By harmen batubara
Of course, there is nothing like a sure-fire ‘BEST AFFILIATE PROGRAM’ that will make the advertiser stinking rich overnight! But there is definitely a certain yardstick by which you can distinguish between good affiliate programs and the best affiliate program. Now the question is, how do you go about finding this ‘best affiliate program’? All the programs available on the Internet make tall claims of being the best affiliate program ever. So how do you know which one will help you succeed and fulfill your ambitions?
Before you go hunting for the best affiliate program, you will have to decide on a niche market for yourself. Only choose that niche that suits you the most and that you are comfortable with.The next step is to decide a theme for your website and come out with a marketing plan for it. Knowing what theme you want for your business and what criteria of marketing best suits it is vital to your success. This will help you find the best possible an affiliate network and affiliate program for your needs.
An affiliate network is a hub that connects an advertiser and a publisher. In other words, it’s a hub for thousands of affiliate programs on the web. All the affiliate networks have their own tracking, reporting, and payment system. And they all may be focusing different niche, location, promotions, etc. with a pool of advertisers — and that makes all of them different. Sometimes an advertiser can have presence on multiple affiliate networks and still have their own in-house affiliate program.
Perhaps the best thing about an affiliate network is that when you join one of them, you get immediate access to hundreds of thousands of affiliate programs on the web.
Affiliate Programs:: What You Need To Know?
Different affiliate programs (in-house and the ones on various affiliate networks) follows different models. An affiliate program model can be: Cost Per Action (CPA), Cost Per Lead (CPL), Cost Per Sale (CPS), or even Cost Per Click (CPC). Cost Per Action (CPA) model pays you for specific actions and it can be simple form submissions, downloads, surveys, etc.; Cost Per Lead (CPL) model pays for leads and it’s usually a “signup” that involves email or credit card verification (because it makes the lead more valuable); Cost Per Sale (CPS) model pays for actual sales and it means they share a percentage of sale value with you; and Cost Per Click (CPC) model as you probably know pays for “clicks” — no matter whether your referral traffic helped them generate a lead/sale or not.
The Best 5 Affiliate Networks Here’s a hand-picked list of Five of the best affiliate networks on the web. I have considered brand equity, Alexa traffic rank, user experience, and my own personal experience to shortlist them. And I have highlighted the Alexa rank, payout details, and the types of affiliate offers supported by each network for your quick reference.
Also, I have indicated whether they have a referral program as well. If an affiliate network has a referral program then it means that you can refer other publishers to them and earn a percentage (or a one-time bonus) of their income.
1. CJ Affiliate CJ Affiliate was formerly known as Commission Junction (or simply CJ) and it’s the most popular affiliate network (and also my personal favorite). It’s one of the oldest affiliate network and that’s why it’s the preferred affiliate network of Fortune 500 companies and major online retailers. Commission Junction is my personal favorite as they have an unmatched pool of advertisers that we can’t find elsewhere. Also, I’m very much happy with their user interface, payment system and the customer support. And what’s more exciting about CJ is that advertisers often pay premium commission rates for CJ publishers when compared to other affiliate networks or even their own in-house affiliate program.
That is, CJ reviews all the leads/sales that you have generated in the previous month on or around the 10th day of every month. So, an advertiser can approve a transaction or extend it for 30 days (or even deny) on that day. It’s applicable to almost any affiliate network out there as most of the things that we buy online involves a money-back guarantee. So if the customer that you have referred asked for a money-back then the advertiser can void your transaction. If the transaction is approved then you get paid in the same month itself — around 20th of every month. It basically means if an advertiser do not extend transactions, then you will get paid on the 20th of a month itself even if you referred the sale on the 30th of the previous month.
However, if you are a new publisher then it should take an additional month or so as they monitor new publishers pretty closely. It should take some time to get familiar with the interface, reports, etc. of CJ.com. But it’s applicable to all networks as they all have their own way of reporting and tracking system. And their customer support is excellent. You get one-to-one support via email or phone and you also get dedicated affiliate account representatives when you are generating sales/leads consistently to an advertiser.
Once your application is approved, you can simply sign in to CJ Account Manager and apply to different affiliate programs. Some of them approve publishers immediately while others approve manually after reviewing your account/website. But you need a quality website to get approval for individual affiliate programs as big brands on the CJ Network approve publishers manually. However, you can contact the advertiser directly if you got denied but believe that you can promote them in a great way. And it’s worth to mention that CJ deactivates a publisher account if it doesn’t generate a commissionable transaction for six months. That’s not all, you will also be charged a $10 dormant account fee. It means that, if you referred a sale and earned $10 in commissions then it will be reversed if you didn’t generate any income over the next 6 months. But there’s no negative billing and you won’t be charged ever for keeping your account idle and not generating any sale at all.
Alexa Rank: 2,142 ; Minimum Payment Amount: $100 (Check); $50 (Direct Deposit); Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit ; Programs Offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC; and Referral Program: No
2. Amazon Associates Amazon Associates is perhaps the web’s most popular affiliate program. And you know the reason? Yes, that’s right! Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the U.S. and is one of the most popular company in the U.S. (and world too). Amazon is so huge that it’s got over a million products that you can promote on your website or blog and make money. Amazon pays up to 10% commission for all affiliate sales. Since the inventory on Amazon is so diversified, the commission rate changes frequently. You can link to any web page on Amazon and get paid for all purchases made by your referral — for more details, head here.
Alexa Rank: 6 ; Minimum Payment Amount: $10 (for Direct Deposits & Gift Certificates); $100 (for Check payments); Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit, Amazon.com Gift Certificate ; Quick Links: Sign Up | FAQ
3. ClickBank ClickBank is the most popular marketplace for digital products with over 6 million products and 200 million customers. In other words, ClickBank is the Amazon for digital products. So if you are looking for a guide (or an ebook) then you can search the ClickBank marketplace and if it’s there then you can instantly purchase and download it — there’s no need to wait.
And if you’re a digital product creator, then it’s super-easy (and cheap too) to sell your products on ClickBank. And that makes the ClickBank Affiliate Program one of the best around. As a ClickBank affiliate, you can get up to 75% commission on all sales (including recurring payments).
4. eBay Partner Network eBay Partner Network represents eBay.com’s and its partners’ affiliate programs across the world. The commision rate depends upon the category of products that you are promoting. For more details, go here. And you also get a bonus for referring new eBay buyers.
5. ShareASale ShareASale is perhaps the most admired affiliate network with over 4,000 affiliate programs. There are so many affiliate programs on the web that are exclusive to ShareASale. So if you are unable to find an advertiser in CJ then most probably it’s there at ShareASale. And ShareASale also has a lot of similarities with CJ like user experience, payment, dormant account policy, and affiliate program types. So yes, all inactive ShareASale accounts will be deactivated if its balance is less than $25.
Or, you will be charged $25 per month (if the account balance is over $25) until it becomes zero and is then closed. And if there is something that I particularly like about ShareASale then it’s their tracking system. It’s real-time and the payment system is also very reliable (just like CJ).
Alexa Rank: 707 ; Minimum Payment Amount: $50 ; Payment Method(s): Check, Direct Deposit ; Programs Offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC ; and Referral Program: Yes
There are a bunch of affiliate programs available for almost any niche on the web. But it’s somewhat difficult to say what’s going to work for you and what’s not. The only real way to find out the best affiliate program for your website is by analyzing your website’s traffic and learning the audience interest. If you have a niche website that’s getting a lot of targeted traffic then monetizing it with the right affiliate program can make hundreds of thousands of dollars in almost no time.