Affiliate marketing is not dead.
Yes, the ancient technique of earning a commission by selling other people’s products is alive and kicking.
It’s still as profitable as ever. Worth a staggering 6.4 billion dollars in the US alone, the affiliate marketing industry is here to stay.
Whether you are a B2B or B2C brand an easy way to scale your business is by joining an affiliate network.
But with hundreds of options out there, which one is the best?
Here’s a quick overview of the top 5 affiliate networks — choose one that suits your needs.
#1. Amazon Associates
Amazon is a trusted brand known for its massive volume of physical and digital products.
- Huge selection: pick from millions of programs from hundreds of categories — whatever your product or niche you will find a product that fits you perfectly.
- Many payment options: check, direct deposit, and Amazon gift certificates.
- Long track record: Amazon Associates has existed 23 years so they’ll be there in years to come.
- Safe and reliable: Amazon is safe for both buyers and sellers.
- Long payment cycle: you get paid 2 months after you’ve made a sale.
- No links in emails: Amazon doesn’t allow affiliate links in emails — this is a big drawback.
- Low commissions: Amazon pays publishers a commission between 4% to 10%.
- No PayPal: you can’t receive payments through PayPal, a big blow if you live outside the USA
Detailed review: Amazon Affiliate Program Review
ClickBank specializes in digital and lifestyle products although they have physical products.
- Large Selection: you can choose from over 6 million products.
- Flexible payment methods: get paid by check, wire transfer, direct deposit, and Payoneer.
- Flexible payment schedule: get paid weekly or monthly — your choice.
- Long track record: ClickBank has served affiliates and publishers for 20+ years.
- Easy to join: you can set up shop and be up and running in a few minutes.
- High commission rates: earn hefty commissions between 50% to 70% which translates to around $ 25-$ 50 per sale depending on the product price.
- Global reach: ClickBank is active in nearly 200 countries.
- Crappy products: there are thousands of poor products on the network.
- No PayPal payment: sadly, the most popular online payment method isn’t available on the network (surprising I know!).
- Charges on inactive accounts: ClickBank deducts $ 1 per day from your account if you don’t make sales after 90 days. After 180 days you lose $ 5 per day and $ 50 per day after 1 year of no earnings.
Detailed review: ClickBank: The Brutally Honest Must-read Guide For 2019
#3. CJ Affiliate
Backed by Alliance Data Systems, a Fortune 500 company, CJ Affiliate is a veteran 20-year-old affiliate giant. It specializes in pay-for-performance programs.
- Reputable- with 20 years of experience in the affiliate industry and the backing of a Fortune 500 company, CJ is highly esteemed.
- Many retailers- CJ hosts 3000 retailers so you are likely to find one that suits your unique needs.
- Star Brands– top-notch brands like Barnes & Nobles, GoPro, and J. Crew are on the platform.
- Real-time reporting– CJ is well-known for its live lightning-fast reporting. You can promptly check your activity without delay.
- Payment options– get paid through a check or direct deposit.
- Monthly payments– CJ pays you your earnings monthly. Come month-end, you’ll smile all the way to the bank.
- No PayPal– a big blow for those who live outside the USA.
- Complicated– the dashboard is hard to navigate if you are a beginner.
- Average support– CJ doesn’t offer a dedicated account rep for support which can be a hassle sometimes. If you have a problem, you may contact the advertisers, not CJ.
Detailed review: CJ Affiliate Review by Conversant for Publishers
Having been in business for 19 years, ShareASale has been around the block so you can trust them.
- Monthly payments- you get paid on the 20th of every month and the payment threshold is a low $ 20.
- Scores of programs– the network has almost 4000 affiliate programs in 40 categories.
- Payment options– get paid through a check, direct deposit, wire transfer, and Payoneer.
- Good tracking– it’s easy to track your earnings and progress.
- Highly rated– ShareASale has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau.
- Complex reporting– dashboard has a steep learning curve.
- Monthly charges– they charge your account $ 25 a month. Worse, if your earnings dip under $ 25, your account is canceled.
- No PayPal– this is a disadvantage for those living outside the US
- High payout threshold– you need to earn at least $ 50 for you to get paid.
#5. Rakuten Marketing
Rakuten (formerly LinkShare) is a well-known veteran affiliate marketing network.
- Long track record: Rakuten is one of the oldest affiliate networks around — they have been helping businesses make money for 23+ years.
- Superstar brands: with renowned companies like Best Buy, Lacoste, Wal-Mart, and Macy’s on the platform, you will get quality products.
- Good ratings: Rakuten enjoys an unbeatable A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau and has also been voted the #1 affiliate network for 8 consecutive years by mThink a leading publication.
- Flexible payment options: receive payments through a check, direct deposit and PayPal in selected markets.
- Wide reach: Rakuten operates in 200+ countries.
- Payment delays– because Rakuten disburses funds only after merchants paid them, it takes a while for the money to get to you.
- No PayPal option: payment via PayPal is not available for all markets.
- Limited choice– the network only has 1000 merchants which limits your affiliate program choice.
- Low commissions– vendors on Rakuten pay a mere 3% to 11% commission rate.
Detailed review: Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Program Review: Legit Or Scam?
It’s Time To Take Your Pick
There you have it.
Five solid affiliate marketing networks you can join. Affiliate marketing is an awesome opportunity you can’t afford to miss.
You can make good money.
Choose a network that fits your needs.
Give your business a boost without breaking a sweat.