Where it All Started
It all stared with porn banners. Yes, there has been a lot of porn on the internet since the founding days. And some of the very first affiliate programs were those of porn sites. I was a kid back then, not THAT much into porn butt yeh. Who wouldn't be a bit. More than porn, I was into money. I wanted to buy loads of computer hardware but didn't have enough income. I was working in a dirty computer parts store, after 8 hour school days. I would go to work after school ended, and leave at about nine in the evening going back home totally exhausted. This is no ordinary way of life for a 13year old.
Well anyway, this was not enough to fund my computer "hobby", so I figure out how to make money with porn banners. All you needed was to get a lot of people visit your sites.. We were using altavista back then (before Google) and had no idea about SEO. In fact, I couldn't even dream of affording to buy a domain or anything like that. Instead we used free web hosts to make crappy "porn sites" that had banners on them.
The way I got a lot of people visit my website was through IRC. Yes, I was spamming the hell out of it. I had a script that was sending a message to everyone who joined the channel saying "check out some porn, visit my site here". And 90% of these, were Italians. I had no idea why, but there were so many horny Italians on IRC. Thanks to them I could buy my first CD-burner! Way before CD-RW. The speed was 2X. It took an hour to burn one 700Mb CD. It was amazing, and not many people had such a machine back then!