Amazon launched back in 1994 and, two short years later, they developed their Amazon Associates program. In so doing, Amazon was able to increase exposure to their marketplace by enabling web developers and site owners to work as evangelists for their products. It helped drive more traffic to Amazon while giving these business-minded individuals the opportunity to generate more revenue for their own sites and businesses.
Their policies are strict. Be sure to read through Amazon’s affiliate program policies very carefully. Any violation of their policies is grounds for account suspension--something which could be devastating if you build an entire website or store around affiliate links. Amazon has also been known to suspend accounts without any prior notice, so tread carefully.