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Top Affiliate Marketers That Profited from Their Online Presence

Last Modified: February 28, 2023

top affiliate marketers

This article was contributed by Empire Resume

There are endless ways to make money online today and one possibility that’s drawn increasing attention is affiliate marketing. Companies are continuing to push less traditional advertising and marketing tactics and spending on affiliate marketing is increasing substantially.

In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is a process in which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person or companies’ products online. Usually, an affiliate will set up a website or blog and the affiliate business will provide a link to its product to put on the website. When a consumer clicks the link, the affiliate gets a portion of the sales revenue as commission.

Affiliate marketing relationships can work in other ways, but what we described is the most basic definition. It’s possible to make a great income from affiliate marketing. An estimated 9% of affiliate marketers earned more than $50,000 from affiliate income in 2022, according to a study by Demansage.

Many people today are jumping on the affiliate marketing bandwagon, seeing it as an easy way to make passive income. Affiliate marketing can indeed be lucrative, but it won’t happen overnight. Like any business endeavor, it takes time, practice, and discipline to turn affiliate marketing into a good income stream. To be great at affiliate marketing, you’ll need to learn from the masters. Here are eight of today’s top affiliate marketers:

1. John Chow

John Chow is one of the most well-known names in affiliate marketing and has been building his business since 1999. In 2005, Chow started a case study to prove anyone could make big money online via blogging. His goal was to make $3,000 a month on two hours of blogging per day — and he reached it.

Chow’s website today has more than 200,000 daily visitors, and some people estimate he earns about $100,000 per month from affiliate marketing, blogging, and other online income streams. Chow isn’t shy about boasting of the money he makes and his lavish lifestyle, either, which seems to be part of his online brand.

Chow’s biggest advice to aspiring affiliate marketers and bloggers is to find a niche. He also says successful blogs must be updated regularly and have multiple revenue sources. Considering Chow’s many successful ventures, it’s wise to take advice and learn from him.

2. Pat Flynn

If you want to make money in affiliate marketing, look no further than Pat Flynn as someone to guide you. Flynn is one of the most successful affiliate marketers working today. His Smart Passive Income Blog has an abundance of resources to help you learn the ropes.

Flynn started in affiliate marketing in 2008 after losing his job at an architectural firm during the recession. He quickly began earning decent money in affiliate marketing and, today, he earns about $145,000 per month.

What so many people like about Flynn and his website is his transparency — he shares the monthly income he generates, and he provides podcasts, videos, and other content that shows exactly how he makes money in affiliate marketing.

3. Jeremy Shoemaker

Shoemaker is best known for the iconic photo he shared online of him holding a Google AdSense check for more than $132,000. Shoemaker has an unbelievable and inspiring story for people who want to get into affiliate marketing, as he went from unemployment to earning more than $10 million from affiliate marketing and other online income streams over the years.

Shoemaker’s main website is, where he shares his incredible affiliate marketing journey. The blog has a devoted readership of more than 30,000 people per month and is regularly named a top affiliate marketing blog.

4. Darren Rowse

Rowse has made his fortune via blogging, not affiliate marketing, but his tremendous success should earn him a mention on this list. Rowse started his main website,, in 2004, and the site now has more than 30,000 visitors per day.

ProBlogger has more than 8,000 articles and tutorials about earning money from blogging, and Rowse has turned much of that content into eBooks. We don’t know how much Rowse has earned, but some of his wildly successful eBooks include 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook and Copywriting Scorecard for Bloggers.

5. Finch Sells

Sells is just 29 years old, making him one of the most successful young affiliate marketers. Sells quit his full-time job to earn money and pursue affiliate marketing and, by all accounts, he’s realized that dream.

Finch Sells makes most of his money by selling premium content, including his “Complete Guide to Affiliate Marketing.” Sells’ website also has a variety of resources, articles, and links to help you get started.

6. Rafael Zelik

Zelik is the co-founder of affiliaXe, a global affiliate marketing leader that specializes in lead generation and client acquisition. Zelik helped found the company in 2012 and it now operates in more than 170 countries.

AffiliaXe has a vast network of more than 15,000 affiliate marketers, and the company promotes many top online brands, including Norton Security, Hilton, and Shutterstock.

7. Missy Ward

Missy Ward is the first woman on our list and she’s a dynamic affiliate marketer who has been in the business since co-founding the Affiliate Summit Corporation in 2003. Her company provides solo entrepreneurs and large businesses with opportunities to make money through conferences, magazines, and trade shows.

Ward has helped companies grow since 2003 by using the performance marketing model. Now a stay-at-home mom, Ward was highly successful before her affiliate marketing ventures, as her previous day jobs included executive positions like Director of Public Relations for Media Breakaway LLC and President of Aluria Software.

Like many successful affiliate marketers, Ward teaches that it takes hard work to succeed in the business and that affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme and there’s no foolproof way to make money. Ward says you don’t need companies or PR agencies to approach you to get started, and you can get started in affiliate marketing with your blog posts, newsletters, and product reviews.

8. Kirsty McCubbin

And last, but not least, Kirsty McCubbin started her journey in affiliate marketing somewhat indirectly. Her first job out of college was as an SEO specialist in 1999, and she had to create an affiliate program for a client. Once she was trained, her affiliate marketing solo work quickly took off.

Like Missy Ward, McCubbin is a stay-at-home mom. Her affiliate marketing income has enabled her to travel the world. She has won awards for her affiliate marketing skills and her main website is

McCubbin’s mantra is to drive website traffic first, and then focus on monetizing it. She advises people to focus on honing their skill sets, instead of the idea of affiliate marketing, and then find ways to make money from it.

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Written by

Ruthie Carey
Ruthie Carey