Finding the Best Affiliate Networks

23 Mar

Best Affiliate NetworksOne of the aspects of setting up a new project that I find most interesting is investigating and deciding on the best affiliate networks and affiliate products to monetize my new baby. Finding the best affiliate networks is an area that is sometimes not given the amount of consideration it really deserves. It needs research to see what affiliate networks are available for the niche products that you wish to promote, and amongst other things, you need to consider the returns you are hoping to make and the promotional tools that the affiliate networks provide.

This post aims to highlight some of the areas you may wish to consider when deciding how to monetize your blog or site.

What Affiliate Products do You Want to Promote?

For any niche web-site or blog that you hope to make money from, I would say that answering this question should be high on your list of priorities. For a personal or general interest blog where money making is not its primary reason for existence, this is less of a consideration, but where money making is your primary goal then establishing need and connecting your visitors to the solution via relevant affiliate links is vital.

This sounds simple, and with careful planning it can be, but make sure you do it up front at the start of your project because I can say from experience that it is far harder to reverse engineer and correct a badly monetized project afterwards!

How do You Want to Display Your Affiliate Products?

By this I mean, will you be displaying banner ads, or do you want direct product links from within a blog post or perhaps on a product review site? On a recent product review site I was setting up, I had an idea of the retailers that I wanted to use from my previous knowledge of the market. It turned out that whilst two of these retailers did have affiliate programs, they only supplied banner ad resources and not the product links I needed.

In the above case I managed to find two other suitable affiliate partners, so it was a minor problem, but it pays to always make sure the affiliate advertising resources you need are supplied by the affiliate network. This may mean you have to set up an association with that supplier first, but do this early as it can take several days to get approved and it can waste you valuable time.

Which Affiliate Marketing Networks Are Available?

Some companies have their own in-house affiliate programs whilst others prefer to outsource via the larger affiliate networks such as Clickbank, Commission Junction and others. It is useful to sign up with a couple of the larger networks so that you can research the huge number of companies and markets that they usually have on their books. You can also find out a lot by researching your competition (which I’m sure you will have done right at the outset of your project).

What are the Highest Paying Affiliate Programs?

This is another very interesting question, and many people have very fixed views on the matter. Surely if Clickbank typically offers me around 75% on any sales I make, then wouldn’t I be stupid to waste my time on Amazon which can return as little as 4%? Well as usual, it isn’t quite as simple as that. Amazon and other huge retailers have built up a significant amount of trust with the general public over the the years, and in my experience it is much easier to get my visitors to follow a link to Amazon than to follow links to less familiar sellers. Many times 4% can often result in better returns than a few times 75%.

Therefore, the correct answer for you may well lie in how good your skills are in pre-selling. Someone with great skills as a pre-seller may get great returns on more difficult affiliate offers with higher percentage returns, others may do better with lower returns from more trusted affiliate programs. Only experience will let you know which of these types you are!

The other things to consider in deciding on the highest paying affiliate programs are the length of the lifetime of their tracking cookies, whether they pay for repeat business and whether they pay for sales which switched to telephone or other methods to complete the transaction.

Affiliate Commission Payment Methods?

Last, but by no mean least, you should pay close attention to the payment terms and conditions for any new affiliate program you sign up to. When and how often do they payout? What is the minimum payout? What payment methods are available. If you are using US based affiliate networks but you reside outside the USA, double check that the payment methods they provide are suitable for you.

Finding the best affiliate networks and offers is a vital part of any niche marketing project. I hope the information provided here helps you to decide how best to monetize your new projects. If you have any other suggestions for areas to consider when selecting affiliate networks, please leave a comment, as always, your input is valued and appreciated.

23 Responses to “Finding the Best Affiliate Networks”

  1. Ben Waugh 23. Mar, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Where did you get your blog layout from? I’d like to get one like it for my blog.

    • affiliateprogress 23. Mar, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

      Hi Ben,
      it is from Woo Themes. Bueno is actually one of their free ones, but they have others with more functionality and better support etc.

  2. Ben Waugh 23. Mar, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Hi. I read a few of your other posts and wanted to know if you would be interested in exchanging blogroll links?

  3. Moon Hussain 23. Mar, 2010 at 1:09 pm #


    This is a nice write-up about finding best affiliates to work with. Think about even your own point of view: would you rather buy from some no-name or go with the safe option of Amazon? Most people will go with Amazon. So even though the comission might be lower, it’s probably better to go with the big names.
    Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Are You Embarrassed Of Saying “Passive Income” Out Loud? My ComLuv Profile

    • affiliateprogress 23. Mar, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

      Thanks Moon,
      I think that is especially true in the early stages of getting to grips with affiliate marketing. The level of pre-selling required for some affiliate products is probably something most of us will only learn with time and experience.

  4. Experimently 23. Mar, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

    You can’t really compare the two though, from what I know of Clickbank anyway.

    Amazon buys goods -> Amazon sells them to you
    So Amazon has to pay for their products before they can sell them, sure they won’t be that expensive for them to buy thanks to the huge amounts they buy and sell but still.

    Someone wants to sell his eBook and signs up at Clickbank -> Clickbank takes a small commission as they never had to buy anything -> You can keep more commission

    It’s only natural that the commission rates are so different.

    • affiliateprogress 23. Mar, 2010 at 8:03 pm #

      Hi Experimently,
      I possibly didn’t choose the best example in Clickbank. My point still remains though, that I use other affiliate networks that offer a fairly high percentage return per sale, but are a much more difficult sale to make because the level of trust with the end user is much less than for household names like Amazon.

  5. Dennis Edell 27. Mar, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    Now this is cool, and a little odd lol. I JUST came from another article discussing some basic points in affiliate marketing.

    Des – what’s your opinion on networks vs. individual sellers with their own affiliate programs?

    One thing he stated was…”I would always recommend using an affiliate network as opposed to directly dealing with the seller…” and he gave 3 reasons, all valid in their own right.

    I semi-disagreed commenting, “I definitely wouldn’t completely overlook directly dealing with the seller and his/her individual affiliate programs; you can find some really great products and people to deal with. Of course, as with anything, do your due diligence and then some in research, both on the seller and product.”

    His article –
    Dennis Edell´s last blog ..Holy Power Outage Batman, Not Again! Yep, Another Two Days Shot to Hell… My ComLuv Profile

    • affiliateprogress 28. Mar, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

      Hi Dennis, I think most of the small or individual sellers I promote are dealt with through Clickbank, although some are direct such as web hosting etc so I have no real problem either way. Although I do tend to be of the opinion that from the buyer’s perspective, they will have a greater level of trust and be more willing to spend money with a household name such as Amazon. It is just that they don’t sell all the things a may wish to promote.

  6. Dennis Edell 29. Mar, 2010 at 1:11 am #

    You’re right, which is why I’m sure to state about doing due diligence to research before going with an individual.

    I’ve had some good experiences in the past.
    Dennis Edell´s last blog ..Holy Power Outage Batman, Not Again! Yep, Another Two Days Shot to Hell… My ComLuv Profile

  7. Dev | Technshare 30. Mar, 2010 at 4:39 am #

    awesome post on finding affiliate networks
    thanks for sharing 😉
    Dev | Technshare´s last blog ..30+ Inspirational Social Bookmarking Sites My ComLuv Profile

  8. Affiliate Networks 19. Apr, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    It sounds interesting but I am not sure that I agree with you completely.

  9. Francesca Webb 07. May, 2010 at 12:45 am #

    Niche marketing is a good way to promote products and earn money online because there are few competitors yet.-.,

  10. Makayla Gonzalez 18. May, 2010 at 6:19 am #

    i have just signed up with the amazon affiliate program and i am still not earning a good deal of cash from them.`~.

    • affiliateprogress 19. May, 2010 at 8:20 am #

      It does take a long time before you see results Makayla. I hope you have success with it in the long run!

  11. Ewan Matthews 18. May, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    There are lots of Affiliate programs out there like Amazon, Clickbank, etc. Just sign up with them and see what works for you.:””

    • affiliateprogress 19. May, 2010 at 8:22 am #

      Good advice Ewan, all my various affiliate programs offer different things, whether that is different product ranges or different payment plans. You do need to try a few.

  12. Gabriel Ellis 22. Aug, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

    affiliate programs pay much better than adsense but they do not pay per click.,~

  13. Natalie White 22. Aug, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    Amazon affiliate program is definitely one of the best affiliate programs that you can sign up to”-“

  14. Alexis Martin 07. Oct, 2010 at 3:55 am #

    there are many affiliate programs but some of them does not pay much compared to those big companies'”,

  15. Freya Harris 07. Oct, 2010 at 7:34 am #

    Amazon Affiliate programs is one of the best affiliate sites that i have signed up. they pay well though’,:

  16. Reverse Osmosis 04. Dec, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    so far the best affiliate program for me is Amazon Affiliate. they have high tier rates and great payout .’,

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