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Affiliate Programs – Commission Junction

This post is part of a series on Affiliate Programs for Blogs

Commission Junction is another affiliate program mega store (like clickbank) that offers thousands of products from different industries for you to get commissions from.

In a sense CJ is a middleman between you the affiliate and companies who have products to sell.

I’ve used Commission Junction for a year or so now and have never really had much success with it – partly because I’ve not found many products in it that quite fit with the topics that I write on and partly because I have found other programs (like Amazon) to be easier to add to my blogs.

In fact I’ve used Commission Junction so little in the past few months that today when I logged onto it I found that my account has been deactivated (I’ve since reactivated it).

Once you’ve applied to join Commission Junction you then need to apply to join some of the many programs that run within it. Each advertisers in the system has their own program and if you wish to promote their products you apply to do so. Once your application is approved you are then able to use links provided to promote their products.

I understand why they use this system but it can make getting products up onto your blog to promote a longer process (and more frustrating if you’re rejected) than other systems like Amazon and Clickbank in which you are free to promote any product or service in their system. For example I’ve just now applied to become an affiliate of the Commission Junction program but was rejected for no reason.

As you can tell I’m not a major fan of CJ but I include it in this series because I know of website owners who use it very effectively and make good money from it.

Pros of Commission Junction

• wide variety of products/services/companies to promote
• better quality products than clickbank (no cheap and nasty e-books here). In fact they represent some very big companies.
• options given for different types of links (including text, buttons, banners etc)
• reasonable statistics information given

Cons of Commission Junction

• perhaps a downside of the variety of products on offer is the overwhelming nature of CJ
• slightly more complicated interface than a program like Amazon
• they deactivated my account!
• application to programs within the larger Commission Junction network can be frustrating and a long process

Share your experience with Commission Junction in comments below.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. […] This series continues at – Amazon Associates Program, Clickbank Affiliate Program and Commission Junction Affiliate Program. Filed under Affiliate Programs, 31 Days to Building a Better Blog | Get the Free ProBlogger Newsletter […]

  2. You are absolutley right. I too had my account deactivated and it is hard to find products to add to my site. I recently added Amazon and as I use WordPress I have a plugin that makes adding books or CD very easy.
    Having said that, if you have a site that promotes electronics I think CJ is tops. There some very good electronics dealers and of course you have eBay auctions.

  3. Commission Junction had a lot of problems a year or two back with certain affiliates who were less than honest in their dealings with the surfer.

    Some of them would install cookies on surfers machines that basically stole other affiliates sales. There were quite a few other instances of similar practices too but at first CJ didn’t want to know about it.

    Some affiliates even got together and produced a Power Point presentation for CJ that showed every step that the dishonest affiliates were taking to change referral codes and take control of surfers’ browsers and still CJ dragged their feet in banning those practices.

    It wasn’t until a few of the merchants who were dealing through CJ actually joined the complaints that anything was done. But I’m not sure if they ever did completely clean up their act.

    Actually the way you insert a lot of those ads for CJ, Linkshare, Shareasale and even Clickbank is important because merchants come and go and you don’t want to be stuck trying to change ads out of hundreds of pages.

  4. I have to agree: CJ made me almost no money. In fact, I make more on AdSense in an hour than I made from CJ in a month. Could have been ad placement, but I suspect it was relevance. It’s hard to find ads relevant to what visitors are looking for on your site, and even if you do, they not only have to click through, they usually have to complete a sale or register for something. I made much more money for my effort by spending a few minutes optimizing AdSense.

  5. Cj.com is far better than any other affiliate network. Comparing Cj.com to clickbank is an insult to cj.com.

    The reason you were rejected to become a cj.com affiliate is because their program is no longer accepting new affiliates. Similarly, alot of programs reject non-US citizens.

  6. I have been a CJ affiliate for a few years now. I have found that the CJ affiliate program is not very benificial to my sites. I have had WAY better luck with Google Adsense.

    I figure that with CJ I first need the surfer to click the affiliate link then make a purchase for me to make revenue. With Google all I need is that first click. Although Google adlinks are another story that have actually proved to be successful on one of my sites due to the placement.


  7. You don’t mention LInkshare, which I use in the same way that CJ works. Since both have a similar structure, I’d like to see someone compare the two.

  8. I just registered with CJ last week. I’m not expecting to make much, if anything from it. But they do give me some credible company ads on the page that are very relevant to my content and don’t take up much space. The Ebay ads, which you can specifically target with keywords, are useful from a real-time content point of view.

  9. Tim – actually CJ is accepting new affiliates – I just signed up again.

    You’re right about the US citizen thing – which unfortunately means that on some levels clickbank is more attractive to some webmasters.

    Dan – stay tuned for a post on Linkshare – working on it already for the next post in this series.

  10. I found Commission Junction to be a great disappointment. I was much happier with Reporting.net/BeFree, which had higher quality advertisers, a better management interface and actually produced some revenue for my sites. But then CJ goes and buys BeFree. Go figure. I spent a lot fo time trying to fund decent advertisers and set up sites through CJ, and it never turned into revenue. So I focused on Amazon and AdSense.

    Darren – do you have an opinion on Dark Blue, which is based in Australia? They seem to have a substantial network, but I’ve never seen them mentioned much here in the US.

  11. Hmm.. I could have sworn CJ and BeFree were partners. Maybe I misunderstood. That’s probably it.

    Anyway, I have a coupons and deals site (actually a network of 7 sites, set up by category) and CJ and Linkshare are my main links. I do use other affiliate programs, but these are the places I find the best companies and promotions, on a daily basis.
    I do a coupon run 6 times a day and post the deals and coupon codes up. I’m not making a killing, by any means, but the traffic there sends hits to my other sites and I am performing a service I guess.

    I’m sure I could make a buttload of money if I was less choosy about the deals I list (you know, just list those that have affiliate promotions and the like) but I feel a duty to my readers to give them true deals and not just bunk.

    Besides, by turning those visitors onto my other sites, I make $ on the google ads on my other sites. I haven’t made much on the Google ads on the deals site.

  12. I never sold squat with clickbank but get a few hundred a month from CJ. Usually when I get sales, my commission is over $50, so I think they are worth using. It all depends on which merchants you sign up with of course, but they really have everything. Most of the merchants pay more to affiliates than Amazon does (I am lucky to make a few hundred a quarter from Amazon even though I have more links to them).

  13. You’ll find with CJ that you’ll get rejected when you apply to a lof of the programs if you don’t live in the States, I found I had more luck with Linkshare, but having said this like other people leaving comments it never compares to Adsense and other paid ad placements on site.

  14. In fact I’ve used Commission Junction so little in the past few months that today when I logged onto it I found that my account has been deactivated (I’ve since reactivated it).

    Uh, I’d really love to know how you “reactivated” it. My CJ account has also been deactivated due to inactivity, and when I contacted CJ support, they said “sorry, we don’t reactivate accounts” — the suggestion was to sign up a new account from a different email address.

  15. I agree with everything everybody said. But, as a Newbie not making much with adsense, what else can one do? (except all that you can!) In the last 30 days, I am trying 3 new things. I figure – one for each way.

    PetLvr.com/a/ – joined affiliate of Art.com. I picked specific and my favorite animal prints and created a virtual store with them.
    PetLvr.com/b/ – joined CJ affiliate for Animal Den. It’s hard to actually pick products, just major categories, so I included everything here.
    hart-picks.blogspot.com – I am just randomly surfing sites found in affiliated companies, and list one product at a time.

    It’s quite early and I have not generated any commissions as of yet. It will be interesting to know for sure if I’m ‘on to sumthin’ or completely wasting my time again.

  16. Actually Dossy – I reapplied with a new address.

  17. Computer Geeks and PrintPal replacement ink cartridges are my best performers from former BeFree/now Commission Junction. (At my local area directory website…I only recently added the links to the blog, not enough time to tell how they’ll do yet. Adding the code to my Blogger blog was not difficult though.)

    Computer Geeks has a dynamic ad, which updates automatically every week or two.

    Regardless of your topic, any online user IS using a computer, and probably a printer, so there is “relevance” there. LOL

    We were customers of Computer Geeks long before I became an affiliate, and we’ve never been disappointed with a product we bought there. If you’d like to see their products, I have a link on my blog. (How’s that for a plug? LOL)

    It’s true they don’t pay per click, but the commissions are higher on click-throughs that turn into purchases.


  18. The problem is always going to be finding something from the affiliate programs that is relevant to your blog.

    Adsense is attractive because it takes a lot of the hard work out of doing the advertising thing. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give affiliate advertising a try.

  19. I have some success with CJ. I’ll add several more benefits:

    1) the technology is pretty advanced. For each program, you can almost get all sizes/types of creatives you need
    2) the protocol of communicating with each merchant is the same
    3) CJ will combine affiliate income from various programs and pay you in a batch, which makes life easier

  20. I like CJ because it’s easy to manage your programs, got a whole slew of graphics for you to choose from, and the stats/reporting is second to none (better than LinkShare or ShareASale for example).

  21. I tried using both CJ and LinkShare. I’m still members of both but rarely use them any more because of $0 revenues.

    My feeling on both is you have to focus on merchandizers that are targeted to your content. I also suspect folks that have blogs that attrack interested buyers, like product-focused sites, will benefit more. In contrast, mine is an informational/opinion blog on eclectic topics of my interest and people coming to the site are rarely motivated buyers.

    Between CJ and LinkShare, CJ offers publishers more technical flexibility but LinkShare as some better merchandisers. I loved the ability to randomize CJ ads of various merchandizers and ad sizes on an ad-by-ad basis. It cut the work of maintenance. In contrast, LinkShare offers randomization to, but only for some merchandizers and you have to take all the ads of particular size. However, some of the LinkShare ads are old (like Christmas) so yuck! Wtihout randomizaiton, both programs are way too much work for the payout.

    These days, I use Adsense and Amazon. I’m getting progressively better results with Adsense, and can’t tell how much is due to their new ad format and how much is due to my blog’s growing readership. However, fa’sure the revenues definitely started flowing after I started following Google’s hot map.

    I get some results from Amazon but if I took it off the site I’d hardly notice the impact. I also have to work at Amazon, and include related reading topics in my posts, write reviews on my blog, and changing out ads on a regular basis. I wish Amazon gave you the means to randomize ads of different product categories. That be spiffy.

    My feeling on Amazon is similar to that of CJ and Linkshare, though. I suspect the folks with product-specific sites will do better in their Amazon revenue generation, than folks like me with opinion/info sites.

  22. P.S. I keep slogging along with Amazon mainly as a learning experience and because I keep hoping I’ll crack the secret of Amazon revenue generation.

    Again, though, I suspect the secret is having a product- or consumer-focused site.

  23. Very interesting discussion here. I’ve been mulling the pros and cons of affiliate programs myself and I’ve definitely found a few pearls of wisdom within this post and these comments.

    A couple of random points:

    * I find it interesting that some people are looking at CJ and AdSense as an either/or proposition. Why not try both? And why not sign up for a banner network (or two, or three) while you’re at it?

    * There’s really no substitute for finding good products from good vendors and then exhibiting those products on relevant pages. Of course, this all takes time and effort. What we need is for Google to rework its Froogle system into an affiliate program, then serve up products based on automatic contextual relevance ;)

    * As for CJ itself, I too was “deactivated” (sounds like a Borg technique) and I only regained entrance after signing up with a different email address. I’ve never been all that impressed with CJ’s system, but my sites don’t really jive with many of CJ’s product categories. It’s probably a case of wrong sites/wrong program.

    * Along those lines, I *have* found success with smaller programs from very specific vendors. The time I’ve spent spent researching and unearthing lesser-known merchants has been pleasingly productive.

  24. @mac:

    At some point you simply run out of relevant spaces to place ads!

  25. Interesting discussion… I must say that I am suprised at all of the bad experiences with CJ because mine has been very positive. I have found CJ’s tools and interface to be very useful and friendly, while I found LinkShare to be slow and clunky. I’m also and AdSense user, and have CJ and AdSense content on my site. I’m not making much from either of them yet, but definitely am not ready to give up CJ just yet.

  26. Just to update my CJ situation.

    Direct from my reports:

    Yesterday I had 14043 page impressions for a total of 4 clicks on my CJ ads and $0 revenue.

    Admittedly my site is optomised for GoogleAds but these CJ ads, despite being highly relevant to my content and placed in the “warm” zone just below Google, are just about the definition of ‘useless’.

  27. I have been using Commision Junction for almost two month andhave great succes with it. It seems the best way to find return is with targeted ads rather then trying to fit products into your content. Make the content around the product.

  28. I’ve had CJ ads on my sites for 2 days, 320,080 impressions, 1,927 clicks, and 0 revenue. Anyone know of a reason to wait any longer? Unless these things convert over a period of a few days it’s silly to leave this thing. If they had PPC I might consider it but there are hardly any that PPC, also, they have no way of automatically switching country focused ads. :-(

    Concerning PPC, I’ve been tinkering with BidVertiser. It’s no adsense, but it does better than any of the other fringe programs I’ve used. Their drawback is you have to configure each site separately.

  29. I used CJ for a bit some time back, and it was pretty close to being worthless for me. I’ve changed strategies since then, and CJ didn’t figure into my advertising at all. I never got any strong response from the ads, and I had to do a lot of the work myself in setting things up. Their site is driven by overly complex menus that open up tons of little windows for selecting banners and such, and it just wasn’t worth all the hassle.

  30. Greetings:
    Just wanted to add my complaint to the treat of CJ. I used it for two years and it limped along. However, google and amazon performed consistently. For the last six months there were apparent CTR but no conversions via CJ. Frankly, I wondered if I was getting ripped-off…while google and amazon had increased with traffic, CJ had dropped. Then, today, I attempt to log on and I have been summarily deactivated.

    I called and was told…no sales for six months and your out. No reactivation…you can reapply. I hung up. Maybe no sales, or maybe there system was not properly crediting me. Whatever, it is shabby to cut the contract without even an email and then tell me I could reapply, recode the sites and start fresh. Naw, Amazon may be somewhat more restrictive, but at least I am fairly certain they are payin

  31. Raymond, thanks for letting us know, I’m dumping them completely. I backed down to just a little exposure, now it will be none. If you like PPC try SearchFeed. They pay NET10 and offer a lot of tools. BidVertiser was a flop. They almost immediately accused me of fraud clicks. I don’t get any fraud clicks. So right now I’m using AdSense, Yahoo, and SearchFeed. I’d recommend any of them. Google still makes me a bit nervous with their nazi tactics, Yahoo has treated me good, but SearchFeed called, increased my take, and even offered to do the programming for me. I was able to get the earnings much higher but filtering out the low bid ads (like I said more tools), they don’t pay as well as Google and Yahoo but they’re really nice and seem to value my traffic.

  32. Hello,

    I read most of the posts and disagree with the majority of the complaints.

    Our site focuses on automotive auctions, auto loans and insurance agents. Our affiliates through CJ our companies like Ebay, Esurance, Geico, Driverloans, Eloans and more.

    With a combination of text links and banner adds we generate several thousand dollars a month in commissions. CJ has sent our check on the 20th or 21st of every month like clockwork and we receive it within several days of being mailed

    CJ advertisers are for the most part brand name companies that look good on our site and blend in with our content. In combination with Adsense we have created a profitable site that earns the majority of our income through these commission programs.

    I believe CJ is an excellent company and unlike every other Internet company you can actually reach them on the phone. Our site is http://www.calcruising.com

  33. Well this all made for great reading,and I think helped a lot of people.my site won’t open for another 2 weeks but I have hundreds of testers and have had sales generated with cj,amazon,linkshareand performics,and google has been performing well.most ads are relevent to the content,others not so much.we run over 1600 ads right now with about 10 ads showing at a time. Each refresh usually gives you all new ads.check out the site and let me know what you think.maybee its to many ads,not sure.thanks, http://www.northamericanwide.com.

  34. I’ve been doing better with the Trip Advisor affiliate programme (www.affiliates.tripadvisor.com/). They’re only relevant if you have some travel element to your website, but they have made about a quarter of what my google ads have.

  35. My account was just deactivated too! Of course of my sites are still advertising for their programs…. No warning by email. I really don’t like commission junction.

  36. I also used cj for 3 months, all what I got is $63. I stopped using it for a while and lately I found that they’d deactivated my account.

  37. I have used better programs than cj, plus I really prefer cpm and I have been running http://www.aimclicks.com a lot now.

  38. CJ is all about the landing page (THE BIG SALE) and not meant for blogs. Plain and simple. When someone clicks an adsense link, they (the surfer) know that it just leads to another site, so there is no big commitment by clicking on it. When they click on an affilliate banner or offer, they also know that the application is coming and they are very keen to this. Even the average Joe knows this when surfing the internet.

    Plus many consumers who visit blogs are in fact other bloggers that very well understand this.

    You have to have a site dedicated to the offer not to your blog if you want to make serious money with any affilliate program. Most all successful affiliates build sites around the product they are promoting not as an after thought to insert in their blog.

    If I was a huge blogger with a lot of traffic then I would develop my own intellectual property to sell on my site. Right now if Darren decided to do this and take time to write several e-books then he would be a very wealthy man by monetizing his traffic with people who seem to trust him.

    Trust = Big Money on the Internet

    That was my first post ever after visiting this site for a long time and it is just my opinion.

  39. It’s nice to see that I can get some insight before I get too deep and waste my time. I am a fresh, new affiliate (so fresh that my balance is still at $0.00 and my website is free because I cannot afford to pay just yet) and my experience with CJ has been redundant at best. I have searched the available merchants at least 1-2hrs/day, requesting approval to advertise for them and the majority of my applications have been denied. I don’t necessarily feel this is unfair, but I think that most of these are denied based on an automatic “criteria match” and yet the reasons are not posted so that one may learn what they should do to improve. I don’t understand this nor do I have the time to contact each program manager to get an answer when a simple auto-reply function should do the job just fine. I am left feeling embarrassed that I am a newbie, embarrassed that I am using a free website program to get my business started and very, very frustrated because I have put much time into this so far and it would be useless if I am not given a chance to start somewhere. I think my biggest issue is that I am trying my best to put out a quality site with professional, clean and attractive banners but they seem to be the sites that reject me. I am a Canadian citizen, which has also been something that I have factored in as a possible reason but that doesn’t make sense either. Perhaps I’ll stop back in a week and update you as to where (if anywhere) this has led me. Good Luck with all your hard work!

  40. Moe has some good advice. I’m a UK CJ.com member. I use it heavily on one website that is very product oriented as well as having insanely great content on related topics. I’ve been with CJ about 4 years and have sold quite a lot of product for their merchants and I’ve only really started to scratch the surface of how to do this. In short, it takes time to ramp up CJ sales and as Moe says you need a website that fits around what CJ merchants are selling. For blogs and random websites Google Adsense is better as it can feed ads from a large bank that are relevant to the content without you having to go looking for them.

    In terms of revenues I’m about even between Adsense and CJ in terms of page views but think it is good to have more than 1 programme in the mix.

  41. i have been using cj for a year and a half more than 2500 impression , if i mention clicks then i would have earned thousands of dollars in adsense, may be i didnt get right products for my sight …but i have now left all hope in cj.com.
    i preffer adsense.

  42. Being an advertiser on CJ, I can say that our fees are paid out like clockwork as well. Not once have I received complaint that fee payment is late, or takes too long. I believe CJ does a great job at paying commissions owed.

    Join the AIG Travel Guard affiliate program on CJ and receive $16 for every policy sold through a text link or banner add on your Web site!

    Search ‘Get Links’/Travel/Accesories/AIG Travel Guard today! Or visit http://www.travelguard.com/affiliate/?PID=0000

    AIG Travel Guard

  43. I have has the same experience with CJ. Lots of impressions but hardly ever any clicks and never any conversions. THey deactivated my account. I just now am reactivating it and the same trend seems to be falling into place.

  44. I love CJ, I have had okay success with it. About $200 a month. Which is great considering that I don’t really have a strategy other than picking programs that will be useful to my visitors.

    I am going to start to use Linkshare more and check out the other programs mentioned here.

    Ad Sense does not show up on my websites, which is really odd. Works fine with my blogs…


  45. I was just deactivated by Cj. What a major waste of time. I will never go near that site again. And, they kept the piddly amount of money I made. Maybe that is the real business – ripping us off one at a time … those little bits of money and the interest does add up.

    I am going to call their PR number on Monday – they do seem to be available to talk to the Press – and tell them I am writing a story about how they are ripping us off.

    Then I will make time to write that article …


    P.S. If you would like me to include your story just email it to me at [email protected]

  46. I’m using a lot of affiliate networks, and recently signed-up to commission junction, and to be honest, it really looks great to me. I’ve manage to find some really good offers I could use and possibly convert very well..
    I’m also using Adsense and Amazon, never enough monetizing… :)

  47. Commission Junction is a scam. That’s why the clowns already have class actions against them. They withhold payments, they steal commissions, and find creative ways of not giving you the credit for your sales. How do I know this? Because all my sales were initiated BY ME with my clients. When you go to inquire, they unceremoniously close your account. Isn’t that NICE of them? They have an A rating with the BBB because they paid dues to become a member, therefore, they are given the BBB free pass. It’s a joke. AVOID these thieves

  48. I signed up to CJ about 1 month ago – I have a successful russian watch retail site and orient watch site – I linked though CJ to kenmar watches who sell orient and other top brands at good prices. so far i have had 250 clicks and one sale which gives me 6.60 commission. Think I’ll try and buy a watch from kenmar and see if CJ give me the commission. Anyone know what CJ charge to advertisers?

  49. Is there a minimum requirement for CJ to accept your application? A page rank requirement or Alexa rank?

  50. @Eyer

    no there is no specific requirement like that.
    in fact you can apply without a website.. but its better to have one to get more advertisers.

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