Affiliate programs are very tempting because they offer affiliates an opportunity to earn easy cash just by recommending products to buyers. For the serious marketers, affiliate marketing is big money. But this $3 billion business is hard to get into and regular people don’t have any part in it, aside from being the bottom rung of the ladder – the customer.
One of the requirements to get into any affiliate program is to have a functioning website. Some merchants will want to know how much traffic your website receives or by what means you plan to market their products so that they can determine whether or not you can be a valuable affiliate. If your website doesn’t meet their requirements or if you say you want to recommend products on Twitter, your application is likely to get rejected.
Refer.ly is a fresh startup that allows regular folks to get into the game. What Refer.ly does is act as a middleman between the merchants and you. When you signup on Refer.ly and sale a product using a Refer.ly link, you actually help Refer.ly earn commission from the merchant. Acting as an single affiliate of the merchants, Refer.ly aggregates commissions earned by all Refer.ly users and then distributes it to its users, taking a cut from the revenue. But for now, Refer.ly is giving up the entire affiliate fee to Refer.ly’s users. The company’s not taking a cut.
Normally, when you want to recommend a product sold online you will have to log into your affiliate account, find the product and the special link. You may have dozens of affiliate accounts for dozens of merchants and you have to keep track of each of them separately. With Refer.ly, you have to login to just one account. You don’t need to apply to hundreds of merchants nor meet their affiliate requirements. You may not even have any marketing skills, yet thanks to Refer.ly, you can do affiliate work for thousands of merchants.
Once you have earned a minimum of $10 you can claim your rewards by providing them with the bank information where you would like this money deposited.
The idea sounds brilliant, but it may be a violation of terms and agreements of merchants and affiliate programs. The possibility is discussed on this Hacker News thread.