Affiliate Marketing without a doubt is one of the best ways to make money online. Note that I said best and not easy. As with anything else, affiliate marketing requires a bit of effort and while they are many ways to promote and convert traffic into sales, I won’t go into those details as the objective of this post is to introduce you to some of the affiliate networks that I have been using and of which I recommend. I know that there are several out there that I will certainly miss out, but the ones here are credible and reliable, and all of them have passed the money cycle test, i.e., promote, earn/convert, and get paid.
If you are looking for affiliate programs, go here.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Maybe the easiest way to explain affiliate marketing is that it is a way of making money online where you as a publisher receive a reward for helping a business promote their product, service or site. Such rewards are often times in a form of a commission, where you earn money, when someone follows a link you provide to another site where they then purchase something.
One general rule that you may probably see many times over being recommended by “other” bloggers is that you should not promote any product that you have not “tried for yourself”. Promoting a product is like giving your endorsement, so you may want to stay away from some of them, specially those systems that promise riches overnight. In addition, there are those who firmly believe that you can only make decent money, having your own product. There is some thruth in that, but I know of many marketers who make money buy promoting other peoples product.
Anyway, following below are the recommended affiliate marketing networks, that I believe are most definitely worth checking out. They are my top performers and all are free to join (some have ref links). Come back as often as you want as I will be updating this post regularly.
Share-a-Sale is one of my favorites and has many choices for bloggers who blog about marketing, themes, SEO, webmaster tools, business, and related topics. For example, most of the popular themes, such as WP Engine, DIY Thesis, StudioPress, Headway, eXpand2web, and SEO tools, such as Raven, InboundWriter, Scribe, etc., are all there. This makes ShareaSale an excellent choice not only for affiliate marketers but for merchants (or advertisers) as well. Merchants looking to expand their reach and increase sales can take advantage of the “sales force” this network can provide. Really one of the best.
In addition, you can also get paid for sending leads to Share-A-Sale themselves. Only downside is that they do not pay via PayPal (yet), but this is now a problem of the past with Payoneer. Payoneer is actually a great alternative for people who do not or can't have PayPal.
A Conversant company, Commission Junction (CJ) operates one of the largest and most highly regarded affiliate networks that I know of. CJ is probably one of those networks that “suits” almost every type of niche. Whatever the niche you are in, you will most likely find a business partner that will fit your needs. CJ’s portfolio is best suited for “non-digital” products, meaning, you will hardly find any eBook, or similar. For that, I suggest, ClickBank or eJunkie. CJ pays via check, Direct Deposit (some countries) and does not, unfortunately, pay via PayPal. Marketing material is top notch. Includes link rotator, data feeds, banners, text links, and more.
Avangate is known for having one of the largest “collections” of software and mobile related apps. Games, System Utilities, PC Tools, anti-Virus, Photo and Video Editors, Forex Software, etc. – there is a software or digital goods for just about anything you can think of. One of the reasons I like this network is that they have high commission structure (usually 3 times more than physical products) and most of the products have a free trial version. This is simply awesome, because not only can you take it for a test drive, you can comfortably promote the software, because users are not buying anything. They can try it first before making a decision. If they like it, and decided to purchase it, the you get your commission. One drawback about Plimus is that sellers do not have an area to provide marketing materials (banners or text links). You will have to be creative or contact the seller directly. Plimus pays via PayPal.
Very similar to Avangate, but OneNetworkDirect is more focused on technology related products. Logitech, Kapersky, TechSmith, Avast, nVidia, Roxio are just but a few of featured programs available on Digital River. Downside is that the commission are not so great in comparison to Avangate but has the upper hand on marketing material. OneDirectNetwork pays via PayPal and has a lead generation program.
What is there to say about ClickBank. Simply put, it is the biggest and probably the most popular marketplace for “finding” just about any type of digital products you can think of. While there are a vast amount of products to choose from, please do your research first before promoting them. There are many “stuff” in there that are sheer crap and will most likely only tick off your user. Good choice for affiliate marketers in general.
If you are also interested in PPI (Pay-per-Install), CPA (Cost Per Action) or Pay-per-lead type programs, some networks worthwhile checking are, Shopify, and RevResponse. I love these two networks ;-).
UPDATE 5/29/2016: See also Affiliate Referral Program by RevResponse
That’s it! I am sure I have missed something out, and for that I am hoping you can fill in the gap. If you know of any reliable and credible affiliate network that you feel should be included in this list, please let me know. Remember to get familiar with the network and read their TOS first. These networks work well but they may not be a good fit for you.
One Last Thing… [Payoneer]
As an affiliate marketer myself, I know that not being able to have PayPal, a US bank account (or even just a bank account) is extremely awful. This is why I highly recommend getting a Payoneer Card. It's really a great way for professionals and small businesses to get paid by companies abroad. Sign up now and we both get $25 FREE once you receive $100 in payments!
Good luck and to your success!