The 18 Best Affiliate Programs & Networks For Anyone And Everyone


Affiliate marketing as you might probably know already is a multi-billion dollar industry and it is by far the best way to monetize your website or blog — unless you have your own products and services to sell.

If you have a content rich website then there are hundreds of thousands of affiliate programs and affiliate networks available on the web that can make you a fortune. In fact, the secret to six-figure blogging is affiliate marketing.

The reason is pretty simple… if you are monetizing your website with the right affiliate program then it can make a lot of money with little effort (of course you need a content rich website with a handsome amount of targeted traffic).

It’s just that it takes some time to figure out what’s converting and what’s not.

So first things first.

Affiliate Programs & Affiliate Networks: What’s What, And What’s Not?

Affiliate programs are also called associate programs and it’s a deal between an advertiser and a publisher. For instance, if I’ve a created a software and is promoting and selling it via my blog then I can also generate additional income by inviting my blog readers to promote it in exchange for a commission.

So let’s say, if you referred a buyer for my newly created software product then I offer you a 50% commission (or 50% of the additional income that I have generated because of you). So if you refer more people to me then you make more income.

That’s why affiliate marketing is also known as performance marketing. And it’s a win-win, right?

Now if I have the resources then I can run an affiliate program by myself — within my own blog or website — and then it called an in-house affiliate program. But if I don’t have the resources or don’t want to manage it myself then I can sign up as an advertiser on an affiliate network.

An affiliate network is a hub that connects an advertiser and a publisher. In other words, it’s a hub for thousands of affiliate programs on the web.

All the affiliate networks have their own tracking, reporting, and payment system. And they all may be focusing different niche, location, promotions, etc. with a pool of advertisers — and that makes all of them different.
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Sometimes an advertiser can have presence on multiple affiliate networks and still have their own in-house affiliate program.

Perhaps the best thing about an affiliate network is that when you join one of them, you get immediate access to hundreds of thousands of affiliate programs on the web — that you couldn’t reach otherwise.

Now, don’t get confused with affiliate network and ad network. For instance, Google AdSense is NOT an affiliate network but rather an ad network that pays you for “clicks” and not for “sales”.

So if you referred a sale worth $100 to an advertiser on Google AdSense (who already have an in-house affiliate program that pays 50% commission) then you might have made $1 or maybe $2 with Google AdSense.

But if you did it as an affiliate marketer then your earnings could have been $50.

Affiliate Programs: What You Need To Know?

Different affiliate programs (in-house and the ones on various affiliate networks) follows different models. An affiliate program model can be: Cost Per Action (CPA), Cost Per Lead (CPL), Cost Per Sale (CPS), or even Cost Per Click (CPC).

  • Cost Per Action (CPA) model pays you for specific actions and it can be simple form submissions, downloads, surveys, etc.
  • Cost Per Lead (CPL) model pays for leads and it’s usually a “signup” that involves email or credit card verification (because it makes the lead more valuable).
  • Cost Per Sale (CPS) model pays for actual sales and it means they share a percentage of sale value with you.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC) model as you probably know pays for “clicks” — no matter whether your referral traffic helped them generate a lead/sale or not.

Affiliate Networks

Here’s a hand-picked list of some of the best affiliate networks on the web. So you don’t have to! 🙂

I have considered brand equity, Alexa traffic rank, user experience, and my own personal experience to shortlist them. And I have highlighted the Alexa rank, payout details, and the types of affiliate offers supported by each network for your quick reference.

Also, I have indicated whether they have a referral program as well. If an affiliate network has a referral program then it means that you can refer other publishers to them and earn a percentage (or a one-time bonus) of their income.

  1. CJ Affiliate

CJ Affiliate was formerly known as Commission Junction (or simply CJ) and it’s the most popular affiliate network (and also my personal favorite).

It’s one of the oldest affiliate network and that’s why it’s the preferred affiliate network of Fortune 500 companies and major online retailers.

Commission Junction is my personal favorite as they have an unmatched pool of advertisers that we can’t find elsewhere. Also, I’m very much happy with their user interface, payment system and the customer support.

And what’s more exciting about CJ is that advertisers often pay premium commission rates for CJ publishers when compared to other affiliate networks or even their own in-house affiliate program.

For instance, majority of the web hosting companies offer 30-50% higher commission on the CJ network when compared to their in-house affiliate program.

Now one thing that I hate about CJ is their tracking system. It’s not real-time and sometimes it doesn’t track sales/leads at all. So it’s very much possible that you might miss commissions for some sales/leads that you have generated.

Anyway, I’m still happy as the payouts are not delayed unlike any other affiliate or ad networks.

For instance, if you have referred a sale in January then you can get paid in February itself. I said “CAN” as it depends upon the affiliate program that you are promoting.

That is, CJ reviews all the leads/sales that you have generated in the previous month on or around the 10th day of every month. So, an advertiser can approve a transaction or extend it for 30 days (or even deny) on that day.

It’s applicable to almost any affiliate network out there as most of the things that we buy online involves a money-back guarantee. So if the customer that you have referred asked for a money-back then the advertiser can void your transaction.

If the transaction is approved then you get paid in the same month itself — around 20th of every month. It basically means if an advertiser do not extend transactions, then you will get paid on the 20th of a month itself even if you referred the sale on the 30th of the previous month.

However, if you are a new publisher then it should take an additional month or so as they monitor new publishers pretty closely.

It should take some time to get familiar with the interface, reports, etc. of CJ.com. But it’s applicable to all networks as they all have their own way of reporting and tracking system.

And their customer support is excellent. You get one-to-one support via email or phone and you also get dedicated affiliate account representatives when you are generating sales/leads consistently to an advertiser.

One more thing… it’s free to join the CJ Network and no special website requirements are there. Once your application is approved, you can simply sign in  to CJ Account Manager and apply to different affiliate programs.

Some of them approve publishers immediately while others approve manually after reviewing your account/website. But you need a quality website to get approval for individual affiliate programs as big brands on the CJ Network approve publishers manually.

However, you can contact the advertiser directly if you got denied but believe that you can promote them in a great way.

And it’s worth to mention that CJ deactivates a publisher account if it doesn’t generate a commissionable transaction for six months. That’s not all, you will also be charged a $10 dormant account fee.

It means that, if you referred a sale and earned $10 in commissions then it will be reversed if you didn’t generate any income over the next 6 months. But there’s no negative billing and you won’t be charged ever for keeping your account idle and not generating any sale at all.

  • Alexa Rank: 5865
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $100 (Check); $50 (Direct Deposit)
  • Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit
  • Programs Offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC
  • Referral Program: No

       2. ShareASale

ShareASale is perhaps the most admired affiliate network with over 4,000 affiliate programs. There are so many affiliate programs on the web that are exclusive to ShareASale. So if you are unable to find an advertiser in CJ then most probably it’s there at ShareASale.

And ShareASale also has a lot of similarities with CJ like user experience, payment, dormant account policy, and affiliate program types. So yes, all inactive ShareASale accounts will be deactivated if its balance is less than $25.

Or, you will be charged $25 per month (if the account balance is over $25) until it becomes zero and is then closed.

And if there is something that I particularly like about ShareASale then it’s their tracking system. It’s real-time and the payment system is also very reliable (just like CJ).

  • Alexa Rank: 1,627
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $50
  • Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit
  • Programs Offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC
  • Referral Program: Yes

       3.Rakuten Affiliate Network

Rakuten Affiliate Network was formerly known as LinkShare and is dubbed as the number one affiliate network — for several years now — in affiliate surveys.

Anyway, it doesn’t make much sense to me as the number of advertisers on LinkShare is far less when compared to CJ (or even ShareASale).

However, there are few hundred brands who prefer LinkShare and they do not have an affiliate program elsewhere.

  • Alexa Rank: 7475
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $50
  • Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit, PayPal
  • Programs Offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC
  • Referral Program: No
  1. Affiliate Window

Affiliate Window is one of the best affiliate network in Europe with an advertiser and publisher base of over 1,500 and 75,000 respectively. It’s got a user-friendly interface with real-time reporting.

Affiliate Window even supports deep linking so that you can link to any web page on the advertiser’s website using your affiliate link.

Also, they pay publishers twice every month and the minimum payment amount is also low (when compared to other ad networks).

  • Alexa Rank: 9,398
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $20/£20
  • Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit, Wire Transfer
  • Programs Offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC
  • Referral Program: Yes
  1. Tradedoubler

Tradedoubler is perhaps the most popular affiliate network in Europe with over 2,000 advertisers. If you live in U.S. then I guess you can focus on the above networks itself as they are more popular in the U.S.

Because there’s a very good chance that you won’t find an American retailer in Tradedoubler and likewise if you live in Europe then your favorite retailer could be there in Tradedoubler (and not in any of those American networks).

  • Alexa Rank: 1,773
  • Minimum Payment Amount: €70
  • Payment Method(s): Direct Deposit
  • Programs Offered: CPA, CPL, CPS
  • Referral Program: Unknown
  1. Zanox

Zanox is another affiliate network popular in Europe with over 4,000 advertisers. Some of these European affiliate networks becomes important when they have an exclusive relationship with a brand.

For instance, the super-popular handmade marketplace Etsy.com’s affiliate program is powered by Zanox. So you will need a Zanox publisher account to become an affiliate of Etsy.

  • Alexa Rank: 2,109
  • Minimum Payment Amount: €25
  • Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit, Wire Transfer
  • Programs Offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC
  • Referral Program: Unknown

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The Best CPA Affiliate Networks

A CPA affiliate network is somewhat different from the affiliate networks listed above. However, you can see that almost all the affiliate networks listed above offers CPA programs and yet they were not classified as a “CPA Network”.

The reason is pretty simple… an affiliate program on a CPA affiliate network never pays for clicks or impressions — but there are a lot of affiliate programs on CJ.com that pays for clicks (though it’s very rare).

Also, the primary goal of an affiliate program on a CPA affiliate network is to get a lead and the primary goal of an affiliate program on any other affiliate network is to get a sale. There’s a difference, eh?

On CPA affiliate networks, the advertisers pay for specific action. It can be sale, a survey, form submission, download, or anything that requires an action by the visitor so that it can be tracked and can be paid for.

That said, most of the CPA networks also offers a ton of CPL and CPS affiliate programs as well. It’s just that they are more recognized for their “CPA Offers”.

For instance, if I’m an advertiser and I have a “toolbar” to promote then the best platform could be a CPA network — and never a premium affiliate network like CJ.com, or ShareASale.com — to build a userbase in no time.

Again, if I’m a publisher who owns a high-traffic file sharing site then CPA affiliate programs should generate the maximum affiliate income (obviously, Google AdSense and CJ.com tends to deny such websites).

As all the CPA networks that I have cherry-picked are similar in nature, so I will just avoid the descriptions and make the list simpler.

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  1. MaxBounty
  • Alexa Rank: 19,458
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $100
  • Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit, Wire Transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, Bitcoin
  • Referral Program: Yes
  • Quick Links: Sign Up | FAQ
  1. PeerFly
  • Alexa Rank: 37,679
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $50
  • Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit, Wire Transfer, PayPal, Payoneer
  • Referral Program: Yes
  • Quick Links: Sign Up | FAQ
  1. FlexOffers
  • Alexa Rank: 49,474
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $50
  • Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit
  • Referral Program: Yes
  • Quick Links: Sign Up | FAQ
  1. Clickbooth
  • Alexa Rank: 111,012
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $50
  • Payment Method(s): Check, PayPal
  • Referral Program: Yes
  • Quick Links: Sign Up | FAQ

The Best Automated Affiliate Networks

All the affiliate networks that are listed so far are DIY networks. Sort of. That is, you have to sign up as a publisher, apply for individual affiliate programs and then manage it.

Now there’s another category of affiliate networks, and let’s just call it “automated affiliate network”. Wondering Why? Because it literally automates all the processes like advertiser selection, affiliate link placement, reporting, etc.

It works like this. Instead of partnering with advertisers they have partnered with various affiliate networks like CJ, ShareASale, etc. so that when a publisher is linking to a merchant (using direct links) it converts the regular links into affiliate links.

And the best thing is… if you are already using an affiliate link then it doesn’t convert at all. It’s that easy. All you need to do is paste a code on all the web pages that you want to monetize. If you are a web developer then you know that it takes just minutes. 😉

  1. Skimlinks

Skimlinks is a ‘cool’ automated affiliate networks that gives access to over 20,000 merchants. And it basically means that, when you join any of them you get immediate access to over 20,000 affiliate programs without the hassles like sign up, application, affiliate code generation, etc.

There’s absolutely no cost to join Skimlinks and it works on a revenue split model. They cut 25% of the affiliate income generated from your website. Skimlinks also offers a referral program and they give you 35% of what they earn for a year from all your referrals.

  • Alexa Rank: 15,952
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $10
  • Payment Method(s): Direct Deposit, PayPal
  • Programs Offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC
  • Referral Program: Yes
  1. VigLink

VigLink claims that it’s got over 45,000 advertisers but more or less everything seems similar to Skimlinks. Like Skimlinks, VigLink takes a 25% cut of the affiliate commissions generated from your website or blog. And their referral program also works exactly like Skimlinks. You get 35% of what they earn for a year from your referral.

  • Alexa Rank: 6,321
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $10
  • Payment Method(s): PayPal
  • Programs Offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC
  • Referral Program: Yes


The Best Affiliate Programs

You can always avoid an affiliate network and join an advertiser’s in-house affiliate program (when it’s available) if you want.

Here is a list of some of the most popular affiliate programs on the web.

And remember, they are all in-house affiliate programs so you can’t find it on any of those affiliate networks listed above or elsewhere.

Also, the choice of an affiliate program (or even a network) should strictly be based upon your website’s audience interests.

For instance, if you have an audience that’s already known to purchase online then the perfect affiliate program could be the one offered by Amazon.com.

Who haven’t bought something from Amazon, eh?

  1. ClickBank

ClickBank is the most popular marketplace for digital products with over 6 million products and 200 million customers. In other words, ClickBank is the Amazon for digital products.

So if you are looking for a guide (or an ebook) then you can search the ClickBank marketplace and if it’s there then you can instantly purchase and download it — there’s no need to wait.

And if you’re a digital product creator, then it’s super-easy (and cheap too) to sell your products on ClickBank. And that makes the ClickBank Affiliate Program one of the best around.

As a ClickBank affiliate, you can get up to 75% commission on all sales (including recurring payments).

  • Alexa Rank: 1,584
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $10
  • Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit, Wire Transfer
  • Referral Program: Yes
  • Quick Links: Sign Up | FAQ

 

 

  1. Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is perhaps the web’s most popular affiliate program.

And you know the reason? Yes, that’s right!

Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the U.S. and is one of the most popular company in the U.S. (and world too).

Amazon is so huge that it’s got over a million products that you can promote on your website or blog and make money.

Amazon pays up to 10% commission for all affiliate sales. Since the inventory on Amazon is so diversified, the commission rate changes frequently.

You can link to any web page on Amazon and get paid for all purchases made by your referral — for more details, head here.

  • Alexa Rank: 6
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $10 (for Direct Deposits & Gift Certificates); $100 (for Check payments)
  • Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit, Amazon.com Gift Certificate
  • Quick Links: Sign Up | FAQ
  1. eBay Partner Network

eBay Partner Network represents eBay.com’s and its partners’ affiliate programs across the world. The commision rate depends upon the category of products that you are promoting.

For more details, go here. And you also get a bonus for referring new eBay buyers.

  • Alexa Rank: 17
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $25
  • Payment Method(s): Direct Deposit, PayPal
  • Quick Links: Sign Up | FAQ
  1. Oracle PartnerNetwork
  • Alexa Rank:
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $25
  • Payment Method(s): Direct Deposit, PayPal
  • Quick Links: Sign Up | FAQ
  1. AWS Partner Network

AWS Partner Network (APN) is the global partner program for AWS. It is focused on helping APN Partners build successful AWS-based businesses or solutions by providing business, technical, marketing, and go-to-market support.

AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners have opportunities to create new businesses or solutions while seeing significant growth with the opportunities provided by the APN Program.

  • Alexa Rank: 12
  • Minimum Payment Amount: $25
  • Payment Method(s): Direct Deposit, PayPal
  • Quick Links: Sign Up | FAQ

 

BONUS: Finding The Best Affiliate Programs

Well, finding a product to promote can be a bit tricky. But if you are unable to find out an affiliate program then start with the products that you are using personally (or something you are very much familiar or knowledgeable).

Or, simply sign up on any of those affiliate networks and can then explore the different affiliate programs available (there are thousands to explore).

But remember, it’s always best to promote only the products that you have used because people buy that experience.

That way, you can just tell your audience about how effectively you are using something or how you find something useful and how they also can make use of it.

And it’s absolutely fine if so many others are promoting the same product as long your perspective and experience matters.

If you simply show a banner ad or a text link of your favorite products on your website then people may not even notice it.

You can always go to your favorite thing’s website to see if there is an affiliate program. If they do, then there must be an “Affiliates” section on their website and you can sign up there.

For instance, you love Walmart, Groupon, Woot, Expedia, BestBuy, Intuit, etc.? Good. They all have an affiliate program. Or, you can simply search your favorite products name + “affiliate program” on Google.com.

And another surefire way to find the best affiliate program for your website is “competitor analysis”. Just pay attention to all the products that your competitors are promoting aggressively. If it’s working for them then it should work for you as well.

Closing Thoughts

There are a bunch of affiliate programs available for almost any niche on the web. But it’s somewhat difficult to say what’s going to work for you and what’s not.

The only real way to find out the best affiliate program for your website is by analyzing your website’s traffic and learning the audience interest.

And then, test, test, and again test — different advertisers and their offers.

If you have a niche website that’s getting a lot of targeted traffic then monetizing it with the right affiliate program can make hundreds of thousands of dollars in almost no time.

Happy Marketing! 🙂

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