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!
Shopify is a very popular site building platform for people interested in building eCommerce stores. It has been around for the past few years and seen significant growth in its user base over this time. You can earn a staggering 200% per sale for every new customer you refer to them, which means that there is up to $2400 per new customer on offer.
10Beasts.com has been a successful affiliate site for the last couple years.  It's been somewhat of a “hot debate” in the internet marketing industry.  The website actually has very little content when compared to some other authority sites.  It has under 20 pages of actual content, but it's believed that because of the strong linking profile, that Google favored the site's content.  It's an extremely unusual site, as most of the link profile consists of scholarship links, which many marketers believe is an overused link building tactic that's ripe for a Google penalty.
The next place you want to look is Clickbank.com. You’re not actually going to try to find specific products to promote quite yet, but this is a great place to go to see whether or not the niche that you’ve found can be monetized with affiliate offers. Clickbank is just one way to monetize your site with affiliate offers, but it’s a good place to look because it’s very popular. Head over to Clickbank.com, then click on the Marketplace button at the top, and then you can search. You can either look at a category that fits under whatever niche you’re looking at. Travel actually has a category, so you click on that. If you don’t find a category in the sidebar that fits well with your niche, you can actually just search for it using a keyword at the top where it says Find Products. Then when you do that or you choose a category from the sidebar, you want to take a look at some of the offers and see how popular they are.
What do you think about when you hear the phrase, “most profitable niches“? Surely you’re thinking about products with a high-value price tag, right? So that’s why we have included the category, expensive hobbies in our list, and not just any hobbies in general. These are hobbies that can involve golfing or even flying drones – where the equipment are pretty pricey, and so your take-home commission will make you smile from ear to ear.
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.
Developing and monetizing microsites can also garner a serious amount of sales. These sites are advertised within a partner site or on the sponsored listings of a search engine. They are distinct and separate from the organization’s main site. By offering more focused, relevant content to a specific audience, microsites lead to increased conversions due to their simple and straightforward call to action.

LinkConnector imposes a very rigorous and lengthy screening process, so you’ll need to prove that you have a high-quality website and established audience before being accepted. Despite its somewhat schizophrenic approach, LinkConnector does have some very happy long-term affiliates. And their “naked links” allow for direct connection to the merchant website without having to be rerouted via LinkConnector, which will give your website an SEO boost.
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.
Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don't be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you. 

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect on May 25, 2018, is a set of regulations governing the use of personal data across the EU. This is forcing some affiliates to obtain user data through opt-in consent (updated privacy policies and cookie notices), even if they are not located in the European Union. This new regulation should also remind you to follow FTC guidelines and clearly disclose that you receive affiliate commissions from your recommendations. 


This is a great example of an Amazon Affiliate Website that’s not a review site! It’s actually more like a food blog that recommends certain products through their blog and resource pages. With 1.6 Million Facebook Likes, Lisa Leak (owner) has become an authority on “real food” and uses this platform to sell other things like her own cook book. This example is more for a traditional blogger who wants to start monetizing their website rather than creating a review site.
My domain currently has a DA of 55 and I get 250,000-300,000+ pageviews/month. Interestingly enough, I had similar earnings on Amazon when I had a lower DA and fewer pageviews (just 175,000). I don’t know how many pageviews all of my Amazon posts have, but the main ones that deliver nice income probably vary from around 1,000 – 6,000 pageviews per month each. It looks like it’s mainly 10 articles driving these sales.
Affiliate networks administer programs for individual merchants, handling all the work involved, while generally providing tracking and reporting capabilities to their affiliates to help them keep tabs on their revenues and determine which products or services are producing the best returns. These tools can be helpful to an affiliate in fine-tuning the line of products she decides to promote on her site and, ideally, increasing revenues as a result.

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. 

For me I would choose a program with Recurring commission. You can build a real passive income. Its the best way to go! One suggestion is contact companies who sell services and ask if you can sell their service for them. Sometimes popular affiliate programs like these have just way too many people trying to sell their service. I personally went to sitecare.ca and asked them if I could sell their service and I couldn’t be happier! So find a service you believe in and go for it!
Products and services in these evergreen niches are always in demand because people are always looking for solutions to specific problems in their day-to-day lives. You'll want to operate in one or two sub-niches, to begin with, because it is impossible to make meaningful offers in such gigantic broad categories. In the example above, "group fitness for women" is much more targeted than "how to lose weight". It's easy to tackle a sub-niche within a large niche then grow from there.

This is an interesting style review website that reads more like a magazine than a review site. This definitely helps give it some more credit than throwing a up a bunch of products and hoping people read them. It’s interesting that it takes a different approach, rather than writing long content, it focuses on a clean layout and video reviews to show people the product they’re testing, racking in 2.3 million monthly viewers. This is incredibly valuable for people willing to buy, but want to see the product in a video demo before purchasing. Now compare this site to what the site looked like in 2008 (here).
I know this from experience. Three years ago I was a struggling affiliate marketer, bouncing from offer to offer (playing a game of what I call “affiliate pinball”). Today I make a full-time income from diverse passive income streams: sales of affiliate products, sales of my own products, and Adsense revenue (my Adsense revenue alone topped $2,000 last month). And it’s all because I focus on serving the needs of a niche audience.
Another brand who has mastered the art of referral is Uber. Each user is given their own referral program, which gives not only the current user but also the newly-referred customer, a free trip. Because of this Uber take the cake in ride-sharing apps and services. Other similar services have adopted such programs and have also seen a large increase in users.
Great post – I’m a bit late in seeing this it seems!I have a question around how you assess the metrics and in turn success of these websites. It’s obvious where the money is coming in for most of them but Im wondering how you assess 50em.com? Its a great looking site but it has around 350-400 organic views a month and does not rank 1st, 2nd or 3rd for most keywords – not even its main target keyword -ontraport vs infusionsoft. Are you assuming its successful because of the high commission rates for these products and they might make 20 sales a month or is there other signs you see that indicate its a profitable site (or do you know the owner!)?
Deciding on your niche is the most important part to any affiliate marketer. If you set up a website in the wrong niche, then you may get a lot of traffic, but you will never actually end up getting any sales as you might have chosen a keyword that people only want to get free information, for example “affiliate marketing free” rather than “affiliate marketing fast”
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.  
Which affiliate marketing program or network you sign up for, whether as a merchant or an affiliate, will have a huge impact on the success of your sales. Some programs are niche and cater largely to a certain industry, such as technology/software or retail sales. Some programs don’t pay as well as others and will, consequently, result in lower income for affiliates over time. Some programs take a larger cut of profit than others, leaving affiliates with less income. Some networks just don’t have the same features as others and can leave merchants and affiliates with fewer resources.
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] 
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