In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what. You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.
You can sell affiliate stuff if you did not use the stuff but a high, high, high, really high level of clarity is required to do this. Most bloggers lack this clarity. I recall Tony Robbins selling/being an affiliate for a $25K coaching class. Never took it. Never sat in it. But the guy made millions. He had full clarity in selling without seeing. So he rocked out the selling.
Leadpages claims that its affiliate program is not exclusively for affiliate marketers, which is true, but the narrow focus of this niche means that only professionals affiliate marketers will ever be able to earn significant income from the program. Leadpages’s affiliate program does offer quite a lot of different options (webinars, videos, blog posts, free marketing courses, etc.) to send referrals to, which can lead to higher conversion rates if done correctly.
People have turned to all sorts of interesting ways to make some side cash, from selling things on eBay (a lot start with items they have around the house that they don't use) to freelancing or selling arts and crafts. Sites like Upwork.com let you work on your own time for a bit of side money, so if you have a really strong skill set you can use to help others, that's one way. If you're crafty, you could start selling your wares from home -- tap your network of friends and associates. For example, a friend of mine makes diaper wreaths for baby showers. they're super cute and make great gifts. If you can get the person buying the item to get the materials, or pay in advance, you don't need to shell out much up front, if any.