General – Affiliate Programs

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A quick Google of “passive income” will bring you to various lists of “1,000,000+ Ways to Generate Passive Income”, and inevitably one of the top ways will always be “Affiliate Programs”. And they are fascinating.

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Essentially, different companies offer affiliate programs to influencers (definition: hipster term for people who post things to the internet like pictures of food and such) to have them share their purchases/experiences to sell their products among their viewership/devoted reader base. In return, the affiliates give the influencers a portion of the profit from any followers that buy the given product (AKA a commission). This profit is given at different percentages depending on the item that is promoted.

Several companies offer these programs, and a quick Google search will tell you how to sign up and the rates that they pay. Some companies that I looked at include Lowes, Printful, and of course, Amazon.

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What’s really interesting is how un-intrusive affiliate marketing can be. Instead of someone (figuratively) being all up in someone’s face on the internet saying “BUY MY STUFF OR MY KIDS WILL STARVE!!!” the information is imbedded in a product link in a blog post or a YouTube video. This means that you might have used an influencer’s affiliate link without knowing it. In fact, some people would not know that someone is using an affiliate program unless they disclosed that information.

Here is some other information I have discerned about affiliate programs:

  • You have to be an effective influencer to use them to their full potential
    • As an influencer, you have to have a following to make money this way
      • The more people that purchase the item, the more money the influencer that shared the item.
        • To some degree, it gives pyramid scheme vibes…
  • They tend to be free to join (as an influencer)
    • The company offering the affiliate program takes the commission from the seller in order to pay the influencer.
  • It is not “consistent income”
    • You can’t count on $X dollars per month with this strategy. If people aren’t interested in what you have done, they are not going to buy products from your links.
    • Companies can change the pay structure of their affiliate programs at any time. Amazon actually did this a few months ago during the US economic downturn.
  • While they are “low risk“, they are actually “high risk
    • How can that be? Simple: these programs are free to join, but if the influencer is dishonest or promotes a bad product they will lose credibility and damage their devoted reader base (emotionally/financially, etc.).
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So, now to the question: “Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?” In my opinion, the answer is actually “Yes”. And full disclosure, as someone looking to test passive income strategies I have actually applied for the Amazon Affiliate program. I plan to begin using it for any links that I provide for DIY projects. I will do a review of this program once I have experience using it, and I will keep you, my devoted reader, up-to-date on any other affiliate programs I sign up for.

Published by Ethan P.

Ethan is a 30-something that wants to retire early to spend more time with family (like most people). Ethan enjoys talking in the third person, long walks on the beach, pizza, and nerdy things like Star Wars, superheroes, and saving money....but not Clue...Ethan does not enjoy Clue.

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