Because the site is ranking #1 in Google for this (and probably ranks very well for other related terms), they are probably making great money.  This is probably easily a $100 to $200 a day website.  That's right, I would not be surprised if this site was pulling in $3k to $6k or more each month.  In fact it could be more, but its hard to guess without knowing all the traffic they are receiving.
Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!
From what I’ve observed, most of the “programs” you’ve listed are networks, and most of them support dozens, hundreds, even thousands of merchants – in a huge variety of niches. Amazon is not technically a network, unless you factor in the presence of about a dozen entities like Zappos, Woot, Endless and the like. With very few exceptions, networks are diversified. Performance-Based.com focuses on eco and green merchants. Some support a particular locale – European merchants, for example.
Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience. 
Truth be told, many marketers don’t give affiliate marketing the respect and attention it deserves. This is partially because many marketers believe it’s synonymous with referral marketing, which is something they’re likely already doing. But the two terms are not interchangeable, and the differences are better understood once you learn how affiliate marketing programs work.

StudioPress is a WordPress hosting service and framework that is designed to make setting up and running a WordPress site much simpler and easier. StudioPress comes with its own unique themes and SEO tools, collectively known as the “Genesis framework.”. Their affiliate program is solely for referrals to pay for a StudioPress framework account or buying a StudioPress theme. Previously, the affiliate program also included web hosting, but this is now managed separately by StudioPress’s owner, WPEngine.
When it comes to ranking well in Google, generally Google will give your site preferential treatment on certain topics, once it's figured out what your website is about. Sites that cover such a broad variety of topics don't tend to rank as well as sites that are niched down, unless you have an amazing backlink profile and a really big budget.  Since TheWireCutter is owned by New York Times, they have the budget to test new products, and have the authority to get linked to by any other web properties owned by the New York Times.  If you niche down to a specific audience, it's far more likely that Google will favor your content over a larger site when it comes to that audience.  OutdoorGearLab.com has done exactly that by only focusing on outdoor gear reviews.  I am guessing that they also have a large budget, and have built a very successful affiliate business as a result.  Plus it's a great looking site with lots of excellent information.  
I’ve actually never even considered affiliate marketing for my blog… You’ve definitely given me some things to think about. I definitely think My blog should be more established (more traffic, followers, etc) before I would want to make that kind of charge… I’m still learning so much, I don’t want to overdo it by taking my blog to another level. Plus since my traffic isn’t super high, it wouldn’t be beneficial to me just yet. Great info Margot!
GOOD - Affiliate Links to all products are in the description of the video. TechDeals often refers to their video description links, pointing users in the direction of where they can get their hands on the products. He even uses NewEgg Affiliate, to give users a price comparison between the same product- but still earning a commission on either site.
Best Reviews is a website that does exactly what the domain name claims.  They offer extremely detailed and in-depth reviews of certain products, and make sure to showcase that their reviewers have their brand showcased to ensure the reader builds an established trust factor with the website.  This is a very smart move for any type of reviews based website.  If you can take your own pictures, and show your readers you have actual experience with the products, there's a good chance your reader will identify with your content and be more likely to convert to a buyer once they've gone to Amazon or another online resource to purchase their product.
Education occurs most often in "real life" by becoming involved and learning the details as time progresses. Although there are several books on the topic, some so-called "how-to" or "silver bullet" books instruct readers to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become out of date,[37] or suggest strategies no longer endorsed or permitted by advertisers.[38]
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.[4][5]
Affiliate networks have a lot to offer merchants. Take, for example, the concept of a placement marketplace. This is a sort of platform that exists for both merchants and affiliates, helping them find each other. An affiliate program can automate processes such as posting opportunities, finding affiliates, tracking their sales, and paying for clicks and leads. This ensures busy merchants and vendors don’t stiff affiliates or make mistakes on their paychecks.
It can be published as a book, and other people have already suggested what to include into ‘part 2’. As someone who has been asked by other people wanting to promote my products/serviced, I’d love to read about the merchant’s side of AM, e.g. various software that can be used, how to choose affiliate partners, what to include in the agreement, etc.
Affiliate marketing is a highly profitable online advertising method in which website merchants pay independent third parties to promote the products or services of an advertiser on their Web site. In other words, affiliate marketing involves posting a company s banner on your Web site or blog and attempting to send visitors to their Web site. If someone clicks on that banner or goes to that site and buys something, you will be paid a commission. While some affiliates pay only when a sale is made, some selling big ticket items like cars, credit cards, travel, and so forth have modified the model and pay for qualified leads. Affiliate marketing is now viewed as a key component of a company's online marketing strategy.
Some affiliate products won’t have their affiliate information so readily available. If you can’t find an affiliates link on the product page try to the ClickBank Marketplace, and you should be able to find the product you’re looking for. For example if we try the keyword "Muscle" we'll see all the usual suspects. If we scroll down the page a little we can see another of the affiliate's recommended products “Muscle Gaining Secrets” you can see that this affiliate is earning $38.53 on each sale he refers from his page which works out to be 50% of the list price of $77 - not bad.
Content is King – The more successful websites had content that was around 1,000 words per post. Google identifies this as better content and it’ll help your search rankings. It can’t just be gibberish though, it helps if you break up the content into 6-8 different sections so it’s easy for the user to navigate while still being lengthy. I used to think 300 words was good and 500 was above and beyond. I’ll likely spend even more time on articles and aim for around 1,000 words per article like my most popular article “Robinhood App Review” at 1,500 words.

I couldn’t agree more on the advice on providing long-form content. In fact, most of modules we created are probably still longer than the ones found on AuthorityHackers, and 8000-words is considered normal. With the difference being that since they are technical in nature, they probably take 1.5 more times to create than a regular post written in English. :)
The Wirecutter is the best example of an affiliate site that I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t even put it in the same category as what you’d think of as an affiliate site, aside from how they make their money. Brian Lam’s a great example of someone who sticks to a principle and then grinds it out to the nth degree. Can’t say how many times I’ve used that site (and TheSweethome) for product reviews.
That’s where market research comes into play. It is important for you to make sure that there is actually a demand for the product niche that you are looking to market. Fair enough – if you came up with a revolutionary product that no one has ever witnessed before – then that’s a whole different ballgame. In that case, you would have to market your latest invention on a whole different level.
Sites that earn money primarily from these context ads do so by capitalizing on either high traffic in that particular market, or high revenues for clicks (of course the best situation would be to have a high traffic market with high paying ads; if you can find one of those markets, and rank well for it, even better!). Here are three ways your site could earn at least $40 a day through context ads:
I an elderly beginner and as such I find the page examples shown here more discouraging than everyhing else. Certainly not your intention, but that´s how I feel when I look at them. So what to do if I have no special knowledge about a certain subject or a hobby which is of interest for more than a handful people ? Shouldn´t we be passionate about what we do - but what about those whose passion is centered around things not of common interest ? And not everyone has the time to do extended product tests, not to mention the investemet I have to do then, as certainly no manufacturer will give his products for a review to a nobody. What else is left then as to create a page as mentioned on top by you - something centered around product reviews of products never seen or tested personally ?
Sites that earn money primarily from these context ads do so by capitalizing on either high traffic in that particular market, or high revenues for clicks (of course the best situation would be to have a high traffic market with high paying ads; if you can find one of those markets, and rank well for it, even better!). Here are three ways your site could earn at least $40 a day through context ads:
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Nick Loper is a veteran affiliate marketer, author, and a lifelong student in the game of business.  His latest role is as Chief Side Hustler at SideHustleNation.com, a growing community of part-time business owners. Need a leg-up in getting your biz off the ground but short on time? Grab Nick’s free "Cliff’s Notes"-style guide to the world’s best business books here. Follow Nick on Twitter at @nloper.
GOOD - Affiliate links are sprinkled throughout the post, mostly as keywords for specific items that you would need to create your basket. The article itself is about easter baskets, but it presents lots of opportunities to offer different products to users who are interested. A lot of them are low cost products, so the conversion rate can be very high.
In November 1994, CDNow launched its BuyWeb program. CDNow had the idea that music-oriented websites could review or list albums on their pages that their visitors might be interested in purchasing. These websites could also offer a link that would take visitors directly to CDNow to purchase the albums. The idea for remote purchasing originally arose from conversations with music label Geffen Records in the fall of 1994. The management at Geffen wanted to sell its artists' CD's directly from its website but did not want to implement this capability itself. Geffen asked CDNow if it could design a program where CDNow would handle the order fulfillment. Geffen realized that CDNow could link directly from the artist on its website to Geffen's website, bypassing the CDNow home page and going directly to an artist's music page.[10]
You may wonder if it’s worth adding affiliate links when your book review isn’t going to be flattering. My response is: sure, why not? Sometimes people’s tastes will be different than yours, and they may want to check out the book anyway. Or, they may click on the link to see if the reviews at Amazon agree with yours, at which point they may wander off and buy something else at the store. You’ll still get credit and make a percentage of the sale.
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