In 1999, as many of the dot-coms crashed, a new form of consumer marketing was taking hold on the Internet. Web marketers, hungry to drive sales on e-commerce sites, launched affiliate networks that represented leading advertisers such as BMG, Blockbuster, NetFlix, Discover Card and hundreds of others in what is known as “affiliate marketing.”
As affiliate networks grew, they provided savvy marketers with the opportunity to earn big commissions by generating sales for advertisers through the marketing of free gift sites online.
Part of the appeal of this type of marketing lies in its simplicity: It lets anyone with a presence on the Web promote and sell goods online and get paid a commission by the advertiser for sales generated. This opportunity affords nearly limitless venues for promotion and marketing, access to an instant sales force of thousands and no out-of-pocket media costs for advertisers.
One example is NetFree Direct LLC, which owns and operates the rewards site NetFreeCity.com. Through the site, consumers obtain gifts such as $300 gas cards redeemable at gas stations nationwide, PlayStation and other game consoles, flat-screen...