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I'd just like to know whether the effort would be worth it.
You can also try the gizmo of building a affiliate program and then calling it quits. A large number of people will leave the links up.
I think the full wave of affiliate programs is slowly winding down. There aren't to many sites eager to jump at them anymore because they just don't pay like they did.
The trick from a webmasters perspective is to find the right affiliate program to linkup with. I signed up for one with a multi-lingual e-mail program provider. Get US$2/signup I send in their direction and that accounts for about $20-30/day revenue for me. IMO, this provider did it right... no click through payments, just US$2/signup. (If you run a site that attracts Eastern European / Asian audiences the provider that I'm talking about is www.langoo.com )
If I were to start a program, where upfront investment was not an issue, I would definitely use commission junction. They have a proven track record and are a favorite of many many affiliates. You have immediate exposure to thousands of affiliates when you start a merchant program with CJ. Negatives - high startup cost, and strict contract.
Another good one, and much cheaper to start out, is clickxchange.com. They have a lot of CPC merchants, cheater protection, and you can see your applied affiliates' stats, which can pretty much tell you which ones are cheaters. I would definitely stay away from linkshare, befree, and advertising.com. These programs are not "affiliate friendly" and will affect your program as such.
Since you are wanting CPC, this program does not apply, but I would like to mention in this post - clickbank. They only handle % of sale commissions (no CPC), but this is another good one to start out with.
I would stay away from running a program in-house. Affiliates will be afraid they won't be paid, and you will have problems with cheaters. Affiliates are well aware of programs starting and shutting down once everyone has linked, and no one will be willing to trust you until a few risk takers check you out. You also don't get the exposure you gain from being in a merchant warehouse.
As far as what to pay for CPC, as Brett said, pay as much as you can. I would figure out the site's EPV (earnings per visitor), if possible. Divide a given month's revenue by the number of visitors that month. That will give you your EPV, then decide what you would pay for those visitors. Personally, I would not pay more than 50% of the EPV. I would be close to 25% max, myself. (I use CPC SEs)