Thanks for the great info and many examples. If a picture is worth 1000 words, 17 excellent examples are worth gazillions!! BTW, your use of “persona” was 100% correct. While a persona can be fake or deceptive (eg, “she adopted a meek persona every time he was around, but in reality, she was anything but…”), but it in no way implies that person behind it is not real. The more general meaning of the term is any character or personality presented outwardly, as to an audience or the public, and that is precisely how you used the word here.

Have a plan — As an affiliate, you aren’t entirely responsible for the sales of this company, but you are responsible for the success of your affiliation with that company. If you want to do well, prepare. Have a professional-grade website. One consumers trust with their contact information. Have a strategy for the content you produce and how you promote posts or products.


generic keywords tend to have high search volumes, but they also tend to have high competition or low buyer intent. They're good to target as part of your overall strategy (just don't try to compete on PPC campaigns). Long-tail keywords, like "Fat loss for mothers" are generally more specific, have higher buyer intent and could be effective drivers of traffic to your site. =) They should be the primary focus for your SEO and marketing.
I’ve already tried and discarded some of these on the list. Others I haven`’t heard of, so I’ll look into them. I’ve been with Amazon for about 3 years now, but am still to get a payment. I got a message from them only today saying I didn’t make enough (even with the bits and pieces that have been collecting in my account over the years) to be paid this month either…
Earning an income online using affiliate marketing is a perfect way to do fundraising, without spending huge amounts of time or money doing it. There are lots of different ways to earn money online, from setting up a blog, using YouTube to have your say, or selling products through eBay. This guide will teach you several ways to get your online business going. Soon, you’ll be earning your first $1000 through passive income!
Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates".[30] Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.
Another consideration for choosing an affiliate marketing niche is whether to go for something ‘hot’ now or a so called ‘evergreen’ market. Examples of hot niches would include those related to new technologies or current trends, such as green living and solar energy. Hot niches can be great for making fast profits, but interest and sales eventually tail off. If you choose an evergreen affiliate marketing niche, such as Chinese cookery, you should be able to build an online business over a period of years.
I would personally agree with linkshare.com as a great affiliate marketing platform to join as a publisher. Here’s why. Back in 2005 when I knew nothing about affiliate marketing and was using blogger.com as a free blogging platform without any experience whatsoever and joining Walmart.com as my first official affiliate program, I was able to insert Walmart affiliate in its in my blogger blog and earn a $72 commission. I was onto affiliate marketing for life from there.
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You’re obviously not going to be targeting broad keywords like ‘travel’ and ‘traveling’. Actually, it doesn’t even matter if you’re going to be doing SEO for this particular site. What you really want to see is whether or not there is a demand for that particular type of traffic. As you scroll down, you want to look for cost-per-clicks that really jump out at you. For example, we have ‘student travel’, which has a suggested bid of $4.10 for one click. That might be a niche right there. Under the broadness of ‘traveling’, if you decided to do something about student travel, you know that there are advertisers paying $4 for one visitor. I’ve found in my experience that the higher this cost-per-click, the more affiliate offers and affiliate options you have. This is something to pay attention to. In general, the cost-per-click in the whole travel niche is quite low. For this reason alone and the fact that the Clickbank marketplace didn’t really have so many great offers that you could promote, you might want to go back to the beginning in Quantcast and look at another niche and follow the same process.
Another thing to consider when selecting your affiliate marketing niche is the types of products you want to sell. Digital downloads, such as ebooks, are perfect for selling online. Customers can access them immediately, and this can increase your sales conversion rates. The bigger profits usually come from up-sales and cross-sales, so give some thought to additional products you might offer to customers after their initial purchase. For example you might sell an ebook about how to play online poker to build your customer base. You could then target buyers with a more expensive course on how to win poker tournaments.
You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  
LinkConnector imposes a very rigorous and lengthy screening process, so you’ll need to prove that you have a high-quality website and established audience before being accepted. Despite its somewhat schizophrenic approach, LinkConnector does have some very happy long-term affiliates. And their “naked links” allow for direct connection to the merchant website without having to be rerouted via LinkConnector, which will give your website an SEO boost.

Affiliate marketing is the internet version of getting paid on commission. You sign up with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, or other online sellers, then promote books on your blog by including special affiliate links (on the surface, these links don’t appear any different from regular links, and they can go to specific book pages, to searches, or to category pages in the bookstore).
1. I recommend avoiding affiliate networks at first. Warrior Forum is a good place to start. Look for people running offers in your niche. Often, word of mouth from your top performers will be huge. You can also set up an Affiliate page, especially if you know you’re in a popular affiliate niche, because most affiliates will be actively looking for new offers.
This Affiliate Marketing Website was built as a live case study within Wealthy Affiliate over a 4 week period.  Members were able to watch every single step I took while building the site. From keyword research to showing profits – every step was shown live and recorded. If you’re a member of Wealthy Affiliate, you can watch the entire case study from start to finish.  Here’s a post that outlines the entire case study.
Over the course of 6 months I’ve made $1300 with Amazon Affiliates alone with the majority of that coming from about 15 different posts. Each month I am seeing a steady and slow increase in my affiliate earnings as I continue to create content that recommends helpful products, even when my traffic is lower. My DA is at 39 and I average about 100,000 page views every month.
That being said, LinkConnector’s platform looks and feels outdated and is rather clumsily designed. Their dashboard also makes it difficult to find “hot” products or compare conversion rates, leaving affiliates somewhat in the dark about which products to choose. Ironically, despite their low-quality website, they offer some of the best customer service in the affiliate space.
I have far better luck when I incorporate affiliate links into the body of a post. For example, if I’m writing about editing tips, I’ll mention that I use Grammarly and include a link like this one so that readers can try it out for themselves. However, you don’t want to be too spammy about this, which is why I think it helps to focus on products that you know and use and think will be of value to your readers.
Products and services in these evergreen niches are always in demand because people are always looking for solutions to specific problems in their day-to-day lives. You'll want to operate in one or two sub-niches, to begin with, because it is impossible to make meaningful offers in such gigantic broad categories. In the example above, "group fitness for women" is much more targeted than "how to lose weight". It's easy to tackle a sub-niche within a large niche then grow from there.
On the other hand, the more appealing your niche is, the harder it is to break into. If you go too competitive, you’ll never carve out your space. This is why I abandoned my shoe niche! To continue our cooking example, a quick Google search tells me there are thousands of cooking blogs out there. I would need to identify a more specific cooking niche to stand out. It’s also easier to find your audience if you write for a niche that’s not so well-known. That way, you can rise through the ranks faster with less effort. 

Look for a gravity score of 30 or more, because these products have a proven track record of selling well for a number of different affiliates. Products, especially new products, with gravity scores under 30 may work but are more risky. Gravity scores of greater than 100 mean the product’s popular. You could have competition, but don’t worry about that. The important thing is that there’s lots of demand.
Affiliate marketing programs typically work by having the merchant handle all the logistics involved in selling products or services, processing customer orders and payments, and shipping merchandise—all while the affiliate sits back and collects a commission for each agreed-upon action completed by the visitors the affiliate sends to the merchant’s website via an affiliate link. As long as the affiliate has done her homework and chosen a trustworthy affiliate program, she needn’t worry about non-payment.
This is a little delayed on the uptake but I recently created an affiliate marketing site with a service model (personal stylist kind of like Stitch Fix but only using Amazon items so I don’t have any inventory). Right now it’s free(!) and ultimately will be significantly under the price point of Stitch Fix, Le Tote, others in terms of both fees plus there won’t be any apparel markup. It will be smaller scale as well and without a lot of the overhead. The operations have been a little tough but I’m starting to make money. I haven’t done much marketing yet but am learning as I go (I’m a data scientist by trade). Check it out! http://www.dressjungle.com . And I’d definitely love a callout 🙂
SkimLinks is probably best for bloggers who want to write content around the affiliate link rather than add affiliate links to existing products. SkimLinks offers a lot of tools to compare commission rates and offers in order to customize your content to optimize your income. Once nice aspect of SkimLinks is that it offers lots of products for non-US creators, including popular UK brands like John Lewis and Tesco.
Hi, Nice article. I am not sure about the process though. I can understand, finding a niche. But, when it comes to affiliate programs I get a little lost. Would I be promoting someone else's products? If so, no problem. I know I need to research high end products with gravity, are these products ones in certain stores, or companies, etc.?? If so, do I need to get permissions to be on an affiliate program with that company? Also, if it is products with a company, then how do I offer promotions on their products since they are not mine? Thank you, Nanette Vlahusich

Ah, I see now, I was totally confusing the “competition” in Adwords with the low competition you talk about in your LongTail handbook. I actually used it as part of my screening criteria…oops. So I was looking for >1000 local searches, >$1.00 and Low Competition. I think I understand now to ignore the Competition column in the Adwords tool when searching for keywords. Thanks, guys!
An affiliate agreement is when a company or an individual agrees to pay you for successful referrals. For example, Amazon has a massive affiliates program where they pay you a percentage of the sales you generate using their affiliate links. Affiliate marketing is everywhere these days. In fact, we’re able to offer our own Blogging Mentorship Program for free because Bluehost sends us money for every customer we refer.
Number of estimated visitors: This data is just an estimate. I used the SEMRush Report and Similar Web for this stat. The estimated numbers of visitors varies A LOT. Take these numbers with a grain of salt. This post isn’t about the accuracy of the estimates or how SEMRush or Similar Web make the estimates. The estimates can give you a general idea about the scope and magnitude of the traffic, NOT the exact number.
LearnHowToBecome.org is an education website that provides information to prospective students.  They have a lot of great content and cover just about every type of education field you can think of when it comes to finding out the best college path in a given profession.  A quick look at backlinks shows that they have tons of major educational institutions that they work with, which is a significant portion of their backlinking strategy.  The content is top notch, and the website is specifically designed to keep the users interacting with the comparison grids and searching through the best possible schools for their given topic.
Affiliate Marketing is based on revenue sharing and is a type of incentives program. The goal of marketing is to build an alliance with a brand, product, service, or company, and market these services to people online. The Affiliated Marketing consultant shares in a percentage of the company’s profits in exchange for bringing them valued business and gained exposure. The same marketing advertising concepts used in television and print ads are applied here, only the platform that is used to entice and attract the consumers is on the internet.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardener launched MakignSenseofCents.com in 2013.  While Ahrefs estimates that she's getting 49,000 hits per month, her actual pageviews are much higher as she's part of the AdThrive network, which only allows websites to be a part of it if they have over 100,000 page views per month.  You can see in her income reports, that this income makes up an extremely small portion of her entire revenue streams.  Her biggest earners are her Bluehost affiliate commissions and her course that she sells.
It can mean sharing it on your social media profiles. It can mean including a few articles or video in your weekly newsletter that relate to your products. It can mean going on internet forums and replying to individuals whose questions you know how to answer. It can mean writing a guest post that gets your name and website name onto another person’s site, expanding your reach to their network as well.
While the traffic estimates are lower than some of the other sites on this list, people in the baby gear niche are an important customer base because they definitely purchase products.  This is a big industry and I would guess that the conversion rate for this site is slightly higher than OutDoorGearLab.com.  Typically when someone researches a baby product, they are typically looking to buy that baby product.  If someone is researching a tent, they may just be looking around at different options that they can compare for their next camping trip – not necessarily to buy that tent.  Most of their traffic is organic, and continuing the trend of well ranked long form content, their top post is 8,800 words long (which is a beast of an article).  If I had to take a guess at revenue, it would probably be north of 30k per month for this site based on traffic.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.[citation needed]
Market research/networking — When you become an affiliate marketer, you are hoping to establish yourself as a voice of authority in that specific industry or niche. In order to do so, you need to have a good grasp on who you’re talking to. Who are you trying to sell these products to? What kinds of copy or advertisements do they respond to? Do they prefer email marketing over social media marketing, or vice versa? Market research is a part of any advertising strategy.
Good article! I think there are a lot of hopeful “wannabes” who want to get everything without doing the work. You don’t have to have 10+ years of experience or be the all-knowing guru at the top of the mountain, but you do have to be willing to invest in the effort that is required to be successful. However, I have made good headway into a number of niches by going against the grain. If they say you should post a lot on your current activity, I don’t. I tell my audience why I don’t, I make sure that they understand that I am different. Sometimes, however, to establish trust and rapport with your audience, you do need to offer some kinds of proof or authority. Its very difficult to fake these and its better if you know something about what you’re doing. Once you have more experience, it becomes easier to enter a niche and position yourself as an expert. It’s funny but you tend to get smarter and absorb more information as you move up in the internet marketing world. Thanks for the great information!
Which affiliate marketing program or network you sign up for, whether as a merchant or an affiliate, will have a huge impact on the success of your sales. Some programs are niche and cater largely to a certain industry, such as technology/software or retail sales. Some programs don’t pay as well as others and will, consequently, result in lower income for affiliates over time. Some programs take a larger cut of profit than others, leaving affiliates with less income. Some networks just don’t have the same features as others and can leave merchants and affiliates with fewer resources.

Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
First of all, your products shouldn’t be a scam. Many rookie affiliate marketers with good intentions make this mistake. Second, your stuff shouldn’t be visible in physical stores. It should be incredibly hard to find offline. Third, don’t settle for pennies. Since your items are of significance and people won’t mind paying for something useful, set the minimum price of the brands that you will promote to $50.
Thank you so much! You've been an inspiration throughout. The way you wrote about TIWIB, and how they drive insane traffic from social media is mind blowing. I am amazed that even going viral on a social site like pinterest for one day can build our brand identity huge. Am I correct? Now I need to get going with my first affiliate site, come up with a unique idea and learn how to drive traffic from each source. I feel Adsense is not so rewarding.
While there are plenty of websites out there that are doing extremely well, here is a list of 22 websites that I've pulled together for you that I either know are doing very well, or I suspect they are doing very well based on traffic.  I am not sure what tactics they are utilizing to achieve the heavy amounts of traffic they receive, but I can tell that they get lots of traffic and with that traffic, a good amount of monthly recurring income.  Let's dive in with 22 examples in no particular order.
TheAthleticBuild.com is a website that's covers a number of different fitness topics. It's probably safe to say that most of their content is geared towards men, and most of their revenue comes from either Amazon or their affiliate programs.  Based on the looks of the site, they have a few supplement reviews that are probably affiliate programs where they get paid a portion of each sale that a buyer makes.  Some of these affiliate programs have higher returns than other programs, but there are some right vs. wrong decisions you'll have to work through yourself if you are endorsing certain types of nutritional products, especially if you don't take them yourself.
It can be published as a book, and other people have already suggested what to include into ‘part 2’. As someone who has been asked by other people wanting to promote my products/serviced, I’d love to read about the merchant’s side of AM, e.g. various software that can be used, how to choose affiliate partners, what to include in the agreement, etc.
It's easy! After you've registered as an Affiliate, you'll place code in the pages of your web site to display text or banner links (it's your choice!) to Booksamillion.com. The links will contain an account code unique to you to ensure that you get credit for sales that are generated by your site. When a visitor clicks a link and makes a purchase on our site, Commission Junction tracks your code and calculates your commission.
Alot of ppl are still in the dark about this line of work. They still rely on their day jobs and unwilling to take a risk. Donald Trump took a risk by running for president. Why can’t other people who are unsure about Entrepreneurship lead by example and take a risk online in getting started in affiliate marketing and work from home? Truth is, most people are afraid of getting out of their emotional comfort zone and don’t want to explore the unknown. There’s a bundle of money to be made in this industry by faithful people who do the transformation business work and get started out of inspiration.

Product promotion — Lastly, we come to what you’re really here for: the opportunity to partner with organizations in selling their products for a portion of the profits. A lot of what we’ve mentioned previously will come into play when deciding exactly how to promote products. You should continue to consider your niche, audience, and goals when choosing how to promote products. You could take the route of being a real product user who reviews items on your site. People tend to trust individuals more than they do brands, and using your site as a sort of product review resource could appeal to the masses.
Look for a gravity score of 30 or more, because these products have a proven track record of selling well for a number of different affiliates. Products, especially new products, with gravity scores under 30 may work but are more risky. Gravity scores of greater than 100 mean the product’s popular. You could have competition, but don’t worry about that. The important thing is that there’s lots of demand.
It's easy! After you've registered as an Affiliate, you'll place code in the pages of your web site to display text or banner links (it's your choice!) to Booksamillion.com. The links will contain an account code unique to you to ensure that you get credit for sales that are generated by your site. When a visitor clicks a link and makes a purchase on our site, Commission Junction tracks your code and calculates your commission.

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If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it. 

You’re obviously not going to be targeting broad keywords like ‘travel’ and ‘traveling’. Actually, it doesn’t even matter if you’re going to be doing SEO for this particular site. What you really want to see is whether or not there is a demand for that particular type of traffic. As you scroll down, you want to look for cost-per-clicks that really jump out at you. For example, we have ‘student travel’, which has a suggested bid of $4.10 for one click. That might be a niche right there. Under the broadness of ‘traveling’, if you decided to do something about student travel, you know that there are advertisers paying $4 for one visitor. I’ve found in my experience that the higher this cost-per-click, the more affiliate offers and affiliate options you have. This is something to pay attention to. In general, the cost-per-click in the whole travel niche is quite low. For this reason alone and the fact that the Clickbank marketplace didn’t really have so many great offers that you could promote, you might want to go back to the beginning in Quantcast and look at another niche and follow the same process.


With website builders, you get what you pay for. While they have plenty of free templates, more professional-looking websites will always cost more money. However, this investment could be worth it, especially as a website is one of the few startup costs for affiliate marketers. The social media profiles you develop are dependent on your niche and target market.
If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it. 
Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher "A" signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher "A" attracts publishers "B" and "C" to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers "B" and "C" will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher "A".
I thought I would just bring something else to your attention; I did take a second to look at your site; you know why I left within just one second? EXACTLY! You have less then 3 seconds to make your first impression on visitors; if your visitors are bouncing off your site at the speed of light, they either found your site by mistake, or they were not impressed with your site, and left, which means? right, they did not trust your site!!! What happens if you have a high bounce rate? right, you can certainly lose rankings! Is google going to keep sending you traffic if you have nothing to offer? nope! I can not say this is your problem, or you could have multiple problems going on at the same time to cause you to lose rankings. I can tell you one thing for sure by just taking a 1 minute look at your link profile; You have quite a few links, and you have almost no authority, what does this mean? This most likely means you are spamming your link to poor quality sites. You also have a massive amount of do-follow links which does not look natural vs your no follow links, and with your site having low trust flow, do you think your site deserves that many do-follow links? I wonder what google thinks? at first glance, your anchor/link diversity does not look to bad, so your anchor/text does not look over-optimized, but whoever is building links for you, consider firing them immediately, as you are getting all the wrong links. I am going to assume at this point google has certainly given you a penalty; Your next move to to hire someone to audit your site, and start disavowing/removing bad links from your portfolio, over time, your rankings may come back, and that may depend on other factors also, but at this point, it certainly looks like you have link issues. Just a little bitty research goes a long way. good luck.
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Writing good advertising sales copy (copywriting) is the other important skill for internet marketers. The good news is that when it comes to affiliate marketing, many vendors will provide you with copy to use for your blog posts, websites ads, etc. They'll give you the emails to send, the banner ads to display, and even posts you can use on social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
Sometimes, individual entrepreneurs with great products are worth a look, although you should check them out first and do some research. Entrepreneurs or companies may run their own affiliate program and you can apply directly to them to promote their products and services. Finally, Amazon is always an option as you can be an affiliate for just about any type of physical product on their network.
2. Never rely on a single traffic source. Always expect the unexpected when it comes to marketing. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, as the old saying goes. Master one source and then move to the next. Trying to become an affiliate marketer is tedious and you will probably start with just one main traffic source such as search engines, but over time, you will want to diversify as much as possible.
When it comes to ranking well in Google, generally Google will give your site preferential treatment on certain topics, once it's figured out what your website is about. Sites that cover such a broad variety of topics don't tend to rank as well as sites that are niched down, unless you have an amazing backlink profile and a really big budget.  Since TheWireCutter is owned by New York Times, they have the budget to test new products, and have the authority to get linked to by any other web properties owned by the New York Times.  If you niche down to a specific audience, it's far more likely that Google will favor your content over a larger site when it comes to that audience.  OutdoorGearLab.com has done exactly that by only focusing on outdoor gear reviews.  I am guessing that they also have a large budget, and have built a very successful affiliate business as a result.  Plus it's a great looking site with lots of excellent information.  
Ready to become a future “side hustle millionaire” in online marketing, Andy and Andrew? It’s an unwritten rule that you’ll have to be mentally sharp. Achieving that goal requires you to lose weight, take vitamins, eat right, and do the transformation work as an aspiring affiliate marketer. Internet marketing is getting ready to be your full-time job and you have to be mentally prepared. Get started now on your weight loss and in the future “online millionaire mindset.” 🙂

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I read this title and expected an awesome community of runners sharing their glory stories of braving the snow and rain to log in miles. Instead I’m directed to a boring treadmill site. This site is about 5 pages and a couple of additional pages for reviews for treadmills. The reviews are the only pages with any kind of lengthy content and those are still only around 800 words. The main redeeming quality about this site, is they are focusing on high price items so even a single sale of a treadmill is a nice commission. This is another example of a website you could make in a weekend. It’s motivating though because you know you can do better, right?

Shopify is a very popular site building platform for people interested in building eCommerce stores. It has been around for the past few years and seen significant growth in its user base over this time. You can earn a staggering 200% per sale for every new customer you refer to them, which means that there is up to $2400 per new customer on offer.
Once you do move forward, don't resort to simply throwing up a handful of banner ads and call it good. All successful content-driven affiliates will tell you that deep integration of your marketing into your content is the most successful strategy, most of which can be accomplished by looking for affiliate tools outside of the quintessential and tired banner ad.

I do have a question, though, you state that longer articles are better (which I understand). I’ve found a niche that has a few keywords with very high CPC (no real affiliation program can be used though), with a few thousand searches a month. For each keyword I could probably 500 words on each keyword. Should I do this, or should I compile them into one big article? They keywords can be linked to each other, for example, “how to start running”, “basics of running” etc. (Those obviously aren’t the keywords, and more can be written on those). What would you recommend?
Adam Riemer is an Affiliate Veteran and leading Outsourced Affiliate Manager.  He builds content sites as an Affiliate and the programs he manages only works with content sites and value adding partners.  His company is known for removing adware, trademark bidders and coupon sites that poach from merchants and other Affiliates by ranking for url + coupons and then growing a value adding program ethically and responsibly. Follow Adam on Twitter at @rollerblader.
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