Honestly you just need to narrow down to a niche that you want to focus on and then move forward with something. I spent less than a few hundred bucks when I first got started. Now years and years later, I’ll spend tens of thousands of dollars starting or buying something if I want to. But that’s the fun part is that unless you have a big inheritance everyone starts from zero and then tries to grow from there.
I’ve been using Amazon’s affiliate program for a little over two years and during that time I’ve had a lot of success with it. In fact, this income source was the second largest chunk of my total $150k+ 2010 income. If I hadn’t sold one of my larger Amazon focused sites last year for six figures this income source would have easily eclipsed $100,000 by now.

A purchase by a Referred Customer engaging in "Domain Speculation," which is determined by the identification of two (2) web hosting accounts with the same Referred Customer's name, email address, or other identifying characteristic as determined by FatCow and/or the identification of two (2) or more web hosting accounts that have no content on their websites or have similar content, templates or formatting, as determined by FatCow, in our sole discretion.
(m) You will not include on your Site, display, or otherwise use Special Links or Program Content in connection with, any spyware, malware, virus, worm, Trojan horse, or other malicious or harmful code, or any software application not expressly and knowingly authorized by users prior to being downloaded or installed on their computer or other electronic device.
There is a minimum commission amount of $25. This is the minimum amount that you must earn before you will be paid commissions. In any commission period, your commission must exceed this amount before you will receive any sums for that period. Commissions below this minimum amount will be held until such time as the commission equals or exceeds this amount.
You can sign up as an Amazon associate straight away without a site. As long as you have the URL and it belongs to you. They won’t approve your site until you have made your first commission. So what I would do is get the site built and add all the content that you need. Make sure its finished. Then sign up to the Amazon associates, add in your aff codes to your review pages and then you just wait for your first sale. Make sure you read the amazon T&Cs so your site is compliant. If it isn’t then they will not approve your site.
Smaller and newer e-commerce businesses often find this practice especially appealing (although Amazon.com uses it, too). Unlike pay-per-click advertising, which charges merchants every time someone clicks on a link to their site, affiliate marketing costs nothing unless there is a sale — at which point a commission, typically between 4 and 20 percent, is paid. It has become an essential part of the online marketing toolbox, generating fees that Forrester Research projects will reach $3.4 billion next year.
Product prices and availability may vary from time to time. Because prices for and availability of Products that you have listed on your Site may change, your Site may only show prices and availability if: (a) we serve the link in which that price and availability data are displayed, or (b) you obtain Product pricing and availability data via PA API and you comply with the requirements regarding use of PA API in the License.
I recognize that the list above is short; however, that’s because Amazon affiliate marketing really doesn’t require a specialized theme in order for it to work well (unless it’s one of the unique cases noted in the themes above). Instead, you’re better off using WooCommerce if you want to build a full affiliate store or simply stick to the WordPress theme you currently have and add affiliate plugins to the mix.

11.2. Responsibility for Binding Agreement. You acknowledge that you have read this Agreement and agree to all its terms and conditions. You understand that we may at any time (directly or indirectly) solicit Customer referrals on terms that may differ from those contained in this Agreement or operate Sites that are similar to or compete with your Site. You have independently evaluated the desirability of participating in the Program and are not relying on any representation, guarantee, or statement other than as set forth in this Agreement.
We may change your Account Identifiers or Data Feed Access ID from time to time. An Account Identifier that is a private key or a Data Feed Access ID that is a password is for your personal use only, and you must maintain its secrecy and security. You may not sell, transfer, sublicense, or otherwise disclose your private key or password to any other person or entity. An Account Identifier that is a public key or a Data Feed Access ID that is a username is not secret.
An affiliate marketer is someone who is running the actual ad campaigns or content marketing campaigns in hopes of making affiliate commissions from the program. An affiliate manager or AM is someone that manages the various affiliates in a network, so they sometimes have the ability to give you special deals if you can prove to them it’s worth their while to do so.
It seems easier said that done, is it not? I believe so but this is doing it for FREE remember? When you are ready to venture online and set aside an initial investment, you will have a full spectrum of resources and you can also collaborate with others with common goals to succeed. Continue reading as I will tell you more about a platform that I believe has the best opportunity to get you started in the right direction.
Thank you so much for a clear and concise breakdown of the Amazon Associate program. I’ve been ready (finally) to make the jump and have been working out my monetization strategies. This tutorial has not only helped me better understand how the program works, but has also given me some other – much simpler – ideas for other niche sites that I can get up and going very quickly! I appreciate your hard work and the effort you put into this. I look forward to reading more from you.
Hi Spencer, I remember the post where you said your site was penalized and you we’re convinced it was due to too much affiliate links. bestsurvivalknife site… i also remember you had (i asume) the same link twice everytime, once as an image and once as a textlink. Whenever i check a site’s outbound links i notice that each link only gets counted once , it seems to ignore duplicates, so even tho a site might have an image and a textlink pointing to the same productpage/url it would only get counted as 1 outbound (affiliate)link This is what i see when i check outbound links with seoquake. Do you think Google sees it like that as well? I’m asking cause up to this point ive been very cautious with placing affiliate links and avoided placing them in my images to keep it at a minimum.
The Program Operator and their associated companies operate with the strictest codes of professional conduct. Any affiliate who brings the the Program Operator or their employees, partners, or associates into disrepute, or who promotes any form of slander, racism, or unfair business practices, will have their affiliate status canceled and any outstanding commissions will be forfeited.
You and FatCow are independent contractors, and nothing in this Agreement will create any partnership, joint venture, agency, franchise, sales representative, or employment relationship between the parties. You will have no authority to make or accept any offers or representations on our behalf. You will not make any statement, whether on your Affiliate Site or otherwise, that contradicts anything in this section.

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!

I offer a ton of free resources, tips, guides and tutorials here on my website that can help you get started in affiliate marketing – and help you find success with it. While there are plenty of paid training programs out there, you need to be careful. Some of the people who create these programs make their money by selling the dream and not through doing true affiliate marketing for products or services outside of selling you the dream. That's not to say there are not some good training programs out there - but buyer beware. For now, I'd recommend you start with my free information here on my website – and to sign up for my free weekly newsletter here.
Each party hereby agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the other party and its affiliates, directors, officers, employees and agents, from and against any and all liability, claims, losses, damages, injuries or expenses (including reasonable attorneys' fees) brought by a third party, arising out of a breach, or alleged breach, of any of its representations or obligations herein.
Disclaimer of Warranties. WE AND OUR AFFILIATED COMPANIES AND AGENTS MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES ABOUT THE SUITABILITY, RELIABILITY, AVAILABILITY, TIMELINESS, SECURITY OR ACCURACY OF THE HUBSPOT PRODUCTS, HUBSPOT CONTENT, THE AFFILIATE PROGRAM OR THE AFFILIATE TOOL FOR ANY PURPOSE. APPLICATION PROGRAMMING INTERFACES (APIs) AND THE AFFILIATE TOOL MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES. TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, THE HUBSPOT PRODUCTS AND AFFILIATE TOOL ARE PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF ANY KIND. WE DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND WITH REGARD TO THE HUBSPOT PRODUCTS AND THE AFFILIATE TOOL INCLUDING ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT.
Any products you choose should also have acceptable prices and be available to purchase most of the time. Some products aren’t sold by Amazon, but through sellers only. These can sometimes have higher markups than the product sold elsewhere, which can be a turn-off for your audience. Items sold by sellers might run out of inventory fast, too, so look for products that don’t appear to have a history of this issue.
I am glad you asked, because just like you I am also constantly on the hunt to find information online. Have you found yourself browsing online continuously looking for information? I must admit I am, and I found that there are many different types of Affiliate Marketing Programs. It can be directly from the vendor or product owners and it can also be part of a network.
My biggest frustration is how to drive my target to my site and links. I have to do YouTube videos as part of what I told the publisher I would do. I have cards in my YouTube videos to try to steer the traffic to my site where they can look at the offerings in a very organized fashion (which really is one of two places on the web that provide this for this publisher). I just want to work smarter instead of harder. I have had so many people thank me for the videos but it is not converting through the affiliate links. I can’t stop the YouTube videos because it is part of the agreement. Also posting the reviews on Amazon.com in the product reviews. I don’t think I can add a link to my site in product reviews.
From time to time, we may impose limits on Associates’ opportunity to earn Standard Program Fees or Special Program Fees. For the avoidance of doubt (and notwithstanding any time period), Amazon reserves the right to discontinue or modify all or part of any limitation at any time. For Program Fee Limitations, please see the Appendix (“Program Fee Limitations”).

Great article! I need to go back to your post many more times for it to properly go in and for me to understand. Sorry if my question is a strange one. I am quite new to the whole concept of amazon affiliate marketing. When we are advertising their products, do we spend any money ourselves? Or we are just middle wares advertising their product? In what case, we have to have inventory? Can we sell products in Amazon? 

2. Commissions – John writes that he’s not satisfied with a 4% commission. He’s right in some ways, 4% isn’t that much when you’re selling a $10 book – however when you’re selling a Get a Price on the $5000 Camera or a $25,000 Tractor (I know someone who does quite well out of ride on mowers and tractors) it certainly adds up. Not only that, the 4% rate that John talks about is the base rate. Unfortunately it is as high as it goes on consumer electronics – however on most other products there is a sliding scale where the more you sell the higher your commission goes to. Sell more than 6 items in a month and your commission goes to 6% – sell over 630 and you’re up to 8% (the rate I’m on). The 4-Hour work Week that John uses as an example earned me around $1 a book. Still not a lot – but I did sell 100 or so of them (after my interview with it’s author) which not only earned me $100 but also helped push the numbers of sales up for the month, moving me into the next earning bracket.
2.5. It is entirely your responsibility to follow all applicable intellectual property and other laws that pertain to your site. You must have express permission to use any person's copyrighted material, whether it be a writing, an image, or any other copyrightable work. We will not be responsible (and you will be solely responsible) if you use another person's copyrighted material or other intellectual property in violation of the law or any third party rights.
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 are only eligible to earn Commission Fees on Qualified Purchases occurring during the Term. Commission Fees earned prior to the date of termination will be eligible for commissions only if the orders for the related FatCow Products and Services are not cancelled within (30) days and comply with all of the terms of this Agreement. We may withhold your final payment of Commission Fees for a reasonable time to ensure that all Qualified Purchases are valid and payment from Referred Customers are legitimate as determined by FatCow in its sole discretion.
Who can tell me if “link masking or cloaking” is a violation of the Google TOS? I think it is and I see dozens of affiliate sites doing it. I also see quite a few sites not using “nofollow” on their affiliate links. Unless your masked link says something like “I bought product X used in this review at Amazon.com” it would be a violation. I think if reported, you’d be in for a manual spam action against your site. Thoughts?
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.
In addition to the obligations set forth in Section 4 (FTC Endorsement Compliance), Affiliate shall comply with all applicable data protection laws regarding the transmission of data exported to or from the United States or the country in which Affiliate resides, including without limitation, the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 of European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 (the “GDPR”). Affiliate, as a controller under the GDPR, shall also implement appropriate technical measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk, taking into account the nature, scope, context, and purpose of processing any personal data. Affiliate agrees to promptly assist FatCow in complying with any data subject rights request under the GDPR that FatCow may receive from any individuals referred to FatCow by Affiliate. Affiliate further agrees to promptly assist FatCow in complying with any duties to cooperate with supervisory authorities under the GDPR.
One of the ways I’ve also been able to make good money with Amazon is to automatically populate information from a WordPress plugin that I had developed based on the needs I had for building Amazon centric websites. The result was EasyAzon. The plugin allows you to insert information and affiliate links to Amazon in a much faster way than creating the links yourself by hand from Amazon.com.
AFFILIATE PROGRAM AGREEMENT This Affiliate Program Agreement (the "Agreement") is made and effective the [DATE] BETWEEN: [YOUR COMPANY NAME] (the "Owner"), a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the [State/Province] of [STATE/PROVINCE], with its head office located at: [YOUR COMPLETE ADDRESS] AND: [RECIPIENT NAME] (the "Recipient"), a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the [State/Province] of [STATE/PROVINCE], with its head office located at: [COMPLETE ADDRESS] In consideration of the terms and covenants of this agreement, and other valuable consideration, the parties agree
        I understand the affiliate marketing business model and I also understand that in order to proceed, one needs to have a website. With this comes a domain name, hosting, and an autoresponder….all of which, require a small investment. I have no capital what so ever. I appreciate all your info on the subject but for now…I am forced to keep searching for someway to make some money without money upfront. I've lost my job some time back and havn't been able to find steady/fulltime work anywhere. I have been looking on the net for various ways to earn some cash, and aside from taking paid surveys, which is not panning out at all. I am determined not to give up and I would be greatful to any ideas you may have as well. I could go on and on about my horrible cituation but I'm not going to bore you with it. Let me just say…I have to look-up to see rock-bottom… if you know what I mean. Sorry for the long story but any suggestions or ideas you may have knowledge of would be deeply appreciated.
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.

I’ve been using Amazon’s affiliate program for a little over two years and during that time I’ve had a lot of success with it. In fact, this income source was the second largest chunk of my total $150k+ 2010 income. If I hadn’t sold one of my larger Amazon focused sites last year for six figures this income source would have easily eclipsed $100,000 by now.
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