s cumulative! Your income grows and grows over time.

Secondary Programs

This term isn’t universal but refers to programs whose main function is to provide some service as opposed to making money (that’s for primary programs or bizops). An example of a secondary program would be a traffic exchange; its primary function is to deliver traffic (typically to promote a primary program) but it may also pay commissions. However, people would rarely promote a traffic exchange (or other secondary program) purely to try to make money – the commissions aren’t generally sufficiently worthwhile.

Split Test(ing)

A split test is where you split a trial (e.g. a mailing) in two and make the two halves different in some respect. E.g. make the two subject lines different. The aim is to determine which subject line is better.

In the classic scenario, this technique is used to continuously improve the subject line (or whatever variable) by a strategy known as beat the control; you test two subject lines, A & B. If B wins, it becomes the control – the one to beat. You now split test C against A and either B will will and remain the control or C wins and becomes the new control.


Basically the person that referred you into a program. You joined via their affiliate link. Because they’re your sponsor, they usually stand to gain financially or in other ways from you and in return they’re expected to help you should you want it.

Some people have hangups about sponsors benefiting from them. Virtually all online marketing is based on the affiliate model one way or another so it’s not a healthy hangup.

Not all sponsors will proactively reach out to you to help you; be prepared to go to them for help. If they won’t help you (they ignore you) then you may be able to contact the program owner, tell them and they’ll put you in touch with someone who will. If they can’t help you because of lack of knowledge then be kind to them, we all have to learn but just ask if they would mind puttig you in touch with their sponsor so you can get help from someone more experienced. See good sponsor.

Traffic Exchange

A program where members can advertise their web page to other members in a ‘fair exchange’ fashion – simplistically I’ll look at your page if you look at mine.

Viral Bar

A viral bar is normally some kind of narrow frame above the main page that advertises something else. Often the term is used loosely when there may not really be a viral element. But here’s an example where there would be a vial element:

You join a rotator service and when you use it, it adds a viral bar to the top of your sites promoting your affiliate link for the rotator. The more you use it, the more referrals you get to the rotator service.

Sometimes the bar is really just a header bar and it carries some other advertising, typically a 468×60 banner.

Your agenda – not mine

It’s your business, not mine; your agenda, not mine. If I’m your sponsor in a program I’m here to help you, not push you into things that I know will make money for me. I’ll make genuine recommendations based on their ability to help your business more than mine, though of course if you upgrade in some programs and benefit me. Actually that’s a hurdle we need to jump; it’s inevitable that some things I recommend will have upgrades and I may recommend you take the upgrade. That’s because it’s genuinely the right thing for you to do. I will never recommend upgrading in a program if I don’t believe it’s the right thing to do. And I’ll certainly never recommend upgrading in something if I’m not upgraded in it myself.

Where From

Many affiliate programs have a page that not only lists your referrals, it lets you see the referring URL. This simply means the URL they were on before they reached the site. That way you have a crude but effective inbuilt tracking system. While a dedicated tracking strategy will usually be better, this requires no setting up, no special links and is ofter adequate and certainly better than no tracking at all.

Unfortunately, many programs don’t provide this info and it’s a shame because it’s very easy to provide.

The info is often called the ‘where from’ info.

Zero Friction

Meaning something so easy for the user there’s no resistance, no reason not to do it. Sites that give you the ability to login using your twitter or facebook login are close to zero friction (compared to filling out a form and registering) so those programs that offer it get much higher participation. Something where you can join for free is much lower friction than something where you have to fill in credit card details. Paypal makes paying for things lower friction than using a credit card every time.

Users have come to expect things to be easy and they want quick. This might be the most useful thing in the world to them but woe betide anyone that makes them fill in some details!

The closer you get to zero friction, the better chance you’ll have of getting the action you want from the user.

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