Once you join a network as a merchant, you will post your offer, and affiliates can begin requesting access to join your program. You can set your preferred settings so that you review all applications, or you can choose auto-accept. In the beginning phases of your affiliate marketing campaign, I recommend reviewing all applications so that you have more control over where your brand is being promoted. If you’ve posted your offer and have not found much success using the network’s existing membership base, this is where your expertise of your industry comes into play. Going back to the IT company example: Maybe they frequently work with restaurants in the area. They could let the restaurant know about this new opportunity, and the restaurant could join the affiliate network as an affiliate. Once joined, the restaurant could simply add a link on their website and they’d be off and running! As another idea, maybe that IT company buys all of their office furniture from a local furniture store. Chances are high that the local shop also has customers who would be in need of IT services, so why not ask that local furniture store if they’d be interested in exploring another revenue stream? As long as it makes sense for both parties, there’s a conversation worth having.
On one hand, long and ugly affiliate tracking links are a straight giveaway to people that you want to sell them a product (and people may be uncomfortable clicking on them). Therefore, making your link shorter and "nicer" looking will it give a more professional appearance. One of my favorite plugins for making links look "pretty" is the Pretty Links WordPress plugin.