The terms of an affiliate marketing program are set by the company wanting to advertise. Early on, companies were largely paying cost per click (traffic) or cost per mile (impressions) on banner advertisements. As the technology evolved, the focus turned to commissions on actual sales or qualified leads. The early affiliate marketing programs were vulnerable to fraud because clicks could be generated by software, as could impressions.
Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini-course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.
Since July 2014 I read for the first time about affiliate marketing, I never heard of this way of working before. Until then, I have worked in MLM (multi-level-marketing). Which wasn't that suitable for me. MLM is a very aggressive way of marketing, and you do need to harass everyone around you to join. That's not quite me. Affiliate marketing works very different. You write reviews about products of a company, and when people decide to buy something after reading your review, you get a few percentage of the sale. That's more my line of work.
Find and work with affiliates. Affiliates will help grow your business and help you tap into web traffic. There are many ways to meet and engage with affiliates, but the best way to access desirable affiliates is by building a reputation for yourself. You can do this by developing a popular blog or otherwise earning a large online following, or by becoming a published author of a book or article. There are other ways of meeting affiliates, of course, and each method will vary in its success and required effort. Generally speaking, the basic course of action for acquiring affiliates typically involves one of the following methods:
Amazon's commission rate is pennies from each dollar of merchandise that you sell. What many people don't know is that there are affiliate opportunities out there that pay commission rates that are much more favorable, from $20-$100 (and even more). Browse affiliate networks like Commission Junction, Share-a-Sale, Rakuten and Ejunkie for opportunities and their general commission rate.