In April 2008 the State of New York inserted an item in the state budget asserting sales tax jurisdiction over Amazon.com sales to residents of New York, based on the existence of affiliate links from New York–based websites to Amazon. The state asserts that even one such affiliate constitutes Amazon having a business presence in the state, and is sufficient to allow New York to tax all Amazon sales to state residents. Amazon challenged the amendment and lost at the trial level in January 2009. The case is currently making its way through the New York appeals courts.
What this article teaches you is that if you produce something that is shareable and interesting, driving traffic to it is MUCH easier. You can use social media, you can run link building, you can share it on niche communities and nobody is going to ban it or downvote it. Actually, if your front end is great value, people will share it around without you asking. Then all you have to do is offer a free downloadable resource in this piece of content (that does not decrease its shareability as it's more free goodies) and THEN start selling via email follow up.
The best way to find suitable brands to promote is by simply using a search engine using: '[Brand] + Affiliate Program'. Some companies run in-house affiliate programs however, this is a very specialist area. Therefore, most companies opt to employ an 'affiliate network' which has already built a large base of affiliates and gained years of experience in running successful programs for clients.
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