Affiliate Or Reseller? Which Option Serves You Best?

If you are looking to make extra income it can be effective to act as an affiliate or a reseller of a third party business. But which will suit you best and what are the differences between an affiliate scheme and a reseller programme?

Affiliate Scheme

successful mobile marketing campaignsIn an affiliate scheme you are usually paid a commission on sales resulting from leads you provide to the supplier of the service you are an affiliate for. These days this typically involves sending visitors to the supplier’s website, tagged in some way to tie them to you as an affiliate. If a sale results it is credited to you and commission paid according to an agreed formula.

You might generate these leads simply by including a banner or some other kind of advertisement on your own website that your visitors use to click through to the supplier’s site. Or you might have a whole page or even section on your site that promotes their service or you couldĀ even run an email or mailshot campaign to your user base recommending this service from your “partner”.

In many instances the supplier of the affiliate service will provide you with graphics, advertising copy and so forth to help you do this. They will also give you access to a control panel that will show how successful your efforts have been both in terms of leads and the orders achieved through them.

Apart from providing the initial leads you have nothing to do with the process. The supplier follows up the leads, closes the sale, delivers the goods or service and provides support and after sales service.

Reseller Status

As a reseller you take a bigger slice of the sales cake but in return have more work to do.

As a reseller you buy goods or services from the supplier at a given price and sell them on to your customers at a price of your choosing. Unlike an affiliate you take control of the entire cycle of lead generation, sales, delivery and after sales service. A reseller is much the same as a franchisee in reality.

It can be very tempting to favour being a reseller over affiliate status because of the higher earnings potential but do not underestimate the work and responsibility this brings.

To highlight the differences I am going to use Fastsms, a leading SMS messaging provider, to share a couple of scenarios where they work with affiliates and resellers.


Fastsms provide a comprehensive range of services for SMS messaging. They have thousands of customers ranging from personal users through to large multinationals. All kinds of industries use SMS messaging, including but not limited to:

  • Marketing and Media
  • Event Management
  • Financial Services
  • Property
  • Retail
  • Transport and Logistics
  • Education
  • Government
  • Charities

Fastsms Reseller Programme

The most common candidate for a Fastsms Reseller might be a telephony company already offering telephone, fax and maybe email services; or an IT support company offering network services, web hosting and email. For them the Fastsms service is easily understood, sits alongside their existing services and uses existing sales and support skills.

They would take the Fastsms platform “re-skinned” to match their existing branding. They would supply their own sales and support resource with 2nd level support from Fastsms. They get a new product to sell without any significant development cost or delay.

[more about Fastsms Reseller Programme]

Fastsms Affiliate Scheme

The affiliate scheme is ideal for anyone not geared up to provide sales and support services for Fastsms but who has the ability to generate sales leads for SMS text messaging services.

Let’s imagine you are a happy user of Fastsms and so confident enough to recommend that service to your client base. You might include a link from your website to the Fastsms site and that might generate a few leads.

A better approach might be to draw up a dedicated email to your users or even an article in a newsletter recommending the Fastsms service. Your clients might even already be benefiting from your use of SMS and receptive to emulating your messaging service.

The great advantage here is that there is no work for you to do other than generate the leads. You already know that Fastsms provide a great product with superb backup so you can be confident your clients will be glad they followed your advice.

[more about Affiliate Scheme]

To summarise the differences between being a reseller or an affiliate. A reseller has more control, more margin and more work. An affiliate has control over who he refers, a generous commission but less than a reseller and no responsibility for sales or support.

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