I get loads of e-mails every day (luckely i created filters in my gmail) of which I read a few. Mostly I just look for the link to click in order to get points or credits or what ever.
When I glimps over I see the headlines though. Most emails come from internet marketeers in online business for years with multiple sites. Who have the credits or funds to send so many emails that it is likely that most people have already signed up before the new programs show up in the TE's where also the sites of the big guys are shown most often. So how can you compete with that? You can't if you have just started and have limited funds.
I do not say it is useless to promoot on TE's especially not when you use personal banners and splash pages but it is an illusion to think you will hit the jackpot when you are one of the first promoting new programs in the TE's. Of course there are new starters every day and when you are lucky you get a few sign ups.
There are also many link pages where you can submit your link. If you do not want to have if drop off or get more exposure you must pay. I looked at several of them and most of them have a low pagerank. I wrote emails to several of them and asked for visitor stats, I never got ans answer so be careful. When you have your own domain you better check your stats to see which ones are worth an upgrade.
What programs are likely to get referals? Programs which offer resources to gain traffic and programs which are online for a long time.
My favorites are APSense, The Marketers Co-op and Adsactly. With these 3 programs i can cover all my needs for promotion through social media, advertising through several channels and business tools like hosting and autoresponder.