I've recently been reminded that product reviews and recommendations from "affiliates" are completely unreliable and untrustworthy.
Anybody who has dabbled in web marketing knows that a prime source of revenue for web marketers is selling "affiliate" products. If you don't have your own product — and many of us do not — then all you have to do is get your web visitors to click thru to "gurus" like Jim Daniels, Cory Rudl, or Ken Evoy, and they will gladly give you anywhere from 25% to 60% of retail price just for click thru.
Everybody in business seems to think this is a wonderful system. What could be better? You build traffic to your site and gradually gain credibility as a reliable source of marketing information. And you leave product development to guys who really know what they're doing.
You send them prospects. They send you checks. Cha-ching.
Just another "marketing expert"
Unfortunately only products worth selling are "info-products" that pay large commissions. Companies that sell "real" products like golf balls, computers, and books pay such a small commission it is hardly worth your while sticking their link on your site.
So this means that in order to make money as an affiliate, you have to become another of thousands of Mini Marketing Gurus out there. And because there are so many of us, your chances of actually making any money are pretty slim.
Mini Gurus are just lemmings
Even worse, while you build your business and (maybe) develop your own products and services, you must prostitute yourself to gurus who already have products.
Because as far as I can tell "affiliate" relationship turns us into lemmings.
It encourages newly created Mini Gurus to latch onto affiliate products in an absolutely uncritical way. Many of these products are nothing more than glorified "how to" manuals, but intense hype by experienced marketers turns them into "super products". And a bevy of willing affiliates cannot offer objective information about them because they think their livelihood depends on selling them.
For instance, Ken Evoy has thousands and thousands of affiliates for his SiteSell products -- including his flagship product called Site Build It. Do you think fact that someone stands to make money by selling a product affects his or her objectivity about it?