I personally prefer to do it that way--you can create a more convincing review that's more likely to make sales. It's not always possible or practical, though; for example, would you break up with your significant other just to test a product for getting your ex back? ;-) In cases like that, or if the product is expensive, it's usually best just to use the vendor's affiliate resources instead.
In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent[14] on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.[9]
Don’t exhaust all the information about the product with your link. Offer enough information to your readers so they know what the link is, but I don’t recommend giving too much detail on your own site for a two reasons. First, product information, like price, often changes. If you mention the price on your site and someone clicks over and finds a different price, it’s confusing. Second, many times, the product details and features are better explained by the makers of the product. It’s best to stick to your own experience on your site.
The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them. 
In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy.[6] By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking.[7] In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.[8]
One of the most sought after and highly recommended course is this one on Guide to Effective Affiliate Marketing Strategies by Kudus Adu. Not only does he focus on create an affiliate marketing strategy, he focuses on best practices to create money pages, tells you how to build your email marketing list and how to profit from it. He clearly asks people looking for ‘get rich quick strategies’ to stay away from the course.
Totally awesome Gael. Thank you so much for sharing. Yes, the per-engagement presell sequence strategy is the way to go in 2015 - pulling folk in with front end value content building that all important relationship factor and enticing them to opt in for more..., then offering them a solution at a lower price as it's the first offer on TY page...and then promoting the opt in throughout your posts starting out with the problem, then turning it into finding the solution (as you have done above, lol!), plus Outbrain to LINK relative content, AND get affiliates on board + repeat with many blog posts and many offers, specially ads via FB and Pinterest Pin posts - man this is a powerful win-win. Makes SO much sense to me - am doing this right from NOW...Will be following your CB success and I'll report back mine... R.
Now as to your comment on traffic it is true, traffic is important. But the truth is, acquiring traffic is easier than converting it. Plus we have many posts dedicated to traffic generation on this blog. Simply check this post, this post or this post. But must importantly, the reason why people struggle with traffic is that they try to promote a sales page or a heavily biased piece of content. Nobody wants to share that, nobody wants to link to that, and as a result you don't get traffic and blame your lack of success on traffic (like you did in your comment above).
Affiliate Marketing Domination- Become A Super Affiliate- During this course, u will get to know some unobvious tricks and methodologies across affiliate marketing and an opportunity to learn about multiple platforms in one go. This training program includes Clickbank, CPA Marketing and Amazon.This course would let us know how to make money with and without a site and how to drive free organic traffic and monetize it.
What It Is: Affiliate bootcamp is for people who want to learn how to start with affiliate marketing the easy way. You’ll be starting promoting ClickFunnels, a software company. There are a lot of products to be promoted by Clickfunnels so the earning potential is very high. Be advised: Even though the training is free, you are expected to pay for things such as the Clickfunnels software and costs for ads etc. However, those are costs that are involved in all courses.
The implementation of affiliate marketing on the internet relies heavily on various techniques built into the design of many web-pages and websites, and the use of calls to external domains to track user actions (click tracking, Ad Sense) and to serve up content (advertising) to the user. Most of this activity adds time[citation needed] and is generally a nuisance to the casual web-surfer and is seen as visual clutter.[citation needed] Various countermeasures have evolved over time to prevent or eliminate the appearance of advertising when a web-page is rendered. Third party programs (Ad-Aware, Adblock Plus, Spybot, pop-up blockers, etc.) and particularly, the use of a comprehensive HOSTS file can effectively eliminate the visual clutter and the extra time and bandwidth needed to render many web pages. The use of specific entries in the HOSTS file to block these well-known and persistent marketing and click-tracking domains can also aid in reducing a system's exposure to malware by preventing the content of infected advertising or tracking servers to reach a user's web-browser.[citation needed]
4. Zero Entitlement – This has been the death of many potentially successful marketers on the internet. Affiliate marketing is no get rich quick scheme — it’s a business that requires dedication, effort and hard work. If you feel entitled to earn money because you placed a few ads or you followed a guide and are expecting instant or guaranteed returns, you will be killed! Failure is just a lesson learnt and a step closer to success.

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Totally awesome Gael. Thank you so much for sharing. Yes, the per-engagement presell sequence strategy is the way to go in 2015 - pulling folk in with front end value content building that all important relationship factor and enticing them to opt in for more..., then offering them a solution at a lower price as it's the first offer on TY page...and then promoting the opt in throughout your posts starting out with the problem, then turning it into finding the solution (as you have done above, lol!), plus Outbrain to LINK relative content, AND get affiliates on board + repeat with many blog posts and many offers, specially ads via FB and Pinterest Pin posts - man this is a powerful win-win. Makes SO much sense to me - am doing this right from NOW...Will be following your CB success and I'll report back mine... R. 

After being accepted into an affiliate program, marketers receive a unique URL that includes their affiliate ID. They share that unique URL with their subscribers, site visitors, and social networks via text links or ads. When someone clicks on that link, affiliate software records that click and any resulting product sales in the affiliate’s account. When commissions reach a pre-determined threshold, the affiliate is paid.
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