A Great Retirement Job – Become an Affiliate

By: John V. W. Howe


Internet affiliate programs are the best return for your effort with the least demand on your time. This has an appeal to the Boomer Entrepreneur as a retirement job since we want to run the business and not have it run us. We want to have time to “kick back and smell the roses”.

The attraction to this model as a retirement job is that it is virtually risk free except for your time. It costs you nothing to sign up as an affiliate. You recommend the product and send your visitors to the website where the product is sold. If the customer purchases the product, you are paid a commission. Amazon.com is credited with being the first businesses on the Net to fully develop the affiliate concept and now all the major companies have affiliate programs.

How does it work?

When you sign up as an affiliate, you will be given an affiliate number, and a special link to use for linking to the affiliate website. This link will send your visitor to the business site and at the same time tell the business that you sent the visitor so you will receive the commission in the case of a sale.

As an example, here is what an affiliate link to eBay looks like. This article site does not allow active affiliate links so this is presented without the standard prefix of the http :// and the world wide web abbreviation (.anrdoezrs.net/click-1929835-5902069). The text presented would show a link to eBay, but the underlying code would be to the anrdoezrs.net site.

This link with all these numbers that does not even reference eBay is called a “hoplink”. It is called this since it goes to an intermediate website that does the accounting for the affiliate program. The intermediate site records the affiliate ID which is one of the numbers in the link and then “hops” the visitor to the proper eBay page. It takes place so fast that the visitor is not aware that the intermediate step has taken place. Pretty slick, don’t you think?

A Quick Tip -- If you are using Internet Explorer, you can place your cursor over a hyperlink on a web page and the actual link information will appear in the bottom left corner of the screen. Try it. If the link information is the same as the link on the printed page, it is not an affiliate link, but if it has some letters and numbers in it in addition to the URL name, it is an affiliate link.

Who does all this accounting?

There are companies that do the accounting and act as the coordinator between affiliates and the companies they represent. These are called affiliate program providers (APP’s). One of the major sites for handling affiliate accounting is called Commission Junction. It handles eBay and others. The major site for electronic products is ClickBank. Other sites are BeFree, Linkshare, and Performics. A German APP is Affili.net.

How do I get paid?

The reason that you are working in a retirement job is to ultimately have money flowing into your bank account, Right? When you set up your account with your chosen APP site, you specify your business bank account. On the designated payment dates, an electronic funds transfer will occur and the funds will be deposited in your account. When you set this up properly, it is almost on autopilot.

How do I find affiliate programs?

When you join Commission Junction (“CJ”) or ClickBank, you will be able to view the thousands of affiliate companies that are available. I suggest that you sign up at CJ and ClickBank and look for affiliates. You will be able to study the companies or products that are available and the commission structure of each. You can then join the program that you want to join. The signup as an affiliate takes place right in CJ or ClickBank.

Some of the approvals in CJ are immediate and some will notify you later if you have been accepted.

You almost don’t have to find affiliate programs, they will find you. That statement may be a little far fetched, but if you go to Google and type in “affiliate programs” you will be inundated with selections of every possible affiliate under the sun.

A word of caution: Affiliate programs must be coupled with another activity to make money. You can become an affiliate of multiple programs, but unless you have a way to drive the potential customer to the affiliate site so they click a “Buy Button”, you will not make a dime.

These programs can be coupled with publishing. You make a recommendation to your readers in your newsletter or on your website or blog to try an item sold by one of your affiliates.

You can also couple these programs with Google Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing. This is called pay per click advertising and is an excellent way to direct your reader to an affiliate site.

Explore these affiliate programs as a possible retirement job. Once you learn about them and see the tremendous potential, you will probably wonder why you did not sign up earlier for your retirement job.

Copyright 2006 John Howe, Inc.

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John V. W. Howe is an entrepreneur, author, inventor, patent holder, husband, father, and grandfather. He has been involved in entrepreneurial activities for over 40 years. He founded www.boomer-ezine.com and www.retirement-jobs-online.com to help Boomers (baby boomers) become entrepreneurs when they retire.

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