There is no simpler process for affiliates. A new user simply signs up, and designates advertising space on their site. It requires no further effort on the part of the affiliate, they simply designate the space, and sit back while revenues come in. Google takes care of the payments, and screens the ads to make sure that they are appropriate, attractive, and effective.
AdSense uses a different approach than most of their competitors because of the parent company backing them. Rather than finding websites that pair well with the ads they are running, AdSense simply finds the customers it wants regardless of what site they are on. Google can narrow down a user based on almost any characteristic and on recent searches creating the perfect profile of the target market for a merchant. Then, they show the merchant’s ads to that customer regardless of what site they are visiting. Google also offers full service design teams, as well as real-time analytics for both merchants, and affiliates.
Google’s model is very different from the competition because of the resources and data that they have access to. The only downside this creates is that merchants have little control over what websites their ads run on, and affiliates have little say over which ads run on their pages. There are some filter settings that an affiliate can apply to the content allowed on the page, but not as extensive as those offered by other sites.
Because Google AdSense has become so large, it does lack some of the finer controls that other services provide. AdSense is almost entirely based on click through ads, laving little consideration for other methods which some merchants prefer. To use Google you have to be willing to bend when necessary to fit their system rather than vice versa.