I've found this thread very useful.
I started the monetization module in The Challenge a week or so ago. I launched my first affiliate ad on the 24th and only managed to get 6 clicks (no sales). When I started the first day of the last module and realized I needed 200 clicks to my affiliate ad, I looked at my own stats and realized that I was no where near that number. To get that far, it would probably take a month of just running the affiliate ad. I'm receiving 70 visitors per day to my site at this point, so with with only a couple of clicks per day, I was beginning to wonder whether I'm doing this whole thing wrong. Maybe I'll try making more affiliate ads or promoting a product in a blog post itself. Right now, my only affiliate ad is on the sidebar.
Anyway, I'm rambling. But the main point was - I started reading this thread somewhat frustrated and a little downhearted. I finished reading this thread inspired and motivated to make changes. So my next action steps are: 1) create another ad but make it more visible above the fold, and 2) Write a blog post related to the subject of the ad and link to the product within the post.
Hopefully once I've completed those two steps, my numbers will increase. I admit that the first ad is for a product around $700, so maybe this one wasn't very cost-effective (though the quality is there and it's a product necessary for the niche I'm in). My next ad will be for a product more on the cheaper end ($10-20). And the other product I'm thinking of is also a necessity for my niche. I'm assuming the price will make a difference in the number of purchases, though not necessarily how many clicks the ad will receive.