Hi John, GREAT point and one worthy of a blog post of it’s own. It’s an extremely important topic and one that not many merchants are even aware of. There is lack of knowledge about how toolbars work (both by users and by advertisers) so the challenge will be educating people on the pros and cons. Merchants tend to think SAH and Nectar add value in the sales process because they see sales, however they need to measure the COST of those sales and understand the profit margins and risk of them as well. Thanks for brining up this point, John. It’s absolutely worth mentioning.
While this definitely created a drop-off in affiliate activity (and quite a bit of panic amongst affiliate marketers), it was only a matter of time before affiliates adapted. Banner ads are not mobile-friendly because of image size and are no longer effective. They have been all but replaced by Text Links: those little one-sentence ads in between paragraphs on your favorite news articles. This creates a more seamless and immersive experience, as opposed to having banner images all over the page taking up valuable display space.
The easiest way to find out the legitimacy of any affiliate program or training course is to Google it. If it's a well known scam, you will more than likely see reports about it online. If you can't tell just by searching for the name, try searching for variations, such as "[affiliate program name] scam" or "[affiliate program name] ripoff." You can also search for "[affiliate program name] reviews," etc. 

Affiliate marketing is a good way to promote a product or service as long as the ad is truthful. The problem is that some dishonest affiliate marketers put out ads with exaggerated claims or misleading information to get people to click. They may say anything to get you to click on their ad because they have an incentive – getting paid. Check out the infographic we created to explain this.


Good question and sorry to hear you are one of the thousands who’ve been affected. Some people have moved out of state to other locations they are free to promote products in. Others simply pick and chose merchants who work with affiliates regardless of their location. This means you still do have earning potential with merchants who want to work with affiliates in all locations. I wonder if those merchants could stipulate more clearly who they are…. I’ll think about how I can communicate that more. The other way is to create your own product or service and sell it online. There is still money to be made in that arena as well. Finally, if you’re really stuck on the affiliate site of things, you can also look to make money through google adsense or through sponsored listings if you have a site that generates enough targeted traffic. Don’t give up if this is a dream. You will find a way to make it work if you really want to 🙂
I have to wave a red flag for a common mistake people make when they start out with affiliate marketing, which is a waste of time if you ask me. In many cases you may start out with an affiliate marketing training program to get the basic “know hows” to get started. These programs (listed in the article above about affiliate marketing training) are charging you a monthly fee to take part in their education.
Wow, absolutely true! I’ve had people ask me to help them make $1000+ per month, but are unwilling to invest the time and energy required into building a successful business. They just go from one program to another and quit after a week. What they fail to understand is, at the end of the day, you need to create quality content that help your readers.
In simple terms, affiliate marketing means selling another person’s or company’s products and services. It’s like a referral service. You set up a website or blog and join affiliate programs that are relevant to your audience. You can connect to these programs through affiliate networks that provide you with a link that you include on your site. When someone clicks the link and purchases the product or service you’re marketing, you receive a percentage of the sale proceeds as a commission. 
Varies from not at all to hugely important. Social is a great way to drive traffic in the early days before google shows you love. It is also a great way to connect with a reader on a different medium whether that be through pictures (instagram), short news updates (twitter), solving problems that users are facing (quora/reddit), or videos (youtube) Not all social media is going to be relevant to your audience, but you could leverage any social medium on it's own to drive major traffic and to connect with an audience you might not otherwise be able to sell to just by appearing in google. And let's be realistic, diversification of traffic is important - if you are relying on a single source, and it dries up, you don't get paid.
An influencer is an individual who holds the power to impact the purchasing decisions of a large segment of the population. This person is in a great position to benefit from affiliate marketing. They already boast an impressive following, so it’s easy for them to direct consumers to the seller’s products through social media posts, blogs, and other interactions with their followers. The influencers then receive a share of the profits they helped to create.
I’m a newbie and just stumbled into this article, which I find hugely informative. So thank you for writing this article. I’m close to finishing building my very first website and don’t have a domain yet, but have a question. Since affiliate program is considered a business, I’m wondering how do we set up a simple LLC one person company to separate our personal stuff from our online business stuff? Is there a simple reliable step-by-step guide we can follow, or does anyone here can advise with your own experiences? Thank you.

Your best bet is to learn a valuable, in-demand skill set, such as web development, which involves learning the craft, creating a Github account, building a portfolio, and applying for salaried positions with actual businesses. You can learn web development via websites like the Odin Project, which is an open source training curriculum created by passionate volunteers and sponsored by Thinkful.
The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
I was a victim of this exact scam. The only reason why I was successful in having my credit card restored, and my "customer number," deleted was because I wrote to the FTC as it is recommended in the emails that everyone receives from the FTC E-mail list of which I am a recipient of emails from the FTC, and they helped me with this exact situation that I embarrassingly tried. Thank you for restoring my money and my not being a victim of this problem. I am very grateful for this site and the award winning professionals who research countless types of illegal and scamming individuals who could ruin your life.

If I was a blogger I would have posted a blog about this myself but found your site searching to see if anyone was blogging about it. I did not find anything but thought this was a good place to start discussing it. I am investigating cookie behaviour and contacting merchants and affiliate marketing companies such as Linkshare and CJ. My findings probably do need a blog of their own.
Most businesses require startup fees as well as a cash flow to finance the products being sold. However, affiliate marketing can be done at a low cost, meaning you can get started quickly and without much hassle. There are no affiliate program fees to worry about and no need to create a product. Beginning this line of work is relatively straightforward.
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