As we’ve already seen today, affiliate marketing is a relatively trouble-free way for bloggers and other website owners to earn money. In fact, these days, even social media sites can become lucrative platforms for affiliate marketing campaigns.
Because affiliate marketing doesn’t require affiliates to offer their own products or services for purchase, but only to place promotions on their sites for other merchants’ products, it frees affiliates from many of the responsibilities and complications of traditional sales models.
Affiliate marketing programs typically work by having the merchant handle all the logistics involved in selling products or services, processing customer orders and payments, and shipping merchandise—all while the affiliate sits back and collects a commission for each agreed-upon action completed by the visitors the affiliate sends to the merchant’s website via an affiliate link. As long as the affiliate has done her homework and chosen a trustworthy affiliate program, she needn’t worry about non-payment.
Affiliate networks administer programs for individual merchants, handling all the work involved, while generally providing tracking and reporting capabilities to their affiliates to help them keep tabs on their revenues and determine which products or services are producing the best returns. These tools can be helpful to an affiliate in fine-tuning the line of products she decides to promote on her site and, ideally, increasing revenues as a result.
However, all affiliate programs are not created equal. Which are the most popular programs available today?
Reportedly the largest affiliate network, with over 10 million affiliate partnerships, LinkShare took the number-one spot in the 2012 Blue Book of Top 20 Affiliate Networks for platform strength, support quality, and international capabilities.
LinkShare offers over 2,500 affiliate programs and lets you choose whether to have every aspect of your affiliate channel managed for you or whether you would rather manage your own program using the company’s various service and support options.
2. Commission Junction
Said to be the largest affiliate marketing network in North America (though it operates globally) and claiming the number-two spot in the 2012 Blue Book of Top 20 Affiliate Networks for being “the best at balancing the relationship between the merchants, the network, and the affiliates,” California-based Commission Junction, owned by ValueClick, Inc., offers affiliate, media, and tracking services and provides either a self-management or company-managed option for your affiliate relationships.
In addition to its regular pay-per-action affiliate program, the company also offers a convenient PayPerCall program to help affiliates “ensure they get paid commission for the leads they generate, thus further monetizing existing ad placements and having the opportunity to expand their promotional…online and offline campaigns.”
Claiming the number-three spot in the 2012 Blue Book of Top 20 Affiliate Networks for being the “overall best performance marketing network in the world today,” Chicago-based ShareASale has over 2,500 merchant programs and features brands such as HootSuite and PS Print.
ShareASale has received excellent ratings, with the company’s reputation/security, ethics, customer service, and ease of commission payment receiving glowing reviews.
4. Amazon Associates
Placing fourth in the 2012 Blue Book of Top 20 Affiliate Networks, for a reporting system that “far surpasses other big networks,” this is one of the largest and most diverse affiliate programs available.
As most people know, Amazon.com offers such a wide array of products that there’s bound to be something to fit your niche. In fact, they offer over a million products from which you can choose to monetize your website or blog. Amazon Associates is a pay-per-sale affiliate program.
Check out Darren’s ultimate guide to making money as an Amazon Affiliate to help you with this one.
5. Google Affiliate Network
According to the network’s Overview page, “Google Affiliate Network helps advertisers increase online conversions on a performance basis and enables publishers to monetize traffic with affiliate ads.”
Google Affiliate Network is a pay-per-action network that pays commissions to its affiliates for driving conversions (sales or leads). The network requires a Google AdSense account for posting ads to the affiliate’s website or blog and facilitating affiliate payments.
ClixGalore is an Australian PPA (pay-per-action) affiliate network that also has offices in the US, UK, and Japan. The company offers various types of programs, including PPM (pay-per-impression), PPL (pay per lead), PPS (pay-per-sale), and PPC (pay-per-click). Many programs pay in US dollars.
Some well-known brands that use ClixGalore for their affiliate offerings are Bluehost, Time Life, Trend Micro, Citibank, and Fox Sports Shop. While not as widely known as some of the other affiliate networks, ClixGalore is a solid network that offers thousands of potential merchant programs. The network also offers a two-tier network. By referring other affiliates to the network, current affiliates can receive a portion of their earnings.
PeerFly is a PPA network with its own proprietary software system. The network made the 2012 Blue Book of Top 20 Affiliate Networks, which stated regarding them, “They are courteous, helpful, and point you in the right direction.”
The network also took the number-four spot in the 2012 Blue Book of Top 20 CPA Networks, for its high popularity, great staff, and excellent platform. PeerFly accepts publishers from all over the world and offers thousands of merchant programs.
A well-known affiliate network, ClickBank features digital products, such as e-books, software, and membership sites. The program reportedly offers up to 75% commissions on its tens of thousands of products. Commissions are paid weekly, and direct deposit is available to its affiliates.
Over the years, this network has remained popular, though some have questioned a few of its practices. Despite this, the company enjoys an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau.
MaxBounty came in sixth in the 2012 Blue Book of Top 20 CPA Networks, though it didn’t make a showing in the Blue Book’s top 20 affiliate networks. In business since 2004, the network was founded on the philosophy of paying its affiliates more.
MaxBounty pays affiliate commissions weekly, and the company appears to have a good reputation among its affiliates. In fact, the network is popular among many top affiliate marketers and has received numerous positive reviews and writeups and critiques over the past several years.
Neverblue is a pay-per-action affiliate program that pays its affiliates for lead, download, and sale generation, as well as for new affiliate referrals. While Neverblue didn’t make the 2012 Blue Book of Top 20 Affiliate Networks, it did take the number-one spot in the 2012 Blue Book of Top 20 CPA Networks.
Note: Neverblue’s parent company, Velo Holdings, Inc, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy earlier this year and now plans to sell the network at auction to pay its debts.
Despite this, the affiliate program has stated the following: “This filing will not impact Neverblue’s ability to meet client needs in any way—we intend to continue to operate business as usual without interruption. Neverblue’s business is fundamentally strong and we intend to make all affiliate payments on schedule, in a timely and reliable manner.”
Its management is just as confident that the sale will not affect Neverblue’s ability to meet its affiliates’ needs in any way. While this company tends to inspire high confidence among affiliates, you’ll have to decide whether to jump in now or wait a while to see how things go after the sale.
What’s your favorite network?
If you’ve been thinking of trying affiliate marketing to monetize your blog, consider testing these ten programs to see whether they fit your niche and audience. If you’ve used any of these programs, we’d love to hear your thoughts on them in the comments.
Guest post contributed by Charles Dearing, for WhoIsHostingThis.com – A review site and webmaster tool that enables you to discover which web hosting company any site is hosted with. They also provide information about all the popular webhosts like Blue-Host.
Thanks for this great list. I’ve been involved with affiliate marketing in Denmark for the past few years, and looking to further expand my knowledge in this field. This list will help me expand this even further.
I use partner-ads.com and tradedoubler.com in Denmark. Both a great networks with good service and Tradedoubler has lots of campaigns.
Love this list! Please add more!
And my favorite is Share-a-sale and Amazon Affiliate!
And my favorite is Share-a-sale and Amazon Affiliate!
It seems that you are spamming this article, please add real comment .
In the past I’ve used Linkshare and Click Bank. Amazon Affiliates is my favorite and I’m going to check out Google today.
Some sites are more difficult than others, because they don’t work with a lot of pet related businesses, which is why I prefer Amazon.
Thanks for this list. I’ve been looking for a good affiliate network for my blog. Has anyone used the Google affiliate network? What are your thoughts about it?
You actually left out komoona and chitika
i like your style, laying out the articles with pictures on the home page which makes it easier for the user to find what they’re looking for and navigate around. thanks for your gr8 articles.
I like Amazon, and so far I like Clickbank the best for its ability to refund your money if you are not pleased with the product, for internet marketers, what do you think of the Clicksure affiliate platform?
You refer to those ten networks as “programs” and suggest people evaluate them to see if they fit in their niche. I fear this may be misleading to someone new to affiliate marketing.
From what I’ve observed, most of the “programs” you’ve listed are networks, and most of them support dozens, hundreds, even thousands of merchants – in a huge variety of niches. Amazon is not technically a network, unless you factor in the presence of about a dozen entities like Zappos, Woot, Endless and the like. With very few exceptions, networks are diversified. Performance-Based.com focuses on eco and green merchants. Some support a particular locale – European merchants, for example.
Could you add some more? Sorry for the request, but I need like 20 or 30 affiliate programs for small or medium sized blogs! I love the post though!
you can search more on this blog, we just add network suitable a small size, it is absoluately different from big size .
Thank you Charles – in addition to the networks that you mentioned, I have also had good results with Digiresults.com which is worth your readers’ consideration as well.
I have made the most money with ClickBank. I will have to go and check out linkshare as well. I have used CJ for about one year now but I haven’t made any sales with them.
Thanks for sharing the list. ClixGalore is new to me, will sure to check it out.
These are all great. I have had the most success with ShareASale, I use most of these, but this one is the one where I have made the most money view my Make Money Blogging posts.
These are all great. Have had success with all of these
Thanks for this complete post about affiliate network , I will just add more thing just about choose of traffic coming, I have one account in Amazon in British and really is difficult to make sure that you will make money with this account in UK I think is more difficult to sell than US; Thanks again for putting all together.
Thanks for sharing the list.
I am using Avangate Affiliate program through my site for making money.
Interesting will review over the weekend
I’ve registered with a few affiliate programs as you mentioned above, but I only stick with Clickbank at the moment and making some money from there. Some affiliate programs are available for certain countries only, and working for certain types of website only. Anyway, let’s try the rest and see how it goes.
Thanks for sharing the list Charles!
Will you please tell me which products should I include?
My niche is “How to Blog?” and I am currently using WordPress Themes and Web Hosting plus some apps & domain tools and automation software. what else I can add?
Looks like we are on the same field Amsha, but I have just starting with my only one article. Nice to know how you do that I think :-)
Replying to the post, one of my favorite because it’s simplicity is amazon affiliate. ShareAsale is looks promising, but I don’t really like the design of the site. I also start using e-junkie, anyone ever using it too? Share your story please :-)
Thank you for sharing this list with us, I will definitely try some of these programs and I’ll see how it goes.
I’ve already tried and discarded some of these on the list. Others I haven`’t heard of, so I’ll look into them. I’ve been with Amazon for about 3 years now, but am still to get a payment. I got a message from them only today saying I didn’t make enough (even with the bits and pieces that have been collecting in my account over the years) to be paid this month either…
Thanks for putting this together. Great list.
I’ve used all of those, but I’m trying to step away from Affiliate networks to instead sell my own products and services which I have found to be more lucrative, but I don’t put all my eggs in the same basket and will still keep promoting some of those but I will decrease the different ones I use to better focus my efforts.
I have to say that Commission Junction has a great collective of advertisers, but if they don’t get a successful number of click-throughs, they’ll freeze your account (Though they keep the affiliate links active).
Amazon Affiliates, Google Affiliates & AdSense are all willing to work with you, no matter what the size of your site. And that’s great to know.
Nice list, Charles…
I have heard mixed views regarding Click Bank and Commission Junction, as well as a few very negative reviews of these two…
Then again the results people get with the affiliate products they are promoting, may depend on the site using the affiliate(their site–niche—topic) the type of affiliate, and also how the site owner goes about it.
I am currently using Share A Sale, mainly for promoting a particular product(though I will be looking at other products they offer…
Also I am doing other affiliate promotions of products, though these are not part of a network…
I like Linkshare so far. So many products and companies to choose from as I have several websites and blogs. I would like to look at Amazon but not sure on tax laws for our state. That’s always a challenge with affiliate marketing in certain states.
What about Avantlink? I’ve been using them for my sites and I’d put them on par with CJ and Linkshare.
Really nice list but making money from blog as anyway needs traffic. Traffic is only which makes a blog big or small.
I love Amazon, CJ, Share-A-Sale, and Linkshare. Each is a breeze to use and each one features tons of products. My niche sites range from cats and kitchen gadgets to fashion and zombies – so affiliate marketing is where I make most of my money.
Personally, I’ve had absolutely no luck with Chitika whatsoever.
I’m not familiar with the Google Affiliate Network (have I been living under a rock or something?!), but I just opened the link in a new window and am minutes from checking them out.
Excellent list! When I got started (over 10 years ago), I wish there’d been a list just like this one. Great job.
Oh! I’ll add this – if your individual site or blog is applicable, All Posters has an outstanding affiliate program. I get healthy payments from them each month. They have more than just posters – they have art prints, wall murals, t-shirts, wall decals, etc. A lot more people order these online than you’d imagine. I wouldn’t give them up for anything.
I use Amazon and another referral arranged by a company to sell their training videos. The last one is my main income from my blog for now. They offer very generous share (40%) and the product itself worth at least US$ 100. The nice thing is it send my payment using Paypal, not by check.
Amazon is not so great. But everybody can join the program. And I don’t like the payment method. It takes a long time to receive the check and getting the money to my bank account.
You forgot my favorite affiliate network. Escalate Network. They have great offers, pay fast and the affiliate managers are helpful even on blog promotion as well as making the most out of offers they have. I would definitely add them to the list.
I have a website for ipad decals and have started making money with amazon associates. I would much rather an affiliate site that has similar products to amazon but has long term cookies. 24 hors is simple just not good enough. Does anyone have any sugestions on what i could use.
just read the great recommendations here but I think Google affiliate Network is retire now. They are not providing any affiliate program now. please suggest.
Can you join multiple programs? I’m on Shareasale but would like to join LinkShare or the Google network. Is that allowed?
hello , how were you able to apply for shareasale ?
Thank you. This is a very good piece of information.
Question: Are there programs that still pay “Pay-Per-Click?” Also, what about “news affiliates?” Are they worth it, or are they scams? Thanks in advance…
Isn’t it about time to make a follow up post? Google Affiliate Network has been shut down years ago and some serious actors have taken big market share in this field.