Since the late 90s digital affiliate marketing has grown to a big industry, in 2016 US-based retailers have spent $4.7 billion on affiliate marketing. According to estimates by 2021 the affiliate marketing industry will grow to $6.8 billion. Not surprisingly, given the size of the sector, there are a lot of different affiliate marketing companies operating in various market segments.


In the case of promoting consumer products, like tools, books, toys and household items, the biggest affiliate network, by far, is Amazon. Amazon Associates affiliate program lets you promote any item that is sold on their platform. Amazon Associates is Amazon’s affiliate marketing program that allows website owners and bloggers to create links and earn referral fees when customers click through and buy products from Amazon. It’s completely free to join and easy to use.
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I clicked on a number of products to see where it took me. It does appear that the products are connected to Amazon but one would never know it since the product that shows is not the same as the listing on Amazon.. I have started a site using Amazon Affiliate products and when a visitor clicks on a product on my site it takes them to the product listing on Amazon which looks totally differenet than the Gear Patrol listings.
In short, both the affiliate marketer and the merchant will benefit in this program as the merchant will sell more goods and the affiliate marketer will get a commission for every product bought through his/her website.  Many affiliate marketers earn a nice monthly income from selling other peoples’ products!  Later, YOU TOO could be producing your very own products and collaborating with one of the top 10 affiliate programs below to enlist an army of bloggers and website owners to help you become financially free.
In the case of promoting consumer products, like tools, books, toys and household items, the biggest affiliate network, by far, is Amazon. Amazon Associates affiliate program lets you promote any item that is sold on their platform. Amazon Associates is Amazon’s affiliate marketing program that allows website owners and bloggers to create links and earn referral fees when customers click through and buy products from Amazon. It’s completely free to join and easy to use.
So it’s awesome to hear you’re out there promoting other programs. When it comes to those in-house programs, I absolutely agree. One reason I think they’re incredibly lucrative is just the flexibility that you have with them. You’ll usually be dealing with decision makers that can make special changes to their funnel to meet your website needs even better. I’ve known affiliates that have even helped these in-house programs with their CRO to get better conversions. Definitely not the kind of access you’re going to get with the Amazon Associates program
Affiliate marketing programs typically work by having the merchant handle all the logistics involved in selling products or services, processing customer orders and payments, and shipping merchandise—all while the affiliate sits back and collects a commission for each agreed-upon action completed by the visitors the affiliate sends to the merchant’s website via an affiliate link. As long as the affiliate has done her homework and chosen a trustworthy affiliate program, she needn’t worry about non-payment.

Hey there, I’m Mahesh (@maheshone). I started learning and doing and experimenting web 2.0 stuff back in 2004 and eventually became a full-time computer nerd after graduation. Minterest is a digital marketing and technology journal that I founded in 2007 to feed my super curiosity (oh yeah, I’m a solo-blogger). I write about tech, marketing, and everything in between that excites me. And I love to work with small businesses to help them get the most out of the web. Outside of that, I'm equally passionate about the financial markets and I also spend a lot of time doing random things (see random facts about me). Say hi: @maheshone. Read More »
Nice to read your article. There is a common question among the e-commerce sellers that is whether they can use Amazon affiliate links on facebook ads. Facebook has no problems if we use affiliate links in ads, but Amazon can disapprove it and might shut down us. We can use affiliate links inside the page posts or other page content without issue until we don’t try to boost those posts. For running ads and getting affiliate commission, what others do is send advertising traffic to a landing page on where people can click to buy the product on Amazon and that second click uses an affiliate link. That’s the safest way to go about this.

Being in Australia, I’m not required to do anything by the law (although I hear talk that there may be changes around this). I don’t disclose every single Amazon link on my photography blog in a direct way but do I have a disclaimer/disclosure page on the blog. When I’m doing a ‘best seller list’ always include a disclaimer on those posts as the whole page is filled with affiliate links. I have also written numerous times on DPS about how the links to Amazon earn us money and help the site to keep growing and be free.


Awesome list! and great tips. Except one thing… There are a few products that Amazon won’t pay you commissions on, mostly electronics. there’s a list they have somewhere outlining them. They aren’t very many on the list but they are some of the hottest products in the market now. I think Amazon’s affiliate program gets worse every year. But luckily there are other options out there.
The best review sites (like BestReviews.com buy them all independently and test them without bias) but anyway, you could always review products you already own and use (recommended) or just not focus on product reviews at all, it's just one of 1000's of ways to make money as you should be able to see from the post that shares endless examples of ways people make money other than reviewing products.
Yep. I’m back again lol. Started making SOME money on my website – about $150 per month. I started in May, I write 3-5 posts PER day, sometimes more if I feel up to it, but I know with the 3-5 posts I am doing a lot more than a lot of others lol. However, in the beginning I DID link images to the amazon product. Then I just decided it was too much work (because it is when you do it manually), but I think I might make that change, starting this month and try it for another 4 months and see if it increases my income.

Since they are a large company that has been around for some time, CJ Affiliate’s interface and platform are extensive and easy to navigate. For more advanced or “premier” publishers, CJ Affiliate also offers the CJ Performer Program (CJP), which boasts the potential of $10,000 per month in commissions. It is free to sign up and get started with CJ Affiliate.
To talk about best affiliate programs my friend, I just started an Instagram page and testing the waters to see how effective it is long term. I did use IG mildly in the past to promote an affiliate program and made “some money.” But back then, I wasn’t really laser focused on “Instagram marketing for business.” Now that I’m changing my way of thinking and exploring new avenues for cost free promotion of affiliate programs and content, I’m striving to leverage Instagram and some platforms to realize my affiliate commission potential. Thanks again for a thought provoking post on “recurring affiliate commissions.”
It's especially true now that the big media players are finally waking up to affiliate marketing (NYTime buying WireCutter and SweetHome) and BestReviews (which was already an epic product review site in it's self due to the fact they built their own 10,000 sq ft testing lab) being acquired by Tronc (owns the LA Times and half a dozen more publications).
eBay Partner Network is an affiliate program run by eBay. It offers affiliates an opportunity to profit on 1,1 billion listings the platform hosts. eBay is one of the oldest online commerce sites and it allows the eBay Partner Network to leverage all this long history and established reputation to offer a top-notch affiliate marketing service to affiliates to profit with.

Because 2Checkout exclusively sells software and digital products, it is best suited for established influencers whose target audience is interested in buying products in this niche. But while you won’t find any physical products for sale, 2Checkout is probably the market leader in selling software of every type, including very specific use case items (like software that can convert Microsoft Word documents to PDF, for instance).
I am new to this website and the funny thing is that l was looking for an objective analysis on starting an Amazon affiliate site. Your review on this issue is the BEST that i have ever seen in the last 3 years. This article was a joy to read. It was detailed, honest and very hard hitting especially when you are trying to get readers to understand that they MUST diversify their traffic sources and STOP relying on getting to first page on Google. As a result of reading your article l am changing my digital marketing services, affiliate marketing and , e-commerce strategy. I look forward to hearing new and innovative ideas from you on internet marketing. Keep up the great work!!!
If you’re primarily going to be promoting Amazon products it’s important to choose a set of products that has a relatively high price point. After all, it’s hard to make a solid income off of promoting $1-5 products, since the commission on Amazon is so low. Items that have a higher price point, like high end appliances, furniture, BBQs, blenders and juicers, or bikes can net you over $50 a sale at least.
Most of the traffic for your affiliate website will come from product related searches, and product reviews. Generally, these will be more long-tail terms such as, “Blendtec 570 vs Vitamix 5300”, or “greenworks mower vs black and decker”. The traffic coming from keywords like these will be very targeted, as the searcher has the intention to purchase something.
Tell your email list about it. If you have an engaged email list, and I hope you do, it will almost always outperform a blog post. You may choose to (sparingly) write a dedicated email about something you love, or just link to it as it fits naturally within your story. Or, add a P.S. to the bottom of your email if you have a special sale or coupon code to share.
Also referred as Commission Junction, CJ is a large affiliate network offer affiliate programs for a wide range of popular and well-established organizations. This program acts as the intermediary between the merchants who will provide the products to sell and the affiliates who will do the marketing. This program is very advantageous as it provides very many affiliate programs at the same place.

Ama, you mentioned the “refund rate” in your article but I believe that need a bit more explanation. Let’s take a down-to-earth example. We recently launched an affiliate campaign for our online coffee shop and got an affiliate who sent us a customer. The customer makes a $100 purchase. The affilite gets his $5. Soon a refund is requested (the client wanted a decaf coffee, for example). How do we deal with the $5 that we sent to the affiliate. What I expect is that we need to state the refund period (say, 7 days) and the affiliate money are released only after those 7 days. Is that correct?

Hello Clicky! In terms of connecting with affiliate marketers, a good place to start would be the major affiliate networks in your niche. Two examples off the top of my head are http://www.uk.cj.com/ and https://freshpress.media/ – these sites are heavily used by affiliates but you’ll want to make sure you have great visibility when people are searching for affiliate programs in your niche. A great way to do this is to find out what the top business in your niche is doing in terms of their affiliate offer and match with something similar. Another way of attracting affiliates is to perform some market research and find out the top blogs in your niche, then reach out to the owners with a delicious affiliate program deal they cannot refuse. In terms of logo’s and banner ads, most affiliate don’t really use them anymore (from my own experiences). But again, I would research everything before making any decisions. Hope this helps!
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