I relay the story of Dan Henry because it exemplifies the power of this thing called the internet that binds us all. And while Henry has succeeded on a massive scale, so many others have hit roadblocks, stumbled, fallen and failed. The large rate of failure helps to mystify and obfuscate this world of affiliate marketing because so many are trying to penetrate this market but so few are able to succeed on a large scale.
So while yes, you could theoretically run an affiliate marketing offer from social media only, you're better off building a website and then building social media pages to reflect your branding. Content and building trust are really important, and so having a website that serves as a central location for articles, offers, and an email signups can be quite important.
Thought I’d weigh in on this because I have a private label line on Amazon and use my brand website simply to point back to my Amazon listings and some related products on Amazon that aren’t mine. I don’t generate a lot of sales through that website, but when I do get an order it’s super fun because I get the sale AND the affiliate commission. I, too, checked with Amazon before using this strategy and they were fine with it.
For example, when someone drops a comment on a blog post, you should engage with that person, even if it's only to say thanks. This helps to bridge that emotional divide. Be sure to stay on top of all engagement on every platform. Don't allow it to consume you, but do your best to respond to people in a timely manner. This could make all the difference in succeeding with a sale or making someone pass you up. The more you nurture and develop your audience, the more they'll believe become fervent buyers.
I, too, have always looked at ClickBank as a secondary and even tertiary monetization source. But it can be a great sources of revenue. I linked one of my articles to a related product on CB, and without really doing promotion or anything unusual, I get a few sales a week. Mind you, the keyword(s) for the post aren't that huge either. So, even though the traffic not huge on that post, it still manages to get some sales.
Instead of building from the ground up, many networks are leveraging technology that already exists, then building on top of it to customize their systems. We see this all the time with HasOffers. For example, Kiip, a mobile advertising network with powerhouse clients like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Wrigley, Pepsi, and BMW, decided to build on top of HasOffers instead of starting from scratch. “After sitting down with the HasOffers team, it quickly became clear that we could rely on something that was already built and allow our engineers to focus on developing our secret sauce,” said Corrigan Neralich, Senior Director of Advertising Operations.
The Wirecutter is the best example of an affiliate site that I've ever seen. I wouldn't even put it in the same category as what you'd think of as an affiliate site, aside from how they make their money. Brian Lam's a great example of someone who sticks to a principle and then grinds it out to the nth degree. Can't say how many times I've used that site (and TheSweethome) for product reviews.
Most businesses require startup fees as well as a cash flow to finance the products being sold. However, affiliate marketing can be done at a low cost, meaning you can get started quickly and without much hassle. There are no affiliate program fees to worry about and no need to create a product. Beginning this line of work is relatively straightforward.