In 2009, I originally published this post, the 3 Types of Affiliate Marketing Explained—and The One I Profit From. A lot has changed since then, and I’ve learned a ton along the way about affiliate marketing the right way. It’s now October 2018, and I wanted to share those new insights here, with a bunch of new takeaways for you to bring affiliate marketing into your own business!
This Agreement may be terminated by either party at the expiration of its term or any renewal term upon thirty (30) days written notice to the other party. Company acknowledges that this Agreement shall not be terminated for MA’s failure to follow an operating plan, standard procedure, training manual, or substantial equivalent published in Paragraph 3 (k) of this Agreement, except that Company does reserve the right to terminate this Agreement for MA’s failure to follow required procedures relating to the processing of sales contracts, invoices and billing related to Technology sold under this Agreement.
Before I share the strategies that I’ve used to generate over $100,000 in affiliate commissions per month at this point, there are two extremely important rules I use when promoting products that are not my own. You don’t have to use these rules in order to become an affiliate or be successful at it, but it’s what has helped me grow my affiliate income tremendously over the last couple of years:

About 80% of the emails you send to your list should be more helpful than any other email they received that day. You must provide exceptional quality and figure out how to make peoples lives easier or better through the emails you send them. This is the perfect setup for the other 20% of your emails – sales emails! Now, you don’t have to give a hard sell. For example, in October, you could send an email with “The Top 10 Dog Halloween Costumes Of The Year!” Include goofy pictures of dogs wearing ridiculous looking costumes and link to Amazon where people can buy those costumes if they want to. See how easy it is to “sell” through email marketing? You don’t actually have to SELL at all!
3.2 For the purposes of Section 3.1 above, a "New Player" shall mean an internet user who is attached to your Tracker and who (i) has not been a player with us before; and (ii) has made the minimum required deposit of US $20 and played a minimum of 10 real money games (not including tournament games or freerolls); and (iii) is accepted by us as a player for real money under our then applicable identity verification procedure and any other qualification procedure which we may introduce from time to time; and (iv) who is not a person listed in Section 2.8 above. "Tracker" shall mean the unique tracking URL that we provide exclusively to you for the purposes of tracking New Players.
i. You will use Product Advertising Content only in a lawful manner in accordance with and within the express scope of the terms of this License. You will not use PA API, Data Feeds, or Product Advertising Content with any site or application, or in any other manner, that does not have the principal purpose of advertising and marketing an Amazon Site and driving sales of products and services on an Amazon Site.
Excellent article Chris! This will help me out a lot. I am a new author through amazon and my book is also being sold through KDP Select (The kindle option worldwide) but regardless of my advertising on my Facebook page, which cost money, I do not seem to be getting anywhere. With Amazon Associates, is it totally free and no cost to you or do you pay a fee over a certain amount of time. Also if you have any tips on how to get a book out there that would be excellent. My book is being sold at Books a Million, Barnes and Noble, and Alibris. I plan on doing a book signing at Barnes and Noble in hopes it will raise awareness of my book.

Target 1-2 Keywords Per Article – until you can successfully rank for 1 keyword for an article, don’t try targeting 2. Once you get the hang of it and are ready to write an article around 2, choose a secondary keyword that is a synonym of your primary keyword. An example would be “Slow WordPress Site” and “Why Is WordPress Slow.” Then craft your article title/SEO title/meta description to mention individual words of each – while making them read nicely.

3. People Buy More than One Item – the great thing about Amazon is that you don’t just earn a commission on the product that you people to, but anything that they buy once they’re at Amazon. I did an experiment earlier in the year where I published a review of a digital photography book on my blog and placed a tracking code in the link to see how much the review earned me specifically. What I found was that the product in the review did quite well – but the sales of other products that people made once they got to Amazon was actually much greater than the sales of the actual book. People went on to buy all manner of products (other books, electronics, cosmetics etc) – I earned a commission on each one of them – now that’s passive income. You earn a commission on anything that a person buys within 24 hours of you sending them to Amazon.
If you’re in the WordPress industry like I am (whether it be design, development, or SEO) I have accumulated quite the list of WordPress affiliate programs. I excluded those I found unsuccessful or pay too little to make a profit from, specifically ThemeForest, Creative Market, and low quality theme stores like Template Monster. Hosting pays well and I wrote a tutorial for SiteGround’s affiliate program and StudioPress themes which are my 2 highest paying affiliates. Those tutorials have tons of screenshots/social proof especially for SiteGround.
Thanks to your article, my anxiety and panic about getting started have vanished to a great extent. Coincidentally, this has come around the time when I had just purchased a PLR to WordPress tutorial which also came with an upsell that contained a course on Amazon promotion among others. I now also plan to purchase your course discussed here to that I can start setting my foot into the physical products affiliate marketing world.

WHEREAS, BTI and the Affiliate Partner have agreed to create an affiliation between them in which BTI and the Affiliate Partner will share the revenue created by business & success training through BTI Websites to leads provided by the Affiliate Partner during the term of this Agreement, the date of such affiliation being the date of this Agreement, as set forth above.
Every single network or merchant will provide you with specific links that you can use to promote whatever it is you're looking to sell. Be sure to scrutinize the details of any offer that you decide to partake in. Then, build out your affiliate links and ensure that the sales and clicks are registering your to your account. You can use URL shorteners like Bitly or Google's own shortener to make the links more manageable in terms of length.
No affiliate, or other person or entity may use the website, or the Program Operator payment processing system, for private transactions. Any revenue collected through the website or through the the Program Operator payment processing system may become the sole property of the Program Operator . Any revenue collected through the the Program Operator payment processing system may become the sole property of the Program Operator. Specifically, affiliates may not link to the website for processing of products or services that are not wholly sponsored by the Program Operator and authorized by the Program Operator and further, may not link to the website for processing of any products beyond what the Program Operator has identified as salable products for the website and specific affiliate sales. Should any affiliate of the Program Operator or other person or entity construct links that process orders through the Program Operator payment processing system, the act will be considered an attack of computing resources with intent to damage the website and therefore treated as a serious computer crime. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
You must use both a unique public key/private key pair (each key pair, an “Account Identifier”) and an Associates tag parameter (which can be either the Associate ID issued to you under the Amazon Associates Program or a related Associates Program tracking ID) to identify your account and make calls to PA API. You may obtain your Account Identifiers through PA API account creation process.
How crazy your the first to write what I needed at the beginning of my blog research venture. Thus, this is exactly what I have been doing, and funny just the other day I was writing down my cost as I go along. I am new to the blogging community and just started in Jan 2018. I am now on step 10-11ish. The part I am trying to really work on is building an audience, and writing more content so I can bring more people to my site. It is hard work for sure. Good luck!
Check what other items your referrals are buying. One great feature of the Amazon Associates program is that you get paid on items your referral buys, whether or not they buy the specific item you referred. Amazon stats will let you know what items you referrals bought. If you haven't yet promoted the item, and it's a fit for your blog or website, you should consider adding to your product list.
The website in his example is “techgearlab.com“. If you noticed, most of the article content in that website has the word “Best” in it plus the “Product Name They Are Promoting” and the “Current Year” as well. For example: “The Best Home Wireless Speakers Of 2018” and there is also another corresponding article for it which is “How To Choose A Home Wireless Speaker“.
Except as agreed between you and us in a separate written agreement referencing this Section 5, you will not use any Program Content or Special Link, or otherwise link to an Amazon Site, on or in connection with: (a) any client-side software application (e.g., a browser plug-in, helper object, toolbar, extension, component, or any other application executable or installable by an end user) on any device, including computers, mobile phones, tablets, or other handheld devices (other than Approved Mobile Applications); or (b) any television set-top box (e.g., digital video recorders, cable or satellite boxes, streaming video players, blu-ray players, or dvd players) or Internet-enabled television (e.g., GoogleTV, Sony Bravia, Panasonic Viera Cast, or Vizio Internet Apps).

2.2. As a member of Merchant.com's Affiliate Program, you will have access to Affiliate Account Manager. Here you will be able to review our Program’s details and previously-published affiliate newsletters, download HTML code (that provides for links to web pages within the Merchant.com web site) and banner creatives, browse and get tracking codes for our coupons and deals. In order for us to accurately keep track of all guest visits from your site to ours, you must use the HTML code that we provide for each banner, text link, or other affiliate link we provide you with.
This agreement shall begin upon the date of its execution by MA and acceptance in writing by Company and shall remain in effect until the end of the current calendar year and shall be automatically renewed for successive one (1) year periods unless otherwise terminated according to the cancellation or termination provisions contained in paragraph 18 of this Agreement. Company and MA acknowledge that this Agreement is not a franchise as that term is defined under any and all applicable local, state and/or federal laws in U.S., as amended.
11.7. Equitable Relief. The parties agree that any breach of either of the party's obligations regarding trademarks, service marks or trade names, confidentiality, links or the removal of links, and/or user data may result in irreparable injury for which there may be no adequate remedy at law. Therefore, in the event of any breach or threatened breach of a party's obligations regarding trademarks, service marks or trade names, confidentiality, links or the removal of links, and/or user data, the aggrieved party will be entitled to seek equitable relief in addition to its other available legal remedies in a court of competent jurisdiction.
It’d be hard for Google to argue with this content not adding value. After all, some of the guides have received close to 10,000 shares and have been used by the brands themselves to educate their own customers. Generally speaking, each guide takes about 40-50 hours to produce, and is benchmarked to beat the best existing piece of content on the topic in virtually every aspect (from design and share-ability, to page speed and on-page SEO).
The Associates Program is free to join, and we provide resources on the Associates Site to help Associates succeed with the program. We have never authorized any business to provide paid set-up or consulting services to our associates, so please be wary if any business like that (even one attempting to appropriate the Amazon name) reaches out to offer you costly services.
You’re absolutely right about that time. Never give up. Content marketing is a hard job but you got to look at it like this. The internet and side hustles are here to stay. It goes Way Beyond making money online. We both know there’s no more traditional job security in America today. These narcissist employers are nothing nice. They will hire you 1 minute. Harass you on the job. Steal your commissions and laugh at you behind your back while you continually work hard and put more money in their pocket, then try to enslave you into making more money for them and continually disrespect you to your face. This is the Ironclad indicated it’s time to walk away and start your own business online by working part time on your side hustle weather to Philly at marketing, blogging, or selling your own product service online. There’s billions of dollars to be made in the affiliate marketing industry. With that said, it’s a good thing to know the side hustle is here to stay to those who dedicate themselves to creating quality content on blogs and websites and taking a side hustle to the public nightstep. Agree? :-)

Again, the only constant in the online business world is changing. With every change, comes drawbacks and opportunities. In order to see these, you need to take a step back to look at the big picture. Every year or two there is a major shakeup in the online space, here is a list of just a FEW changes that had entrepreneurs grumbling in the last few years:
I’m now looking to set up a niche site in the next month or so to better leverage the program and your advice. And, of course collectively, this should help on the commission rate. I’ve been at 6.5% and hoping this month I may hit 7%. But, the key issue is that the avg sale is low (no surprise given what I’m promoting) so hopefully, this new site will help with this and diversify my efforts.
This could leave many once competitive niches with a lot more gaps for you to build and leverage into with your niche sites. While we don’t believe we’ll see a mass exodus from Amazon Associates (Even with the currently grumbling about the changes online), some niches may be more affected by this than others so it may pay to look for gaps in the market. 

Hey Tom, thanks for this tutorial – it’s a good thing to get a tutorial like this from a trusted person like you and not from the thousands of (sometimes) confusing articles about passive income/affiliate marketing/clickfunnels and what not that I come across from time to time, I am making a living as a web designer and I have been thinking of pivoting from design and creative work to focus on passive income but didn’t know where to start. This is the perfect foundation article I have seen so far and I ‘d like to ask if you have any further reading/guides/videos on affiliate marketing that you’d recommend. I like to do my deep research before starting :) One more thing, there are some broken or missing images in this article, it could be my browser but check from your side too because there are quite a few images (e.g your Mercedes) that are missing. Thanks
Amazon and affiliate marketing in general is a decent way of making side income, but nothing really compares to making your own product or service that others will pay for, especially something that ppl will pay for month after month. WIth affiliate marketing, you’re basically helping retailers find lifelong customers, and you get a cut just once. Bad deal, IMO

Thanks to your article, my anxiety and panic about getting started have vanished to a great extent. Coincidentally, this has come around the time when I had just purchased a PLR to WordPress tutorial which also came with an upsell that contained a course on Amazon promotion among others. I now also plan to purchase your course discussed here to that I can start setting my foot into the physical products affiliate marketing world.
4.4 In the event that you account with us is inactive, this Agreement will automatically terminate. Your account will be deemed inactive and this Agreement will terminate and your participation in our Affiliate program automatically cease if: (i) you have not generated the Minimum Commission during a period of 3 consecutive months; (ii) you have failed to respond to any verification mails sent to you within a reasonable time. Upon automatic termination, any commissions due to you shall revert to us.
Do you know who those guys are that own those hosting review sites that ranking for “best host” etc? I think Pat Flynn is one of them. I am very curious as to how guys who are on the first page for those keywords got to that level. I looked at all the sites on the first page and these guys are so elite they aren’t even using Thrive or normal themes but it’s pretty much all custom. I am guessing these guys mastered “Amazon authority sites” or niche first before moving into the hosting niche? It seems to me to be one of the most competitive niches online with super high KD (some keywords have KD 70 etc in ahrefs) plus these hosting programs payout like crazy.
WE WILL NOT BE LIABLE TO YOU WITH RESPECT TO ANY SUBJECT MATTER OF THIS AGREEMENT UNDER ANY CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE, TORT, STRICT LIABILITY OR OTHER LEGAL OR EQUITABLE THEORY FOR ANY INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, LOSS OF REVENUE OR GOODWILL OR ANTICIPATED PROFITS OR LOST BUSINESS), EVEN IF WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. FURTHER, NOTWITHSTANDING ANYTHING TO THE CONTRARY CONTAINED IN THIS AGREEMENT, IN NO EVENT SHALL MERCHANT.COM'S CUMULATIVE LIABILITY TO YOU ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO THIS AGREEMENT, WHETHER BASED IN CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE, STRICT LIABILITY, TORT OR OTHER LEGAL OR EQUITABLE THEORY, EXCEED THE TOTAL COMMISSION FEES PAID TO YOU UNDER THIS AGREEMENT.
To become an Affiliate, You need to submit a completed Affiliate Application in which You shall provide true and complete information to Us. You shall also promptly update all such information if all or any part thereof changes and shall provide Us with all such other information as we may reasonably request from time to time. We will evaluate your Affiliate Application and, where applicable, notify you of our acceptance. We may reject your Affiliate Application in the event we determine in the exercise of our absolute discretion that your site is not suitable for our Affiliation program for any reason.
In addition, if you choose to display prices for any Product on your Site in any “comparison” format (including through the use of any price-comparison tool or engine) together with prices for the same or similar products offered through any web site or other means other than an Amazon Site, you must display both the lowest “new” price and, if we provide it to you, the lowest “used” price at which the Product is available on the Amazon Site.
4.4 In the event that you account with us is inactive, this Agreement will automatically terminate. Your account will be deemed inactive and this Agreement will terminate and your participation in our Affiliate program automatically cease if: (i) you have not generated the Minimum Commission during a period of 3 consecutive months; (ii) you have failed to respond to any verification mails sent to you within a reasonable time. Upon automatic termination, any commissions due to you shall revert to us.
First I want to just say well done with what you have accomplished. You have done an amazing job. I’m not really one to post a comment on blogs as I’m sure everyone says. But the thing that struck me the most about you is I can tell your a great individual. You love cats, as my wife and I do. We also have rescue cats. You are a very generous and honest person and that is most likely why you also have done well. Very authentic and honest. I’m in the process of building an affiliate amazon site. So I can relate to the content side of things. I’m already a customer of siteground but If I wasn’t I’d happily sign up through you. I have bookmarked your site as I’d like to come back and read a little more and keep an eye on your progress. Thanks for taking the time to write this post. It’s one of the best blog posts I’ve read. Take care Tom
3.4. You will be solely responsible for the development, operation and maintenance of your Site and for all materials that appear on your Site. We disclaim all liability for such materials. You shall indemnify and hold us harmless from all claims, damages and expenses (including, without limitation, attorney's fees) relating to the development, operation, maintenance and contents of your Site. You are also responsible for notifying us of any malfunctioning of the Required URLs or other problems with your participation in the Program in accordance with the terms of the Offer and this Agreement. BTI will respond in normal course to all concerns upon notification.

5. Payment Options – Amazon pays their affiliates in a number of ways. One of the things that I like is that they give you the option to be paid in products instead of cash. I don’t do this every month (I couldn’t spend that $20,000+ a year at Amazon… well maybe I could) but occasionally do and use it as prizes for blog readers. I recently offered DPS readers $500 of Amazon products in a forum signup competition. The prize is paid for out of my affiliate earnings.
If the website isn’t an authority in its niche, ask yourself if it is setup to be one. You should always have this in mind, but especially with affiliate sites. Since affiliate sites have such a low barrier to entry, by buying an authority site, you are significantly putting yourself ahead of your competition who will be entering the game without an authority site. This will help you keep market share and dominate the niche.
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