Affiliate Programs

If you're going to go through all the time and trouble to put up a web site, you might as well try to make a little of money on it.

With affiliate programs, you add a specially-encoded link to your page advertising a site or product and get paid a commission on sales generated when someone clicks on that link and buys something.

Usually you get a check (or direct deposit) whenever your earnings exceed a minimum, usually $50 per month. Unpaid earnings carry forward without limit in most programs, until you finally accrue enough to meet the minimum for payment. Note that the minimum is per merchant, not per affiliate management system (like the ones featured below).
Another benefit is that you get to associate your site with some of the biggest names in e-commerce. It makes sense to start with a merchant that offers products related to the content on your site, but there's no law that says that you can't show a banner ad for a company that sells luxury cruises on a site about your collection of action figures. However, you need to consider what is going to be attractive to your visitors. In general, you only get paid if they click on the banner and then purchase from the merchant. You don't get paid just for showing their advertisement.

There are sites that run (or appear to run) their own affiliate programs, and those that work through one of a few companies that are in the business of managing affiliate programs for others.

Over time, I intend to provide links to all of the major players in the latter category, as well as to those sites that pay commissions to folks like me for helping them find new affiliates. (Meta-affiliates, what a concept!)
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