Tapping into the affiliate network market can be a lucrative side job if you know how to work it. An affiliate network is basically the middleman that connects some sort of publisher (blogger, generally) with a merchant. It is the new-age way of earning a commission or “finder’s fee” when you find a new customer for a product. What this looks like in practice is you promoting a product through your blog or website, and that would earn you a small sum any time an individual clicks on the link to the product.
It’s a great way to fund your blog and make a little change on the side. So now that you have a clear grasp on what affiliate networking is, let’s discuss some of the most lucrative affiliate networks and programs out there.
A smaller company than some of the other affiliate networks, PeerFly nonetheless has a strong reputation. It also has a variety of payment options and pays out quickly. Its payment system is cost-per-action (CPA) instead of the usual cost per sale (CPS) which means each transaction is smaller, but you get more of them. It’s an excellent option for everyone, but because of the CPA format, it’s especially great for beginners who just want to get their toes wet and see if the affiliate network market is for them.
This is one of the longest-running affiliate networks, having been founded in 2000. It offers almost 4,000 affiliate programs in multiple categories. It also is a safe business that pays consistently, with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Maybe the only downside to ShareASale is that you can’t get paid via PayPal, but check, wire transfer, and direct deposits are all options. ShareASale has contracts with companies that offer services, physical goods, and digital downloads.
Another old-timer, Clickbank offers more than 6 million affiliate products and the company is quick to respond and to pay out. Again, no PayPal here, but you can choose how often you want to get paid by wire, check or direct deposit. Do use caution, however: although Clickbank is reputable itself, not all of the products that it offers can say the same. Just do a little research before selecting a product, and you’ll be fine. You don’t want to end up promoting some janky product that will turn your readers and followers away.
4. CJ Affiliate
CJ Affiliate offers access to over 3,000 merchants. It is also a part of Alliance Data Systems, a Fortune 500 company, which should help you sleep at night. This network offers you the ability to monitor activity on your account in real time and is a great tool for those with an already-established audience. It is not the best choice for beginners because there are a lot of bells and whistles and because your account will be deactivated after six months of no commission.
5. Amazon Associates
Of course, anything offered by Amazon is going to be amazing. Amazon Associates has a ton of products to offer, and of course, it’s all backed by the marketing gorilla that is Amazon. The big caveat to this network, though, is that you cannot use affiliate links in any email. So, if you were planning on email as your primary tool for network marketing, Amazon Associates will be a no-go. Another downside is that you won’t get paid out until 60 days after the end of the month in which you earned the commission.
6. Rakuten Marketing
It used to be called LinkShare, but no matter what it’s called this affiliate network has been around since 1996, so it knows a thing or two about successfully navigating the market. Ranked #1 in affiliate networking and with an A+ rating by BBB, Rakuten also boasts household name-recognition of the brands it carries. Its interface is easy to navigate, making it a great choice for beginners and experts alike. The only downside, however, is the delay in payment; you don’t get paid until after the merchants have paid them.
If you have a strong internet following, StudioPress may be a good option. The products usually only fit a small niche, but the products that are being sold are very attractive to those within that niche (usually WordPress users). It also offers generous payouts.
8. eBay Partner Network
Similar to Amazon Associates, eBay Partner Network also benefits from the numerous offerings and products that eBay has. To be more accurate, this network has 1.1 billion listings. You’ll get paid monthly and (alas!) PayPal is accepted. This network is an especially great option if you want to focus on physical products (especially unique physical products).
FlexOffers is a rising star in the affiliate network industry. It currently has over 12,000 merchants with over 25 categories of products, and it’s still growing. This is an excellent option for beginners because you will have a dedicated account manager who can help you through the process. FlexOffers also pays out quickly, which is another great perk.
ConvertKit is an email marketing platform which pays you every time your affiliate gets paid. For those who are looking into an email option, this could be a good choice. Payment is 30 days delayed, but that is the only major downside.
So there you have it, the best affiliate networks and programs to start earning some easy money through your blog or website. Take some time to look into which one might be best for you and what would be the most lucrative, considering your targeted audience. Who knows, you might just make enough money on the side to retire early.