|Oh, how I love my dual monitors.|
Affiliate marketing starts with merchants (retail stores, busineses) who pay for exposure on a site such as Shopzilla's Bizrate or Beso. There are also merchants who don't pay because either their adsvertising budget has been expended or they are already well-known and don't need extra exposure. Usually, these merchants are still included to offer a more diverse shopping experience for the customer.
Sometimes these shopping sites have affiliate programs, such as the Shopzilla Publisher Program. To give merchants more exposure, Shopzilla splits the revenue they receive with publishers/affiliate marketers. The commission rate can vary depending on your traffic volume and quality. Generally, clicks are worth anywhere from $.05-$.30.
The Shopzilla Publisher Program may look generic and difficult to navigate, but once you have a registered Publisher account, you can earn revenue through the Beso Affiliate Portal for fashion and lifestyle brands, which is what I primarily use.
So, why should/do bloggers use affiliate marketing?
Bloggers give merchants a lot of advertising by wearing their clothes, promoting favorite products, etc. and usually without pay. Affiliate marketing turns this free advertising into a revenue stream. I see it as you're giving them free advertising and should get something out of it. I like to use it so readers and visitors can purchase similar items to recreate an outfit or when I showcase a favorite product.But, what about non-bloggers?
Beso is working on a way for all users to be affiliates, not just bloggers. Why should bloggers be the only ones to reap the benefits of affiliate marketing? If you have a Beso account, you'll be able to earn money soon!
I hope this helped give a little transparency into how affiliate marketing and blogging work. If you have any questions about it or want more information, let me know in the comments below and I'l do my best to answer!