When you click on my affiliate link it’s a gift to me. Not a financial gift; that’s too obvious. The gift is trust.
It’s true that the vendor gives me a gift on your behalf, and you don’t spend one penny extra. But that’s not the point. The point is that when you click on that link you accept my recommendation because you trust me. Because I recommended a book at Amazon or hosting at CharlottezWeb or that you or your male friend shave with equipment you buy at Harry’s, You were willing to at least click the link and go look, and maybe even buy something.
Yes, affiliate links (which we used to call commissioned sales) have been done to death, and are used for every imaginable evil.
There just tools. They are not evil. They are, in fact, a way for us to grow the trust which magically happens even over the Internet when people speak sincerely and genuinely listen.