Its private deals, sponsors, if you're looking for to earning great, look for sponsors in your niche and sign a deal. You get better ROI against your efforts, and you can offered money upfront sometimes (partially). Big corporations rely on sponsorship; affiliate marketing is geared towards mediocrity. You need, however, great digital assets, which offer tremendous quality traffic, which is the hardest to achieve, not the money. Research top sites and closely scan any review copies, articles, or ads relating to a particular product or a series of the same products, they offer in addition to pure content. Contact those companies, offering your propositions. This is how the biz works.
Many people are just lying to you. Making money is not easy at all. Why should it be easy in online world? You are right. It’s different from a so called normal business. You just promote services/products and earn a commission. You don’t need to stock products, ship or return them. This is an easy part of affiliate marketing business. The rest is not easy. It takes effort and time.
As you rightfully say, in the last few years it has certainly become a LOT harder. Networks like CJ which you refer to have gone down the pan, commissions have been slashed, commission tracking for many advertisers is highly dubious, Google has been on a war-path against affiliate websites of most types, ISPs obsessively filter out affiliates' emails, ad blockers have also hurt affiliates' revenues, cookie and therefore commission theft by coupon websites, and many leads driven by affiliates on mobile devices are not tracked for a variety of reasons etc. etc.
Below are 2 screenshots from affiliate programs. The first is sales from an 18 month old website, the other is another affiliate program although that is a split project between myself and 2 other people so cant say that is all mine. But it gives you a rough idea. Also note that I only spend around 20% of my time on affiliate marketing so with just a little time each week you can still smash it.
Creating blog content is a very useful and effective way of consistently building content on a site. When creating blog posts, it's a good idea to do some keyword research to figure out what it is that your audience is interested in and searching for online. Also, be sure to research competitors, forums and social media to narrow down on topics for your blog. 
Google’s Penguin algorithm update radically changed the affiliate landscape, forcing affiliates to stop link-spamming practices, offer unique website content, and limit displayed banners. Gone are the days of mass-produced ad banner sites, full of the latest deals and offers. Failure to comply meant certain death as Google moved your site to the bottom of the search results.
Be wary of networks that claim they are free, but legally control your work, and only pay you a commission. They can legally cut you off. Just one example of what Mobidea does. They’re also powerful enough to suppress their critics and pitch a false narrative, as is self-evident from the thread linked as Mobidea. Aside, everyone makes mistakes, especially learners and self-starters, which some affiliate networks may not tolerate.
Another way to find this information is to do a simple Google search. For example, one could place the following phrase into Google Search:  “(product name) + affiliate program”. (Replace “product name” with the name of the product you are promoting.) There is an interesting chrome addon called Affilitizer is available which makes this process easy.
Your domain is the address for your website (e.g., www.affilorama.com) so this is the first thing you will need to do when setting up your site. Considering there are millions of websites on the internet, it's possible that the domain name you want may already be taken by someone else. So make sure you have several options in mind. Be sure to read our advice on how to choose a good domain name. 

Not necessarily, but a blog is really the best promotional tool. With that said, you can always use methods such as PPC or advertising to promote a product. This is more like hit-and-run affiliate marketing, however. The best way to make the most out of your affiliate marketing opportunities is to have a blog and use it for hard and soft promotion. Learn how to start a blog here.
I agree, many programs out there are very eager to take your money…in fact TOO eager. Then when it comes to offering their service or their product, they hide behind the walls or anonymity without any repercussions. Fortunately there is a voice that people have within the online space to share their experiences with such programs these days to help others avoid them.
Azam Marketing’s network enables advertisers to promote their products and services to over 325 million people via 29,000 affiliates, influencers, emailers and bloggers we have built relationships with since the 1990s. This includes the option of reaching out to millions of visitors, followers and subscribers via Azam Marketing’s internal websites, social media assets and opt-in email databases.
Can you make money with affiliate marketing? The short answer is yes, affiliate programs can earn a extra money and even a full-time income from home. The long answer is a little more complicated. Like any home income venture, success comes not so much from what you choose to do to make money, but whether or not you do what needs to be done correctly and consistently.
In Honolulu, walking down the main street near Waikiki one evening, there were several people (mostly older kids) approaching people and asking if they wanted to shoot guns. If they said yes, they got a marked coupon for entrance to the shooting gallery. Those kids were "Affiliate Marketers" who got paid for every coupon turned in with their code on it.
Yes, it’s true that certain bloggers that have been around for long earn tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a month from affiliate marketing alone. But it’s important to remember that they started when there weren’t yet that many blogs around, and they have been doing it for very many years now. But does that make affiliate marketing dead for you and me though? Absolutely not!
The Amazon affiliate program has a 24-hour cookie, which means that once users click on an affiliate link to Amazon, anything they buy in the next 24 hours is commissionable to the affiliate whose link they last clicked. So if you click on Gawker’s affiliate link to Amazon to look at cable ties and end up buying another, unrelated product, Gawker Media still receives a commission for that sale.
This is the standard affiliate marketing structure. In this program, the merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the product after the consumer purchases the product as a result of the affiliate’s marketing strategies. In other words, the affiliate must actually get the investor to invest in the product before they are compensated.
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