Affiliate marketers have been around for quite some time now.

In fact, Amazon was the first ecommerce company to use affiliate marketing as a program that was available to the general public. Their system known as Associates Program allowed people to sign up to be able to offer links on their website. It was launched in 1996. (source:

The business model continues to adapt and change as the industry and consumers change. However, it doesn’t show any sign of slowing down as a business model. It is still quite a viable and potentially profitable way to make money.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an internet marketing business model where a person earns a commission based on sales or website visits they have a direct influence on. Different businesses offer different affiliate programs. Some pay a commission for each sale a person sends them while others pay for click throughs to their website. Generally, most pay based on sales.

However, an affiliate marketer isn’t a ‘salesperson’. Their job is to promote products and/or services, not to sell them.

An affiliate may promote products in a number of different ways. Generally an affiliate marketer will have a website devoted to a niche topic – say, for example, coffee mugs. They’ll write content on coffee mugs, review coffee mugs, review stores that sell coffee mugs and discuss the finer details about coffee mugs.

The content they write or produce will link to websites that sell coffee mugs. The affiliate marketer has presumably signed up for their affiliate program and each time someone reads their content, clicks on the link and buys a coffee mug, the marketer earns a commission.

It’s a great business model because just about every product or service under the big yellow sun has an affiliate program or two available. This means you can earn money writing and talking about a niche you’re passionate about. Love yoga? There are affiliate products you can promote. Enjoy working on cars? There are affiliate programs for you too.

So How Do You Get Started as An Affiliate Marketer?

The first decision to make is what niche topic you’re going to focus on. Find a topic you can write or talk about every single day. Find a topic that gets you excited and out of bed and keeps you up late at night.

The second step is to then take your passion and do some research. What affiliate programs fit your niche? You can search affiliate directories and there are a few good ones to join. You can also search for quality companies that you enjoy and would be delighted to represent and if they don’t have an affiliate program, tell them you’re interested in promoting them and see what happens. Most businesses have a link on their website if they have any type of partner or affiliate program.

Finally, look into how you want to structure your business website. Do you want to host a blog or a content based website? What type of content do you want to provide, audio, video, written? It’s up to you and your strengths and preferences.

Read up on your audience and your industry and start creating content. Social networking is a great way to promote an affiliate business because it enables you to interact with other people who are interested in your topic.

Affiliate marketing is a wonderful business model for both part time and full time entrepreneurs. It gives you the unique opportunity to make money talking about something you enjoy.

Happy selling!

ps. Check out our list of Affiliate Marketing Resources to help you get started.