Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ad will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.
Another way to find this information is to do a simple Google search. For example, one could place the following phrase into Google Search: “(product name) + affiliate program”. (Replace “product name” with the name of the product you are promoting.) There is an interesting chrome addon called Affilitizer is available which makes this process easy.
Great post Perrin! I think one of the biggest problems that rarely gets talked about are the nexus laws that restrict certain states from being accepted into an affiliate program. Currently, those states are Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia.
I clicked on a number of products to see where it took me. It does appear that the products are connected to Amazon but one would never know it since the product that shows is not the same as the listing on Amazon.. I have started a site using Amazon Affiliate products and when a visitor clicks on a product on my site it takes them to the product listing on Amazon which looks totally differenet than the Gear Patrol listings.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.