We have never directly written about affiliate marketing, but we have railed on it repeatedly when work-at-home programs claim that it is a “job,” or that it is fast and easy.

This post is for those of you who are new to the online income scene. It explains what affiliate marketing is, how it is not an online job, and our love-hate relationship with it.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Simply stated, it is commission sales. You sign up to be an affiliate of a product or a company that offers an affiliate program. As an affiliate, you get your own special link to a product. Then, when someone buys the product after clicking your link, you get a commission on the sale.

For example, I am an affiliate of Amazon.com. I occasionally post book or music recommendations on my other blog and I add a link to the book at Amazon. If a reader likes what I say about a book and clicks over to Amazon to buy it, I get a small percentage of the sale.

Affiliate Marketing Is Not A Job

Two of our most successful categories of posts here are Data Entry Jobs and Rebate Processor Jobs. (Clicking these links takes you to a page where you can click through to all of our posts in these categories.) They continue to draw traffic and we continue to hear from people who were suckered into trying one of those “jobs.”

Every rebate processor job and data entry job program we have seen have this in common: they’re not “jobs” at all. They’re affiliate marketing programs. Here are some differences:

  • In a job, you exchange your time and skill for money. In affiliate marketing, you make money only if you make sales, no matter how much time you invest.
  • In a job, your income is predictable. In affiliate marketing, your income is not predictable until you have a lot of experience and a good track record.
  • In a job, you have an employer or a client who pays you. In affiliate marketing, any company or individual whose product you sell pays you.

There are many more differences. One of our main charges against data entry and rebate processor programs is that they are misleading. People who are looking for a job, with the traditional understanding of what that means, are in for a big shock when they instead sign up for affiliate marketing. It’s intentionally deceptive to call it a job, and those types of programs prey on the ignorant and the desperate.

Affiliate Marketing: We Love It, We Hate It

We are big fans of affiliate marketing. It’s one of the ways we make money online. Yes, it’s true. For the record, we use affiliate marketing and make a commission on some of the things we recommend.

But there is a world of difference between our recommendations and the conditions under which we do so and something like sitereviewauthority.org, which recommends very questionable programs so that it can rake in the affiliate commissions. Now, if you’re a hardened skeptic, maybe there’s nothing I can say that will convince you of that. I can live with that. I have better things to do with my time and I think our more than 250 posts are evidence of our determination never to mislead.

For example, I’m not going to recommend an affiliate training program to you because I don’t know of one that I like. When I find one, you can bet I’ll hold it up for you, and yes, I will probably make a commission when you buy it.

For now, here are a few cautions about affiliate marketing if you’re considering getting into it.

  • You have to have a Web site and be quite technically savvy.
  • Your site has to draw a lot of traffic.
  • You have to figure out what your readers want and will buy.
  • You have to get readers to click on your affiliate links.
  • They have to buy after clicking on your link.

Fail in any of the above and you won’t make any money as an affiliate marketer. It takes time, work, and it isn’t easy. There is a lot to learn. If anyone tells you differently, they’re probably trying to sell you something.

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