In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.
You could try advertising more, for example, by putting up signs around the neighborhood, posting about it on social media, or having people you know spread the word. You could also try doing it in a different neighborhood that might have friendlier people, or do it in a time and place where there's likely to be a lot of people walking around the area (e.g., near a church before the end of a mass). https://buzzingofferbusinessinvesting.tumblr.com/