Affiliate Marketing : 10 Stupid Myths That Lead Beginners To Failure

Affiliate Marketing : 10 Stupid Myths That Lead Beginners To Failure

Hello Smart Nation! Today let’s talk about what i call “stupid myths” in the affiliate marketing, that can make you fail, mainly if you have no experience in this game.

For those for whom this phrase is new or non familiar, Affiliate Marketing is simply selling a product or service owned by someone else (usually a business) and earning a commission whenever a prospect (potential client) performs what we called a “qualified action”, which can be a purchase, subscription, download, trial, etc.

I’ve been hustling in this area for almost three years. I have found that some things taken for real are actually the reality of some internet marketers.

They have certainly experienced those things, no doubt. But the problem is that, they want to establish them as universally valid.

The consequence is that when these so-called truths become widespread, many inexperienced affiliate marketers get lost. They make bad choices and in the worst case failed in their online business journey.


Myths about Affiliate Marketing
Unsplash Free Photo


Today I’m going to share with you what I called “10 Stupid Myths About Affiliate Marketing That Lead Beginners To Failure”.

The purpose of this post is to draw attention to the fact that experience is better than science.  There is no absolute truth, in other words, do not take other people’s truths for yours.


Myth #1 : Affiliate Marketing is Passive Income

Today, everybody (everybody? really?) is dreaming (and most of the time talking) about passive income.

This dreamed lifestyle where you do absolutely nothing with your two hands and ten fingers, but still earn thousands of dollars every  single day.

Everybody dreams about it. Everybody?

A lot of people in this industry believe (and make other people believe so) that to get started and make a living with affiliate marketing is easy. All you need to do is sign up to an affiliate program, send your affiliate link to some friends and family on social media, and that’s it. Now you can fold your hands and see how your bank account fills up with dollars.

Life is beautiful. Isn’t it?

However,  if it was that easy, we wouldn’t have witnessed the failure and frustration of many people. People who, because of disappointment, no longer believe in online business. For them, online business does not work.

I believe that the misunderstanding comes from the bad comprehension of the word “passive”.

Here is how wikipedia defines the phrase “passive income”: Passive income is an income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it. So, there is some effort to put into it, be it little.

Wikipedia's definition of passive income


Receiving money for doing nothing at all is simply nonsense.

a. You need to practice an “active” reading. 

Even if you don’t make any effort in the manufacturing or production of the product (or service), you must possess a lot information about it.

You have to read a lot about that particular product (or service) and about other products in the same category in order to know exactly the positioning of that product on the market, and also to have more sales arguments with your potential customers.

b. You need to practiice an “active” CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

The second thing is that it will be hard for you to sell on the long term if you (1) do not enlarge and but also (2) do not take care of your customer base.

You have to answer all the questions clients ask (all? really?). You have to assist them in the use of the product. Also, you have to manage the complaints, unless it’s a product simple to use and that the merchant assists you with creatives (ads videos, banners, tutorials, etc …).

Finally, not always but very often some affiliate networks (or some companies) require you to already have a website before you can join the network (or promote one of their products).

In most cases, they just want to make sure that the activities performed and the products sold on your site do not damage their image, and hence their entire business.

Affiliat Networks such as Commission Junction and Rakuten (ex- LinkShare) do not allow you to become one of their affiliates if you don’t already own a website with a loyal following or consistent daily visitors or an optimized website with quality content and professional design.


Rakuten application requiements


commission junction application requirements
So, if you want to become of their affiliates to promote a product which the owner requires you to have an optimized website beforehand, you’ll need to “actively” create it or outsource the creation.


Myth #2 : Always Follow your passion if you want to Succeed in Affiliate marketing

Wake up man! Here we’re talking about business, not fairy tale. Instead of “follow your passion”, i (you? Who are you?) would rather say “follow the market” .

Believe it or not but your business is not all about you, but rather all about what the market demands.

I know that it’s not always good to follow the trend. However, following the trend has this awesome advantage: it brings you a lot of cash in a very short period of time.

The market is already there. People are already buying the product. They are ready to do so over a quite long period again, before the trend disappears and the demand declines.

Talking about my personal experience, i’m passionate about business, bodybuilding and sport. I work as affiliate marketer with many companies or affiliate networks in those areas.

However, i also promote some products in categories i don’t necessary have any passion for. Cooking for example.

Healthy food
Picjumbo free image


The cooking niche is huge, profitable and scalable. People will never (never? really?) stop cooking. The ways and materials for cooking can change, but cooking itself will never end (never?).

I promote cooking-related products via direct linking (without building an email list) to the merchant’s website. Yes, I don’t build a list because cooking is not really a passion for me (i mean not for now).

I don’t want to waste my time and money building an email list, and even if tomorrow those products don’t sell anymore it’ll be alright.

So, you don’t have to “always” follow your passion.

The best advice though is to build your main business around something you really love;  something you’re passionate about (if of course there is a market, big enough, profitable and scalable).

Afterwards look for some trending markets around you and find some products you can promote with little effort, by just sending people directly to the offer (the merchant’s website).


Myth #3 : Avoid crowded niches

One of the things you’ve probably heard business “experts” say the most is that you should avoid crowded niches.

In other words avoid a market where there are too many competitors. Honestly, i think they are not totally wrong, but are they totally right?



Everybody knows (everybody?) that  the first reason why people create a business is the profit (money, l’argent, dinero, geld, pecuniam, adolo, …).

Now, you may not agree (and it’s ok, it’s your right… to be wrong), but the first metric when its comes to evaluate a company’s power is the amount of money that company is able to make every year and its ability to dramatically grow its assets.

Talking about the personal life, your wealth is evaluated by the amount of assets you have in your treasury. Not the amount of love you have in your heart.

Why am I saying all this? (Yes why?).

Because when you see people rushing into a market or if you see a crowded niche, it’s always because there’s a lot of money to earn. Always?

Just as sugar attracts ants, profit attracts companies. A crowded niche means a lot of money to make.

Some people will discourage you from investing in niches such as bodybuilding, fashion, pet food and gadgets, etc. The reason is because these niches are said to be “crowded”.

However, the projected pet store revenue in the United States from 2017 to 2021 is around $21,576 millions .


Pet store revenue estimation for 2021


The US supplement industry is $37 billion value and the sports nutrition plus energy and sports drinks is set to cruise past $20 billion by 2020.

These positive figures make us think that these “crowded” niches can represent good opportunities.


Myth #4 : No skills required to succeed in affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is not a “easy money” scheme.

Affiliate marketing being to promote a corporate’s product to an audience, we can assume that the first skill required is the “selling” skill.

When you promote a product, you must wear your marketer’s hat.

You have to know how to find prospects (potential clients) and find the best way to approach them. You also have to discover their real needs, before finding the best offer that could solve their problem.

Selling other people’s product means you don’t really own the product, but in front of your audience, it’s your responsibility to stand for it. It’s your responsibility to position it in your audience’s mind, and face every objections that could arise.

In fact, the product become “yours” in the eyes of your audience. Each time there is a problem they’ll put the blame on you. Even if they know that you’re not the real owner of that product, because you are the one who recommended it to them, they put the blame on you.

And here comes another important skill which is “handling client’s’ complaints”.

unhappy and angry customer
Getty images

This may seem to be an easy task, but experienced business people could tell you that the pre-purchase period is way less difficult than the post purchase period.

When someone has paid for something (expensive or not), that person wants everything to be perfect. It’s true that you cannot avoid customers’ insatisfaction or complaints. But not being able to deal with them is one of the biggest mistake you’ll ever make in your career.

You have to learn how to turn an angry customer into your brand ambassador, if you want to be successful with affiliate marketing.  In business in general.

Last but not least, if you join an affiliate network that requires a website, you will need to get some skills in website creation. Unless you are ready to sacrifice some money to get the job  done by someone else.


Myth #5 : Never recommend items you’ve never bought and used yourself

It is true that some companies require you to first be users.

Some website hosters such as and hostigator, or email marketing softwares like aweber do not allow you to become their affiliate, if you are not already using their service.

Honestly, i don’t know the “why” of this rule. But i think (hope you noticed i said “i”) that they want to make sure you know what you talk about once you’ll be recommending the product to people.

More than money, in general companies worry a lot about their image (the positioning) or the way people should perceive the quality of their product.

Also, it’s good to use an item before recommending it to other people because it gives you more knowledge about the pros and cons of using that product, so that you don’t lose credibility with customers.

But the truth is that you cannot always recommend “only” the items you’ve used yourself before promoting them. That’s the truth.

Not every affiliate marketer promotes only the items or services he (she) has used before.

Only few do. Around 0.000000000000000001%. And this is because today it’s raining and i’m cool (yes i like the rain), otherwise I would have said 0.00%.

Yes! Nobody!

Unless you are a newcomer in this game, but most affiliate marketers with more than 2 or 3 years of experience, know that there is so much money to make to just promote one or two items, for the fake reason that you should never promote an item you’ve never used before.

I’ve promoted and sold cooking utensils,  home appliances, clothes, etc., that i’ve never used. Sometimes, i saw the product just once, and 20 minutes later i had already sold the product.

Now, if you are a beginner, DO NOT do that.

With my little experience as affiliate marketer, i have my favorite tactic.  When a product seems interesting, i go to check the ratings and reviews. Good reviews, but most importantly bad ones.

Analyse the bad reviews, and see if the dissatisfaction is due to the product itself or to other aspects like the delay on delivery or the shipping cost, etc..

If the bad reviews are not the facts of the product itself and you can fix them, then you may go ahead and promote it.

But, i repeat: “if you are a beginner, DO NOT do that.”


Myth #6 : You need to have a website to start selling

Yes. It’s true that in some lines above i said that a bunch of affiliate networks out there will require you to get a website already created before joining. Yes, but a lot of other networks don’t.

You can find some interesting offers on for example. You just need to create you account, select a product to promote and create the affiliate link you’ll sent to people.
They don’t ask you anything your website or what so ever. All they want you to do It’s to bring in the cash and plenty.

Now you may think: ok, i don’t need a website but at least i need a landing page.

My answer is that a great landing page it’s always good, but you don’t necessary need a landing page either.

Now you may ask: ok, now how am i going to promote my offer without a website and a landing page?

If you are not popular on social networks like instagram, youtube, facebook, etc., it’s gonna be very difficult. Some people (like me) don’t have a lot of friends on social networks, but other people do.

If you have a YouTube channel with a lot of subscribers, you can use it to “push” some products to your fan base.

It could be a video tutorial about the product or you doing something funny. But at the end of the video, you talk briefly about the product and then ask people to purchase it.

Same with facebook.

Some of you have around 600 to 800 friends on facebook alone, sometimes more. This could be a gold mine if you know your friends very well and you know what can be interesting to them.

All you need to do it’s to join a program, create your affiliate links, and sent to your friends. Easy. isn’t it?


Myth #7 : You don’t need to build a list with affiliate marketing

You don’t HAVE TO, but you NEED TO.

Yes, the same as with the website creation. It’s true that you don’t have to build a list of emails.

Some affiliates use the technique called direct linking. It consists in sending the traffic directly to the offer (to the merchant’s website) without collecting emails. One of the biggest advantages of the direct linking is to maximize the traffic and increase the conversion rate.

By asking people to subscribe (give their email) and then asking them to go to their mailbox and confirm the subscription, you can discourage a lot of people who can finally abandon the process.

However, you need to keep in touch with your customers on a regular basis. Their have to see you as a trustworthy source of information. One of the rare ones they can rely on.

Always remember that you are selling to human beings, who want to buy from humans like them, and not from a machine (your website). You have to deal with their feelings, their fears, perceptions, and so on. And the most effective way to do that is to build a list of emails through a landing page or by giving something for free on your site.

So you do need to build an email list to earn money easily on the long run.


Myth #8: Affiliate marketing is no longer profitable

If you think like that it’s probably because you haven’t took a look at the AffStat 2016 Affiliate Marketing Benchmark Report. According to this report, the annual revenue derived from affiliate marketing efforts can reach $50,000 for some affiliates.


Affiliate marketing is still and (for a long period of time ahead) will still be profitable.

However, many affiliates no longer take care of their business when start earning money, when they reach their financial goals, or for other reasons we do not know.

They neglect customers’ complaints and they no longer post regularly on their blogs. All this results in a decline in productivity which affects the results in terms of cash.

Further, Forrester Research forecasts U.S. affiliate marketing spending will increase by a compounded annual growth rate. Nearly 17 % between 2011-2016, growing to $4.5 billion.

Myth #9: You lose credibility when visitors discover your affiliate marketing links

Most of the time when we promote companies’ produits to a person, we do that under a recommendation.

Usually, you don’t want that person to depreciate the value of your advice. Because, even if the recommendation is sincere, the fact that the person knows you’ll perceive a commission if he/she purchases the product can make the person think that you’re not sincere.

The person can think that you’re recommending that product, not because you really care about his/her situation, but simply because you want to make money.

But affiliate links disclosure is not bad at all. In fact, it’s required.

All affiliates must disclose commercial relationships with businesses.  They must look for a guide to learn how to implement a proper disclosure on their website.

This disclosure does not affect your revenue significantly, otherwise some authority affiliate marketers couldn’t have done so well so far with affiliate marketing.

Lisa irby from says clearly on her site that DISCLOSURE IS NOT A BAD THING.


This did not prevent her from becoming one of the most known perons in affiliate marketing today.

Secondly, katrinah of (wordpress developer) always declares that if you use her hostigator coupon code she will receive a commission for that.

This did not stop her from having so many subscribers for her youtube channel.

Affiliate link disclosure does not really affect your credibility, on the contrary it makes you look professional.


Last but not least.


Myth #10: Lots of traffic also means lots of money

True and false.

One thing true is the more you have visitors on your website on a daily basis, the more your revenue is likely to increase. Traffic and revenue are highly related.


road traffic


Your website’s conversion rate is expressed as a percentage. It represents the approximate number of visitors who take a desirable action on your site (subscribe to a email list, purchase, download a PDF file, etc.). So, when we talk about conversion rate we are not always talking about money.

But in this example let’s focus on the money side. If you have 10 out of 100 visitors who end up purchasing something on your website, your conversion rate is 10%.

In this case, more traffic means more money. So if your want to improve your revenue you just need to increase your traffic and that’s it!

(10% of 2000 visitors = 200 buyers —> 200 * 50$ = $10,000 revenue

, 10% of 3000 visitors = 300 buyers —> 300 * 50$ = $15,000 revenue

, etc.)

Is it really that simple? Yes. It’s really that simple. In this particular situation.

However, a lot of traffic does not always mean a lot of money.

If you drive 3000 visitors, men from 15-20 years old, to a store that is selling women health products, i’m not sure this will help you increase your revenue. I can even assure you that your conversion rate will suffer.

If you’re using google analytics, you need to pay attention to two important metrics:
– the bounce rate (% of people who leave the site immediately ) should be low, under 40% is great.
– the average session duration (the time the visitor spent on your site, or on a page) should  be high, more than 5 minutes is not bad at all.


Google images – highly targeted traffic


The owner of the site below should improve his/her targeting strategies.

Only a highly targeted traffic can increase your revenue.

In case you have a hardship to get more quality traffic, you can just improve your site’s conversion rate. Get the current customers to pay more and/or turn more current visitors into buyers.



The affiliate marketing is unquestionably one of the simplest and relatively easiest way to start your internet marketer career. This because you don’t need to create your own product.

You just need to recommend a product that already exists  (sometimes already known and popular) to an audience you know well (your parents, friends, clients, etc.).

Because of this quasi absence of barriers to entry, many people go into online business by starting with affiliate marketing.

However, a lot of beginners or affiliate with very little experience get lost because of too many so-called truths, which are nothing else but myths.

I wrote this post to draw attention to the fact that experience is better than science, and above all, there is no absolute truth.  In other words, do not take other people’s reality for yours.


“If you’ve enjoyed this content, feel free to share it with friends, colleagues and family. Also, I sincerely want to know what you think about it. So you can give your rating above under the post title (User Rating) and leave a comment below. Thanks”. Ayl

Ayl Dhybass

Entrepreneur / Founder of SmartYourBiz (Online Business Training) "I'm passionate about Graphic, Web & App Design, Bodybuilding, Football and Foreign Languages."

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