Is Affiliate Marketing Legit? The Truth EXPOSED

Is affiliate marketing legit? 

In this article, we’re exposing the truth about affiliate marketing. 

Can you trust this business model? 

Or is it too good to be true?

Let’s dive in.

Psst – looking for legit affiliate marketing training? Check this out!

Is Affiliate Marketing Legit? 

Yes – affiliate marketing is legit. It’s so legit, in fact, that over 80% of businesses today use this model to help them make more sales. These brands include major names you might recognize, like Walmart, Target, Amazon, Petco, and many, many more.

Before we get any deeper – I know why you’re here. 

You’re here because affiliate marketing seems too good to be true. 

In fact, it might even seem scammy or spammy to you. 

Or, you might even think it’s a pyramid scheme or MLM. 

You’ve probably seen people promoting affiliate marketing on places like TikTok, and making exaggerated claims like “learn affiliate marketing in a few hours a day and instantly make $100k/mo” – I have seen those videos everywhere, too. 

And if you’ve seen those, it’s no wonder why you’re wondering if it’s legit! 

But I’m rambling, so let’s get into the nitty gritty. 

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

is affiliate marketing legit

The graphic above shows how affiliate marketing works in simple terms. 

Businesses that sell products and services allow affiliates to sign up to promote their goods. 

The affiliate is given a special tracking link, called an affiliate link, that they place wherever they’re promoting the products. 

When a potential customer clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the company will pay the affiliate a percentage of the total sale price. 

This doesn’t add any extra fee for the customer and they don’t even know it’s happening most of the time.

Basically, affiliate marketing works like free advertising for businesses and companies. 

The company only has to pay the affiliate if a sale happens – so they aren’t wasting money on ads that may or may not work. 

It’s a win-win-win situation for the affiliate, the company, and the customer.

Practical Example of Affiliate Marketing

Let’s say you want to buy a specific laptop computer, but since it’s such an expensive purchase, you want to do some research first. 

So, you head to Google and you type in the name of the laptop + review. 

Example: “m2 macbook pro 13-inch review”. 

This article from TechRadar is an affiliate marketing review – if you buy through their link, they get paid.

Then, you start reading articles about the laptop, and maybe even watching some YouTube reviews. After you’ve seen enough and made your decision, you click on the link in one of the reviews, head to the Apple website, and make your purchase. 

And, when you did that, you also made the blogger or YouTube reviewer a commission. It’s that simple. 

Many purchases we make online today happen with affiliate marketing.

And some affiliate programs have tracking links that can track customers for 30 days or longer. 

So, if you read a review today and click a link, but you don’t make a purchase for another 10 days, the blogger or YouTuber will still make a commission from your purchase.

How Long Has Affiliate Marketing Been Around?

Affiliate marketing has been around since the 1990s. In 1989, a man named William J. Tobin started an online gift shop called PC Flowers & Gifts. 

This website wasn’t his first business, but it was the business that sparked the idea for him to start a business model that we now know as affiliate marketing. 

By 1995, PC Flowers & Gifts had over 2,500 affiliates promoting the flowers and gifts on his website, helping him make more sales and earn a commission for themselves in the process. 

Why Affiliate Marketing is Great for Beginners

Affiliate marketing is the best online business idea for beginners, and here’s why: 

  • You don’t have to create or sell your own product
    • This means you won’t spend money on product development, testing, marketing, or advertising
  • You don’t have to hold inventory
  • Also, you don’t have to ship inventory
  • You don’t have to do any customer service – the company handles all of this
  • Affiliate marketers can promote as many products as they want

As an affiliate marketer, the sky is the limit. 

Plus, once you learn the skills you need to be a successful affiliate marketer, you’ll know how to do marketing for any kind of business. 

This means you can eventually create your own product (if you wanted to), or you can get a job in marketing – it’s all up to you.

Sidenote: learning affiliate marketing as a high-school dropout is what enabled me to get a full-time remote job as a marketing professional – with no degrees or certificates, just proof of my results and knowledge.

Is Affiliate Marketing a Pyramid Scheme?

No, affiliate marketing isn’t a pyramid scheme. 

A pyramid scheme is a type of scam business where the only way to make money is to get people to sign up under you. This keeps going and going until there is no one left to sign up, and the people at the bottom of the pyramid never make any money or see any results.

Affiliate marketing is a type of business where you recommend products and services to people and you make a commission if they buy them. You don’t have to get people to sign up under you, and there is no one above you.

An affiliate marketer is a middle-man between a product and a consumer.

Many people think it’s a pyramid scheme because they’ve seen affiliates online promoting affiliate marketing trainings, and once you join the training, the training tells you that you can also promote it as an affiliate. 

This seems like a pyramid scheme, but it’s affiliate marketing in action. You don’t have to choose to promote affiliate marketing training in order to make money with this business model. 

You can promote anything you want! 

  • Pet products
  • Baby products
  • Skincare products
  • Makeup
  • Vitamins
  • Softwares
  • Clothes, shoes, and accessories

The list goes on and on.

The Real Truth About Affiliate Marketing

So, have we exposed the real truth about affiliate marketing yet? 

The real truth is that: 

  • Affiliate marketing is 100% legit
  • It’s been around since the 1990’s
  • It’s used by over 80% of the world’s businesses today
  • I guarantee that most of your favorite brands use affiliate marketing in their businesses today. (Google it)

Who Uses the Affiliate Marketing Business Model?

According to Mediakix, 84% of brands and businesses use the affiliate marketing business model to make more sales in their businesses in 2022.

The biggest brands in the world leverage affiliate marketing to make more sales and more money. 

The easiest way to find out if a brand or business offers an affiliate program is to head to Google and type the brand name + “affiliate program” or “referral program”. 

But… These brands have millions to spend on advertising, so why would they pay ordinary people? 

Because it’s FREE advertising to them. 

Sure, they can afford advertising. 

But big brands, just like people, would rather spend $0 on something they could get for free. 

They don’t have to pay for affiliate marketing until a sale is made, so they’re not wasting advertising dollars.

Is Affiliate Marketing a Legitimate Business Idea?

Yes, affiliate marketing can be a legitimate business idea. It’s totally legal, used by many brands, and it’s perfect for beginners. There are many ways to do affiliate marketing. 

Some ways can make you passive income, but other ways to make money with affiliate marketing are more involved. 

If you want to start an affiliate marketing business, the best thing to do is commit to learning affiliate marketing strategies and putting all your effort into it. 

If you commit to learning the strategies that will allow you to make passive income, this business model can pay you for life. 

How Much Does it Cost to Start Affiliate Marketing?

You can start affiliate marketing with no money at all – seriously! It just depends on what method you choose.

If you choose to do it with a blog, you’ll have to pay a little bit to get the blog set up, usually less than $50 to start.

But you can also choose to do it for completely free – learn how to start affiliate marketing with no money here.

How Much Do Affiliate Marketers Make? 

It’s hard to come up with an average for how much affiliate marketers make, because this is such a varied business model. 

The top affiliate marketers (called super affiliates) make millions of dollars per year. 

According to ZipRecruiter, the average affiliate marketer makes around $154,000 per year – although it can be much higher than that

It all depends on what types of products you promote, and how you promote them. 

Digital products like online training courses and softwares pay much better than promoting physical products like clothes, makeup, etc.

Diving deep into strategy is beyond the scope of this article – but if you want to learn more, I’ve linked a training below.

Learn More About Starting an Online Affiliate Marketing Business

If you want to learn more about starting a high-paying and sustainable online affiliate marketing business, you can check out a free training here:

Examples of Successful (and legit) Affiliate Marketers 

Here are some successful and legit affiliate marketers that are making more than a million dollars per year via affiliate marketing. 

Adam Enfroy of

Pat Flynn from

Spencer Mecham of

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of

Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It? 

Absolutely! Affiliate marketing is 100% worth it. 

There is no other business model in the world that allows you to make money without making your own product, hiring employees, or doing customer service. 

It’s the best online business model for beginners, and it’s a business model that many entrepreneurs still use to make extra money today.

Check out this training if you want to learn how to become an affiliate marketer.

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