The Internet presents a lot of ways to earn cash that did not exist ten years ago. One of the more popular ways of making a living on the Web is by means of affiliate marketing. This technique of advertising rewards those who advertise a product for a seller or manufacturer by giving them part of the retail price when someone makes a purchase. As an affiliate, you do not literally make the sales; you just publicize a product and direct the customer to the Website where they can make the purchase. When they purchase, you get paid.

The system does have its advantages; one of them is that you can promote products around the clock with a Web site without having to deal with customers directly. Customers can visit your Web site, see your promotion for a product, and click on a link to buy it without any direct participation on your part. In that sense, affiliate marketing can be "automated", but potential entrepreneurs should not confuse "automatic" with "no effort."

Many authors of books dedicated to the subject of making money market their books via affiliate marketing. Many of these authors, in order to boost sales, suggest that as an affiliate, you can make money on autopilot, and that doing so demands a minimum of effort. They often embellish this even further by suggesting that it is only necessary to work one or two hours a week to earn a lot of money on the Web. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth about earning money with affiliate marketing is that it is, like anything else you might do, tough work. It is true that you can produce a Website with information and links that customers may use to make decisions and purchases. Once you create such a Website, how will buyers find it? You have to advertise that Website, and doing so is hard work. The online market is a competitive one, and establishing a workable Website while competing against thousands of others can quickly become a full time career. This is especially true if you produce more than one Website to promote more than one product.

Even if you get a lot of visitors to your Web site you'll find yourself constantly making adjustments to the site's content in order to increase the number of visitors who make a purchase. A basic "this product is good - buy it!" will not persuade a lot of visitors to buy. You'll have to do quite a bit of time consuming experimentation in order to find something that works for you.

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