Hi Jeff, welcome to the forums :-)
This is getting to be a bigger and bigger issue, harder to resolve. There are so many sharks feeding on people who really need a new way to make some money, and there`s no easy way to prevent your getting chewed up.
Here`s an excellent site that came to my attention, back when we tried to develop a list here on Startup Nation. That topic didn`t go too far, but this site handles the issue:
The one that totally annoys the hell out of me is Internet Speedway! They`ve got commercials all over the AM talk radio shows, and go on about how you can make millions and never even have to be awake.
Another one I`m hearing a lot is from the so-called "beach-bum millionaire." It`s a funnel-marketing scam, basically an upside-down MLM (multi-level marketing) chain letter. When you try to do some research, you run into countless articles about "this is a scam."
Then when you read the articles, you find they`re just promoting the thing, telling everyone that no, it isn`t a scam! That it really works. Sure, until you`re the last one in the funnel.
All in all, Robert Heinlein said it best, many years ago: "TANSTAAFL" (sometimes pronounced "Tans-stah-full." It`s an acronym for "There Ain`t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch."
Affiliate marketing is legit, if you have a decent company, and you can usually do some fairly good research on them. Keep in mind that "Google Groups" is a great way to find fairly unbiased opinions and commentary on just about anything. (Lots of people only search the Web, and forget the Groups.)
But your better option is to create a product or service, or develop a different approach to something already existing. Then you have something real, tangible, and not dependent upon someone else and their management decisions.