The Internet brings with it a language all its own.
This glossary explains the meaning of the terms most commonly used.
Many of these definitions rely on other terms for their explanation. Terms defined elsewhere are in italics.
Adware: Also known as “spyware”, a program hidden within free downloaded software that transmits user information via the Internet to advertisers.
Affiliate: A web site owner that promotes a merchant’s products and/or services earns a commission for referring clicks, leads, or sales.
Affiliate Agreement: Terms that govern the relationship between a merchant and an affiliate.
Affiliate Network: Acts as an intermediary between affiliates and merchants, allowing affiliates to source relevant programs quickly and often provide one-click application to new merchants.
Affiliate Program: Any arrangement through which a merchant pays a commission to an affiliate for generating clicks, leads, or sales from links located on the affiliate’s site. Also know as associate, partner, referral, and revenue sharing programs.
Affiliate Program Directory: Information about a collection of affiliate programs. May include information about commission rate, number of affiliates, and commission structure.
Affiliate Program Manager: The person responsible for administering an affiliate program. Duties should include maintaining regular contact with affiliates, program marketing and responding to queries about the program.
Affiliate Solution Provider: Company that provides the software and services to administer an affiliate program.
Affiliate URL or Link: Special code in a graphic or text link that identifies a visitor as having arrived from a specific affiliate site.
Applet: A small Java program embedded in an HTML page.
Associate: Synonym for affiliate.
Autoresponder: An email robot that sends replies automatically, without human intervention. This is an important tool for conducting online commerce.
Bandwidth: How many bits-per-second are sent through a connection. A full page of text is about 16,000 bits.
Banner Ad: Advertising in the form of a graphic image.
Blog: Acronym for ‘web log,’ a blog is basically a journal that is published using an online content management system. The act of updating a blog is referred to as ‘blogging’ and those who keep blogs, are known as ‘bloggers.’
Browser: A program that allows you to access and read hypertext documents on the World Wide Web.
CAN-SPAM: The CAN-SPAM Act established national standards (in the United States) for the sending of commercial e-mail. The acronym CAN-SPAM stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing”.
Chargeback: An incomplete or invalid sales transaction that results in an affiliate commission deduction.
Clickthrough: When a user clicks on a link and arrives at a Web site.
ClickThrough Ratio (CTR): Percentage of visitors who click through to a merchant’s Web site.
Cloaking: Hiding of page code content.
Commission: Also known as a bounty or referral fee, the income an affiliate is paid for generating a sale, lead or click-through to a merchant’s web site.
Co-branding: Where affiliates are able include their own logo and/or colors on the merchant’s site.
Contextual Link: Placement of affiliate links within related text.
Conversion: When one of your visitors makes a purchase on the merchant’s site, i.e., converts from ‘visitor’ to ‘buyer.’
Conversion Rate: The percentage of visits to your site that convert to a sale. For example, if 1 person in every hundred visitors to your site makes a purchase, then your conversion rate is 1:100 or 1 percent.
Contextual Advertising: Advertising on a Web site that is targeted to the specific individual who is visiting the Web site. For example, if the user is viewing a site about travel, and the site uses contextual advertising, the user might see ads for travel-related companies, such as luggage stores or airline ticket sellers.
Cookie: A cookie is a piece of information sent by a Web Server to a Web Browser that the Browser software is expected to save and to send back to the Server whenever the browser makes additional requests from the Server. You may set your browser to either accept or not accept cookies. Cookies can contain user preferences, login or registration information, and/or “shopping cart” information. When a cookied browser sends a request to a Server, the Server uses the information to return customized information.
Cost per Acquisition (CPA): The amount you pay to acquire a customer.
Cost per Click (CPC): The amount you pay when a surfer clicks on one of your listings.
Cost Per Thousand (CPM): The amount you pay per 1,000 impressions of a banner or button.
Creative: The promotional tools advertisers use to draw in users. Examples are text links, towers, buttons, badges, email copy, pop-ups, etc.
Demographics: The physical characteristics of a population such as age, sex, marital status, family size, education, geographic location, and occupation.
Disclaimer: A disclaimer states the terms under which the site or work may be used and gives information relating to what the copyright owner believes to be a breach of his/her/their copyright. In some cases you may wish to permit certain activities, in others you may wish to withhold all rights, or require the user to apply for a license to carry out certain actions.
Disclosure Statement: A statement acknowledging that compensation is received for product endorsements and/or sales.
Domain Name: The unique name that identifies an Internet site; comprised of two or more parts and separated by dots.
Doorway Page: See Gateway page.
Download: Transferring a file from another computer to your own.
Email: Electronic mail, a message sent to another Internet user across the Internet. An email address looks like this email@example.com, whereas, “jimsmith” is your user name, your unique identifier; “@” stands for “at;” ” bubblee.com” is the name of your Internet Service Provider.
Email Link: An affiliate link to a merchant site contained in an email newsletter or signature file.
Email Signature (Sig File): A brief message embedded at the end of every email that a person sends.
EPC: Term used by the Commission Junction affiliate network, this is your average earnings per 100 clicks. This number is calculated by taking commissions earned divided by the total number of clicks times 100.
eZine: Short for ‘electronic magazine.’
File Transfer Protocol (FTP): The most common method for moving files between computers, servers and Internet sites.
Fire Wall: Hardware and/or software used to separate a LAN into two or more parts for security purposes.
Flame: Derogatory comment.
Forum: An online discussion board.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Lists and answers the most common questions asked on a particular subject. Generally posted to avoid having to answer the same question repeatedly.
Graphic Interchange Format (GIF): An image file format, suitable for simple files. A JPEG is the preferred format for storing photographs.
Google AdSense: A way for webmasters to earn money by displaying targeted Google ads on their websites. You earn when users visit your website and click on or view the ads on your pages, depending on the type of ad. Visit Google AdSense
Google AdWords: AdWords offers pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and site-targeted advertising for both text and banner ads. The AdWords program includes local, national, and international distribution. Visit Google AdWords.
Google Analytics: (Abbreviated GA) is a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. Its main highlight is that the product is aimed at marketers as opposed to webmasters and technologists from which the industry of web analytics originally grew. GA can track visitors from all referrers, including search engines, display advertising, pay-per-click networks, email marketing and digital collateral such as links within PDF documents. Visit Google Analytics
Hit: A hit is a single request from for a single item on a web server. To load a page with 5 graphics would count as 6 ‘hits,’ 1 for the page plus 1 for each of the graphics. Hits are therefore a poor measurement of traffic to a web site.
Home Page: Your primary page, the first page anyone would see in your Web site. Also called a “landing page.”
Hybrid Model: A commission model that combines different payment methods.
Hype (Hyperbole): A deliberate exaggeration for emotional effect. The addressee is not expected to have a literal understanding of the expression.
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML): The primary “language” that World Wide Web documents are created in.
Impression: An advertising metric that indicates how many times an advertising link is displayed.
In-house Affiliate Program: Merchant that administers its own affiliate program.
Internet Service Provider (ISP): The company you call from your computer to gain access to the Internet.
IP Address: A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. 22.214.171.124. Every machine on the Internet has a unique IP address.
Joint Venture: A general partnership typically formed to undertake a particular business transaction or project rather than one intended to continue indefinitely.
Keyword: The term that a surfer types into a search engine search box. For example, someone who wants to find a site that sells printer paper might enter ‘printer paper’ at Google.
Keyword Density: The ratio between the keyword being searched for and the total number of words appearing on your web page. If your keyword occurs only once in a page that has twenty thousand words, then it has a density of 0.005 percent.
Lifetime Commissions: Programs that pay affiliates for each sale a shopper from their sites makes at the merchant’s site over the life of the customer.
Lifetime Value: The total amount that a customer will spend with a particular company during his or her lifetime.
Link: A link is a “clickable” object that, when clicked, will take the viewer to a particular page, place on a page, or start a new e-mail with an address you specify.
Link Popularity: The total number of qualified Web sites linking to your Web site.
Manual Approval: Process in which all applicants for an affiliate program are reviewed individually and manually approved.
Merchant: A business that markets and sells goods or services.
Merchant Account: A commercial bank account established by contractual agreement between your business and a bank. A merchant account enables your business to accept credit card payments from your customers.
Meta Tags: Information placed in the header of an HTML page, which is not visible to site visitors.
Modulator/Demodulator (MODEM): The card that allows your computer to connect to the phone line and communicate with other computers.
Multi-Level Marketing (MLM): Also known as Network Marketing, MLM involves the sale of products through a group of independent distributors who buy wholesale, sell retail, and sponsor other people to do the same.
Newsgroup: A newsgroup is a discussion that takes place online, devoted to a particular topic. The discussion takes the form of electronic messages called “postings” that anyone with a newsreader (standard with most browsers) can post or read.
Netscape: Makers of the Netscape Navigator browser.
Newbie: Someone who is new to the Internet or Internet marketing.
Pay-Per-Sale (PPS): Programs in which the affiliate receives a commission for each sale of a product or service that they refer to a merchant’s web site.
Pay-Per-Lead (PPL): An affiliate program in which an affiliate receives a commission for each sales lead that they generate for a merchant web site. Examples include completed surveys, contest or sweepstakes entries, downloaded software demos, or free trials.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC): An advertising payment model where the advertiser pays only when the advertisement is actually clicked. Also, an affiliate program where an affiliate receives a commission for each click (visitor) they refer to a merchant’s web site.
Portable Document Format (PDF): PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It’s a distribution format developed by Adobe Corporation to allow electronic information to be transferred between various types of computers. The software that allows this transfer is called Acrobat.
Profit: The amount of money you earn from your sales. For example, if you sell 10 videos at $47.00 each, and each costs $10 to produce and ship, your profit would be $37.00 per video or $370.00 total.
Plugin: A small piece of software that adds features to a larger piece of software.
Portal: A term used to describe a Web site that is intended to be used as a main “point of entry” to the Web, i.e., MSN.com is a portal site.
Publisher: Another term for ‘affiliate.’
Real Simple Syndication (RSS): An XML-based format for syndicated content.
Referring URL: The URL a user came from to reach your site.
Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS): How much revenue is generated per amount spent on an advertising method.
Return on Investment (ROI): This is the amount derived from subtracting your net revenues from your total costs.
Revenue: Total income for your sales. For example, if you sell 50 ebooks at $27.00 each, your revenue would be $1350.00.
Robots: Any browser program not directly under human control that follows hypertext links and accesses Web pages. A search engine spider is a ‘robot.’
Scumware: Software that contains additional ‘features’ for the purpose of displaying advertisements. This software will modify web pages from their original content to put ads on the user’s computer screen. Examples of scumware propagators included: Gator, Ezula, Surf+ and Imesh.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM): A form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs) through the use of paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results as opposed to search engine marketing (SEM) which deals with paid inclusion.
Search Engine Ranking: The position of a site on a particular search engine. Typically search engine users visit only high ranking sites, so a high position is important.
Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs): A search engine results page, or SERP, is the listing of web pages returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query.
Search Volume (Monthly): The approximate average monthly number of search queries matching each keyword result. For example, the Global Monthly search volume shown by Google for the keyword phrase “online dating” was 2,740,000 in October 2009.
Secure Server: A secure server allows a connection between itself and another secure server. Secured connections provide three essential things where online transactions are concerned: privacy, authentication, & message integrity. When viewing Web pages or posting information to a secure server, you’ll notice that the “http://” that usually appears in the Web address bar changes to “https://.” Also, on most Web browsers, the symbol of a closed padlock should appear somewhere in the browser’s frame as an indicator that you are using a secure connection.
Server: The computer hardware that stores your homepage and sends and receives information through the World Wide Web.
Sig (Signature File or Sig Line): Your signature at the end of an email or Usenet posting. Commonly consist of your email address and other contact information, very brief information about your business, and perhaps a favorite quotation or funny phrase.
Social Media Marketing (SMM): Using social media sites such as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook to promote products online.
SPAM: The term “spam” is Internet slang that refers to unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE) or unsolicited bulk e-mail (UBE). Some people refer to this kind of communication as junk e-mail to equate it with the paper junk mail that comes through the US Mail. Unsolicited e-mail is e-mail that you did not request; it most often contains advertisements for services or products.
Spyware – Also known as “adware”, a program hidden within free downloaded software that transmits user information via the Internet to advertisers.
SQL (Structured Query Language): A programming language for sending queries to databases.
Super Affiliate: The top 1 or 2% of affiliates that generate approximately 90% of any affiliate programs earnings.
Targeted Marketing: The process of distinguishing the different groups that make up a market, and developing appropriate products and marketing mixes for each target market involved.
Text Link: A link not accompanied by a graphical image.
Third Party Credit Card Processing: A ‘third party credit card processor’ is a company that accepts credit card orders on behalf of another company, making a merchant account unnecessary.
Third Party Tracking Software: Software located on a server other than your own, that tracks and records visits to your Web site.
Tracking Method: The method by which an affiliate program tracks referred sales, leads or clicks.
Tracking URL: A web site URL, e.g., http://bluehost.com, with your special code attached to it, i.e. http://www.bluehost.com/track/rgardner/CODE5 (track/rgardner/CODE5 is the tracking code). Visitors arriving at the site are tracked back to you through your special code, or ID.
Two-Tier: Affiliate program structure whereby affiliates earn commissions on their conversions as well as conversions of webmasters they refer to the program.
Unique: A unique visitor to your Web site. Probably the best indicator of site traffic.
Upload: Transferring a file from your computer to another computer.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL): The address of a site on the World Wide Web. Here’s an example URL:
The “http” stands for “hypertext transfer protocol”; “://” signals the beginning of the address; “101date.com” is the domain name; “/strong-relationships-are-good-for-your-health/” is the title of the blog post..
User Session: The session of activity for one user on a Web site.
Viral Marketing: Describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence. Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands, and even millions.
Virus: A computer virus is defined as a set of commands, created intentionally, that will do some level of damage to a computer. A computer virus does not float around in cyberspace, but is always attached to something. That ‘something’ could be a text file (MSWord document), an email, a photo, a music clip or a video clip. Your computer must receive one of these ‘carriers’ in order to get a computer virus.
Webmaster: The person at your Internet Service Provider who is responsible for maintaining the server. Also, any person who maintains a Web site.
Web 2.0: Web-based communities such as social-networking sites intended to facilitate user collaboration and sharing.
Web site: A collection of related web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that are addressed with a common domain name.
WhoisLookup:As part of domain name registration, the registrant is required to provide personal contact information, for example, his or her name, mailing address, and e-mail address. In addition, an administrative phone number and technical contact information, as well as the name server(s) if applicable, are included. Usually, this information is a matter of public record and is available in a WHOIS search to anyone who wants it. This means that you can use this system to ascertain whether a particular domain name is available are already in use.
Yahoo!: Best known for its web portal, search engine (Yahoo! Search), Yahoo! Directory, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! News, advertising, online mapping (Yahoo! Maps), office productivity, video sharing (Yahoo! Video), and social media websites and services.