laptop screen with the writing affiliate marketing



drawing explains what is affiliate marketing

It’s a commission-paid opportunity.

You get paid when you sell other businesses’ services or products.

You earn a commission for endorsing other businesses and helping them to promote and sell more of their products and services.

To put it bluntly, you act as a middleman that gets paid when the transaction between the seller and the buyer takes place.

What do YOU have to focus your attention on to start and scale your affiliate business?

The only focus you should have is on getting traffic, visitors, subscribers, followers, etc.

How can YOU build a list of subscribers, followers, and so on?

By focusing on providing quality content around what you endorse through your blog, your Facebook page, your Instagram page, your YouTube Channel, Snapchat, etc.

You can become an authority, attract people to you and then direct them to the products and services that can meet their needs and solve their problems.


The main reason is that most businesses and brands have an affiliate program.

Companies are more and more willing to pay you a commission in exchange for your referrals.

After all, YOU help the brand to grow.

Affiliate marketing, among the other online business models, remains the one with the highest chance to generate passive income.

This business model is expanding year in and year out. 

According to Statista, the U.S. affiliate marketing spending is due to reach 8.2 billion U.S. dollars by 2022, when back in 2017 the recorded figure was 5.4 billion.

chart showing affiliate marketing spending forecast

According to Google Trends over the last 5 years online searches for the expression “affiliate marketing” have soared from 25 to 100 and this means an increase of 300%.

chart showing the increase of the word affiliate marketing in the search engine last 5 years

These figures and trends indicate that becoming an affiliate marketer could be a game-changer for your life.


writing: how affiliate marketing works?

You have to sign up for an affiliate program.

You receive your unique affiliate link from the company you want to start endorsing.

Any time someone clicks on your affiliate link and they buy a product or service YOU earn a commission.

With this link, the company you endorse can track each sale they make through you, who clicks on your link, and who makes a purchase so that you are guaranteed YOU get paid.


hand is clicking the word success

Anyone can start doing affiliate marketing easily, but when it comes to becoming a successful affiliate marketer there are some steps you should take into account.

YOU should:

1)Focus on one niche at a time;

Instead of trying to promote products that belong to different sectors, just narrow your attention to build your funnel of products and services around one core niche;

2)Endorse products and services YOU are really passionate about;

You will communicate the benefits that your audience will receive by buying the products and services you endorse more easily;

3)Endorse products or services YOU have been using and have proved excellent quality;

4)Choose the affiliate marketing companies that are aligned with your audience’s needs;

5)Build your list of followers;

6)Build a strong relationship with them;

7)Switch your focus from making money to providing value to your audience;

You should become a server for your followers, you should be willing to solve their problems and meet their needs.

Don’t put money first! Focus on sharing values. Money will follow.

8)Create high-quality content about what YOU are endorsing;

9)Leverage different platforms,

E.g. your authority site, blog, Facebook page, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, YouTube channel, etc;

10)Build your authority website, your brand, and your logo,

So that people will associate them with YOU.

11)Make sure YOU endorse products in high demand;

12)Improve your Search Engine Optimization skills,

So that when you create content it ranks higher in the search results and brings more traffic to your blog, Facebook page, YouTube channel, etc;

13)Keep updating your digital skills;

The digital world changes very quickly, so you have to make sure to keep up with it.

14)Learn from successful affiliate marketers and their strategies;

If they have great results, you can be successful too and you can speed up your learning process.

15)Treat affiliate marketing for what it is, a business, and not a game;

If you want to see the results you expect you have to make it your first priority you have to commit to doing whatever is needed to get momentum.

Are you ready to spend hours looking for material to create the content you are going to share with your audience?

Are you ready to work on your business till night?

If so, you are on the right track to generate a future passive income stream as a reward for your hard work;

16)Be consistent;

Hard work is not enough once in a while, YOU have to provide your followers with great content regularly. 

Only by being consistent can you scale your business and breakthrough;

17)Disclose your affiliation;

Affiliate Disclosure is required by the Federal Trade Commission.

You always have to inform your followers of whether any of your links are affiliate links.

Disclosing your affiliation can help to strengthen the trust between YOU and your followers.

18)Comply with the affiliate terms and agreements;

All affiliate programs are different from one another, so make sure about what YOU can or cannot do.

It’s not enough to sign up for an affiliate program and expect money to roll in.

This will happen once you have put in lots of hard work and learned and mastered the strategies of affiliate and digital marketing.


writing: advantages

If you join an affiliate program, you don’t have to worry about:

  • creating a product or service,
  • shipping,
  • investing in inventory,
  • creating a team,
  • providing customer service,
  • setting the technical stuff.

The businesses for which you are an affiliate marketer are in charge of all this heavy lifting.

Besides, affiliate marketing enables YOU to:

  • start your online business around your traditional 9 to 5 job so, you don’t have to worry about making ends meet,
  • endorse something you believe in and are passionate about,
  • have no cap on your earnings (you are responsible for how much you are going to earn, and if you are committed to putting in enough work you can scale your business to over 6 figures),
  • create a passive income,
  • work from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection,
  • create a network of friends and like-minded people.


It is a win for the brands you endorse because, thanks to you, they acquire new customers that otherwise, they would not get.

It is a win for YOU because you have the possibility to write your own paycheck without having to kill yourself working for someone else.

Furthermore, you don’t have to come up with a new idea, product, or service, i.e. you don’t have to invent anything new or take the risks that you usually have to run when you start a business.

It is a win for the customer who can rely on a good quality product or service.


writing: physical vs digital

It’s much easier to earn more money from digital products than from physical ones.

The reason is that physical products involve more expenses than digital ones.

Just think of the manufacturing and shipping costs linked to physical products! It is no wonder that digital ones have a much higher profit margin.   

The commission you can get on a physical product ranges between 1% and 10%, while the one on digital products (e.g. ebooks, games, photography, video software, etc) can be over 50%.

It is therefore worth endorsing both physical and digital products/services.


Cookies are small text files created by the site a web user is browsing.

They store information e.g. login detail, user preferences, and shopping cart contents.

Cookies make your browsing more convenient.

For instance, when you select a language on a multilingual website, the site stores this information in the form of a cookie in your browser, so the next time YOU visit the same site from the same browser the page loads automatically in the language that you previously chose by agreeing to the cookies.

In the context of Affiliate Marketing cookies allow Affiliate Programs to make certain they can determine where sales come from.

When visitors to a website click on the affiliate link, this is stored on their browser within the file called cookie.

The cookie’s expiring date is variable, it depends on the affiliate program you sign up for, however, in most instances, it lasts 30 days.

It’s important to stress that any web user can clear their browser cookies at any time.

This means that if the web users make a purchase after having cleared their browser cookies, the affiliates don’t get their commission.

It’s also important to say that a browser cookie is only tracked within the specific browser, so if the web user opens a different one to complete the purchase, the affiliates don’t get their commission.


1)Amazon Associates

logo amazon associates

It’s the largest Affiliate Marketing program, so it’s easy to find the products you want to promote.

You can promote any physical product sold through this platform.

Amazon commissions range between 1% and 10%.

Not a real treat for the eyes, is it?

But what makes being an affiliate for Amazon a good opportunity is that people don’t usually buy just one item.

When they add other products or services to their basket you get a commission on each of them.

Let’s look at an example:

Let’s say that you recommend a tv on Amazon and someone buys it, but then they want to buy also a subwoofer, a bracket tv, a DVD player, etc...You will end up getting commissions on everything they add to their cart.

As regards the duration of cookies, it is 24 hours.

However, if somebody adds a product to their carts, Amazon will extend your cookie by another 90 days.

The minimum payout is 10$ by direct deposit or as a gift card.

2)Click Bank

logo clickbank

Unlike Amazon Associate, this Affiliate Network offers mainly digital products.

It pays very high commissions, 70% on average.

As regards cookies, their duration can vary depending on the product, but it usually is 60 days.

Like Amazon Associates, the minimum payout is 10$.

3)eBay Partners Program

logo ebay partner network

Like Amazon Associates, you have access to a huge selection of products.

The affiliate commission ranges from 50% to 70%.

Yet, the cookie period is 24 hours.

What’s interesting about this Affiliate Program is that affiliates get a 100% bonus anytime they refer a buyer who is new to eBay.

Besides new affiliates get double commissions over the first three months.

Like Amazon Associates and Click Bank, the minimum payout is 10$

4)Commission Junction (CJ)

logo commission junction

It is one of the world’s largest and oldest Affiliate Networks.

It counts over 3000 merchants.

Some of the giant digital and physical companies that use CJ are:

  • Overstock,
  • Priceline,
  • GoPro,
  • Grammarly,
  • IHG,
  • Lowe’s.

The average commission rate, as well as the cookie duration, depends on the specific merchant you sign up with.

As regards the minimum payout, unlike the previous 3, CJ pays 50$ by direct deposit and 100$ by check.


logo shareasale

This Affiliate Network is a great option for both digital and physical products.

It hosts over 3,900 Affiliate Programs spanning 40 different categories.

Like CJ the commission rate and the cookie duration depend on the specific merchants you sign up with.

The minimum payout is 50$.


Even if Affiliate Marketing is a huge opportunity to start your online business or take it to the next level, it’s not a walk in the park.

It takes commitment, consistency, and creativity to come up with valuable content, to create a strong relationship with your audience.

But this is exactly what the success of your Affiliate Marketing business will depend on.

Once you have built the foundations of your business, (i.e. valuable content and a strong relationship with your audience) you can literally have days when you don’t do anything apart from enjoying money rolling into your bank account.

When your audience sees YOU as an authority and someone they can trust YOU win.

You win because for them you have become their problem solver and they are going to be willing to buy whatever you genuinely promote.

So when you decide to start an Affiliate Program make sure to place your followers’ needs first in order to build trust and a strong relationship with them; this will pave the way to your success.

If you are looking for shortcuts, Affiliate Marketing is not for you.

If instead, you are willing to create a long sustainable business model, then Affiliate Marketing can be the right horse for you.

If you persevere, you will get the results you are looking for, whether it is having an extra income or quitting your current full-time job forever.

More resources for YOU:

Christian Caliendo
my signature


  1. Hi Christian,

    Thank you for sharing your insights and your unique viewpoint in regards to affiliate marketing. It’s amazing that both of us promote the same field of interest but with different word selection. While I use my wild imagination and my natural tendency describing things using analogies and build story around it. It’s your direct language, the simplicity of describing things while present us with facts and statistics. Makes you message very compelling

  2. This has proved most interesting. Until I read this I would have had no idea that there are now businesses using the opportunity to generate a stream of passive income by creating a business and making money online, nor that the retail giants reward celebrity.

  3. Personally, I believe in the affiliate marketing business model as you said it is not for everyone. Any great successful business owner uses the right business model but also do the job himself. So sharing these values on how to become a good affiliate marketer is a gift for this DNA where people me find their way to manoeuvre themselves in the digital arena.
    Thanks !!!!!!

  4. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing your great work ^^
    I believe marketing is the key to achieve our goals out of working for companies or for people.
    All the best to you !

  5. Great article!
    No over promising (about how it’ll change your life overnight), well explained, good examples. The only thing I would add is an explanation of what a cookie is and that in this case it remembers that you were the affiliate who brought in the customer. I happen to know that but it’s not common knowledge.
    Do you know any examples of affiliate programs that pay 100% commission?
    I’ve heard of it but they don’t seem to make sense. Do you think they are legit?

    1. Thanks for the heads up about cookie Mikolaj, I will add an explanation about it.
      Regarding Affiliate programs that pay 100% commission, I have heard about Liquid Web that pay even more than 100%.
      This program pays its affiliates 150% of sales.
      Having said that I have never joined its Affiliate Program and as far as I know the highest commission that you can get in the Affiliate world is around 70%.

  6. Hello Christian, I’ve found your article about affiliate marketing quite informative. Just one question: what do you think is necessary to achieve a regular passive income? Should one specialise its posts within a very specific topic, and therefore select their users indirectly?

    1. Hi StoneDead, the key ingredient to receive a regular passive income is consistency in putting in work every day.
      A laser focus attitude makes the difference above all at the beginning of your journey as an affiliate marketer.
      It requires time to build valuable content and build your audience.
      But once you have created compelling content and you have your raving followers you are able to generate cash flow with little to no ongoing effort.
      Just picture if you promote a service that involves a monthly subscription fee.
      Let’s say a web user clicks on your unique affiliate link and pays for the service you are endorsing.
      And let’s say that this customer is really happy with his/her subscription and he/she decides to extend it.
      You are going to receive recurring payments for the lifetime of the customer.
      Here is an example: the monthly subscription costs 100£ and you as an affiliate marketer receive 10% of it, that’s 10$ a month.
      If the customer decides to pay the subscription for an entire year you will end up earning 120£.
      This with one customer.
      What if you got 1000 people to sign up for the membership you are endorsing?
      You will have earned at the end of the year 120000$!
      This is the power of this business model and this is how you can generate regular passive income.
      Regarding your second question, I suggest specializing your posts/contents (it might be also through videos) within a very specific topic so that you can become an authority in that specific field and more easily you can build a big audience and a strong relationship with your followers.
      I cannot stress enough how important is the relationship that you create with your audience.
      This can separate you from being an affiliate marketer to being a successful affiliate marketer.

  7. I’m glad I could get to know this field more thoroughly. It’s interesting what you can achieve with such kind of marketing.
    The only thing I don’t appreciate very much about the articles is the capital letters YOU, In my opinion it makes the reading less smooth.
    Otherwise it’s interesting and well explained, providing stats and data corroborating the statements.

  8. The one who's gone away

    I guess I was never one who would venture into the unknown in search for new ventures and that this Internet-affiliate business world was completely new to me and frankly I was a tad skeptical it could work: in my cynical attitude I alway found myself asking the question – where’s the trick? – So, I am glad I have found Cristian’s blog that with a clear & simple language, full of passion and belief – boy you can tell that! – help me navigate through this new sea of opportunities and challenges opend up by the digital revolution we are living in: one either swims or sinks and I am sure that with Cristian’ s help and the support that each of us in this new community can give one another we will all reach a new land.

  9. Great article about affiliate marketing! Something I haven’t heard about yet and got a good chance of knowing a little bit more about! Thanks Chris

  10. I don’t know much about business or affiliate marketing so this article was useful to learn more about passive income and how to to get head start in all this. Thanks!

  11. Ludovica Serratrice

    Hi Christian, thanks for sharing your article. Is affiliate marketing too good to be true? And don’t you already need to be a powerful influencer to leverage the kind of following you need to really generate a sustainable passive income? Sorry to play devil’s advocate 🙂 just curious to find our more about how it’s all supposed to work. Thanks.

    1. Hello Ludovica, I don’t mind you playing devil’s advocate at all, as a matter of fact, it is very useful also for other readers that may have the same doubts.
      Affiliate Marketing is not too good to be true.
      This business model can be a lucrative opportunity and generate passive income over time.
      However, before you are able to generate a passive income you need to invest time and energy to set up affiliate marketing links, content, and what’s more, to build your audience and the relationship with them.
      That’s what makes the difference for your success as an affiliate marketer.
      It goes without saying, you get out what you put in.
      You cannot expect to generate a passive income overnight.
      There is always a learning curve to go through, and, if you are consistent in learning and implementing the key tactics and strategies that you learn through your personal journey as an affiliate marketer, you can generate a steady passive income.
      Remember: “Every master, was once a disaster”. – T.Harv.Eker

      1. I agree with Christian. No need to be an influencer to be a successful affiliate marketer (though you may become one in the process). Content quality, relevance, usefulness, and relationship building are the cornerstone of any successful operation in pretty much every walk of life.

  12. Excellent article, Christian. I couldn’t agree more with your approach to creating great content. It takes time and care to ensure that your content is relevant to your audience, but great content and engineering have one very important thing in common: they solve problems. If your content answers your audience’s questions in a helpful, accessible and relatable way, you will have added value to your audience. And they will come back for more.

  13. Great article Christian!
    Definitely affiliate marketing can be a career if you put in the required time, effort and consistency. It’s all goes down to mindset!
    Thank you for sharing this information!

  14. Honestly, I have not heard of affiliate marketing before, therefore, thank you Christian for this useful and informative article! It seems to me like I will be a returning visitor on this blog. Waiting for another good readings!

  15. Ajnácska Vermes

    I loved it. Excellent article, I never heard of it, but I agree with you in all ways. Thank you for inspiring me. I look forward to know more about your articles.

  16. Thank you for your detailed explanation Chris: I think it you gave a super clear and straight-forward explanation, much clearer than many book written by scholars on the subject!
    In my opinion it really clarifies the win-win mechanism behind the revenues generated by affiliate marketing.
    I can’t wait to read the next article about a new trend that will shape the future.

  17. Thank you for summarizing all the information in clear in simple way. Learnt a lot of new stuff. Waiting for the next post. Keep up the good work

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