Is Affiliate Marketing a Scam? Is $10,000/Month REALLY Possible?

is affiliate marketing a scam
is affiliate marketing a scam

After seeing some people making tens or even thousands of dollars per month with affiliate marketing, you may have asked this question from yourself, "Is affiliate marketing a scam?"

I have been making money online with affiliate marketing already for a few years so I know that affiliate marketing is not a scam. However, I understand the reasons why you may be asking that question

In this article, I am going to give you a very comprehensive answer to this question and also show how affiliate marketing works in practice. I am sure you will find this helpful and valuable.

Is Affiliate Marketing a Scam? - Quick Summary

Affiliate marketing is not a scam but there are 3 main reasons why some newbies may think so:

  1. Get Rich Quick schemes
  2. Real Affiliate Marketing Scams
  3. Unrealistic Expectations

If you know that making money with affiliate marketing takes time and effort, you most likely won't fall into such scams. Still, I recommend that you read my article all the way through to understand better how they work.

Is Affiliate Marketing a Recommended Way to Make Money Online? Yes! I have made money online with affiliate marketing already for a few years and I recommend it to you as well.


"Affiliate Marketing Scam" - Video

Before you dive into my full article, I want to give you an opportunity to have a look at my video where I show whether or not affiliate marketing is scam.

I also show you how I learned to make money online with affiliate marketing legitimately as a Christian man.

Even +$10,000/month income is possible using legitimate methods as you will learn in my video below.

If you have any questions, I'll be happy to help you out in the comments!

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is simply the process of earning money (a commission) by promoting other people's or company's products.

Christina Piccoli has written a wonderful affiliate marketing guide for beginners that I highly recommend reading if you want to learn how it works from A to Z and how you can get started right away. 

To understand how affiliate marketing works in a nutshell, take a look at the picture below:

is affiliate marketing a scam

Affiliate marketing happens all the time everywhere and it's one of the most common ways to make money online. Actually, affiliate marketing has also existed before the Internet but it has just happened offline.

When you recommend your favorite gym to your friends, you are actually doing affiliate marketing. As a reward you will often get a free membership month or other rewards.

With affiliate marketing online the rewards and commissions are usually paid in cash. You promote, for example, a digital product that costs $100 and it gives a 50% commission. Every time when somebody clicks your link and buys the product, you earn the commission.

The best part of affiliate marketing is that you can actually help people while earning money. As an affiliate marketer you connect a person who needs somethingand the product that provides that value.

So, affiliate marketing is a legitimate to make money online and there's nothing wrong with it itself.

In the next chapters, I will still explain you a few situations and examples why some people have mistakenly thought that affiliate marketing would be a scam.

Affiliate Marketing Scam Controversy - 3 Reasons

There are a few reasons why some people have thought that affiliate marketing would be a scam. In reality, affiliate marketing is probably the most legitimate way to make money online but some people have just been doing it dishonestly.

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Let me give you 3 examples:

  1. Get Rich Quick schemes
  2. Real Affiliate Marketing Scams
  3. Unrealistic Expectations

In the following chapters, I will explain more in detail what each of these things mean and how they have confused people's minds over the years. 

Get Rich Quick Schemes + Affiliate Marketing

Have you ever heard claims like, "Make $9,543 during the first month!" or "Earn $3,298 in just 7 days as a complete beginner!"

Those are called get rich quick schemes and 99,9% of them are scams. If you want to make $9,543 in a month, you either need to have lots of experience or lots of money to invest. Otherwise, you will not make $9,543 during the first month with affiliate marketing.

While reviewing more than 450 make money online opportunities and systems, I have seen numerous affiliate marketers promoting such get rich quick scams. Actually, some of those affiliates may be rich because of those schemes but they have completely lost their integrity.

Some people are always promoting one "scheme" after another.

Most famous get rich quick schemes within affiliate marketing space are probably Digital Altitude, MOBE, Awol and other similar programs. Actually, Digital Altitude was already attacked by FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and many other similar systems have been shut down over the years.

The idea there is that you can get started with $1 or for completely free. Then you climb up their stairs (by buying expensive products) and start promoting their systems to other people. They have upsells all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars.

I recommend staying far away from such schemes.

Yes, you can make $9,543/month.
Yes, you can make $3,298/week.
Yes, you can make $500/day.

But that kind of income requires lots of work and effort! Often it also requires financial investments.

My #1 recommended affiliate marketing training doesn't require any up-front investments and they don't have expensive upsells. But I can say that you will not big money unless you put in the work.

Real Affiliate Marketing Scams

Over the years there have also been some cases when affiliate marketers have actually scammed the actual product creator who has founded the affiliate program.

It may sound unbelievable but it's true. Venture Beat explained about one of such scams in 2013 on their website.

Affiliates had driven sales themselves and wanted to get the commissions from the founder. However, those sales were not real and the founder didn't get the money. I won't go into details here but it's interesting to know that such scams have also existed.

Unrealistic Expectations

The truth is that it's very easy to get started with affiliate marketing. You can create your own website in 30 seconds and put affiliate links there.

Or you can go to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or to other social media and share your affiliate links. When somebody clicks your links and buys something, you earn a commission.

That being said, making money with affiliate marketing as a complete beginner is not that easy. Most likely you won't make many sales by sharing your affiliate link to your friends on your Facebook page (unless they are interested in the subject).

If you attract traffic to your website from Google through organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) like I do, it will take some time get some traction.

Once the traffic starts flowing in, everything becomes easier and easier. But it doesn't happen overnight.

Another classical mistake that beginners make is to spread yourself too thin. It means that they get so excited about making money with affiliate marketing that they immediately create 5-10 new websites.

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Then they post a few posts on each site and nothing happens. They start thinking, "This affiliate marketing thing doesn't work. Better to concentrate on my 9-5 job." Even though nothing could be actually further from the truth.

Affiliate marketing works and it is a very effective way to make money but if you have unrealistic expectations, you will be disappointed.

That's why I offer my 1-on-1 support to you if you want to start making money with affiliate marketing. Having a clear step-by-step training and an opportunity to ask me anything you need will help you to move forward much faster.

Affiliate Marketing Examples

Take a look at my comprehensive article where I show and explain 5 Awesome Examples of Affiliate Marketing Websites.

The most common way of making money with affiliate marketing is the following 4-step process:

4 sptes Affiliate Marketing for Dummies

This is a typical 4-step process of making money with affiliate marketing.

You choose an interest and build a simple website around that subject. Next you attract visitors to your site. You earn money when they click your affiliate links and buy something.

Let me give you a quick example on how this can work in practice:

  1. You are interested in playing guitar.
  2. You build a basic guitar website and leave affiliate links to Amazon best-seller guitars..
  3. People visit your website from Google, Facebook and other channels.
  4. You earn money when some of your visitors clicks your links to Amazon and buys something there.

Another example is my language learning site.

  1. People who are interested in learning languages come to my website.
  2. I recommend them a course that will help them their target language faster.
  3. Somebody clicks my affiliate links and buys the course.
  4. I earn a commission.

A great thing here is that I am able to help that visitor his target language much faster and at the same time I can earn money. Everybody wins.

Affiliate Marketing Example

Let me give you an interesting examples of affiliate marketing from my own life.

I am originally from Finland but I haven't lived there for 1,5 years and I wouldn't. I wanted to set up a company in XXX country where I have never created a company before. 

I didn't know personally anybody who would have created a company in XXX country where I wanted to create so I needed to ask from Mr.Google.

I found a website that looked reliable and they said they could help to create a company in that place. Therefore, I decided to contact that company and they helped me further.

However, that company didn't help me to do the whole process because they just replied, "We know another person/company that can help you." In the other words, they were affiliated with a company that helps people to set up their companies in that specific country.

The middleman company probably took a commission for the recommendation.  

Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?

Often people ask me, "Roope, how much money is it possible to make with affiliate marketing? Is affiliate marketing worth it?"

The short answer is that you can make an unlimited amount of money with affiliate marketing. However, I understand that answer isn't usually enough and you are also looking for a more specific answer.

Take a look at my article where I show you 5 real-life examples of people who have made consistently +$10,000/month online with affiliate marketing.

As I explained at the beginning of this article, you will not make +$10,000/month with affiliate marketing as a complete beginner. However, it's completely possible once you have got the ball rolling. 

Some of the most successful affiliate marketers like Pat Flynn make even hundreds of thousands of dollars online. But in order to avoid such income, you need to be in the top 1% and work your butt off.

In my opinion, affiliate marketing is a much better way to make money than going to a regular 9 to 5 job. With affiliate marketing your income can grow every month while in a regular job you get a raise much more seldom.

In addition, you have way more freedom when you make money online. Actually, I am writing this article now in Thailand where the living costs are 2x cheaper than in my home country Finland. I can "live like a king" here with the same costs that would just give me an average life in Finland.

Conclusion - Is Affiliate Marketing a Scam?

No, affiliate marketing is not a scam. It's one of the most legitimate ways to make money online and it can be a win-win strategy for everyone.

  • An affiliate marketer earns a commission for promoting a product.
  • A client is happy because he found that he was looking for.
  • A company makes a sale which was their target.

Therefore, all parties can win with the affiliate marketing. Often affiliate marketer can also provide some kind of special bonuses or discounts for a client. Therefore, having this middleman is often a positive thing.

If you would like to make money with affiliate marketing as well, I recommend clicking the picture below or clicking here to get started. I will show you a simple step-by-step strategy that you can use to make money with affiliate marketing online.

In addition, I will provide you my 1-on-1 help and support because I want to guarantee that you succeed.

4 step process for making money online

​What kind of experiences do you have with affiliate marketing?

Do you need my help to start making money by using this strategy?

Have you also gone through the Wealthy Affiliate training

Let me know in the comments below!

If you have any questions, just leave a comment below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

By Roope Kiuttu

Hello! I am Roope "Robert" Kiuttu, the founder and owner of I created this website back in 2015 to help you to make money online. You can ask me anything and I'll be happy to help you out. I help people daily to make more money online and I love seeing people succeeding. If you want to get my 1-on-1 support and help to make money online as well, get started HERE.


  1. Really, I don’t think affiliate marketing is a scam. I tried it in the past and I know that it is legit. I tried in through and that is very legit. It even asks for your legal documents or a valid ID. Affiliate marketing has a very dirty name now because of the networking company scams but I think if people will try to take time to analyze how it works I think that affiliate marketing will be the best online income for online job seekers.

  2. It is far from being a scam. Affiliate marketing is one of the best methods to make online money and turning it in to full time job. It takes time, knowledge to accomplish something, being a affiliate marketer isn’t an easy task. I bet a lot of us know that already.

    Is it really possible to make 10,000 USD per month? If it was possible, wouldn’t a lot of people be interested in affiliate marketing?

    1. Yes Oliver, it is completely possible to make $10,000 a month as you can see in the examples here.

      You also right that many people are already interested in affiliate marketing. I think that the common mistake is that people quit too early. They don’t make $10,000 a month as soon as they would have wanted so they decide to quit and start doing something else.

      If they would stick to it, keep on learning and moving for what they could reach $10,000 a month level and much more.

      Of course, it always depends on the person how much money he’s going to make. Anybody can make it but not anybody will. Many people just prefer going to a 9-5 job.

  3. I am starting to learn a lot about affiliate marketing, and it is a great way to earn money in the long run. Sure it takes a lot of patience and hard work, but in the end, it definitely pays off. One thing that really excites me is that there is no limit to how much money you can earn.

    You will earn more than what you expect. It is a thousand times better than a traditional 9 to 5 job. I’m looking forward to getting a paid membership in Wealthy Affiliate; I cannot get it for free since that is not available in my country.

    1. Exactly the same thing excites me with affiliate marketing. There are low income limits.

      If I would be working for someone else still in a 9-to-5 job, my boss would define my salary but it affiliate marketing I have a potential to earn much more.

      Probably the greatest thing with affiliate marketing is that you will earn passive income. It means that you can earn money even while you are sleeping or laying down of the beach.

      Of course, you need do the work beforehand but it will definitely pay off in the end.

  4. I don’t think affiliate marketing is a scam. I tried it in the past and I know that it is legit. I tried in through and that is very legit. It even asks for your legal documents or valid ID. Affiliate marketing has a very dirty name now because of the networking company scams but I think if people will try to take time to analyze how it works I think that affiliate marketing will be the best online income for online jobseekers.

    1. Ahaa. I know It’s a popular cryptocurrency exchange in the Philippines. I also checked out their website. I considered promoting it but I noticed that their referral bonuses were quite low so I decided to leave it for then.

      Anyway, it’s good that there are some providers like in the Philippines who want to buy cryptocurrencies there.

  5. In my thoughts,no it is not a scam. It is a good way to make online money as well as to refer a lot of people to a chain on websites. Is it possible to make 10,000$ USD per month though ?I wouldn’t say so. You can make well over a thousand a month but it can be inconsistent as well as a hard job, but making 10,000 USD is just too much and just too insane in my opinion. Maybe i’m wrong but this is just my opinion.

    1. $10,000 is completely possible. I have many friends who are consistently making +$10,000/month with affiliate marketing. Take a look at 5 examples here.

      I am not yet making +$10,000/month online but that is goal for this year and I think it’s completely achievable.

      1. I’m sure you will be able to reach that goal. If you say that its possible than I think it is.It’s just hard work and a lot of time that you need to invest but in the end its not a small amount of money per month is it? Thanks for the 5 examples, I kinda believe its possible now.

          1. Mr.Roope, if I may ask how much have you earned so far with affiliate marketing. You seem to know almost everything about making money online and how to be a successful market, it interest me how much did you earn so far?

  6. In my opinion, affiliate marketing is genuine and can earn you a large some of money in time and hard work. I think the reason why people think otherwise is because they expect too highly and get tempted to far-fetched offers. This is the common case especially for beginners.

    To give you an idea, I tried being an affiliate of an online shopping website before and it actually went nice. I’ve earned few bucks just by promoting their product on various social media that I use daily. I earned quite well there and if I had more time and a more flexible schedule, I would have earned a lot more.

    The key here is consistency. You must push and dedicate yourself as an affiliate. You must promote the product or service tirelessly until you get recognition and gain popularity. A word for advise if you want to start affiliating is you must pick the product/service that you are passionate about. If you like cooking, then affiliate some cooking equipment that not only you will benefit, but others as well. Be genuine with your marketing and costumers will follow.

    1. Thank you for sharing these wise words my friend. Consistency is really the key with affiliate marketing. Anybody can build a successful affiliate marketing business and make big money with it. It just really requires consistency and effort.

      I also like your thought of being very genuine with the marketing and the customers will follow. My friend’s father who is an extremely successful businessman (the richest person in his area) always says that we are in the business for the long-term not for searching for quick wins. Therefore we always must think the long-term instead of trying to make some quick bucks.

  7. Personally, I have little belief in doing all the legwork to earn that much on their program or on any other affiliate marketing programs for that matter. But looking at the trend, it seems that the this kind of business has now found some niche (online entrepreneurs and others who want to build their skill set online), hence they now offer online products.

    That may be a good trend in this business but still it’s also a potential for all those sneaky practices that make people doubt in the legitimacy of this kind of business or of any online business in general. Such doubts are understandable, since we’re dealing with intangibles here. But having a closer look at affiliate marketing, it really has a lot of great potential if we’d just be diligent enough to take a closer look at it.

    1. Yeah, affiliate is growing extremely fast. Companies that focus on their affiliate programs like Amazon will thrive and succeed while others that don’t give enough value to it, lose a big part of potential business opportunities.

      I think that affiliate marketing will be even stronger and more popular in the future.

  8. This article was very insightful as I too am one of those persons who overlook advertisements of affiliate marketing as I was once fooled by the unrealistic expectations of making a lot of money in a short time. I was very disappointed and depressed when it didn’t come through as I was told it was. From then onward I believed that they are all scams.

    Upon further reading your article I realized that I didn’t really know what affiliate marketing was and I just entered blindly into it. I thought you earned the money just by getting people to click your link, and that just made no sense to me, but I went with it anyway-stupid I know. Can you believe I lost $600!!!

    The Examples of Affiliate Marketing is great! it is informative and useful and I will definitely use it if I ever go back into affiliate marketing. I find your story very humble and it almost gives me hope to try again lol…..almost. But I will definitely be clicking the links you have provided and read further on it.

    1. I am sorry to hear your negative experience Latanya. I hope that you won’t fall into scams anymore in the future. Please, read this article so you will never fall into scams anymore.

      If you are serious about making money with affiliate marketing, I highly recommend starting the training on Wealthy Affiliate.

  9. Among all the online businesses I have seen on the internet, Affiliate Marketing is one of the most serious businesses. What I have observed is that 90% of the people trying to earn money on the internet are really impatient and they just want to get rich overnight. However, Affiliate Marketing is something that can even give you $5000+ earnings per month but for that, you need to work really really hard and you need to think it like a real-life business.

    1. Exactly πŸ™‚

      Have you already started making money with affiliate marketing?

      Please, let me know if you need any help and I would be more than happy to help you out.

      1. To be honest, I really don’t have starting making money with affiliate marketing. I was actually learning about it but then due to some issues and a bit of misguidance through the internet (showing it as a really hard business) I left it. I am really interested in this opportunity and would love someone like you to get me started from scratch.

        1. I see.

          Have you already started the step-by-step training on Wealthy Affiliate?

          It will walk you through the most important steps that you need to take. I will also send you regularly tips and advice. I will be answering all your questions, giving suggestions on how to improve your site and get more sales with affiliate marketing.

  10. Thanks for your explanation on affiliate marketing. The problem with many of us is that we don’t understand what we are doing and we are not patient enough to learn. I know it takes a while to make money from affiliate marketing, because it takes time to get traffic and to get conversions.

    Most people try affiliate marketing and when they have done it for a few weeks and are not making any money, they call it a scam. I also agree most people take on too much, they want to start ten websites at one go. I must admit I have that problem.

    1. Exactly. Actually, people tend to call everything a scam.

      As you have probably seen on my website or on my YouTube channel, I have been active within the cryptocurrency community and reviewed many projects. In the cryptocurrency space people sometimes call the project a scam right away when the team does something wrong.

      For example, MedicalChain ICO wasn’t very smooth and people were right away shouting in a Telegram chat, “MedicalChain is a scam!” and other similar stuff. In reality, it’s just doesn’t make sense and it’s quite ridiculous. A company doesn’t need to be perfect as long as it delivers what it promises to deliver.

      I think that some people have been scammed often so they have become afraid of everything and call everything a scam instead of making a proper research.

  11. Affiliate marketing is not a scam. You can actually make a lot of money through affiliate marketing. However, there are many affiliate marketing offers that are actually scam. If someone promises you a lot of money, you should always smell rat. If someone says earn $1000 in a day, this is surely a scam. You should aways know the genuine affiliate marketing company and fake marketing company.

    1. Exactly true.

      It’s possible to make +$1,000/day but it requires lots of work and effort beforehand. Pat Flynn makes sometimes even +$10,000 in a day because he is an extremely successful affiliate marketer. However, he has built his business already for years and he is definitely in the top 1%.

  12. I have top belief that Wealthy Affiliate works, and the reason some are having issues with affiliate marketing in general is when they fail to put in the work needed to make everything work better. They always want to start experiencing positive results from the beginning which is not going to happen unless they are pros in the business already. I am already bracing up on joining and hope it is going to be a success for me.

    1. Yes, that’s quite a common misunderstanding with affiliate marketing. Many people expect results right away.

      I remember also when I was getting started. I thought like, “Okay, I’ll just create a website, publish a few posts and the money starts flowing in.”

      However, the reality was completely different. I needed to work, study and learn to succeed. Was it worth it? Definitely! Now I have a freedom to live and work wherever and wherever I want. That’s why I recommend affiliate marketing to other people as well.

      1. You are a success and that is the point of my motivation everyday when I think of how to become successful by joining the Affiliate world. The thing with doing everything we do well is that we get to learn more about it as the day goes by.

  13. For the fact that a lot of people have fallen victim one time to online scams have made them see almost anything as a scam and fraud but that’s not entirely true. Yes, it’s true that there are lots of sites, projects, programs and online schemes set up to scam people but affiliate marketing is not one of them. It’s just a means of working as a second party promoter of a company’s products and getting paid commissions for facilitating such sales using one’s affiliate marketing link.

    1. That’s exactly true. There are way too many scams online. Unfortunately, there have been scams also within the affiliate marketing world as I explained in the article but the concept itself is completely legitimate.

      Personally, I think that affiliate marketing is great and it can give a win-win-win situation where a customer, affiliate and company all benefit.

      1. There is a saying that goes like this, “In every 12 there must be a Judas”, it’s actually why you still see some scam in the world of affiliate marketing but the good side always triumph the bad side.

        One other thing to consider when going into affiliate marketing is the company you want to work for. There are some companies that doesn’t show good deed for its affiliates marketers, take for instance Amazon. I was told that they ban its affiliates marketer’s account for trivial reasons especially when they see you are making good amount of money.

        1. You are right that the company and the product affects very much. It should be something that you are “proud of”. First you need to convince yourself before you can convince other people about the product.

          About Amazon I have a very different experience and image. What I have experienced and heard from other Amazon affiliates is that they take a good care of affiliate marketers. That has been one of their keys to growth.

          Other online retailers who didn’t focus on their affiliate programs are getting wiped out of the business gradually.

          I think it wouldn’t make sense for Amazon to ban account if an affiliate is making a big income and producing lots of sales to Amazon. I guess they are some individual instances where an affiliate has broken their rules or something.

          1. Unless that is the case and I didn’t have all the facts at hand in order to have a better assessment of how things happened. There might be a possibility of the affiliate marketer to have infringed on the company’s rules and regulations, which he might not openly admit to.

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