Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[35] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.

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]
Just like I've been able to create several profitable websites, this site is a really good example of what's working right now in SEO.  The site is full of useful content, and most of the newer content is pretty long-form (meaning over 2,000 words per article).  They publish quite a bit, and this team is known to have their processes down really well between their writers, editors, VAs, and other parts of their team.  This is a tough niche to crack, but these guys have done a great job showcasing how to build a profitable authority site from A-Z.
Internet Retailer Top 500 merchant, JanSport, partnered with Rakuten Marketing on a series of cross-channel marketing campaigns promoting the launch of its Disney Collection, which features popular Disney characters on JanSport apparel and accessories. The campaigns, executed across search, display and affiliate strategies, leveraged valuable consumer data and insights to focus on shoppers who expressed the most interest in Disney themed products.

In the case of cost per mille/click, the publisher is not concerned about whether a visitor is a member of the audience that the advertiser tries to attract and is able to convert, because at this point the publisher has already earned his commission. This leaves the greater, and, in case of cost per mille, the full risk and loss (if the visitor cannot be converted) to the advertiser. 

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. 

Finding a good nich is a bit of a process. You can’t just choose a niche on a whim. Instead, you need to have specific research tools so that you know what people are searching for in search engines, along with how much competition there is for your niche. If you want to get into more advanced training, including all the tools you’ll need to perform niche research, I highly recommend this training program.
Through our global affiliate network, we empower marketers to engage shoppers across the entire consumer journey. Affiliate success comes down to partnerships — we connect advertisers with publishers to reach new audiences and influence repeat purchases. Our solutions create a holistic strategy that delivers proven incremental revenue and is continually optimized for performance.
With a well-known ‘An Hour a Day’ format, this book guides its readers step-by-step on how to practically research, promote, manage and optimize a successful affiliate marketing campaign. It also explains social media tools such as how to deal with coupons, widgets and other multimedia stuff. From determining payment schedules to communicating through appropriate means, this is a quality do-it-yourself guide for its readers.

Many affiliate marketers use paid advertising to generate additional traffic to their site and drive more sales. Paid advertising on social media is often a good place to start, as these networks tend to be more affordable.You may also want to consider taking out inexpensive banner ads on small niche sites. Depending on your niche, Google AdWords could also be a good option to drive some paid traffic to your site.


The term niche, when used in the science of ecological biology, is used to define an organism’s role in an ecosystem. Not only does its niche include the environment that a given organism lives in, but it also includes the organism’s “job” in that environment. A niche may also encompass what the organism eats, how it interacts with other living (biotic) elements, and also how it interacts with the nonliving (abiotic) aspects of the environment, as well.
The people that you refer too did not master amazon, they merely mastered the value they offer to visitors. If you are able to engage/connect with visitors, then you got a winner, some people merely have better skills then others, which may include offering high value content, coding/custom skills. Do you agree that these people brought something to the table? If they did not, then visitors would not continue to visit their sites, right? You can put up all the content in the world, you can get all the backlinks you want, but if you can not engage/connect with your visitors, then all is lost. These site most likely did not start off with custom sites; they started off just like everyone else, some rag/tag site. I ran across an affiliate site a few months ago, and the content on his site would just blow your mind, and let me tell you,this guy had affiliate links from all major affiliate networks, his site has so much authority that he is listed right up under amazon, and some actual product manufacturers; how did he do this? He brought solutions, and value to his visitors, he knew what they were looking for, and knows how to engage, and connect with them. If you can not figure out how to blow your visitors mind, then what do you really have to offer? His avg reviews were between 7k-10k words? how about you? 500-1000 words? at the end of the day, which site will google find more impressive, yours, or his, and i assure you, he had far more affiliate links on his site then you have on yours as you could not skip-a-paragraph without seeing affiliate links.

NerdWallet is another gigantic site, that earns most of its income from the form of CPA offers and leads generated for financial institutions.  Similar to services like Lending Tree, NerdWallet gets your information when you are looking at different financial products, and sells your contact information as a “lead” to qualified financial institutions who try to sell you products.  The kicker here is that the CPA on most financial products is significantly higher than other CPA offers, like educational leads for example.  One lead for a loan might pay out at $200 instead of the normal $20 – $50 that you'll get in the education niche.
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]
Thanks for the great info and many examples. If a picture is worth 1000 words, 17 excellent examples are worth gazillions!! BTW, your use of “persona” was 100% correct. While a persona can be fake or deceptive (eg, “she adopted a meek persona every time he was around, but in reality, she was anything but…”), but it in no way implies that person behind it is not real. The more general meaning of the term is any character or personality presented outwardly, as to an audience or the public, and that is precisely how you used the word here.

The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 


I loved seeing the example of the Kids Tablet with Wifi utilizing affiliate marketing. It gave me some great ideas on integrating amazon for my own children’s blog. I would be interested in knowing how much they are earning monthly from their affiliation. Being a mother of a two year old myself, I could see myself writing reviews on Amazon products my daughter enjoys.
888.com is a premium gaming destination and a well established name in the casino and poker circuit. Its site offers numerous sub-brands including 888sport, 888ladies, 888bingo, 888casino and 888poker, as well as ReefClub Casino. The 888 family of companies attract millions of players, and the company provides affiliates with frequent promotions to keep players interested.
Although it differs from spyware, adware often uses the same methods and technologies. Merchants initially were uninformed about adware, what impact it had, and how it could damage their brands. Affiliate marketers became aware of the issue much more quickly, especially because they noticed that adware often overwrites tracking cookies, thus resulting in a decline of commissions. Affiliates not employing adware felt that it was stealing commission from them. Adware often has no valuable purpose and rarely provides any useful content to the user, who is typically unaware that such software is installed on his/her computer.
If you've been following me for a while, you probably know that nowadays, everything is about quality – not just from the website, but also the quality of the actual page on the site as well.  You are unlikely to rank well for a competitive keyword with a 1500 word article and lots of links.  Most articles need to be in-depth, and answer every question the user might have about the topic.
I thought I would just bring something else to your attention; I did take a second to look at your site; you know why I left within just one second? EXACTLY! You have less then 3 seconds to make your first impression on visitors; if your visitors are bouncing off your site at the speed of light, they either found your site by mistake, or they were not impressed with your site, and left, which means? right, they did not trust your site!!! What happens if you have a high bounce rate? right, you can certainly lose rankings! Is google going to keep sending you traffic if you have nothing to offer? nope! I can not say this is your problem, or you could have multiple problems going on at the same time to cause you to lose rankings. I can tell you one thing for sure by just taking a 1 minute look at your link profile; You have quite a few links, and you have almost no authority, what does this mean? This most likely means you are spamming your link to poor quality sites. You also have a massive amount of do-follow links which does not look natural vs your no follow links, and with your site having low trust flow, do you think your site deserves that many do-follow links? I wonder what google thinks? at first glance, your anchor/link diversity does not look to bad, so your anchor/text does not look over-optimized, but whoever is building links for you, consider firing them immediately, as you are getting all the wrong links. I am going to assume at this point google has certainly given you a penalty; Your next move to to hire someone to audit your site, and start disavowing/removing bad links from your portfolio, over time, your rankings may come back, and that may depend on other factors also, but at this point, it certainly looks like you have link issues. Just a little bitty research goes a long way. good luck.
That’s our latest guide to help you find the most profitable niches to get involved in with affiliate marketing. By no means do we expect you to delve into all eleven businesses. However, if you are unsure which of these spaces would suit your personality and you’d find most fun to join – then we suggest that you have a go at each of them. Afterall, you will never know your favorite flavor until you have tasted the whole selection of ice creams, right?
This book is written in a question-and-answer format, which makes it especially simple for the affiliate marketing beginner. I found myself nodding right along with the list of questions, presented in the table of contents—it’s comforting to see the questions that you’re asking yourself laid out for you. Now you know that you’re not the only one wondering these things.
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! 

The premise of the site is basically that it’s a tool for people who want to build their own computers ( usually gaming computers). If you’ve never done it, the difficult part about building a computer is almost always the research. New computer parts are coming out constantly, so you have to find the latest parts that also fit your budget and that are also compatible with each other.
Thanks for another great post. Would mind elaborating just a little on, “you also need to be willing to publicly associate yourself with that niche…”. Should every affiliate site therefore have the author’s name and bio on an About page? What if the author is unknown in that field? Is it just a trust issue, that putting your name somewhere on the site gives people comfort that there is a real person on the other side?
This was one of the first Amazon Affiliate Website Examples I ever came across. I thought it was incredibly simple, before I saw some other websites that were even worse. A lot of it is what you would expect. A wordy homepage with a couple of pages in the menu bar that all resemble more keyword targeting than actual helpful navigation. I keep wondering if they actually reviewed all those different kitchen sinks, because that would be a lot of work installing and disassembling numerous sinks to see how they work. Likely not, their “About Us” page just says a “Mother of two” which tells me as the reader, if you’re not putting your name on this, your reviews are probably just as generic. Usually if an “About” page doesn’t list a name or company, I assume that the website is just as generic.
CONCERN - The amount of affiliate links in this post is huge. The problem with this is it can sometimes become overwhelming for the user (say instead of focusing on a single product). I feel for this type of post it's fine, but you do want to watch the amount of affiliate links you add. There are reports that google favors sites which aren't full of affiliated links than those that contain lots of them.
Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users' computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.

This is a little delayed on the uptake but I recently created an affiliate marketing site with a service model (personal stylist kind of like Stitch Fix but only using Amazon items so I don’t have any inventory). Right now it’s free(!) and ultimately will be significantly under the price point of Stitch Fix, Le Tote, others in terms of both fees plus there won’t be any apparel markup. It will be smaller scale as well and without a lot of the overhead. The operations have been a little tough but I’m starting to make money. I haven’t done much marketing yet but am learning as I go (I’m a data scientist by trade). Check it out! http://www.dressjungle.com . And I’d definitely love a callout 🙂
Prior to confirming this choice, they had chosen to create a site on website/blog design for non-design people, which would have done 10 times better I think.  But since this topic caused a bit of an uproar within the comments section, as people argued this was just another website about making money online (or at least overlapped too much), they had to ditch it. Continue Reading >
When you’re looking at affiliate sites like this one (and, indeed, when you’re planning your own affiliate site) ask yourself what the affiliate is trying to make you do (or what you want your own visitor to do). Question what desired action the affiliate is pushing for: do they want you to read their articles? Sign up for their newsletter? Click on their ads? You’ll often find yourself being gently directed towards a certain action in one way or another. This will be what the affiliate determines to be the course that will eventually get him or her the most money!
Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware. Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants' reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor's affiliate program. Eventually, affiliate networks were also forced by merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics,[31] LinkShare's Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum,[32] and ShareASale's complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers.[33] Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.[34]
Affiliate Marketing is based on revenue sharing and is a type of incentives program. The goal of marketing is to build an alliance with a brand, product, service, or company, and market these services to people online. The Affiliated Marketing consultant shares in a percentage of the company’s profits in exchange for bringing them valued business and gained exposure. The same marketing advertising concepts used in television and print ads are applied here, only the platform that is used to entice and attract the consumers is on the internet.
SimilarWeb tells us that visitors go to over 3.75 pages per visit which is a lot. But “outdoor people” are obsessive and they love gear. I know this because I am one! If you start checking out one product, you’ll see another interesting product and so on… And, people spend a decent amount of time on the site. All that leads to a bounce rate under 50%.
Creating blog content is a very useful and effective way of consistently building content on a site. When creating blog posts, it's a good idea to do some keyword research to figure out what it is that your audience is interested in and searching for online. Also, be sure to research competitors, forums and social media to narrow down on topics for your blog. 
Do remember that we are talking about an "affiliate niche" (a smaller part of a larger mainstream market). When finding your niche, go with what you are passionate about. There are most likely several affiliate products that you will be able to promote to support your passion. Choosing the right one can be overwhelming but if you are passionate about something and have the knowledge (some experience would be great), then it is easier to work on with the products surrounding your niche.
Despite this, the affiliate program has stated the following: “This filing will not impact Neverblue’s ability to meet client needs in any way—we intend to continue to operate business as usual without interruption. Neverblue’s business is fundamentally strong and we intend to make all affiliate payments on schedule, in a timely and reliable manner.”
This book is badly organized. For starters much of it points to information in prior books of the author. The author also commits an entire chapter describing how the book is laid out. Also the author repeatedly states that he won't waste time trying to convince you that affiliate marketing is a good idea and then spends several pages arguing that it's a good idea. The examples given are also weak. The only reason I'm giving this 3 stars is because it did provide some useful information, though I had to wade through 3 chapters first before finding any. I finally gave up on this book and gave a cheaper one a try. It turned out to be much better. If you're in the market for a digital book on this topic try Affiliate Programs: How to Make Money Online with Other People's Products by Joel Comm instead. It gives you just enough info to get you going in the right direction and is a much better value.
Matthew owns an internet marketing blog that has won many awards and has been featured on various big brand websites such as Entrepreneur and ProBlogger. Matt is known for producing outstanding high-quality content that sticks out from the competition. The blog specialises in producing high-quality tutorials and case studies that help with things like link building, social media and traffic generation.
Thanks for another great post. Would mind elaborating just a little on, “you also need to be willing to publicly associate yourself with that niche…”. Should every affiliate site therefore have the author’s name and bio on an About page? What if the author is unknown in that field? Is it just a trust issue, that putting your name somewhere on the site gives people comfort that there is a real person on the other side?
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!
File-Sharing: Web sites that host directories of music, movies, games and other software. Users upload content to file-hosting sites and then post descriptions of the material and their download links on directory sites. Uploaders are paid by the file-hosting sites based on the number of times their files are downloaded. The file-hosting sites sell premium download access to the files to the general public. The websites that host the directory services sell advertising and do not host the files themselves.
Some bloggers are uncomfortable with the idea of including advertising on their site, especially if that advertising doesn’t bring a significant return, and affiliate marketing isn’t for them. However, even if you’re comfortable with including advertising on your site, for the vast majority of book bloggers, affiliate marketing is never going to be a large, reliable source of revenue. As in, the chances of being able to quit your day job and live off your earnings are slim to none. However, if you have the attitude that you might receive the occasional small bonus in your bank account, then go for it! Your earnings might even get you a lil’ somethin’ special next time you visit the bookshop.
We've partnered with The Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education (FLYTE), a nonprofit organization that empowers youth living in underserved communities through transformative travel experiences. FLYTE teaches that we are more alike than we realize. By bridging the gap between fear and understanding, FLYTE empowers future generations by connecting them to the world.
These are essentially media companies. They have big, significant staff – staff writers, editors, directors, HR departments – and they are big ass companies. With a budget, you could grow a smaller site into a big site fast. But as you’ll see in the examples, you’ll need to have the skills to hire and manage a team. The big sites were founded by people that worked in the media industry – they’re Professionals and know exactly what they are doing.
With 2.1 million organic search hits per month, this site rivals some of the bigger media publications in the health and fitness niche.  They also appear to a broad mass of individuals instead of just bodybuilders or professional weightlifters.  Greatist.com articles feature content on food, basic fitness, strength training, marathons and more.  It's not as niched down as other health sites, but it doesn't pretend to be an expert in a specific niche.  Rather, they recruit experts in the industry to write for them about specific topics.  The sheer traffic volume alone that Greatist.com takes on each month leads me to estimate that this website is probably doing multiple six figures per month alone in display ad revenue.
Nursing Scholarships receives 40,500 Exact match Local searches each month and has a CPC of $3.09 and has high advertiser competition.  This is a great keyword to target as far as those 2 criteria are concerned.  (Remember I am not even looking at the top 10 competition in this post).  However, this site is ranking #2 in Google for its chosen keyword.

I'm not saying that as a recipe blog owner that you need to keep up with what the Food Network is doing. But, you do need to understand that pictures are required if you want to have success in that niche. Looking at all of the popular indie blogs on the topic will make that clear. Are you willing to MAKE the recipes you'll be blogging about and take pictures of them? Are you ready to invest in a good camera and spend time reading tutorials learning how to take better pictures? Every niche you look into will have a “minimum” formula across the successful indie blogs within them. Make sure you're willing to meet it. If not, you're going into the niche without the ability to truly compete and wasting your time.
This is a superb site, and I think well needed for those that are very interested in affiliate marketing to make money online. The site presented very professionally and laid out. I would venture to say though that if I were a beginner looking for how to do and be successful with an affiliate site. I think I would be a little overwhelmed. And while I understand if I were looking I would be searching all the details, so from the site, I would contact the author for a question. If this was the aim, then its well executed.
You should also make sure you aren't competing with your own affiliates for eyeballs. Any marketing channels you're using, such as search engines, content sites or e-mail lists, should be off limits to your affiliates. Put marketing restrictions into your affiliate agreement and notify partners immediately. It's your program--you set the rules. Or, if you prefer, you can let your affiliates run the majority of your internet marketing.
While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat "Cost Per Day" with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.

You’re obviously not going to be targeting broad keywords like ‘travel’ and ‘traveling’. Actually, it doesn’t even matter if you’re going to be doing SEO for this particular site. What you really want to see is whether or not there is a demand for that particular type of traffic. As you scroll down, you want to look for cost-per-clicks that really jump out at you. For example, we have ‘student travel’, which has a suggested bid of $4.10 for one click. That might be a niche right there. Under the broadness of ‘traveling’, if you decided to do something about student travel, you know that there are advertisers paying $4 for one visitor. I’ve found in my experience that the higher this cost-per-click, the more affiliate offers and affiliate options you have. This is something to pay attention to. In general, the cost-per-click in the whole travel niche is quite low. For this reason alone and the fact that the Clickbank marketplace didn’t really have so many great offers that you could promote, you might want to go back to the beginning in Quantcast and look at another niche and follow the same process.
Leanne, that was great stuff. I saw some interesting delineators I’d never seen before, like how many subscribers you have making a difference in whether you should start with affiliates, at what level, etc. I appreciate the “ethical” angle you weaved throughout this, too, because affiliate marketing can/does have a bad reputation due to the way it’s been abused in the past. Your article will help educate current and future affiliate marketers, much appreciated!
Tradedoubler — Tradedoubler markets a number of solutions for both advertisers and publishers. For advertisers, it has TD Convert, TD Connect, and TD Engage. TD Convert is its platform for affiliate marketing. It says advertisers only pay when they see results, which are typically measured as sales or leads. It also claims to have 2,000 advertisers on-site waiting to partner with eager affiliates. 

While any “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money while you sleep. By investing an initial amount of time into a campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as consumers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished it. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.
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.
Matthew owns an internet marketing blog that has won many awards and has been featured on various big brand websites such as Entrepreneur and ProBlogger. Matt is known for producing outstanding high-quality content that sticks out from the competition. The blog specialises in producing high-quality tutorials and case studies that help with things like link building, social media and traffic generation.
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