At some point you will need to join at least one affiliate network. The affiliate network is the go between, between the publisher and the advertisers. The affiliate network provides a central place for the publisher/affiliate to join the programs of advertisers and get the advertisers creatives (banners and links). They also handle the payments from the advertisers to the publishers.
I have joined three affiliate networks to date, so I can give you somewhat of an overview to these three. I will be keeping my eye out for other programs and will keep you informed by updating this article should I find something interesting. I will also post an announcement regarding updates of this type to the blog. I would suggest subscribing to the blog RSS feed so that you will know when I make updates to the information on this site.
Commission Junction is the first affiliate network that I joined.
I have also joined the PepperJam network.
One of the better choices is Linkshare network. As an affiliate one also can participate in the LinkShare Referral Program. (click the link and consider yourself referred!!)
The list of opportunities goes on and on. There are affiliate programs available for just about anything that you can imagine. The thing to consider when choosing a program is how will you promote the program. If it does not fit in with your other marketing efforts it may be best to pass on an offer.
There are the major affiliate networks, but many more etailers have an affiliate program if you check. Usually there will be an affiliate link near the bottom of the page in the footer nav area.
Keep in mind that a shotgun approach to affiliate marketing is not likely to produce the best results. Laser targeting will net you many more sales than a scatter gun.