After some time to let his actual points sink in and marinate without having the pot stirred, he's partly right.
Affiliate marketing as many practice it is not a long term business model, and was never intended to be.
Take "Bum Marketing" for example...
This money-maker involves writing and distributing articles and generating clicks to sales pages using the "Bum's" affiliate links. It's a one-shot deal. If the click-through buys, the Bum gets a commission and the vendor gets a new customer. The Bum is back at square one. And by direct linking to the vendor's sales page, Bum is at the mercy of the vendor - if that page or product disappears, so does any value to Bum. His links are worthless.
One of the bones of contention in my little row was the assertion that the affiliate had no real product of their own.
That's where he's wrong.
The professional affiliate does have a product to sell - attention. Not only that, a professional affiliate delivers that attention in a state of mind favorable to the vendor.
That attention is not tied to a single product, either.
Another bone of contention was that an affiliate had no control over product, price or service. True, up to a point.
A truly professional affiliate will have a good idea if the product is good and many times if the service is good before directing any of that attention to the vendor. Also, the affiliate has indirect control over the price via product selection.
When you boil it down to the essence, affiliate marketing is selling a product, not unlike any other business. Marketing firms have been accepted as real, sustainable businesses for generations.
Lumping all affiliates together in one group makes about as much sense as lumping together a lion and a tabby cat. Yes, they are both felines, but they are not the same animal...