How to Make Money Selling Other People’s Products

There are a lot of people getting involved in online businesses or web based marketing to supplement their regular jobs or even to replace them altogether. Why is this? Simple – online marketing has a lot to offer!

For starters, you have access to a very broad market – anyone in the world with access to the internet can find out about your products or services. This means more people to sell to; and bigger profits! Also, there is little to no overhead costs involved in starting a web based business, making it easy for almost anyone to get involved.

Another thing which attracts many to the field of online marketing is that you don’t need to have a product of your own to get started. Online marketing lets you make an income by selling or even just trying to sell someone else’s products and services. Getting started is easy with affiliate marketing. All you have to do is to enter into an agreement with a merchant or retailer who does business online and then you can get started making money promoting the merchant’s products.

The most popular form of online marketing is affiliate marketing. To put it at its most basic, affiliate marketing is just an agreement between a merchant who has products to sell and an affiliate who agrees to promote these products on their own website.

Usually, a merchant gives affiliates banner and text adds which link to their site. Affiliates then put these links on their site and are paid a commission when someone clicks through to the merchants website and makes a purchase. An affiliate is usually paid on a per-sale commission basis, though some pay fixed fees or pay on some other basis.

It’s easy to start making money online using affiliate marketing. All you have to do is to sign up with a merchant who offers an affiliate program. An even easier way to do this is to sign up with an affiliate network; these networks host many different affiliate programs for various merchants or retailers. It’s generally free to sign up, but some companies might ask for a fee. These fees are usually charged to cover services provided by the company such as marketing tools to help you get your online business started.

You’ll usually have to fill out some sort of form when you sign up for an affiliate program; this will generally be some information about you and perhaps your website. This helps retailers evaluate whether you and your site are a good fit for their affiliate program. There are other affiliate programs which do not require you to have a website; after filling out this form you will then be able to decide which affiliate program you want to get involved in.

After becoming an affiliate, you’re ready to make some money selling the merchant’s products and services online. How do you do this? There are a lot of different ways to go about it, which is best depends a great deal on what sort of affiliate marketing program you’ve chosen.

Affiliate programs generally pay their affiliates in one of three ways: pay per click (PPC) pay per sale (PPS) and pay per lead (PPL). Pay per click involves the affiliate being paid per visitor directed to the merchant’s website. PPS is the most common compensation model; the affiliate is only paid when one of the visitors they refer makes a purchase – this commission is usually somewhere between 15-20% per sale. The PPL model works much the same, but the affiliate is paid per referral who signs up as a lead for the merchant.

Some of these affiliate programs are two-tier programs, where affiliate can refer other affiliates to the merchant. In these programs, the affiliate is paid for the sales or traffic they refer and also any sales or traffic referred by the affiliate they got signed on to the program.

Another way to make money from affiliate marketing is via residual affiliate programs. These are affiliate programs in which the affiliate is paid as long as the merchant keeps the referral as a customer (this is more common with merchants who sell services rather than profits). One model involves the affiliate being paid every time their referral makes a purchase.

With so many options out there and so many different ways to earn, it’s easy to see why affiliate marketing is so popular as a way to make money online. How much money can you make in affiliate marketing? That all depends on you; an affiliate who is dedicated can make a lot more than affiliates who just sign up and do nothing else to make the most of the program.


  • ouss

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    Hi Reed,


  • Great post, I can recommend any newbie to start becoming affilite and promote other people’s stuff, it’s the easiest way to start making money online. I did it for long time.

    Although It’s god for the beginning later on you may start thinking about creating own product. That’s where the real money is IMO.

  • Max

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    Great information.
    Where is the best place to find PPL or CPA offers?

    Maxs last blog post..Use Search Engine Marketing To Get Qualified Uk Visitors In Uk Intenet Marketing

  • Arthur

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    A great, if basic, post and I think the main emphasis should be placed upon your last sentence – “That all depends on you; an affiliate who is dedicated can make a lot more than affiliates who just sign up and do nothing else to make the most of the program.”

    This is true of just about any occupation that you sign up for – on line or off. Both types require that action be taken.

    Why do 95%+ of wannabe internet marketers fail?

    Anything to do with 95%+ of internet marketers wanting to do nothing and be paid handsomely for it?

    Arthurs last blog post..Samsung HP-R5052 50 plasma TV $ 1000

  • Graham Price

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    Yes true enough Reed and great information thanks. Would You agree that many program’s are appearing online now offering 100% initial commissions as a way to leverage their efforts in building their own lists ? – Regards Graham.

  • normz2

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    Well written. I am finally clued in on 2 tier affiliates. I have promoted some sites that was referred to me by another Internet marketer.The Internet marketer must have an arangement.

  • Bryan Jones

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    As always, good information Reed. I’m looking forward to one day becoming “semi-retired” just like you :-).

    I just read another, excellent resource called Crush Your Job and it covers some similar thoughts. It certainly gets you moving on the right track, especially in choosing the right affiliate program. They are not all equal.

    Bryan Joness last blog post..Give Away Custom-Made Websites for Free

  • James du Plessis

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    Hi Reed. I enjoyed you Blog.I will be investigating Affiliate marketing a lot closer in future.My core business is MLM
    Best Regards James

  • Nayanika

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    A great, if basic, post and I think the main emphasis should be placed upon your last sentence – “That all depends on you; an affiliate who is dedicated can make a lot more than affiliates who just sign up and do nothing else to make the most of the program.”

    This is true of just about any occupation that you sign up for – on line or off. Both types require that action be taken.

    I am waiting for clear grounds for my new beginning…

    Thanks a lot for all the information dear Reed
    We have a huge connection young lad…

    Keep it going


  • Janis Pettit

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008


    I agree that it’s a good basic overview. However I’ve seen many people fail not out of laziness (although there’s plenty of that), but because they don’t know how to drive traffic to a website that sells an affiliate program. Or they try using Adwords to drive some traffic, but if they don’t succeed instantly they are afraid to try different keywords or experiment a bit because they are afraid of losing their advertising money.

    I think it would be helpful to your readers to address these issues in future posts.

    All the best,

  • John Counsel

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    Focusing on programs that pay just 15% – 20% per sale can make affiliate marketing hard for yourself.

    Many worthwhile programs pay 40% to 75%.

    It depends a lot on these factors…

    1. The retail price of the product or service.

    50% of a $17 ebook ($8.50) isn’t as good as a 15% of a $197 product ($29.55). But then a $17 ebook is probably much easier to sell than a $197 product.

    2. The potential market and type of product.

    This will effect the response rates — and the level of competition. For example, Amazon pays only 5%-15%, but it offers a HUGE range of products to a world-wide target audience. But it has tens of thousands of affiliates competing for a share of that audience.

    On the other hand, a product that pays 50% of $57 and teaches people how to get out of debt faster in tough times is likely to be more profitable.

    Does such a product exist? With an affiliate program that pays 50%? You bet. You’ll find it here…

    Reed is right: programs that pay out worthwhile RESIDUAL monthly commissions are the Holy Grail of affiliate marketing. At The Profit Clinic, our A-Team program offers several residual programs selling essential Internet Marketing services with a 35% commission on monthly fees from $29.95 to $49.95.

    Enroll 100 people and you’ll earn $1,000 to $1,750 per month, every month.
    Learn more at

    John Counsel
    CEO, The Profit Clinic

  • Terence

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    Some people go into affiliate marketing thinking that the money will flow automatically into their Clickbank or Paypal account with very little effort on their part.They are in for a rude surprise.

    Successful businesses require work and dedication whether online of offline. Even hard work is sometimes not enough if you go about things the wrong way. There is a lot you have to learn about to succeed online, but with persistence it will pay off.

    Terences last blog post..Join The IM Dream Team And Help Improve Childrens Lives.

  • John Pell

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    Hi Reed,
    Thank you for the informative email you send.
    Regarding affiliate marketing, I don’t have a website. Since the only website I have ever had is a replicated website, I don’t know how to design one. I’m sure I will need someone to assist me in designing a website. Anyone suggestions for someone who has little knowledge and limited funds[I do have some money] to get this done?
    Thank you for any guidance you can give me in this matter.
    John Pell

  • Barry

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    Hi Reed,
    Are there other means of cloaking an affiliate link besides “tinyurl or shorturl” as people do not seem to purchase anything if they see an affiliate link?

  • John Bandy

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    Hi Reed,
    That is a lot of good info. I like the residule affiliate deal. That will build an income on down the road. Thanks for sharing.
    Talk later.

  • Bruno Auger

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008


    I come here to read all the post on your blog and comment quite frequently on each post. I think you provide excellent content and very helpful information for new marketers and even venteran as well.

    The only thing that I don’t really like is people using your blog to promote a product or service. I’ve seen a few comments lately that do just that.

    Bruno Augers last blog post..Connecting through Social Networking

  • Horace Moning

    Reply Reply November 2, 2008

    I do not have a web site i think your access to the world is great but i do not any products.

  • Jonathan Gunson

    Reply Reply November 3, 2008


    (Affiliate maestro?)

    Reed, do you create and sell any of YOUR OWN products ever?

    I see you doing giveaway JVs etc, but do you create actual eBooks / Videos / Software / boot camps? (Exclusively by you.)

    I’m having a heated debate with another guru at the moment. He violently disagrees that is is possible to never have your own product.

    I have products of my own, so I get 100% of the profit from my own sales, but also have other folks to sell them as MY affiliates.

    But I personally believe that it’s quite feasible to never create a product of one’s own.



    Jonathan Gunsons last blog post..JonathanGunson: Big easy traffic: Pick huge news event – or Oprah ep 🙂 Relate to your product and put out press release + Squidoo pg with link to yr site.

  • PV Reymond

    Reply Reply November 3, 2008

    Hi Reed,

    You give good information here.

    People starting out should read this post to start building the foundation.

    ^PV Reymond

  • Asher

    Reply Reply November 3, 2008

    Hi Reed,

    Agreed, affiliate marketing is definitely the way to go to make money online. Mainly because it’s a plug-and-play system. The payment processor is done, the sales letter is up, the emails are ready, everything’s good to go.

    And we don’t have to do customer service! (best thing in my opinion)

    But the real power of doing affiliate marketing is when you can be an affiliate of a product that gives you recurring income.

    THAT’S when you can really make tons of money.


  • admin

    Reply Reply November 3, 2008

    @ouss thanks. I have removed your links if that happens again I’m blocking you.

    @Phone yes there’s a lot of money in having your own products too.

    @Max perhaps commission junction?

    @Arthur yes that’s probably the case

    @Graham yes that’s happening a lot

    @normz2 oftentimes that is the case

    @Bryan thanks, also please keep the promotion to a minimum.

    @James glad you like it

    @Nayanika agreed

    @Janis thanks I’ll keep that in mind.

    @John I should have wrote that differently. I meant that a lot of “offline” style products are sold at those commissions. In general if it’s a digital product I like to stick with 50%+. Also please try to leave the promotion of products on here to a minimum.

    @Terence yes there is a learning curve but you are right it pays off

    @John perhaps elance?

    @Barry yes you can install software on your web site to cloak the links or create individual pages for the things you are promoting.

    @John you’re welcome

    @Bruno yeah I don’t like it either I’m working on it.

    @Horace you could create a product it’s really not that hard.

    @Jonathan I do have my own products I just don’t market them all the time (I’ve got a decent size list and I don’t like to work)… Here’s a few examples of what someone could do.

    1. Run their own giveaway event – I built a list of over 3,000 people my first time I did this. I also became a super affiliate for Ken McArthur’s InfoProductBluePrint within one week of having the event. I don’t have the total figures but that was my start into internet marketing listbuilding and I’d say for that month I generated $5-10K. I have various joint projects with others but didn’t create my own product until 2007 or so.

    2. Someone could have a OTO created by something like for free and use private label rights information as their free report and do adwaps and giveaways.

    3. They could do the “non-traditional” internet marketing thing. Such as adsense, blogging, ebay, ppc providing some sort of service… or even… MLM… etc.

    We are blinded by our arrogance and believe that the only way to make money online is via a list and having our own products. I’ve used all the methods I talk about above to make money without a product so I know they work.

    @PV thanks

    @Asher agreed there’s a ton of money out there for affiliates

  • anthony giuffrida

    Reply Reply November 3, 2008

    great article…. selling other peoples products can be profitable…. my average product pays a $7000 commission to affiliates who send buyers to me.

    i would be happy to pay you a 5% commission on any properties if you can find me buyers…


  • Jussi Koiranen

    Reply Reply November 5, 2008

    That was an excellent title, sheer genius! And the content was what I could expect from you.

  • Bryan Hee

    Reply Reply November 6, 2008

    Visitors are looking information to solve their problems. You can provide small report and articles about the programs you promoted. Stated all the benefits of the products rather then the features.

    To Your Success
    Bryan Hee

  • admin

    Reply Reply November 9, 2008

    @Anthony thanks. Your link has been removed as that was a really spammy comment.

    @Jussi thanks

    @Bryan yeah that can really help make sales

  • delords

    Reply Reply November 21, 2008

    Hey Reed,

    Its been a while i dropped a comment here,
    This a really nice Article similar to the one i posted on my blog site.

    Keep on the good Job
    You are a true Mentor and instructor.

    delordss last blog post..

  • admin

    Reply Reply November 26, 2008

    @delords thanks

  • Affiliate marketing is probably the best and easiest way for anyone to get started making money online. Doesn’t mean you’ll make heaps of money starting out, but I honestly believe it is the best place for anyone looking to generate some income online to start.

  • Affiliate marketing is the easiest way to start making money on the internet. There is definitely potential to make heaps with it aswell if you put the effort in. Just remember to pick products that have professional sales pages.

  • John Delecruz

    Reply Reply March 19, 2009

    Hey Reed who did you get to do your header, ive been trying out a couple of different software programs that really havent been all that great, thanks

  • Online Money Making

    Reply Reply April 21, 2009

    nice post, care to exchange links?

    My site’s material generally addresses questions about making money online.


    Online Money Makings last blog post..Earning money with Online Surveys.

  • PLR eBooks

    Reply Reply July 25, 2009

    I’m not doubting what you say is true – but how can it be proven?

  • Bret

    Reply Reply August 19, 2009

    Haha wow, this was good.

  • Turning Winds

    Reply Reply August 19, 2009

    I’m a newbie in affiliate marketing. This is a great post and I learned a lot from your other articles.

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