Earn Passive Income Online – Behind The Hype

Updated: May 13, 2022
by Ray Alexander

Finding a sustainable income source is probably the very first key to a successful online affiliate marketing business... Who am I kidding? Yes. No, I'm serious. We all say let's work online, publish interesting content, and you'll earn passive income, la la. Aren't we all tired of hearing this? I first published this post back in 2016. It went straight to Google page 1, that was then but this is now. I recently noticed that this page wasn't even indexed by Google. I wasn't surprised when I read back what I'd written. I basically said affiliate commissions were great because they were passive income. Doh. 

But I thought once a web post was indexed by Google, it would stay indexed forever. No, no. Google realised my content was so rubbish that it decided to actually unindex it some time ago. Well, fair enough, useless content should be eliminated from search engines. Should I bother to rewrite it? Will this page rank again? I doubt it. I'm just gonna correct some grammar mistakes (thanks to Grammarly), add a couple of sentences here & there, and leave it there.

..."But there are both advantages and disadvantages to it. So today, I have composed a very basic guide for new affiliate marketers who are looking to build a good passive income stream online. Check this out." Blah blah.

Earn Passive Income Online

What Is Passive Income?

passive income is where an income is received with little effort to act on. Property income, bank interest income, dividend income, royalties, pensions, and any business without direct involvement with suppliers or customers.

Affiliate marketing can also generate passive income, most notably when a sale is made;

  • Through content that drives organic traffic, or
  • On a recurring membership fee.

A lot of affiliate marketers rely on paid traffic service or PPC (pay-per-click) advertisements. But others who focus on earning passive income produce content (blogging or video marketing) and that content can drive organic traffic in years to come.

Selling a membership program is another way to establish a passive income stream in an affiliate marketing business. Your referrals pay a monthly fee, typical on a premium web tool or a training program, and you get paid a percentage of the fee every month. 

The Main Advantage and Disadvantage of Passive Affiliate Income Online

There is no involvement in the maintenance of the product/service since you are an affiliate. That's the main advantage. Once you make a sale, you'll receive a recurring commission so long as your referral continues to pay the fee. 

Whereas the disadvantage is that your recurring commission can stop at any time without warning - when your referral stops the payment, you'll stop receiving your commission.

Affiliates and their referrals may not be able to communicate with each other (unless it's a training program, part of network marketing, or where team-building is involved.) You don't know whether your referral is happy with the service they're receiving or not. And even if you do know that your referral's unhappy, there's nothing you can do. So it is hard to predict your future passive income status.

Passive Income Business Opportunities


ClickBank is a great place to earn recurring income online either by

  1. Selling your own digital products as a vendor, or
  2. Promoting products that are already available, as an affiliate.

You can either be a vendor or affiliate, or you can be both using one account. There will be $49.95 one-time charge if you become a vendor upon approval of your first product, however becoming an affiliate is free and easy.

When you have registered, you'll see thousands of products for sale in the "Marketplace" page. Each product has its stats listed like this;

ClickBank Marketplace

ClickBank Marketplace - product listing example

Gravity Score

Take a look at where it says "Grav 917.75" above; short for Gravity™ performance, this number is calculated by ClickBank taking into account the number of affiliates who earned a commission from this product over the past 12 weeks. Higher the better, preferably higher than 100. Although high gravity can also mean there's a lot of competition in promoting this product.

Conversion Stats

Now let's see the example sales statistics quickly;

  • Avg $/conversion $149.57
  • Initial $/conversion $146.62
  • Recurring $/rebill $37.82

Initial sale of $146.62 is what you as an affiliate will receive for each sale of this product. If 10 people buy it, you'll receive $1,466.62, if 100 people buy it, you'll receive $14,466.20

The average rebill total is only shown if the vendor offers recurring billing products, e.g. memberships and subscriptions that customers regularly buy over time. % shows the average commission rate earned for all sales of a vendor's products, including one-time purchases and rebills. 

So which products from ClickBank should you promote to receive bigger commissions? There's no right or wrong answer because;

  • The more expensive the product is ("high-ticket items"), the bigger the sales commission will be. 
  • But less expensive products can be easier to sell.
  • Products with recurring sales will give you a passive income opportunity, but only if buyers find it worth paying a monthly fee for. They may cancel it before the 2nd payment is due.

Beware of Inferior Products

The majority of the sellers on ClickBank are individuals, and they often make their products available exclusively via ClickBank. Their products do not receive a seal of approval from trustworthy regulatory groups or anything. So the quality of the products can sometimes be questionable. 

You don't want to lose your reputation as an affiliate by recommending products that are of inferior quality. So you want to make sure the product you're going to promote is legit and trustworthy. 

When you look at the sales page, does it look believable to you? How about user reviews? If you google, you may find reviews of the product by other users already. See what they say - are they telling the truths about the product? Have they actually used it? Would you buy it to use it for yourself?

Sign up with ClickBank For FREE

Email Marketing - Autoresponder

Email marketing is without a doubt, one of the steadiest and most long-term revenue-generating techniques on the internet. Once you set up an autoresponder - a series of emails automatically sent to your subscribers, you won't have to be tied up with scheduled work. You'll still need to monitor your email marketing performance whenever you have time, i.e. including email open rates, click rates, and unsubscribers. But other than that, email marketing will give you a great passive income-earning opportunity.

Lead Generation

Lead Generation Passive Income Online

The hardest part is actually to generate leads (build a list of subscribers). But you don't need thousands of leads to make money through email marketing. You don't even need hundreds - the main thing is whether you have a buyers' list or not. In other words, if you only have a list of 10 subscribers but all 10 of them are willing to spend money on the products you promote over and over again, then you already have a successful potential in email marketing.

A lot of online marketing experts suggest that you should offer a freebie in exchange for subscribing to your newsletter. I don't totally agree. If you just provide useful information for free, freebie takers will simply sign up with you, get the freebie, and unsubscribe straight away. They hardly intend to spend any money in the first place. To solve this problem, you could offer a sample of a series of products for free. They'll pay for the rest if they feel irresistible.


GetResponse is a feature-rich email marketing solution, capable of handling both small and very large lists (even over 100,000 subscribers for enterprises). It allows you to create a newsletter, autoresponders that convert contacts into customers, as well as video marketing campaigns.Free trial for 30 days, starting from as low as $15 per month. There are many other email marketing service companies, but why GetResponse? There are 3 main reasons combined;

  • Affiliate Marketing - GetResponse allows users to promote affiliate products via email marketing, while a lot of other companies prohibit it.
  • Price - One of the cheapest ranges among other trustworthy email companies such as ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, etc.
  • Deliverability - GetResponse's deliverability rates are high due to its long-established status in the industry.

GetResponse Pricing 2022

GetResponse Features

The service includes:

  • Free landing page - This is good if you are starting out your online business and hoping to build a good source of passive income as soon as you can, but you are currently on a tight budget. You won't have to pay for third-party landing page software.
  • Customer support - GetResponse offers email support as well as live chat which is available 24/7.
  • Automation and AB testing - It allows you to set up an autoresponder, scheduled emails or SMS campaigns, plus run split testing.
  • Segmentation - Segmenting your subscribers according to the type, geographical location, and behaviour is important to increase the chance of passive income online. It allows you to segment your list of subscribers by tagging them both automatically and manually.
  • Conversion funnels - There are done-for-you campaign/sales funnels that help you build new leads and make sales at the same time.
  • Integrations - GetResponse works in partnership with other apps such as Zapier, Google Analytics, Shopify, PayPal, Magneto, etc. You can connect them easily to create marketing integrations.

Try GetResponse For FREE

Convert website traffic with signup forms (en)

Earn Passive Income Online - Getting Started

Wealthy Affiliate

Wealthy Affiliate Sport Cars

Wealthy Affiliate is recommended by many bloggers/content marketers in order to get online marketing started. Its training courses give you everything you need to know about how to earn passive income online. Thousands of experts are online in real-time, exchanging tips, latest trends, do's and don't's, as well as technology updates.

You can sign up and get the feel of it without spending a single cent, and it is possible for you to earn money even as a free member. However, most members go for a premium, because the commission for upgraded members is approximately double that of free members!

Wealthy Affiliate is certainly my recommendation - free training and live support for experts who are all willing to help you to succeed. The even better news is, that web hosting is part of your membership. As a free member, you can create one website for free to try it out, and if you become a premium member, you can create up to whopping 50 websites. This is great, especially if you'd like to promote multiple niches or you can create a dummy site to test automation software/WordPress plugin.

Within such a big, diverse community, not only can you receive advice, but you can also share what you know. I hope you agree that you need to be motivated to earn passive income online, and an important part of motivation comes from giving as well as taking.

Special Bonus To Claim

There is absolutely nothing to lose when you join Wealthy Affiliate (no credit card required), but if you join Premium within the first 7 days, you are going to get a 59% discount on your first month (only $19). No contracts. You can leave the membership any time you wish.

If you have any questions going forward, please don't hesitate to contact me or leave your comments in the box below - it will be great to have you as part of the community at WA!

Earn Passive Income Online From Affiliate Marketing - Behind The Hype

Looking back at what I was trying to say in this post - I recommended you to;

  1. Find good affiliate products on ClickBank, preferably ones you can earn recurring commissions from.
  2. Use an autoresponder (GetResponse) to promote the products.
  3. Use Wealthy Affiliate to build your own website as well as to learn affiliate marketing techniques.

Basically, that's what thousands of other "make money online gurus" have been saying over and over again. So at least I'm not wrong. Yet.

About the author 

Ray Alexander

ASD. Recovering alcoholic. LGBTQ+ advocate. Semi-retired. 15+ years of web-designing experience. 10+ years affiliate marketing. Ex-accountant. I'm nice and real. Ask me if you need any help in starting up your home business.

Thank you for your Comments!

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  1. Hey Ray,

    Good article. I have been doing affiliate marketing for about a year now. Recently I found Wealthy Affiliate and discovered all the mistakes I was making. The training was very helpful at getting me on track with my online business.

    I highly recommend everyone interested in affiliate marketing, whether beginner or experienced, sign up for the free account and give it a try.

    I also use clickbank and really like the instant and free affiliate approval. There are both good and bad products, like all affiliate networks, so do your research before promoting something.

    Thanks for the great article!

    1. Hi Steven, thanks for your comment. Yes you’re right, I find some really trashy products in Clickbank, that’s true. But then sometimes a product that I think is bad seems to be selling pretty successfully. Whether it’s down to the way it markets, or some elements that I didn’t see in the product…it opens my eyes.

      Good to hear that you enjoy your Wealthy Affiliate membership. I absolutely believe in it. I wish you the best of luck with continued success! Thanks for your visit.

  2. Clickbank is an execllent affiliate resource for those starting off in affiliate marketing. I’ve actually gone back to them after a big falling out with Amazon (US branch!). I also like the sound of this training platfrom you mention – very interesting and free as well? I may have to dive into this!

    1. Hi Chris, thanks for your comment. And sorry to hear that you had a problem with Amazon, yes Clickbank is pretty versatile isn’t it. For venders as well as affiliates, as there is a vast range of products and services available. It’s a great platform to try. Yes Wealthy Affiliate is free, it’s my No. 1 recommendation. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Thank you for the review it has really helped me, i wasen’t sure which email marketing service to go for and i am incredibly grateful that you have shown me one and have given me a legitimate review of it.
    The content here was excellent and was a really well written article, i look forward to seeing more of them in the future, well done

    1. Hi Matthew, thanks for your comment – Get Response is one of the greatest few email marketing service providers, I hope you’ll give it a try. Best of luck to you with your success!


  4. Hello Raymundo,

    Excellent explanation what passive income is & how to take advantage of it & turn it all into profit. I enjoy the examples you bring to make a great start right off the bat.

    I’m new to affiliate marketing & already loving it – You get paid exactly how much work & effort you are willing to put into it not just for your 9 am to 5 pm. Its possibilities & potential are literally infinite.

    I’d also strongly recommend Wealthy Affiliate for every newcomer who stops by & reads this comment. It’s by largest margin the most comprehensive online marketing school on the internet & on top of that, it gives away huge chunk of its information for Free to kick-start your very own project.

    By the way you got me curious: How long have you been with Wealthy Affiliate? ..& most of all, How did you find out about WA in first place?


    1. Hi Henry,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I’m excited to hear that you’re enjoying affiliate marketing experiences. And I’m glad you agree with me to recommend Wealthy Affiliate. I’ve only been a member for a few months, though I’d known about it for a few years. I was “too busy with” my other retailing businesses, didn’t pay much attention.

      Before I wrote the review Wealthy Affiliate Make Money Online Reviews I was still a little sceptical. I only wish now that I’d joined earlier!

      Thanks again for your great comments.


  5. Thanks for the insight you shared about ClickBank and GetResponse as potential Passive Income opportunities. Although they are more but I do agree with you that these are important ones to start with. Passive income is also an income that will be recurring as long as those who purchased or subscribed to my affiliate program continue to remain as loyal customers. For those who are serious to venture into their own business or are prepared to explore through systematic Training and Support, Wealthy Affiliate remains the best in the Industry. May you and your supporters have great success with WA!

    1. Hi Fred, thanks for your comment, I’m glad you agree with my views. Of course you don’t have to use any of these services/platforms that I have suggested to receive passive earnings online, but I find them extremely helpful myself, so needed to share with anyone who’s looking to for the same goal.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.


  6. I am new to affiliate marketing and looking to learn as much as I can. In the past few months, I have learned to be patient. You do not make money over night, you work hard and wait patiently for your hard work to pay. I joint click bank but I have still to use it. Thanks for the information, it will come in handy. Wealthy affiliate is a great community. I have learned a lot from WA and I am still learning.

    1. Thanks for your comment and sharing your experiences. Yes you’re absolutely right, a success doesn’t come overnight with any businesses. You need to work hard and wait, recurring passive income comes as a result of it. I wish you the very best of success with your future!

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