In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy.[10] By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking.[11] In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.[12]
Besonders lukrativ ist die Vermittlung von dauerhaften Kunden. Wenn ich z.B. Personen an einen Online-Service vermittle und diese dort dauerhafte Kunden werden (z.B. bei einem Newsletter-Service eine monatliche Gebühr zahlen), dann erhalte ich auch dauerhaft eine kleine Provision, so lange die geworbe Person dort Kunde bleibt. Das nennt man Lifetime-Vergütung.
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