Affiliate marketing is a way to promote someone else’s product for a fixed commission. Its a revenue-sharing plan where an online automated marketing program lets a site owner place an advertiser's ads on their own web site. The site owner will receive a referral fee or commission from conversions when a click or sales is made on the affiliate link.
Make sure you choose to promote products that are relevant to your market, understand your visitors and offer them relevant, useful content to build trust.
I completely agree with Hafsoh. It is the best way to earn good amount of clients without doing any marketing by yourself. Affiliate programs are for people who want to make money online without investing any penny. Affiliate products can be promoted anywhere. Either on social networking sites, bookmarking sites or on your own blogs. Basically, in order to promote the affiliate products, you need to have a good knowledge of the products. You need to have a trustworthy profile on the Internet so that people can buy the products only the trust factor. Almost all the affiliate programs are absolutely free to join and once you join it, you are provided with an unique affiliate link which you need to promote. Mostly, banners are offered for free to promote on your website/blog. Whenever a visitor of your site or a friend in your social networking sites buy anything by clicking on lyour affiliate link a commission from the product price is credited to your account, which can be withdrawn after a specific amount is gathered to your affiliate account (ex. $50 or $100).
I agree with everything you said except the above line. Its not strictly true. You have to invest in building traffic to your site or page or however you plan to drive traffic to the affiliate sign up page. Some affiliates even invest in PPC to drive traffic.
The days you can build a site about a nice have loads of organic traffic to it just cash in on links to affiliate pages are gone. Most of the time, the site whose affiliate you are already dominating most of the keywords in that niche, take your company eUKHosts for example, you already dominate web hosting related keywords, whoever want to beat you in search engine dominance and then direct traffic to your via affiliate will do well (because you pay goo commission) BUT it cannot e done without a lot of investment in time and money.
I agree with your points, but its not necessary to spend money to earn money through affiliate programs. People can promote their affiliate links in their social network where they are trusted more. Also, there are many free blogging platforms where people can create blogs and promote it. In terms of time, I completely agree that patience and efforts are required to earn good benefits from affiliate programs. Most of the times, people gets frustrate and leaves it in middle. And since, SEO can be done by anyone, it just requires a lot of time to invest in building good traffic to the blogs.