You don’t necessarily have to have a huge site or lots of traffic. Consider emailing an affiliate program’s contact person (look for contact info on the site or in affiliate newsletters) if you send a lot of leads their way, rank well in the search engines for a related keyword or have a high conversion rate. Make your email compelling. Read my tips here. You just have to be a good fit and provide excellent value to the merchant. Another good resource for this is here.
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.