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Easy Money From a Web Business?

Not exactly. But affiliate marketing has million-dollar potential.

While generally referred to as "Mom" by her two kids, Connie Berg is better known in the world of e-commerce as the Coupon Queen of Waseca, Minnesota. A veritable Web newbie just three years ago, Berg stands to make well over $1 million this year from FlamingoWorld, her information clearinghouse that tracks the latest in merchant sales and coupons on the Web.

"I run the entire operation from a spare bedroom in my home," says Berg, born and raised in Waseca, population 8,000-plus. "When it stops being fun, I'll quit."

Berg's secret? Every time a visitor to her site clicks on a merchant coupon or sales link and buys something, she gets a cut of the sale. And given that thousands of people regularly visit her site for the skinny on the latest Web shopping deals, it was only a matter of time--two and a half years, to be precise--before all those clicks and "cha-chings" made her a millionaire.

Moreover, Berg is not the only one raking in the green under various click-and-pay plans on the Web, commonly known as affiliate marketing. According to the U.S. Affiliate Marketing Coalition(USAMC), top performers in the industry like Berg earn as much as $86,000 in commissions in a single month-from a single affiliate program.

Indeed, in December alone, CyberRebate.compaid one of its affiliate marketers more than $86,000 for steering Web traffic its way, according to the USAMC. "Today's burgeoning affiliate marketing programs delight online merchants," says Jim Nail, an analyst with Forrester Researchand lead author of the Forrester report New Affiliate Marketing Models. Reporting that scores of online retailers gushed when, in his research, he asked about the potency of the marketing strategy, Nail predicts that by 2003, 21 percent of all online sales will be generated via affiliate marketing programs.

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