The good news is, you don’t have to be an expert on dog food to put together a quality affiliate marketing business model and you certainly don’t have to partner with a large corporation like Amazon. Heck, I could partner with a locally owned holistic dog food store and help them increase their profits by several hundred percent by shipping products nationwide. It’s up to you!
While every affiliate program is different, you are less likely to be hit by a ban hammer in the affiliate space than in the Adsense space.  In general, affiliate networks can be a bit more lenient with their terms of services. You also have the benefit that many networks are hosting the same offers, so if one does ban you, you can usually replace that income with the new network offer.
The progress of any affiliate benefits the Program Operator in many ways. If You recruit, sponsor, or obtain an affiliate through the websites, by any means, You should always be willing to assist such affiliate at no charge to such affiliate. If you are unwilling to assist such affiliates without charge, your affiliate status with the Program Operator will be terminated immediately and any commissions due will be withheld permanently as partial compensation for managing the associated and impacted affiliates.
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.
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