purplecape - 8:00 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)
"With affiliate programs, I was thinking more along the lines of finding a certain product that your visitors might be interested in buying"
Yes, and that's exactly what I do with Amazon! You seem to assume that the only way to work with Amazon is to throw up banners around a site. Amazon has a massive collection of products, and people who can recommend specific items do very well. I started out with my Amazon links being a mix of banners in generic locations and book recommendations and reviews. Over time, I have just removed the banners. They got very few clicks, and when they did get clicks they didn't convert. So they were just a distraction.
So, there you are--it's good that you raised this question, though, because it provokes us to think about our strategies.