Well, not totally nothing, but there are a lot of people who earn money by dropping links to everything throughout their blogs and websites. If you've ever noticed that some blogs have every third word underlined as a link, they're probably earning money as an affiliate.
|Be an Etsy affiliate and promote my shop! :)|
An affiliate program basically gives the advertiser (the person who adds the link) a percentage of the sale if someone clicks on the link, then buys something. It's a way for businesses to get the word out about their products by having people refer their readers to them.
Let's say that I write about how I love the Amazon Prime program for the free shipping for all of the supplies I buy online. (I really do) and I tell you to Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. That link is an affiliate link, and I'll get $3 for each person who signs up through that link.
I used to be an affiliate with ShareASale, which is one of the clearinghouse-type sites that you can sign up with to be affiliates.
Craftsy is one company that works through ShareASale, and they do a ton of advertising through their affiliate program. The more they sell, the more they earn, so they encourage people to be affiliates and recommend Craftsy classes. That's why there are sooooo many people on facebook raving about Craftsy classes. They're getting paid to do it.
Now honestly, you can't make a tremendous amount of money through these programs unless you spend a lot of time posting links and ads everywhere. Last year I made about $900 from affiliate income, and guess how much I spent on Craftsy classes to do the reviews for them? Yep, $900. I basically use my affiliate income to pay for blog material!
I always forget to link to things, and I actually just had to go back and link to ShareASale. Some decorators are really hardcore about linking to everything they write about, but I tend to forget to do it. I've seen blog, though, where people talk about their "favorite things" and every single one is an Amazon link.
That's the one thing that really chaps me about the whole thing. I have no problem with people earning money from being an affiliate, but a lot of people don't disclose that the links are earning them money. I also know that I personally am not going to recommend anything that I think stinks, but I have no idea if someone else is. Legally, you're supposed to have a disclosure at the TOP of the page where the links exist, but a lot of people don't include disclosures anywhere.
So I take those "my favorite things" or the "My Christmas Wish List" posts that will start appearing soon with a grain of salt. They're often just lists of affiliate links that are there to earn some cash for the writer. Yeah, maybe they're the author's favorites, but if they don't disclose that the links are earning them money I don't trust it.
If you have a website or a blog, you can sign up for the various affiliate programs. Each one has different requirements, so you'll have to check them individually to see if you're a good fit.
A new program that I'm interested in is the Etsy affiliate program...If you sign up for that and promote shops on Etsy, you can earn a percentage of those sales. Go here for information on that: Etsy Affiliate Program. Promote my shop and earn some $$$!
In the meantime, be cautious about links that people have dropped throughout their blogs. They might be affiliate links and they might not, but you should be warned if someone's selling something to you!
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com