Effectively, these advertisers have a couple of choices. They can use an affiliate network that acts as a go-between, connecting the advertiser to affiliate marketers and managing the tracking and payments in exchange for a service fee. Or the advertiser can license affiliate-tracking software to deploy on its own servers or as a cloud-based service.
Set reasonable expectations for earnings. You've only invested $20. You're going to make 5 percent on most products. That means that you need to sell $400 worth of stuff to make back your investment. You get credit for purchases customers make while at Amazon besides just the product you linked to, so it's not as hard as it may sound. It won't make you rich, but it's not hard to be profitable, and the income builds over time.
Affiliate marketing is also called "performance marketing", in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives. Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers' internal sales department.
Before promoting your site, you would want to make sure there is a good amount of content there. You need to write several product reviews with 2-3 in each category created. You might also need to make categories for news, articles, commentary and others about the topic. The more the content on your site, the better. The amazing thing about all this is that as you writing all this, the search engines automatically are getting notified, if you turned the notifications on, mentioned earlier.
So if you're affiliated with Walmart, for example, and you want to sell coffee makers, then you make a website about coffee makers. You place your special links on your website to show people where they can purchase your coffee makers. Then when people visit your site and click on your special links, they'll be taken to Walmart's website. And if they then make a purchase, you'll be paid a percentage.
You should also make sure you aren't competing with your own affiliates for eyeballs. Any marketing channels you're using, such as search engines, content sites or e-mail lists, should be off limits to your affiliates. Put marketing restrictions into your affiliate agreement and notify partners immediately. It's your program--you set the rules. Or, if you prefer, you can let your affiliates run the majority of your internet marketing.