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  • Alicia Alligood

What is affiliate marketing?

Updated: May 7, 2023

Spoiler: It's legit, and it's been around for decades.

What is affiliate marketing

What exactly is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of digital marketing in which individuals (the affiliates) receive a commission for each click, signup or sale they generate for a brand or merchant.



Is affiliate marketing a scam?

The short answer is… no!


For many people, their first time hearing about affiliate marketing was via Instagram and TikTok reels on #SideHustles––which sometimes feature creators claiming to earn 6-figures. For skeptical folks (especially those with zero knowledge of digital marketing), it simply sounds too good to be true. This, combined with the unfortunate reality that scammers are rampant online, is why some people mistakenly believe that affiliate marketing is a scam.


Frankly, it’s quite sad that so many people will never come to understand this opportunity. It really can be quite lucrative when done using proven strategies.



How long has affiliate marketing been around?

Internet-based affiliate marketing has been around since the mid-1990s, when a company called PC Flowers & Gifts brilliantly launched a program that enabled website owners to earn commissions by referring shoppers to their online store. Within a few years, bloggers had turned affiliate marketing into a multi-million dollar industry by referring their readers to specific products and services using unique affiliate links.


Fun fact: Amazon launched their affiliate program in 1996.


However, commission-based referrals programs were common long before the internet era, across a vast range of industries.


With the continued growth of online retail, affiliate marketing has consistently gained momentum as well. Thousands of companies across the world–including many of your favorite brands– have implemented an affiliate marketing program because it is a proven strategy to generate revenue.


Today, thanks to social media, more people are aware of this opportunity than ever before.


Why do people love affiliate marketing?
  • Passive Income: A core component of affiliate marketing is the technique of creating something once that will continue to create revenue for many months or years to come.

For example, a luxury car blogger can make unlimited commissions from one article; they write an article, include their unique affiliate links, and each time a reader clicks and then purchases the product or service recommended by the blogger… that blogger earns a commission.


Another example is when affiliate marketers offer an ebook as the “opt in” for their sales funnel. They create the ebook once (which generally includes affiliate links), people receive it via email, and each time someone decides to click one of the links and then purchase that product or service… the affiliate marketer receives a commission.


  • Work less while earning more: Since various components of affiliate marketing are automated, many affiliate marketers agree that once everything is set up, you can work a mere 2-4 hours per day and still make life-changing income. According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual income of an affiliate marketer in the United States in 2023 is $177,586… that’s 14,798.83 per month!

  • Remain self employed: this one’s self explanatory.

  • Choose any niche: Common niches include travel, fitness, parenting, Amazon finds, luxury lifestyle, e-commerce, automotive, beauty, education, tech, finance (my personal favorite), and many more.


Tip: It’s a rule of thumb to choose a niche you’re sincerely interested in and knowledgeable (or want to become knowledgeable) about.


What’s the best way to start affiliate marketing?

Today there is a wealth of free information online about how to get started––so much so, that it can feel like information overload when one attempts to do the research themselves. That’s why we recommend taking an online course. The right course will be direct, concise yet informative, and most importantly… extremely affordable.


We recommend the 15 Day Business Challenge course by Legendary Marketer, which costs a mere $7 USD and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.


Also be sure to explore the variety of companies who offer an affiliate program. This will help you realize just how common (and legit) affiliate marketing truly is, and will also help you begin to understand the types of companies you are interested in marketing.


In conclusion:

Affiliate marketing is a well-established field with decades of history, and continues to be a prominent business model in the ever-expanding online economy.


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