Before I get into details, I’ll say one thing up front; both are perfectly viable business strategies. They both have checkered pasts with spammy abuse and high quality use. The difference between them comes in infrastructure and setup, as well as how you go about managing the business you create. Neither is inherently better than the other; it comes down to what you want out of the business, what you’re willing to put in, and which system seems more appealing to you.
^ Shashank SHEKHAR (2009-06-29). "Online Marketing System: Affiliate marketing". Feed Money.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2011-04-20. During November 1994, CDNOW released its BuyWeb program. With this program CDNOW was the first non-adult website to launch the concept of an affiliate or associate program with its idea of click-through purchasing.
Day by day, more and more companies participate to using this marketing method to create their own business web-site. This partnership is a low–cost model; because it is paid only when sales are completed. For instance, most affiliates pay 5% commission for every visitor who purchases a product suggested by its affiliate marketing platform. (Generally another web-site) Although commission is a very small percentage, the partnership allows affiliates to benefit from brand awareness by providing a continuous level of sales to the company.
I agree with most of your sentiments except on the issue of paying a membership fee. Legitimate manufacturers and distributors DO NOT charge membership fees. At most, a nominal $3-$5 service charge if your order is under a certain amount. Rarely is it a good idea to deal with a supplier that is charging any type of monthly or yearly membership fee because they are middle men and you're not going to get as great a wholesale price as you would from the manufacturer or distributor. Ideally, it's smart to contact suppliers that do not advertise drop shipping on their website, then once you become an approved Reseller ask them to drop ship for you. Many of the manufacturers that I work with offer the same product price whether you use drop shipping or arbitrage. .
Spears recommended that you get things in writing when making a deal with an affiliate – “things like how many clicks or leads they will send, and on what date(s). If their mailing will include leads and buyers, or just leads. What you will do in return for those clicks and leads (match them, increase commission, reciprocal mailing date on your side, etc.).”
One major disadvantage of affiliate marketing is that there’s virtually no customer loyalty on its own. You can build loyalty to your blog, but most affiliate sites are narrow niches and are not designed for long-term readers. I might look up faucet reviews and read a blog about them, then click their link to Amazon to buy a faucet, but you can bet I’m not going to bookmark and keep coming back to that faucet blog. If I want to buy another one of those faucets, I’m going straight to Amazon, and you’re not getting the referral for that second sale.
Paid advertising — this method requires an effective combination of ad copy, graphics, and a highly-clickable link. Unlike more traditional affiliate marketing strategies, paid advertising (through pay-per-click ads) earn you money regardless of whether a reader buys the product or not. Services like Google's AdSense make this quick and easy for you, and can even supply you with an advertising code.