Affiliate Marketing can really put people off for a few reasons, but stick with me.

I once worked for an agency that had me write the occasional affiliate articles. Essentially, we would promote products from other companies, and my agency received a portion of whatever revenue was earned through my article; defined as:

An affiliate program is an automated electronic program that involves a Web advertiser and recruited webmasters. The webmasters, as affiliates, place the company’s advertisements on their individually owned websites. The ads in affiliate programs are linked to company websites and are referred to as affiliate links.

However, it didn’t take long before we cut those types of articles because it wasn’t earning enough money to be worth it.

Since then, the word “affiliate marketing” left a bad taste in my mouth. It didn’t seem to be worth all the effort. I also hated that there were suddenly all these ads on Facebook interrupting my cat videos. I assumed affiliate marketing was something doomed to fail.

The more I studied it, the more I realized how beneficial it could be. When done right, affiliate marketing strategies can result in the success of your business. If you’re willing to put the time into establishing good relationships with your affiliate partners, it will pay off in ways you never expected. Here are three affiliate marketing success stories that prove my point.

Now, for an agency who is paying me to write (and overhead, and employee benefits, and corporate taxes) it might not be enough for the $10 every time someone buys a pair of glasses or 3% when someone books a cruise. But if you are blogging about products you like anyway, it’s kind of amazing to find $80 or $300 just fall into your checking account every month. But honestly, once you see those, you’ll get really motivated pretty quickly to learn how to set up a Volusion store (oh, if only I was an affiliate partner with them… see how that would have worked?) and start rocking out an amazing online store without ever having to deal with shipping inventory, or invoicing! Here are some favorites:

The Wire Cutter

The Wire Cutter lists all the best gadgets and gear for anyone curious as to what tech will be best for them. They test out all their products for over 70 hours before giving you the best, most honest reviews (sometimes brutally honest.) Even the best techies know The Wire Cutter is the best place to get information.

The website generates over one million monthly viewers and made over $150 million in affiliate sales last year.

Trip Advisor

I never go anywhere before checking Trip Advisor. They give me the best advice without charging a penny. And I’m definitely not alone – the website receives between 150 million and 200 million viewers each month.

They have the affiliate partnerships with some of the world’s best traveling companies in the world, all of which pay them generously because they know Trip Advisor is one of the most trusted companies when it comes to planning a trip.

Consumer Search

I never buy anything online before reading its reviews, and Consumer Search makes it ridiculously easy to get all the cumulative reviews you need.

They also analyze and investigate each review to make sure everything is credible. They push all their traffic through to Amazon, which is an incredibly competitive affiliate partnership. Consumer Search’s collaborative reviews have put them ahead of the game.

This website became so successful that the founders sold it to New York Times for $33 million.

While there is revenue to be earned when Facebook interrupts my videos and feed with advertisements, it seems that the most successful affiliate marketing stories came through honest, credible reviews – not just general product advertisement.

Whether you’re reviewing the products yourself or gathering other reviews, don’t be afraid to include some brutal honesty about the products. As we have seen with The Wire Cutter, your audience will come to trust you more and appreciate your reliability.

Emily Brady is a content writer for AFEUSA. Her education in Communication Sciences with an emphasis in journalism from Brigham Young University makes her a great fit for AFEUSA. Emily enjoys writing and often works as a freelance writer in her free time.