In other words, affiliate marketing is a kind of cost-per-action (CPA) advertising. The publisher makes nothing for highlighting a partner’s product on their site, and they make nothing for getting a visitor to click through to that site. The commission is only earned when a sale is completed.
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what.  You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.
It comes down to experimenting with the tools and seeing what works best with your audience. If you’ve used some of these widgets I’d love to see examples of where you’ve had them work for you – please share links in comments below so we can all learn!
hi finch, looking to start in the affiliate marketing just as extra income for an engineer student who still has papers to clear, and time to invest. my comfort zone shouldnt be above 100, because i dont have any money to invest in this. So where should i start?
I don’t have the exact statistics, but among all the top selling affiliate sites I researched on Flippa and dozens of others that I found during research for my previous NicheHacks post, hardly 10% were actively building email lists or growing their social media following.
I totally get where you’re coming from. I’ve had similar experiences and I’ve also learned the hard way. There are a whole lot of people who can do marketing and sales. There are much fewer truly excellent teachers. 😉
Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as “thin affiliates”.[30] Such websites were either removed from Google’s index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.
“Working with the Rakuten Marketing Search team has enabled us to collaborate with industry experts and Kenshoo to test the latest developments and product features. This has been a key partner in our e-commerce program and we look forward to continued success in 2017.”
The choices I’ve listed above are the affiliate networks that I’m most familiar with. Most I use today or have used in the past. It’s hardly a complete list of all the good affiliate networks that are out there since there are so many. If you would like to share a network that you really like working with please list it in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
As one of the biggest affiliate networks, Clickbank represents physical products as well as digital downloads. Be sure to research and test potential affiliate products the best you can before signing on. There’s a lot of junk on Clickbank, but there are high quality products as well.
Great article, and so true. Amazon has built a monster brand that they have to protect and with their extensive T/C a site is going to be in violation at some point. Let’s be real, Amazon really does not need affiliate sites anyway, when I want something I usually go directly there anyway and read customer review.
To drive engagement and retention with their increasing site traffic, luxury brand Cariloha leveraged display retargeting strategies across Facebook and traditional inventory to drive sales of its eco-friendly bamboo products. The results of this campaign showed that:
You don’t want to promote things unrelated to the content your audience is used to getting from you. It’s jarring and can decrease their trust in you. And without trust, your affiliate income will dry up.
A way to communicate with people (like a blog, not social media). Sometimes this is called a platform. It might be a blog, a website, an email list or some other online presence where people listen to what you have to say.
One of the most common criticisms I hear about the Amazon’s Affiliate program is that there are just too many small commissions. Getting a commission of a small percentage on a $15 book just doesn’t cut it for many people.  Some people use this to justify not using Amazon at all while others just promote big-ticket items.
Private Jet Charters are exploding right now as commercial air travel gets more regulated and troublesome. Affluent people are choosing to rent an entire aircraft instead of individual seats and… (more…)
Restrictions & consequences. Many affiliate programs have notoriously vague terms and conditions (I’m looking at you Amazon) and yet publishers are always responsible for knowing & following them. If you don’t, you can get kicked out of a program without warning which can obviously hurt your bottom line.
While your site is still new, it’s a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else’s audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 
Affiliate marketing is a business that requires self-motivation and focus. For many of us, these are learned skills. Once you are aware of the the mistakes that can cause a lack of profits and productivity, you will be better able to grow your business and be profitable long-term.
An Intermediate affiliate may drop a level after losing his best campaign, while the Affiliate Apprentice can turn Top Doggy Baller overnight if he stumbles in to an unsaturated niche and makes it pay (a daily occurrence in 2009, rare in 2013).
“Working with Rakuten Marketing has been very rewarding for our brand. They go above and beyond to provide opportunities to gain market insights, new customer data and strategy optimizations that aid us in ensuring our omnichannel marketing efforts are effective. With each learning we see growth in our campaigns.”
^ Spam Recognition Guide for Raters Archived 2007-07-03 at the Wayback Machine. (Word document) supposedly leaked out from Google in 2005. The authenticity of the document was neither acknowledged nor challenged by Google.
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Reversal rates are generally in the low single digits; it’s standard for about 1% of transactions to be reversed. If you see offers with extremely high reversal rates, that could be a red flag. It doesn’t mean you should necessarily stay away, but it’s worth understanding why so many transactions are returned. For example, there’s something strange going on with this merchant:
Assuming you’re already emailing your list on a regular basis — for example, every Tuesday, every two weeks, etc. — you can also run occasional promotions where you email your readers more frequently.
Wow! This is a great article, thank you for sharing! You have provided us with so many great tips and such a great amount of information on affiliate marketing, it is a great resource for those who are completely overwhelmed with all the different parts of the industry.
Note: the key with these ‘best seller’ lists is to drive traffic to them. Two ways to do this is to prominently link to these pages from within your blog plus linking to them from within other posts. This second method means your post doesn’t just convert for a day or two.
The next two items were things I promoted but the next 8 were things that people bought in number by themselves without me promoting them at all. To me, knowing which items people buy without my prompting is GOLD!
2. Watch for Opportunities – earlier in this guide I mentioned that you could tap into a number of promotions Amazon on their site. Some of these are promote directly to their affiliates. For example, they send out emails to affiliates semi-regularly, promoting their latest promotions. They also have a blog where they do likewise.
Some people remember the 1990’s as a tremendous period of growth for grunge music and Jim Carrey films. While this is true, most people will probably tell you the 90’s were responsible for this big, beautiful, technology called the World Wide Web (aka the internet, the web, the vast digital ocean of information at our finger tips). And with any new technology or media, companies quickly realized they had a new opportunity to market their products and services to consumers via the millions of websites they visit every day.
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This is a fantastic article that has made me sit up and think. I have built a Amazon niche site with 75 pages, good useful content as well as review pages. 18 months in and I’m earning practically nothing from it.
A lot of the companies I want to feature on my site aren’t on affiliate networking platforms. Ive been reaching out asking if they would let me sell their stuff on my website with links but I’m not sure how much is safe to ask for for each purchase made through clicking on the link I provide. I’ve done a little research and 15-20% seemed like a safe starting point. What do you think?
If your expectations are such that you are delighted with an extra $100/day, then fuck anybody who tells you to throw down $10,000 on a costly media buy. POF is a brilliant low-level traffic source (with a few Intermediate exceptions who rely on economies of scope) and you need never risk your coat.
Perhaps this is because I carefully choose the products I promote or because I often promote these links in posts based upon reader feedback. I can think of less than 10 occasions when I’ve had people on my photography site question the links. In fact, as I said above, I’ve had more people give positive feedback about them than anything.
It’s a good program! I experienced their best commission per sale ($2000) and make some bucks each month using them. My site is not in the e-commerce niche. So, help your readers and make a profit at the same time!
Some topics will naturally fit with Amazon better than others. In the end, it comes down to the fact that Amazon is a product related affiliate program so it only works when people buy stuff. If your blog is on a topic that doesn’t have any natural connection to people buying stuff it is going to be an uphill battle.
Affiliate networks that already have several advertisers typically also have a large pool of publishers. These publishers could be potentially recruited, and there is also an increased chance that publishers in the network apply to the program on their own, without the need for recruitment efforts by the advertiser.
In order to make money from affiliate marketing, you need to convert a visitor to your site to a paying customer for your merchant partner(s). Obviously, the more visitors you have (i.e., the greater the traffic to your site), the more chances you have to make an affiliate referral.

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