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Affiliate networks provide a very valuable service by connecting affiliate marketers with advertisers.
Advertisers can provide marketers with the opportunity to promote them which gives their business a chance to reach more people. By being a part of an affiliate network, they don’t have to do outreach to find affiliates to promote their products.
Affiliate marketers benefit in several ways too.
Firstly, they’re dealing with a reputable third party so they’re more likely to be at ease with promoting any advertiser on that network knowing that they’ll get paid on time and that they can rely on their efforts being tracked and accounted for.
In terms of payments, it’s great to have all commissions consolidated into one payment when you’re promoting multiple advertisers.
Affiliate networks also provide technology that would otherwise be more technical and expensive for individual advertisers to implement and this can be beneficial to all parties involved.
In this article, I’m going to list 10 of the most popular affiliate networks available to affiliates currently.
I’ve used almost all of these affiliate networks to monetize my websites and they’re all great networks to be a part of when you need to find niche advertisers to promote.
Check out my list of the 10 best affiliate networks to use in 2021.
Shareasale is possibly my favorite affiliate network to deal with.
They have a lot of big brands that are well-known and trusted. The network has been around for a long time and is one of the most popular networks among affiliates.
Getting started with Shareasale is easy and you just need to have a website that looks good and has some good content on it.
Applying to merchants is easy but most of them will review your application and either accept or reject you. If you have a website that relates in some way to what the merchant is selling then you have a good chance of being accepted.
Once you’ve reached the payout limit of $50, you’ll get sent a payment via check or Payoneer card on the 20th of the month.
A lot of the merchants on Shareasale have 2nd tier affiliate links which means you can earn additional income by referring other affiliates to promote these merchants. You’ll either get commissions on every sale your referred affiliate makes or a one time bonus for signing up each affiliate.
There are also some great tools to help you get the most out of Shareasale and these include a number of different creatives like banners, deep links, short links and you can even find the latest newsletter mailings from your merchants right inside the dashboard.
2. CJ Affiliate
Another affiliate network similar to Shareasale is CJ Affiliate. They have a lot of big, well-known brands in a lot of categories.
Some of these brands available on CJ Affiliate which you may know include the likes of AMC Networks, Barnes & Noble, Warner Bros. Online Shop, Forever 21, JC Penney, Marvel Store and Weight Watchers just to name a few.
Having a great looking site is essential to getting approved when you apply to these advertisers. You don’t have to worry about this if you build your website with something like SiteRubix or WordPress. If your content relates to what the merchant is selling in some way then you have an even greater chance of working with the advertisers you choose.
Also, when you set up your account and choose the topics your websites focus on, you’ll also have merchants reaching out to you to promote their websites.
On CJ Affiliate, you get paid around the 20th of the month as long as your closed commissions (commissions that have passed the review process) have reached your set payment threshold.
The very first affiliate network I joined back when I started was Clickbank and it was also the one I made my first sale with and the first one to send me a check.
Many beginners, when learning how to make money online are first introduced to Clickbank as I was because it is very easy to get going and you do not need a website or approval from merchants to promote.
A lot of courses build their lessons around promoting Clickbank products because it is easy to get up and running. Clickbank also pays twice a month if you’re getting a check and every week if you choose to get direct deposits.
The merchants on Clickbank are usually lesser known than on the other big brand affiliate networks. Most of the products are digital – courses, ebooks, surveys, diets and how-to ebooks.
Because of the digital nature of the products, merchants are able to give out big commissions, sometimes up to 90% but typically around 50-75%. A $39.95 course can get you up to $30 per sale. Make 3 -4 of these sales daily and you’re getting a $100 per day income which is around $3000 per month.
The quality of some of the merchants on Clickbank is questionable at times and you may run into more than just a few borderline scam products but you should always do your research before promoting a product.
If you’re looking for a quick way to get started and need less barriers then you might want to try promoting Clickbank products just to learn the process.
4. Rakuten Advertising
Formerly known as Linkshare, Rakuten Advertising is another affiliate network similar to Shareasale and CJ Affiliate. They have big, well-known brands as well and provide you with just about the same tools to promote their merchants.
One advantage of using Rakuten Advertising is that they’re one of the few affiliate networks that pay via PayPal. I haven’t seen many affiliate networks doing this and I’ve personally set up my payments to go to PayPal.
In addition to PayPal, you can choose to get a check or direct bank deposit. I haven’t found a way though, to link my Payoneer card so that I can get paid this way.
This one doesn’t need any introduction. Amazon is a household name and almost everyone has been to this site at some point before.
Amazon isn’t exactly an affiliate network. It’s just a big website with an affiliate program known as Amazon Associates.
Every single product, millions and millions of them is an opportunity for you to earn commissions.
Once you’re logged into Amazon via your associate account, you’ll find that you can link to almost any page that you visite via your special affiliate links.
Whether it’s the latest Alexa-enabled device, a kayak for a camping trip or toys for Christmas, you can promote them all on your website and make a fortune if you put in the work.
Amazon does have some very strict terms though and you should read them before jumping in. It’s not uncommon for affiliates to get banned because they violated something in the affiliate terms.
One other drawback is that the commissions are very small – around 4% generally but there are categories that vary from 1-10%.
The good thing though is that if you have traffic, you can usually make up for this drawback with the volume of purchases. You can get paid for anything that a visitor buys on Amazon even if you’re not promoting it on your website.
Amazon is worth giving a shot no matter what type of website you have. They can be some of the easiest commissions to earn.
Recently changing their name from Avangate to 2CheckOut, this network only deals with software and other digital products.
I haven’t done much promotions for merchants on this network so I haven’t gotten paid anything. I just don’t focus any efforts on promoting any of their products.
However, they’re worth the try if you have a website where software might be the solution to some problem in your chosen niche.
2CheckOut sends out regular newsletters and holds contests where affiliates can win great prizes. This may be an exciting experience for you and a source of motivation for affiliates.
One new favorite of mine is PartnerStack.
I learned about this network after I was forced to follow an affiliate program I was using when they migrated to PartnerStack from Shareasale.
PartnerStack is special in that they host Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) affiliate programs.
On there you’ll find advertisers such as Thinkific (the program I followed), Evernote, Quickbooks, HeadSpace and more.
These are big brands that are recognizable, trustworthy and provide valuable services you’d be proud to promote.
Rewards, as your earnings are called on this network, are paid out on the 13th of each month as long as you’ve reached the $25 threshold and your earnings have been approved.
Here’s one affiliate network that I do not have any experience with at all but I’m listing it here because it is very popular and seems very useful.
A friend of mine actually introduced me to FlexOffers after I’d told her about Udemy’s affiliate program on Rakuten Marketing. I guess her research got her to FlexOffers because she signed up with that affiliate network instead of Rakuten Marketing as Udemy also had their program listed there.
I’ve also seem FlexOffers pop up a lot for sites that I didn’t even think had an affiliate program.
I decided not to sign up with them or any other affiliate network unless I absolutely had too. I’m already involved with a lot of networks, some of which I’m not doing anything with.
Affiliate Window or AWIN is another affiliate network that I had joined way back when I was just getting started. I didn’t do a lot with this network unfortunately.
However, AWIN is huge and may be even more popular in the UK than the other networks listed here.
One of the networks I mentioned previously – Shareasale – is a part of AWIN after they bought that network a couple of years ago. However, both Shareasale and AWIN operate independently as affiliate networks.
If your website has mostly UK traffic then you may benefit more from being a part of AWIN than Shareasale or any other US-based affiliate network mentioned here.
The final one on this list is by no means the only affiliate network left to mention.
There are lots of other affiliate networks available, some in niche categories such as health and others that carry advertisers in a wide range of categories.
Webgains is a large affiliate network with close to 2000 big brand advertisers like Hertz and Mothercare to name a couple.
One thing I like about Webgains is that they are invested in the growth of their affiliates (publishers) and provide training and other resources to help you master affiliate marketing.
The minimum threshold for getting paid is $25. They pay via check, PayPal or direct deposit. How often you get paid depends on the payment option you choose. For example, if you choose to get paid by check, you’ll be paid on a monthly basis while the other options allow you to be paid weekly.
How To Get Started with An Affiliate Network
I’ve listed 10 affiliate networks here where you could find something to promote to your audience on your website or blog.
Don’t go signing up for them all though.
The key to making affiliate marketing work is to focus on a 4 step process where you:
- choose a niche or topic
- build your website
- create content that brings traffic
- monetize with affiliate offerings to bring in money
Start by deciding what you want to do first and what you want to help people with. Then when you are ready to build your audience, you’ll know which affiliate networks you can use.
For example, if you plan to review toys, then Clickbank, PartnerStack and 2Checkout wouldn’t be so useful as they don’t have toy offerings.
You do not have to rush to sign up and get started because advertisers would rather see a working website first. So stick with the process and get your website and content going before you think about monetizing. This is especially important if you choose to go with Amazon.
I hope that this article has been useful to you and that I’ve mentioned an affiliate network that you’re considering joining.