So, are you tempted by affiliate deals but are afraid to do anything about it? Have they left you with big questions and bigger worries? I used to be worried too, but I think I’ve found a few answers to my questions:

Question #1: So, are those deals for real?

Well, a lot of them sure are. (Always do your research and especially check out the products though. ) Clearly, there are quite a few people raking in any serious dough — from any very legitimate affiliate programs. Why should not you be one of them? Maybe you have already found a site that you would often promote. There’s just one little problem. . .

Question #2: How can I do this safely? Or can I?

That was exactly the question I was asking myself when I came across a few VERY tempting affiliate deals. I was all excited and ready to sign up. In fact, I started signing up. And then I got to the part where they wanted my. . . (drum roll!) . . . social security number!

My what? They had to be kidding. Who in their right mind would give a stranger on the world-wide-web their social security number, I thought.

Then again, it makes sense. If they pay me money and need to stay legit, they would need my social, right? After all, they’ll have to send me my tax form at the end of the year.

But what about identity theft? Giving them my SSN means I’m practically presenting them my line of credit on a silver platter. I might as well mail them my credit cards along with my birth certificate.

Darn! I thought. First I did nothing. But I came across another one of those deals, and another one, and so on. Meanwhile, I had researched it enough to know that yes, affiliate deals are definitely for real. And then I came across the deal that was just too tempting to pass by. What to do?

So I asked someone I trusted, someone who played a major part in my being able to build my first website. And he came through for me: he gave me the solution to the dilemma:

Three letters: EIN

Question #3: What the heck is that?

Employer Identification Number. But you have no interest in employing anyone, you say? Not a problem.

This is simply an ID number the IRS provides for your business use. It allows you to separate your personal finances from your business information, which is a good idea anyway. And it allows you to get money without disclosing your social security number, although still being legal and allowing the affiliate marketers who send you money to remain legal as well.

Question #4: So how can you get one?

That’s easy. I could hardly believe it. It took me all of half an hour online, and that’s with reading all the instructions. Here’s the IRS’s web page where you can apply:

http://www. irs. gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=102767,00. html

Just click on “apply online. ”

If you need more information, they have a link for that too.

That’s it. You’ll be good to go. You can now give out a legitimate ID-number that does not jeopardize your personal finances. Isn’t that cool?

So go get your EIN and start pocketing your share of the affiliate marketing pie.