The first time I experienced affiliate marketing was when IRC (Internet Relay Chat to the younger folk) was THE instant messaging service. I think I?m showing my age there. I was a young teenager searching on the web for ? you guessed it ? porn, and I clicked on one of the search results, expecting a hot busty babe dance on my screen. Instead, I was greeted with images censored with yellow stars. Clicking on one would take me to one site, clicking on another would take me to an entirely different site. Strange. Then it dawned on me that the site I originally arrived at was pure advertisement, and since it was taking me to completely different sites, I came to the conclusion that it was some guy getting a finder?s fee. How slick and deliciously evil was that! It was worse than pop ups! Needless to say I didn?t get any porn that day. Skip ahead a few? well, several years. I grew up (kind of), and landed a job at a technology solutions provider. My cozy night shift position entailed checking to make sure that a website was updating properly every so often, to answer a handful of customer emails, and take the very rare phone call. There was a ton of downtime, so I switched between playing MMO?s and looking up random computer things I wanted to learn about. Eventually I spent more time coding HTML and PHP than playing games. Then one morning at the end of my shift, a coworker walked by and saw what I was doing. ?Hey, you?re pretty good with that! Do you think you could give me a hand with my site?? Sure! It was an easy fix (one of his tags wasn?t closed). I asked how he ran his online store, ?Do you have like a warehouse in your basement or something!? You have LOADS of stuff!? He smiled, ?Nope. I never even see these items. Here, let me show you?? and introduced me to the world of being a dropship merchant. So I gave it a shot, created a storefront, and looked up merchants to get stuff from. I found I needed a business tax ID. So I created a business. Unfortunately without any start-up capital, I couldn?t advertise, and I was still a little wet behind the ears in regard to how the web worked, so I didn?t know anything about Search Engine Optimization, and the business flopped? hard. I wasn?t done yet though! I remembered that while I was doing research, and finding my not-quite-niche items to dropship, I ran across something called Build A Niche Store. This led to my first true affiliate marketing attempt. It worked by going to eBay, finding stuff you defined, and populating it in your site. With the exception of the trademark Buy It Now logo, it looked like a regular old storefront. The mark? ahem ? visitor would choose one of many great items and it would take them to that item?s page on eBay. A cookie would be stored in their browser for 7 days, so if they bought the item, won the auction for it, or any other item on eBay, I?d get a commission! Unfortunately I hadn?t learned enough about SEO, and due to the financial hardships pushing me to find these other avenues of income, I still couldn?t afford advertising. However, I got the domain from Dreamhost, who were having a promotion, so I only paid $10 for a year of hosting. In that year, with NO additional effort or advertising, I ended up making about $20. Woo hoo! Fast forward just tad more? WOAH Stop! You?re at Now, and you can?t fast forward past the present! Bad things happen when you do! Stuff like giraffes eating your roof shingles, the milk you bought today expiring yesterday, and your mail showing up next door (you know, to the neighbors that don't like you)! Trust me on this! Whew! Anyway, after finally figuring out how to budget myself, I?m debt free (save the mortgage), and I?m giving the affiliate marketing gig another try. This time, I have a some experience, have done quite a bit of research, and have the capital to get something going! I may lose my ass, I might make millions. We?ll see.