Top 10 Affiliate Marketing Programs

Affiliate marketing ranks among the top ways to make money online. The particular appeal for affiliate marketing is the possibility of earning infinite money in a passive manner. The model for affiliate marketing is simple and straightforward: help promote products of other companies and earn commissions off sales made. As an affiliate marketer, you simply act as a digital salesman; the company does all the hard work associated with its product, shipping and distribution and even marketing materials. Simply help with their marketing efforts, and earn a share of their profits. The potential for affiliate marketing is practically unlimited: there are over 3 billion internet users globally, with the number always rising.


But to make good money consistently, you will have to choose a quality affiliate marketing program that will provide you with the best conditions for success. There are numerous affiliate programs around, but we have selected some of the best ones based on parameters such as reputation, price competitiveness, market saturation, commission rates, payout methods, marketing tools, performance tracking, and even terms and conditions.

Find below the best places to earn money by promoting other companies’ products:

1. Amazon Associates

Amazon is a global eCommerce giant, and part of the Big 4 Tech companies in the world alongside Google, Microsoft and Apple. So massive is Amazon that it is well on course to become the first trillion-dollar company in the US by market capitalisation. The Amazon Associates program gives you the chance to earn a share of the billions the company generates in sales and revenue every year. Amazon’s affiliate program is undoubtedly one of the most popular ways for all types of marketers to monetize their blogs, websites or social media presence.

To get started with Amazon affiliate marketing, you will sign up on their site and will be given a unique affiliate link. You will be eligible for commissions if customers buy products through your unique link on the Amazon site. When a customer visits Amazon through your link, the company will give you commissions for whatever products they purchase during a 24-hour window. It is also important to note that you will be eligible for commissions if a customer adds a product to the shopping cart within the 24-hour window but makes an actual order within 90 days, which is the typical timeline it takes for a shopper’s cart to expire. Amazon offers commissions of between 1-10% depending on the type of product an affiliate promotes. But, the percentage of sales is not the only factor that determines your overall commission, your conversion rate also matters. Conversion rate represents the number of customers that click your affiliate link and go on to make purchases. A higher conversion rate translates to higher commissions and vice versa.

Pros

  • Easy sign-up. It is quick and simple to get started as an affiliate marketer at Amazon.
  • Big Reputation. Amazon is the authority in global eCommerce, which means that you do not need to convince customers to purchase from their site.
  • Wide range of products. Amazon is literally an ‘A to Z’ retailer offering a wide selection of over 12 million products for marketers to choose from.
  • Affiliates can even earn from products they did not promote if a shopper visits the site through their link and purchases within 24 hours.

Cons

  • Huge Competition. As a big and established company, Amazon has attracted a ridiculous number of affiliates which makes competition very intense.
  • Low Commissions. Compared to other affiliate programs, Amazon offers low commission rates to affiliates.
  • It is very hard for beginners without high traffic sites or a huge social media presence to gain traction using the Amazon affiliate program.

2. eBay Partners

eBay is an American multinational that became famous for its auction-style sales model. eBay is now a fully-fledged marketplace with footprints all around the world, and also allows sellers to sell their products at fixed prices. The eBay Partner Network (EPN) was founded in 1998 and remains one of the most popular affiliate marketing programs around. To get started with EPN, you need to first register on the eBay site, and then proceed to apply to join the affiliate program. Afterwards, select a product(s) you wish to promote, create your affiliate link, and share with your audience.

eBay will pay a commission to you if a customer buys an item after visiting the site within 24 hours. For auction sales, you will receive a commission when a customer places a bid within 24 hours of visiting the site through your link and proceeds to win the auction within 10 days. eBay commissions range from 1-5% of sales depending on the type of product. eBay also provides an added bonus if a new or reactivated buyer makes a purchase through your affiliate link; a reactivated buyer is one who has not made purchases on the platform in the past 12 months. eBay disburses payments through PayPal or Direct Bank deposit- it is, therefore, important to ensure you are in a region that supports one or both payment methods.

Pros

  • Wide and Interesting product range. There is a selection of over 1.3 billion products at any given time. As well, eBay is known for unique, novel and speciality products that shoppers may find very valuable.
  • Huge Buyer Base. eBay has an estimated 168 million active buyers.
  • Brand Trust. eBay enjoys huge brand recognition and trust among shoppers, having been around since 1995.
  • The new or reactivated shopper bonus can help affiliates boost their earnings.
  • Low payout threshold. eBay has a payout threshold of only $10, which can help new affiliate marketers to start reaping the rewards of their promotion efforts early on.

Cons

  • The major disadvantage with eBay is that affiliates can lose money for auction referrals. Most auctions last more than 24 hours, and most buyers usually bid during the final hours of an auction.
  • eBay makes payments once a month, which can be inconvenient for some affiliates.

3. Shopify

Shopify is, without doubt, one of the most used eCommerce platforms globally. The company has managed to deliver a versatile product to enable all levels of businesses (from small traders to enterprise-level corporations) to use their platform for their eCommerce needs. More than 1 million businesses in over 175 countries use the Shopify platform to manage and sell their products online. With offline businesses actively looking for ways to leverage the internet, this number can only rise; and you have a unique opportunity to cash in on that using the Shopify affiliate program.

The Shopify affiliate program is one of the most lucrative. To start with, the program appeals to anyone that wishes to set up an online presence with minimal hassles. Shopify also offers generous rewards to affiliates, with incredible commissions of up to 200%. Commission payouts range from $58-$2000 depending on the plan a user you refer signs up to. The program is particularly ideal for affiliates that have or can build an audience interested in online businesses, drop shipping, eCommerce or teaching courses. The program also boasts comprehensive affiliate and customer support. The Shopify Academy can help your customers meet their needs, while the affiliate program has extensive training products to help you advance your marketing career. Additionally, the company provides a dedicated affiliate manager for all affiliates to enhance support and performance.

Pros

  • Market leader. Shopify is a market leader in eCommerce solutions, which makes it easy for affiliates to promote.
  • Compelling product. Shopify has put together a compelling product that appeals to a broad market base. This also helps with conversion.
  • High commissions. Shopify pays out up to 200% per customer, which starts at $58 commission (their basic plan monthly for new clients is $29) to a maximum of $2000 for deals closed for Shopify Plus. This can quickly add up and translate to high earnings.
  • Free trial. New Shopify customers are given a 14-day trial period to test out the eCommerce product. Trials are highly effective in increasing conversion rates.
  • 30-day cookie period. Affiliate marketers qualify for a commission if a customer visits the Shopify site through their link and join a paid plan within 30 days. This is a sufficient time period that can boost conversion.

Cons

  • High-cost plans. The more advanced Shopify plans have a high cost attached, which can result in many customers not paying up after the trial period is over.
  • Stringent terms and conditions. Shopify is known to apply stringent terms and conditions that can limit the marketing efforts of users. For instance, there may be restrictions on marketing to betting sites.
  • There are no recurring commissions and no extra bonuses for high volume sales.

4. CJ Affiliate

CJ Affiliate operates as an affiliate marketing marketplace that offers publishers (affiliate marketers) over 4000 advertisers (businesses) to promote. With a history that dates back to 1998, CJ Affiliate has managed to grow to become one of the world’s biggest and best affiliate marketing networks. Affiliate marketers are attracted to CJ Affiliate because of the huge pool of businesses to be promoted- ranging from small and medium brands to established names such as GoPro, Barnes & Noble, Overstock, Lowes and Priceline, among others. The massive choice of advertisers, it means that affiliate marketers can earn in a variety of ways depending on the company they choose to promote. CJ also offers a variety of commission models including CPL (cost per lead), CPS/CPA (Cost per Sale / Cost per Action), Revenue Share and others.

To get started with CJ Affiliate, you will need to fill out a registration form, and when approved you will be given a customer ID as well as access to the advertisers. You will then browse the directory of advertisers to choose which companies you wish to help promote. Different companies have different commission rates as well as terms and conditions. In some instances, new affiliates may have to request permission to promote a particular advertiser, and may not be accepted due to traffic type or demographic reasons. Still, there is a huge list of advertisers to choose from. CJ Affiliate pays its affiliates on the 20th of every month using checks or direct bank deposit. The minimum payable amount is $50.

Pros

  • A huge pool of advertisers. Over 4000 companies have tasked CJ Affiliate with managing their affiliate marketing programs. These are some of the biggest and most reputable brands in the world.
  • Publisher toolbox. All new affiliate marketers can access the publisher toolbox for free, to learn timeless tips and tricks that will help in efficient promotion of products.
  • Automation. CJ Affiliate has an automation feature that will let you monetize your commercial links without manually editing old links in your website.
  • Top performers on the CJ Affiliate platform are rewarded with various perks and bonuses. Affiliate marketers that earn over $10,000 monthly also receive a top affiliate badge and are enlisted for the CJP program that provides them with a more personalised CJ Affiliate experience.

Cons

  • Payment issues. The high number of advertisers means that there may be sudden issues arising that may impact your payment schedule. In other instances, some advertisers may hold your payments for long periods to ensure there are no customer returns, cancellations or chargebacks.
  • Few payment options. Only check and direct bank deposit options are available, making it inconvenient for some affiliates.
  • Poor customer service. CJ Affiliate is known for poor customer support, with just a contact form available and delayed responses.
  • You may lack approval with a lucrative advertiser if you have not reached defined milestones. This can be a challenge for new affiliates.

5. ClickBank

ClickBank is a top affiliate network that has been around for more than two decades. The platform is particularly known for a wide array of digital products, but there are also more than 12,000 physical products for affiliate marketers to promote and earn from. The company boasts a worldwide presence in over 190 countries, with a customer base of over 200 million. Since its inception, the ClickBank affiliate program has paid out over $4 billion in commissions, and you could be next in line to receive a check from them.

Signing up for ClickBank is quick and easy. And you can sign up as both a vendor and an affiliate marketer. There are numerous product categories, so you will need to select one which aligns with your needs. With numerous products and vendors available, affiliate marketers will find it a challenge to select the best product to promote. ClickBank has created a ‘Gravity Score’ that will show the number of affiliates that have sold a vendor’s product within the last 3 months; each gravity score represents one affiliate sale. ClickBank offers commission rates as high as 75% and allows customers to set their payment schedule, with the shortest period being weekly payments.

Pros

  • Reputable Network. ClickBank has built up a reputable brand name that has been around since 1998 as an affiliate marketing network.
  • Knowledge Base. Affiliates can access comprehensive educational resources at ClickBank that will help them fast-track their promotion efforts.
  • High Payouts. ClickBank offers high commission rates that can go as high as 75%. Affiliates can also boost their earnings with digital products that require subscriptions.
  • Flexible Payment Schedule. With ClickBank, you can choose when to receive your payments, whether weekly, fortnightly or as you desire. You also get to set your own payment threshold, and funds will be sent to you as soon as the threshold is hit.

Cons

  • Old looking website. The ClickBank marketplace looks old and jaded, with poor user-friendliness.
  • Charges on non-performing accounts. There are fees charged on accounts that post no sales after a certain period of time.
  • Poor customer service. ClickBank has poor customer support that is slow and sometimes unresponsive.
  • Junk products. There are numerous junk products (even scam-ish) that can hurt your reputation if you promote to your audience.

6. Fiverr Affiliates

Fiverr is the world’s largest marketplace for small services. Contractors can hire freelancers on the platform to perform tasks for as low as $5 (hence the name Fiverr), but there are also premium-priced services tasks for top talent. When you sign up at Fiverr affiliate program, you get the chance to promote the various digital services freelancers offer. You will earn a CPA (cost per action) of $15-$50 depending on what a customer that visits the site via your link orders. There is also the option of a hybrid payment plan where you will earn $10 CPA, plus a revenue share plan for 12 months.

Aside from freelance services, you can also promote: Fiverr Pro, a service that gives access to exclusive top talents; Fiverr Learn, an educational platform for businesses and freelancers; as well as And.co, an application designed to enhance the operations of freelancers. With the gig economy proving to be the future for a large part of the global workforce and growing by the day, the Fiverr affiliate program offers you the rare chance to earn money from this growing trend.

Pros

  • Market leader. Fiverr is one of the top marketplaces for gig workers, which makes it an easy sell for affiliate marketers.
  • Lengthy cookie duration. Fiverr has a 30-day cookie window within which you are eligible to earn commissions from customers who visited the site using your affiliate link.
  • Flexible payouts. The Fiverr affiliate program offers flexible payment options to enable marketers to gain maximum benefits for their promotion efforts.
  • Resources and Support. Fiverr offers numerous handy resources and comprehensive support to help affiliate marketers enhance their promotion activity.

Cons

  • Commissions for first-time buyers only. Fiverr pays commissions for first-time customers only, rather than for every future or recurring sale as is with many affiliate programs.
  • Dull marketing banners. Banners are an important marketing tool for affiliate marketers with websites. However, the banner materials offered by Fiverr are dull and unexciting, which may result in low conversions.
  • Fiverr is home to some cheap freelancers who can offer low-quality services to customers.

7. Tripadvisor

With over 500 million unique monthly visitors, Tripadvisor stands out as the world’s largest and most trusted travel community. Travellers use the Tripadvisor platform to find the deals on hotels, restaurants, flights and the best destinations. While most travel platforms operate as selling sites, Tripadvisor is more of a search tool for travellers. The Tripadvisor travel affiliate program gives you a chance to leverage the brand of the company and take advantage of over 700 million reviews as well as a database of over 500,000 hotels and destinations. As your visitors flock to the Tripadvisor site for their travel needs, you will get a chance to earn a piece of the revenues.

Tripadvisor generates revenue based on click-outs made from their site. This means that a customer visiting through your link will have to click on a commercial link on the Tripadvisor site for you to qualify for a commission. This means that no sale is required for you to make money. Tripadvisor pays out a 50% commission for revenue generated as a result your customer click-out. In most cases, this translates to an average of $0.15-$0.75 per click-out. You are also paid if the customer continues to browse other pages during the session even if that was not the landing page you linked to. The Tripadvisor travel affiliate program is managed by the CJ Affiliate Program, which will act as the paying agent. They send commissions monthly.

Pros

  • High Payouts. The 50% share of gross revenue generated by click-out is a pretty generous payout.
  • High Conversions. The Tripadvisor affiliate model makes it easy to convert customers. It is easy to earn from click-outs rather than actual sales or hotel bookings. Conversion is also boosted because all user click-outs during a particular period are credited to you. For this reason, most Tripadvisor affiliates record a conversion rate of up to 75%.
  • Brand Recognition. Tripadvisor is an undisputed market leader, which means that you will be promoting a well-known brand trusted by millions of customers.
  • Numerous Deals and Promotions. Tripadvisor regularly updates captivating deals and promotions that will be exciting for any traveller, and thus boost your conversions.
  • There are added incentives and bonuses for high performing affiliates.

Cons

  • Too much competition. There are well-established niche travel sites that offer stiff competition to new affiliates.
  • Poor customer service

8. Booking.com Affiliate Program

With more than 1.5 million rooms that are reserved daily on the platform, Booking.com is the world’s largest online reservation platform. The company also has over 29 million bookable rooms in over 2.6 million properties scattered across the world. Aside from accommodations, travellers can also books flights, taxis, car rentals as well as other special attractions on the Booking site. The Booking affiliate program is therefore ideal for anyone with an audience that is looking to plan a trip, whether business or just vacation. For their promotion efforts, Booking affiliates will earn 25-40% of the commissions the company derives from bookings- the higher the number of bookings, the higher the commission bracket. Additionally, Booking has added a new property referral product that opens up a new revenue front for affiliates. You will be paid €50 for every successful property referral that completes a booking within 90 days.

You can track your performance on your Booking.com affiliate dashboard. The company has a payout threshold of €100 and will regularly send credit slips to your email with information on the amount of commission earned in any particular month. Payments are sent out 30-60 days after the payment threshold is achieved.

Pros

  • Fast and easy signup. You can get started with the booking affiliate program by easily signing up on the Partner Centre. The process is quick and without any hassles.
  • Reputable Brand. Booking.com is an established and trustworthy brand that most travellers have used for a long period of time to simplify their trips.
  • Good Customer Support. Booking affiliates can easily contact the professional and responsive support team in case of any issues.
  • Convenient payment methods. Booking pays out using bank wire and PayPal, which is convenient for most affiliates.

Cons

  • Discouraging payment plan. Booking affiliates typically receive payments after two months, with commissions sent only after the €100 threshold is achieved. For most affiliates, this can be discouraging and very inconvenient. Furthermore, the countdown begins when a customer completes their stay, rather than when the reservation is done.
  • There is a high payment threshold for affiliates who prefer to receive payments via local bank wire. The threshold is €500.
  • The hotel niche is extremely competitive. This means that only top authority sites rank higher in search engines because of expensive keywords and related ads. For new affiliates, this niche can be very challenging and less rewarding.

9. Google AdSense

Google AdSense is one of the popular ways to become an affiliate with Google and is currently one of the most popular ways for publishers to monetise online. You will just need a Google account, phone number and postal address to sign up with Google AdSense. After that, you can then generate Google AdSense codes to place in your website(s). When applied, Google AdSense automatically serves text, image, video as well as other forms of rich media that are relevant to your content or audience. Publishers are allowed a great deal of customisation with Google AdSense. Upon approval of your account, you can create ad blocks on your site (where and how you wish ads to appear) and you can also decide how many ads you wish to serve to your audience. Google will then determine relevant ads that are also consistent with the theme of your website.

When your site visitors click on the ads, you will be entitled to a share of the cost per click (CPC) revenue. Cost per click is the amount advertisers pay when a visitor clicks on one of their ads on your site. The CPC varies depending on the demographic region of your visitors as well as the category of the product being advertised. To exploit the full potential of Google AdSense, affiliate marketers should regularly create new and engaging content, test different ad blocks, and also use high-value CPC keywords.

Pros

  • Passive Income. Google AdSense is a perfect source of passive income compared to other affiliate networks. No extra work needed apart from setting up ads accordingly. There is also no need to create fresh content to post every time.
  • There is no need to update any ads. Google does this automatically in tandem with your audience interests and new ad campaigns created by advertisers on their end.
  • Publishers can create multiple pages, which may generate extra profits that eventually add up.
  • Google ensures that only the highest paying ads relevant to your site and audience go live. This can boost your overall earnings.
  • High customisation. You are in full control of how and where ads are placed on your site.

Cons

  • Low payouts. The earnings per click offered by AdSense are very low, which means that marketers require huge amounts of traffic and numerous clicks to make some decent income.
  • Google is known for regularly changing or updating their policies as well as terms and conditions. Sometimes the changes may not align with your site profile and lead to the poor performance of your ads.
  • Probably the major disadvantage with AdSense is that Google is notorious for suspending account without substantive warnings or even reasons. This can be very frustrating for any affiliate marketer.

10. Algo Affiliates

Algo Affiliates is the world’s top Forex, CFD and Crypto affiliate network. The niche falls under the red hot wealth and money category where traffic is all but guaranteed. People are always looking for new and practical ways to make money, and Forex/CFD trading is an exciting prospect for many. But conversion is how money is made in affiliate marketing, and Algo Affiliates boasts some of the best optimisation tools and technology to ensure maximum conversion rates. Algo Affiliates has partnered with over 150 Forex and CFD brokerage firms (all highly reputable and multilingual) from all around the world. The platform also has more than 200 available multilingual offers that include a wide range of customised desktop and mobile creatives designed to maximise conversion rates.

In a high traffic niche, it is vital that all leads you generate are tracked accurately, so you can receive due credit. In this regard, Algo Affiliates has cutting-edge technology systems to ensure every visitor is tracked, so your marketing efforts are rewarded accordingly. As soon as your visitor clicks on a link, Algo Affiliates performance team takes it up from there, utilising high-level conversion techniques to ensure that clicks translate to premium conversions. This has resulted in self-conversion rates of more than 30%.

Algo Affiliates is known for their extremely generous and lucrative commissions. Most offers are on a CPA (cost per acquisition) model for commissions which is ideal for marketers that desire immediate income. High performing marketers are awarded a higher CPA. Additionally, Algo Affiliates also offers other attractive profit-sharing schemes such as Revenue Share, Hybrid Deals, as well as Affiliate Referral deals. The Master Affiliate program is particularly ideal as it enables you to refer top marketers and earn a share of the revenues they generate.

Pros

  • Very High Commissions. Algo Affiliates offers extremely attractive commissions to marketers with some of the highest payouts in the industry. There are also endless offers that offer numerous opportunities to boost profits.
  • High Conversion Rates. Algo Affiliates applies top technologies to maximise conversion rates from clicks to registration and deposit.
  • Powerful network system. Cutting-edge technology is implemented across the platform to ensure leads are tracked in a timely and efficient manner, plus affiliates can access thousands of optimized creatives for their marketing.
  • Excellent Customer Support. Algo Affiliates has a multilingual support team that is friendly, professional, responsive and available round the clock to attend to all your issues and concerns.
  • Secure and Convenient Payment Methods. Affiliate marketers can choose from a wide range of safe and convenient payment methods available. As well, there is no minimum payment threshold. You can also design your own payment schedule.

Cons

  • Limited to Finance Products. Probably the only drawback is the narrow focus, however, this is also a benefit as staying focused generally produces better results due to targeted traffic.
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