Trying to find an affiliate program for the new person just starting out on the Web is like walking into the proverbial Star Wars bar. There are many strange looking creatures and none have your best interest in mind. So what can you do? When you are choosing an affiliate program there are some key things to look for as you do your due diligence.

The first thing is to research the legitimacy of the business. How long has the business been in operation? Who is the principal owner? Is there contact information so you can contact him or her to verify company information. What is the company track record? What are people saying about the program? One option is to google the program or the owner name. I tried that and avoided a number of scams. Another option is to find a reputable forum and post a question about a program you are looking at. You will be surprised by the information people will give you.

Another factor is whether the affiliate charges a membership fee. Many affiliates do not, but some do and if you are new to the business, this can be a good thing. If you pay a fee, see what you are getting for the money. Do they have marketing tools to help sell the product? Is there a proprietary system that will increase your sales? Fees are not necessarily a bad thing if there is good return on your investment. Many programs that say they have a system have nothing more than

a written report. Though the information may be nice to know, the report often offers nothing about HOW to implement an action plan.

Check and see how affiliate payments are disbursed. Are they monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly? Is there a minimum volume that triggers a payment. Whatever the system, make sure you understand it thoroughly before you make your decision to join.

What is the commission rate? Some affiliate programs offer a 25% commission. while others offer 75%. Some may pay a fraction of a percent on certain offerings. Generally you can get that information if you go through Clickbank or Paydotcom but make sure to get that information up front before you sign up.

See whether the affiliate offers tracking information to oversee what the conversion rate is for incoming prospects. You also want to know the number of impressions and click throughs that are being generated by your campaign. This is important because some programs pay for impressions and click throughs.

Finally, see if the program is a single tier or double tier system. A one tier pays you for the business you send to the program. A double tier pays you for the business generated by someone you have referred to the program.

These are some of the important points to understand when selecting an affiliate program. Asking the right questions up front can ensure that you will have a very prosperous experience.