It is understood that any individual that uses the Program Operator system shall not use it in connection with obscene, defamatory, slanderous, hateful, illegal or politically disruptive material, the definition of which shall be at the sole discretion of the Program Operator. It is also understood that affiliates shall not try to cheat the system in an effort to increase their payments due. If such misuse is detected, the affiliate will be immediately terminated as an affiliate and any sums paid and any sums payable as and for commissions will be withheld. All affiliates further agree to refrain from engaging in any hostile activity toward the system. Any individual that engages in such hostile activity, such as hacking, shall be held liable for any loss sustained by the Program Operator, or its associates due to such action.

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.
And of course I had an adorable picture of a puppy as the image. I also only targeted people over the age of 25 who live in the United States that own a dog and also “like” an animal shelter (I chose about 50 different shelters to target). And that’s how I got 25,000 followers at under 1 cent per like. Those 25,000 people can be marketed to over and over and over again with my Amazon Associates affiliate program link.
3.1. We have the right to monitor your site at any time to determine if you are following the terms and conditions of this Agreement. We may notify you of any changes to your site that we feel should be made, or to make sure that your links to our web site are appropriate and to notify further you of any changes that we feel should be made. If you do not make the changes to your site that we feel are necessary, we reserve the right to terminate your participation in the Merchant.com Affiliate Program.

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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