As you know I write about all sorts of things - technology, FIRST Robotics, cooking, computer security, entrepreneurship. I have an extensive facebook presence with a large number of facebook, linked in and twitter followers (I'm not Kim Kardashian but I hold my own). I'm what many would call a "passionate consumer". If I like something I bought I'll tell you about it. If there's a book I read, a recipe I used, or a vendor I frequent and I feel it's somehow exceptional I'll talk about it. If one of those products happens to be offered through Amazon I usually attach a link - and I have an Amazon Affliates account that lets people buy through that link.
I make no bones about this - and don't try to hide the link. It costs the consumer nothing, and I get a tiny (but not completely insignificant) dollar amount if the sale happens to convert. Of course if they just stick it in their cart and buy it 3 months later I'm not likely to get anything, but hey - free money.
I never promote something just to get the commission - that's not why I like the book or recommend the recipe. Whether something is on Amazon or not doesn't really influence whether I blog, write about it or mention it.
Most of the marketing I do is through facebook, where if someone asks about a product I'll drop a link on there with a recommendation that's for an amazon sourced item if one fits.
So does it work? Well I'm not exactly going to be able to run out and retire on the profits from my amateur marketing - I've made like $10/year for the last five years. $50 on the other hand is nothing to sneeze at. So why do I mention it? Well the question is - what are YOU doing to get passionate consumers like me to help spread the word about your product? Are you working on plans for an affiliate marketing program - even if it just has points or micropayments - that makes it fun and easy for people to promote your products and get credit for it? If not you're missing out on a way to have your very best evangalists help sell your product.
If you're a consumer - are you taking advantage of affiliate marketing? If you're writing about a book, a product, or a vendor and you can get some free dough for writing what you would write anyway - then you should consider it.
And with that - I'll leave you with a Google Affiliate ad - cool lego mindstorms kits and books for Christmas!