The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.
The downside is that Shopify is only appealing for people who have physical or digital products to sell and have a need to set up a Shopify store, including site hosting, payment processing, and all the other services offered by Shopify. This can significantly narrow the appeal for this affiliate program. But if you can distinguish yourself by educating people on how to use Shopify, how it can benefit their business, and/or make them money, you could potentially big money via the affiliate program. Add in the 2 x monthly fee commission rate, and landing just a few sales of their mid-tier and top-tier products can result in significant earnings.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.