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.
Once you’ve landed on the Marketplace and you have your spreadsheet setup, your next step is to take a look at the categories in the left-hand sidebar. For a site like Quick Sprout, it’s pretty straightforward: Business, investing, computers, internet, e-business, and e-marketing. Those are categories that would fit well with the audience at Quick Sprout. Depending on what your site is, you may have a category too that really jumps out at you. You don’t just want to stop at the categories that fit best, you want to look at other categories that might be in line with something else your target audience wants. Sometimes, you can find your best products using that. You definitely want to start with the categories that seem to make the most sense.
Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users' computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.
Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates". Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.