Do all of these affiliate marketers make money?
October 12, 2010 6:32 AM   Subscribe

Are all these online affiliate marketers making money and am I jsut being jealous because I haven't done anything like it yet?

Over the past month or so I started scrolling through article comments at some of the sites I visit and clicking on the Commenter name which takes you to their blog.

I found an almost infinite amount of money making blogs (passive income, ebook sales, minimalist lifestyle etc.) and each one highlights a life full of freedom and hard work.

Mainly these sites blog about other sites and have and write guest articles all linking back and forth. They usually offer some sort of tool for free and in turn have a product they are selling that usually has something to do with blogging better, making more money, etc.

I've read some AskMetafilter articles through search about how a lot of websites do these things to obtain email lists, gain affiliate sales etc. Are all of these people making money off of these things, for example:

Every time I see someone telling a story about how they make plenty of money just working on their own time I do get pretty jealous since I'm a 9-5 office guy. I'm sure many people are making a good living doing these things, selling their ebooks on how to do this or that etc... However, sometimes I get a bad feeling about these sites, is that justified or is this just jealousy?
posted by modoriculous to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
These are all scams, 100%. Don't feel bad. (Well, feel a little bit bad about being suckered by their pitch.)
posted by unixrat at 6:40 AM on October 12, 2010 [5 favorites]

My guess is that at least some of these organizations make some money. But most probably don't make any money.

As to your bad feelings about the sites--what do you mean? It could be jealousy or it could be prudence. Some, if not all, of these sites may be spammy or scams. But just because something is a spam generator or a scam doesn't mean it can't make money. (This is not to say that I'd support the business just because it made money.)
posted by dfriedman at 6:41 AM on October 12, 2010

I travel in those circles since I am working on building an online business myself and some of the names are well respected (Chris Gillebeau, for example) in that field. There really is a need for information on how to create an internet based business because it's changing so quickly with the addition of Facebook and Twitter.

As with any field, some are skeevy, some are excellent. Seth Godin is apparently a god in those circles. :)

It actually requires a lot of work - sometimes it's easier to just come in to my 8:30-5 job. Nothing is a cakewalk no matter what ANYONE tells you.
posted by Mysticalchick at 6:45 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

It depends on what field you're in, did you get in early enough to get your site fairly highly ranked, how hard you work, how luck you are, etc.

I used to make a modest living off affiliate commissions for gambling sites, before the UIGEA. But I knew people who got into the poker affiliate business early in the poker room and were pulling in $50+k per *month*.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:51 AM on October 12, 2010

On a semi-related note: I've tried some of those "fill out questionaires for money" sites. So far I've made about $17 bucks...over the course of a year. Yeah, it's 17 bucks I didn't have before, but basically the hourly pay scale makes it *so* not worth it, unless you're just doing it for fun. And yeah, a lot of the "honest" sites leave you wide open for spam & more nefarious computer attacks.
posted by Ys at 6:53 AM on October 12, 2010

unixrat: "These are all scams, 100%."

Uhm, what? There are people making money in the MMO area and there definitely are affiliate marketers making a decent living. Sure, there are lots of trash products and ebooks but what exactly is this "100% scam"?
posted by turkeyphant at 8:16 AM on October 12, 2010

Hello everyone,

My site is one of the sites listed in this list. I completely agree with the "bad feeling" associated with most affiliate sites or make money online blogs...because the truth is, most are created by people reading about success stories and attempting to grab a piece of the pie but lack any training or knowhow of the subjects. Then there are the people who outsource most of the tasks (writing, email communication, ebook writing) so the quality is complete crap. And of course there are the legit people. It can be difficult to tell the difference unless you spend a little time reading their work, asking questions, and generally applying some common sense.

Now, to defend myself, if you read my "about page" you can see that I have spent the better half of 6 years learning the ropes and am applying what I've learned in that time to try and make a living online and quit my day job (I'm a 9-5 office guy too). I'm very transparent with what I'm doing, what I'm making, and I welcome all questions.

It's really just way to document my attempt (successes and failures).

Thanks for hearing my hop on over to and click on some affiliate links... ;)
posted by jasonmanheim at 8:38 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]

I have relatives who make their living with a number of websites selling products online, selling ads on their sites, and using affiliates, in addition to other tricks of the trade I don't know anything about. I don't know what their websites are specifically but I know they cater to people here and overseas.

They have a very nice home and take a lot of trips, as well as care for an elderly mother and put a college kid through school.

I haven't sat down and talked to them about their jobs so I don't know all the ins and outs or what all of their sources of income are. But they're definitely making money online, and they had frequent conference calls having to do with their business when I was visiting.

It is possible to get off the day-job grind. It's just hard. But think about it -- the internet is HUGE. If no one had the time or money to have online businesses (and having affiliates, from what I understand, is just one facet of this business model) then there wouldn't be so many successful websites.

If you're trying to recognize scams, look for sloppy writing, misspelling, and grandiose claims of overnight wealth. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
posted by xenophile at 4:52 PM on October 12, 2010

« Older You give me a recipe and make me a Puff Daddy?   |   Help me help a bunch of kids become nerds like me! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.