Difference Between Affiliate and Network Marketing

Marketing is defined as the production of a strategy to sell and advertise desirable goods. Marketing enables the company to meet the demand and complete the target of advertising and selling.


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Also, affiliate marketing and network marketing are two major types of marketing. This marketing includes consumer to consumer as well as online advertising.

Key Takeaways

  1. In affiliate marketing, individuals promote a specific product or service and receive a commission for each sale. In contrast, in network marketing, individuals recruit others to join the network and earn a commission on their sales.
  2. Affiliate marketing is a more straightforward process than network marketing.
  3. Network marketing requires more time and effort to build a team and generate income than affiliate marketing.

Affiliate vs Network Marketing

The difference between affiliate and network marketing is that affiliate marketing is universal and digital advertising with chain propagation. On the other hand, Network marketing is a customer-to-customer selling by a salesman. Also, network marketing is a door-to-door promotion led by a bunch of salesmen.

Affiliate vs Network Marketing

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Affiliate marketing is a virtual and digital mode of marketing. This is mainly operated through many online platforms and channels such as social media and the organic view model.

In affiliate marketing, the rewards are collected by the number of views gained by the owner’s marketing struggles. The base of affiliate marketing is dependent on the level and excellence of advertisement.

Network Marketing is a commission-based strategy operated through a series of salesmen. Also, this type of marketing includes a pyramidal hierarchy of salesmen who achieve bonuses on completion of the target.

Network marketing is often known as referral marketing as the salesmen need to establish a relationship and a convincing conversation.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAffiliate MarketingNetwork Marketing
DefinitionAffiliate marketing is a type of online and performance-based promotion of business.Network marketing is handled by salesmen and reaches the consumer by door-to-door reachability.
PlatformsOnline platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram are used in affiliate marketing.Network marketing is based on the business-based alliance to increase the demand.
RevenueIn affiliate marketing, the revenue is generated by SEO, mail marketing, PPC, and other modes of online marketing.In network marketing, the revenue is generated by the sale commission and paid-out profit.
Base of marketingAffiliate marketing is solely based on the digital platform.Network marketing is based on the customer to customer sales.
SchemeAffiliate marketing involves a straight-chain marketing strategy.Network marketing involves a pyramid scheme strategy.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is categorized under performance-based marketing. According to the marketing norms, business profits when the affiliate gains views of consumers only through their online advertisement.

The defining factors of affiliate marketing are pay-per-click, organic search engine optimization, email marketing, content writing marketing, and image advertising.

The pay per click (PPC) is often known as paid search engine marketing, mainly known as a type of promotion in which their website is represented as higher positions in the search engine results.

Search engine optimization is referred to as a way for improving the content’s quality and quantity and hence making it user or consumer-friendly.

SEM works on the principle of editing the published content of a website to achieve a higher ranking than earlier.

SEO mainly aims at achieving organic and unpaid views for their website content. This content may be a written piece of text, an image, tabular data, news, or statistics.

Email Marketing is done by broadcasting a commercial message to a group of people through various types of email domains.

Furthermore, content writing marketing is focused on publishing content presenting its pros and cons to attract the targeted audience.

This mainly enhances the organic view, consumer’s attention, developed consumer base, and much more.

What is Network Marketing?

In marketing terminology, Network marketing is also known as Multi-level marketing or referral marketing. In network marketing, the revenue is collected from the salesmen selling the company product.

On the other hand, the salesmen derived their payment from the commission obtained on admitting a salesman and completing the target within the deadline.

The payment system of salesmen is obtained mainly from two revenue channels. The former one is based on the commission obtained from the sales directly to the customers.

On contrary, the latter is derived from the commission made from selling the product for wholesale to businessmen.

The salesman recruits more and more salesman under their hierarchy. This would eventually lead to higher commission and complete the given target within the deadline.

This type of hierarchical distribution of people is termed one’s downline distribution.

The network marketing salesmen will send the goods by establishing a healthy relationship with the customer with their interaction. However, network marketing may often cause financial losses and failure of a business.

Also, the price-fixing of the product may vary in the multi-level marketing from city to city and consumer to consumer. However, the initial cost of production and hiring the partners or salesman may be high.

Main Differences Between Affiliate and Network Marketing

  • Affiliate marketing is designated as a legal marketing strategy whereas network marketing is often termed as an illegal scheme of strategy.
  • Affiliated marketing is based on the online model of marketing, hence there is no need for a salesman. However, network marketing needs a huge mass of salesmen for the promotion of goods.
  • In business terminology, affiliate marketing has no different names whereas network marketing is also known as multi-level marketing or pyramid marketing.
  • In affiliate marketing, the consumer is offered multiple discounts whereas, in network marketing, a consumer does not get any type of discount.
  • In affiliate marketing, the service scheme is universal for all consumers whereas, in network marketing, consumers can opt for a bargain from the salesman.
Difference Between Affiliate and Network Marketing
  1. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/07363760510595986/full/html?journalCode=jcm
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=1-bFs6jRwmQC&oi=fnd&pg=PP9&dq=affiliate+marketing+&ots=tAZ4dVI9df&sig=Zpm92BpK57tR_SbeI_gn8vwN3YI
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167811698000147
  4. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0267257X.2013.797920
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