In 2006, the most active sectors for affiliate marketing were the adult gambling, retail industries and file-sharing services.:149–150 The three sectors expected to experience the greatest growth are the mobile phone, finance, and travel sectors. Soon after these sectors came the entertainment (particularly gaming) and Internet-related services (particularly broadband) sectors. Also several of the affiliate solution providers expect to see increased interest from business-to-business marketers and advertisers in using affiliate marketing as part of their mix.:149–150
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.
Integral to these verticals and looking into the future are the game-changing IoT devices and connections. According to the WBA Alliance, there is a need to find a dynamic way for IoT devices to search for a computable network and automatically roam between Wi-Fi and mobile networks at scale without intervention. Additionally, interest in Wi-Fi advertising and location services is growing as service providers search for new ways to monetize Wi-Fi and generate new revenue streams. It’s also clear there is a growing awareness and acceptance among consumers that data on their location, movement and behavior can be exchanged for free Wi-Fi.
Although the number of connections is growing 2.4-fold, global M2M IP traffic will grow more than sevenfold over this same period, from 3.7 EB per month in 2017 (3 percent of global IP traffic) to more than 25 EB by 2022 (6 percent of global IP traffic; refer to Figure 12). The amount of traffic is growing faster than the number of connections because of the increase of deployment of video applications on M2M connections and the increased use of applications, such as telemedicine and smart car navigation systems, which require greater bandwidth and lower latency.
Anecdotal evidence supports the idea that overall use increases when speed increases, although there is often a delay between the increase in speed and the increased use, which can range from a few months to several years. The reverse can also be true with the burstiness associated with the adoption of tablets and smartphones, where there is a delay in experiencing the speeds that the devices can support. The Cisco VNI Forecast relates application bit rates to the average speeds in each country. Many of the trends in the resulting traffic forecast can be seen in the speed forecast, such as the high growth rates for developing countries and regions relative to more developed areas (Table 6).
Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.
The Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast methodology has been developed based on a combination of analyst projections, in-house estimates and forecasts, and direct data collection. The analyst projections for broadband connections, video subscribers, mobile connections, and Internet application adoption come from SNL Kagan, Ovum, IDC, Gartner, Ookla Speedtest.net, Strategy Analytics, Dell’Oro Group, Synergy, comScore, Nielsen, Maravedis, ACG Research, ABI Research, Media Partners Asia, IHS, International Telecommunications Union (ITU), CTIA, UN, telecommunications regulators, and others. Upon this foundation are layered Cisco’s own estimates for application adoption, minutes of use, and kilobytes per minute. The adoption, usage, and bit-rate assumptions are tied to fundamental enablers such as broadband speed and computing speed. All usage and traffic results are then validated using data shared with Cisco from service providers. Figure 28 shows the forecast methodology.
With the exception of short-form video and video calling, most forms of Internet video do not have a large upstream component. As a result, traffic is not becoming more symmetric, a situation that many expected when user-generated content first became popular. The emergence of subscribers as content producers is an extremely important social, economic, and cultural phenomenon, but subscribers still consume far more video than they produce. Upstream traffic has been slightly declining as a percentage for several years.