Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[15] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[16]

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? 

I had that happen to me as well, HOWEVER, as a result of this comment I checked into what the current rules are and while the default payout threshold is $100 for all accounts, you can now change that to as low as $10. You will incurr a $2.50 for pay period charge for each payment if receiving payment by check, but it looks like if you setup direct deposit there is no charge. That is good news and something I wasn’t aware of.
In my experience, it’s product-related blogs that tend to do best with Amazon. Most blogs probably have at least some possibilities (for example here on ProBlogger I occasionally link to a book that relates or a computer or electronic tool that I think might be useful to bloggers) but the reality is that this blog will never convert as well on Amazon as my photography site.
The keys to earning a decent income from an affiliate website are to reach as many users as possible and build trust with them. If visitors trust you, they’ll be more likely to make purchases from your website. You can compare this to impulse buyers, who might visit your site once or twice, make a purchase based on your recommendations, and then never come back.
The report sounds awesome. I’ve been thinking about doing all my affiliate marketing via Amazon, because they offer amazing products and because they offer commissions on everything that “my” customers are buying. On the other hand, I’ve been thinking about focusing on a few products that I’m currently using. What I’m trying to say is that affiliate marketing is hard, and that finding the right products is actually harder than promoting them.
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.
Let’s say you have a promotions page where you’re promoting a product via affiliate links. If you currently get 5,000 visits/month at a 2% conversion rate, you have 100 referrals. To get to 200 referrals, you can either focus on getting 5,000 more visitors, or simply increasing the conversion rate to 4%. Which sounds easier? Instead of spending months on blogging, SEO, and social media marketing to get more traffic, you just have to increase the conversion rate by 2%. This can include landing page optimization, testing your calls-to-action, and having a conversion rate optimization strategy in place. By testing and optimizing your site, you’ll get far better results with much less effort. 
I’m always shocked by the amount of content in each blog post on this site… No matter how many times I search the web, I find this site in my top searches with QUANTIFIABLE content. It’s valuable. Great stuff you provide. And SO MUCH. It’s one of my favorite sites to review and read, seriously. I often link back, just so I can remember where I found the information. Wonderful information to share! Thanks for being prolific.
I have found that one size doesn’t fit all. Rather, specific types promotions of particular products work well with Amazon. I have also had some success by getting people in the Amazon door for other reasons. For example I’ve experimented a couple of times on dPS with running a posts that gave readers a hypothetical $1000 to spend on photography gear and asked them to surf around Amazon and choose what they wanted to buy. The result was 350 comments (a fun community building exercise) and quite a few sales and commissions!

“ShareASale is solid. Been using them since 2013. Biggest problems with them is the interface is a little dated / wonky. It’s also difficult to deal directly with the advertisers. You think you’re speaking to an advertiser rep, but it’s really just someone from SAS. You have to use a special (hard to find) contact form to contact the advertiser….and it’s rare you get a direct response from them.”


Who is your audience? What is your target market or niche? If you're targeting a specific niche like home security then perhaps you only need to sign up to ADT and SpyBase so your products match your audience. There’s no point promoting eco-mattresses to your blog that’s focused on reviewing drones. Again, you could sign up to a network that has a few different options in your field of interest or just go straight to your favourite suppliers and see if they have an affiliate program.
Calling all fashion bloggers. Reward Style is connected with a broad reach of fashion brands and retailers. The site offers an invitation-only monetization platform for top-tier digital style influencers and brands. Thousands of fashion bloggers and influencers are using Reward Style to maximise the financial success of their content, whether it’s on blogs, social media or mobile platforms.
With the ability to rank organically in search engine queries, bloggers excel at increasing a seller’s conversions. The blogger samples the product or service and then writes a comprehensive review that promotes the brand in a compelling way, driving traffic back to the seller’s site. The blogger is awarded for his or her influence spreading the word about the value of the product, helping to improve the seller’s sales.
Authoritative figures in an industry also participate in affiliate marketing. In England, Martin Lewis, aka the Money Saving Expert, recommends hundreds of financial products across his site for things like credit cards, loans and insurance. When he recommends a financial product, he includes a link to where you can apply or obtain it. And with some products exclusive to him and his site, it is no surprise that his company sold for over $100 million in 2012. Lewis sends out weekly emails filled with money-saving tips and deals, also filled with affiliate links.

If you’re a blogger, start by going through your analytics and finding your most popular posts. In Google Analytics (GA) you can find these pages by going to your GA Dashboard > Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Examine the ones at the top of the list that bring in the most traffic. Are there any affiliate products or services you can naturally include in them?
You may have heard of ClickBank, one of the oldest and most popular affiliate networks. A billion-dollar company, ClickBank specializes in digital products like e-books and software, as well as membership sites. If you are comfortable selling information and don’t want the management and administration hassles of “real” businesses, this may be a good starting point. Its commissions can be anywhere from 10% all the way to 75%.
The authority website model is the model I chose for the site you’re on now: highpayingaffilateprograms.com. An authority website is a very high quality website that is respected by knowledgeable people in that niche or industry. It’s usually a large website that is deep in content and covers all topics related to that particular market. It becomes the go-to source for that specific segment. 
MaxBounty pride themselves on the diversity of campaigns offered to their affiliates. They have over 1,500 programs ranging from gaming, to finance, and dieting, with options to receive your commissions as CPA (cost per action like making a sale), CPL (cost per lead), mobile, or PPC (pay per call.) Allowing you to structure your promotions in a way that works best for you.
Your web host is responsible for hosting all of the files necessary for your site to function. When choosing a web host you’re going to have a variety of options to choose from. Some will be dedicated towards sites with large volumes of traffic, while others will specifically host WordPress sites. We offer a detailed breakdown of hosting options here.
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