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I personally prefer to do it that way--you can create a more convincing review that's more likely to make sales. It's not always possible or practical, though; for example, would you break up with your significant other just to test a product for getting your ex back? ;-) In cases like that, or if the product is expensive, it's usually best just to use the vendor's affiliate resources instead.
If you have pop-ups and optins on every page, I would have to think that it would be a lot harder to convince someone to link to it. Especially since the pages where you have your optins (and probably receive the most traffic) are probably the same pages that you have your best content on as well that you'd be hoping to pitch in your outreach campaign.