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2005-10-14: Online custom products marketplace CafePress.com has launched its affiliate program, designed to create additional revenue for its over 1 million individual retail shops, participating web sites and blogs.
An affiliate program is where a website (the publisher) carries advertisements for a particular vendor (the merchant). When a visitor to the publisher's site clicks on the merchant's advertisement and subsequently makes a purchase, the revenue from the sale is shared between the merchant and publisher.
The CafePress Affiliate Program(TM) features over 16 million unique user created products spanning virtually every topic imaginable. Accroding to the company, it was designed to help drive traffic and create revenue for the unique products found in the CafePress Marketplace. The top twenty-five revenue generating CafePress Affiliates, include sites focusing on humorous bridal t-shirts, gay pride art, political items and subject matter often unheard of in other affiliate programs.
"CafePress.com was designed to offer users an outlet for self-expression, while simultaneously allowing them to make money with those ideas, be it for profit, charity, or fun. Our Affiliate Program was created for the same reason," explained CafePress.com Co-founder and VP of Business Development Maheesh Jain. "Web sites raising money for the fight against breast cancer can link to relevant merchandise. Political web sites, humorous sites, and everything in between can find success with this Affiliate Program because there is relevant merchandise for every imaginable topic."
When a potential buyer clicks through to the CafePress.com web site from a CafePress Affiliate link and makes a purchase, that Affiliate can receive up to 20% commission for each sale made to that same customer over the next 30 days. As with all affiliate programs, commissions are paid according to a particular schedule, rather than at the time the purchase is made.
Another typical aspect of affiliate programs which is being used by CafePress is referrals. Affiliates can also earn additional revenue by referring new Shopkeepers to CafePress.com. For each new Shopkeeper they recruit, the Affiliate can earn up to 5% commission of the sales made in the new shop. CafePress does not charge affiliates for membership of the program.
Since 1999, CafePress.com, based in Foster City, California, has invited individuals, businesses and organizations complete e-commerce services to create and sell customized merchandise using the company's unique print-on-demand technology. Users of the CafePress.com service have created over 16 million products covering every imaginable topic. CafePress says that the affiliate program was developed to allow Affiliate members the opportunity to share in the success of CafePress.com and its vast catalog of products and topics. In effect, it means that affiliate program members can profit from advertising CafePress products designed by other members, in addition to the option of selling products with their own designs.
One affiliate program member whose efforts are highlighted by the company is Lisa Spodak, who owns the site www.cafepress.com/lisaspoavonwalk. She joined the Affiliate program during its beta launch. The commissions that she earns from the link on her home page is assisting in her goal of raising $25,000 for the fight against breast cancer. "I've got a lot of fun stuff in my store, but there may not be something there for everybody," she explains. "The Affiliate Program is great because if people want to continue shopping elsewhere, I'm still raising money for the cause." The affiliate program is likely to be of benefit to CafePress.com's own earnings, as it potentially opens up the company's entire product range to viewers of every partner website, whereas previously the parnter websites would only sell products designed by that website's owner. In addition, the affiliate program provides an opportunity for new members to join who may not wish to design products of their own, but still want to gain revenue from advertising the vast range of existing members' mechandise.