In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.
Most affiliates have wizards of varying degrees of sophistication that will guide you through creating the links you want. Smashwords keeps things the simplest. Scroll down to the bottom of any of their book pages, and, if you’ve signed up for their affiliate program, you’ll see a link you can simply copy and paste (it’ll already have your affiliate ID embedded).
When using affiliate links, the blogger also has control over where these links appear and how they look. Brands that offer affiliate partnerships typically provide a range of banners and titles for affiliates to use and contact affiliates when they have new creative to promote special offers, events and sales. However, you can also include simple text links on your site and EDMs and direct links in your social media posts.