Choosing a solid affiliate network is a crucial part of being a successful affiliate marketer, whether you’re starting out as a new affiliate or just diving into a new niche.

There are thousands of affiliate programs offered by merchants to market their services or products. I’ve tried most of them.

The right affiliate network helps you find a lot of great offers by doing one or more of the following:

  • Creating a central database for affiliate offers that can be easily organized.
  • Allowing you to participate in multiple affiliate programs through a single registration.
  • Providing analytics, various reporting tools, and reliable payment processing.

No matter what types of products or services you promote, you can find a reliable affiliate network to suit your needs. This article will help you do that. Let’s get started.

Affiliate Marketing

Below is a list of my personal list of the best affiliate networks for 2020. These cater to various products, services, and industries. All of them are worth a look.

And after that, I’ll discuss how you can find the perfect one for you and your affiliate goals.

2020’s Best Affiliate Networks

Affiliaxe

affilliaxe

Affiliaxe bills itself as the best option for experienced marketers and “super affiliates”.

In keeping with that drive for exclusivity, it has an invitation-only approval process that some reviewers have found frustrating.

Those that get in do enjoy great benefits. Those benefits include 700+ offers in profitable niches to choose from, including wellness, entertainment, dieting, and mobile content.

The affiliate managers (shout out to Pavel) are reported to offer a lot of guidance on the creation and improvement of campaigns.

I’ve found them to be reasonable when it comes to negotiating commission bumps (try that with Amazon Associates).

Pavel and I worked together to get a single product to $60k/month at its peak, resulting in my best single-product money-maker of the year.

When I asked Pavel, “What makes Affiliaxe special?”, he replied…

All our offers are whitehat and we work with big brands as Norton, Mcafee, Marley Spoon, Omega XL (presented by Larry King), TruthFinder, etc.  We work hard on making our landing pages compliant, while getting campaigns approved as fast as possible. – Pavel Maister, Sr. Affiliate Manager

Finally, the platform is pretty solid. It has a good collection of features and is intuitive to figure out.

If you are experienced and have a lot of weight to throw around, this may be the affiliate network for you, but first, you’ll have to get through qualification.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Health, Digital Entertainment, Mobile
  • Payment methods: Payoneer, Paypal, Check, Wire
  • Minimum payment amount: $100
  • Programs offered: CPA, CPL, CPS

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ShareASale

shareasaleShareASale is among one of the largest U.S. affiliate networks. Doing a quick search, it currently boasts over 3900 merchant programs on its platform and over 1.2M registered affiliates participating.

It’s based out of Chicago, IL and has been operating since 2000 with an outstanding reputation as a fair and honest business.

In January 2017, global affiliate network Awin acquired ShareASale to provide further international affiliate opportunities to domestic advertisers and publishers.

ShareASale is a great affiliate network for people getting into affiliate marketing to promote physical products and are looking for an Amazon Associates alternative.

Personally, I’ve earned a lot of income with ShareASale.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Home & Garden, Fashion, Green, and Business
  • Payment methods: Check; Direct Deposit
  • Minimum payment amount: $50
  • Programs offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC

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FlexOffers

flex offers logoFlexOffers is a massive program with a large variety of advertisers and offers to explore. Those who sign up can choose from over 10,000 of them covering products ranging from seasonal items to consumer electronics.

Due to the large amount of offers, most kinds of programs (CPA, CPI) are represented. Major featured brands on the site have included SKECHERS, Kohls, Macy’s and Barnes & Noble.

Most of those who have tried it out say good things about the dashboard, the customer support and the quality and variety of offers.

There’s a tier 2 referral program where you can earn even by pushing affiliate links to other advertisers.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Automotive, Entertainment, Electronics, Lifestyle
  • Payment methods: PayPal, Payoneer, Wire Transfer
  • Minimum payment amount: $25
  • Programs offered: CPA, CPS, CPI (Depending on advertiser)

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Rakuten Affiliate Network

rakutenFormerly Buy.com, this is another great program for e-commerce focusing mostly on physical goods. It’s another decent alternative to Amazon.

Rakuten represents a variety of different industry-standard brands, including Walmart, Sephora, New Balance, etc.

While their affiliate network is smaller than some competitors with around 1,000 partners, they are one of the oldest affiliate programs, and dedicated to premium technology.

These guys offer a ton of creatives to choose from.  Optimizing sales is made easier through the use of technology such as rotating ads and flexible linking options.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) junkies like myself will get the most out of Rakuten’s slick optimization features that this affiliate network provides.

Fun fact: Rakuten helped me get my best affiliate month ever in December 2016.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Retail Goods, Physical products
  • Payment methods: Check; Direct Deposit; PayPal
  • Minimum payment amount: $50
  • Affiliate programs offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC

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Clickbank

click bankThis large and longstanding affiliate network breaks away from the pack by focusing on digital information products, product launches, and other internet marketing products.

They market over 6 million unique lifestyle products created by digital marketing entrepreneurs. In short, they specialize in info-products and currently reach over 200 million customers.

ClickBank is likely the first you’d be recommended when you’re first getting into digital products, email marketing, or other “making money online” endeavors.

Are they the best in the entire industry for infoproducts?  That’s up to the individual, but I’ve got no complaints. There are plenty of ClickBank alternatives to choose from.

Personally, I’ve never offered an info product to affiliates through an affiliate network, but this is likely where I’d go if I did.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Digital Goods, Dating, Self-Improvement
  • Payment methods: Check, Direct Deposit, Wire Transfer
  • Minimum payment amount: $10
  • Referral program: Yes

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ReviMedia

reviIf rank and rent lead generation is your game, then this affiliate network is not one to be overlooked.

ReviMedia specializes in the industries of insurance, home services and financial verticals in global markets.

They offer a full-service platform that focuses on using superior technology to fully automate lead generation.

Customizers will have a great time with this affiliate network because, with lead scoring and verification technology, they enable you to maximize your revenue and earn higher lead conversions.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Insurance, Financial Services
  • Payment methods: Check, Wire Transfer, PayPal
  • Minimum payment amount: $50

Visit Site

CJ Affiliate

CJ-Logo-WebsiteFormerly Commission Junction, this affiliate marketing network specializes in pay-for-performance programs. It’s considered to be one the largest platforms online.

A simple search can send you down a rabbit hole of different offers.

They operate globally and have affiliate programs for some of the world’s most recognized and specialized retailers.

They have attracted a “who’s who” of premium partners including Home Depot, Apple, TurboTax, and Zappos.

I like them for their high end, powerful reporting tools as well as reliable and timely payments.

That said, they do like to cancel accounts with little to no explanation—similar to Amazon Associates —which we’ll discuss in an upcoming section.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Online Retail, Digital Products, Software
  • Payment methods: Check; Direct Deposit
  • Minimum payment amount: $100 Check; $50 Direct Deposit
  • Programs offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC

Visit Site

2checkout

2 checkout2checkout specializes in global eCommerce of software, digital products, and SaaS solutions.

Their partners include over 4,000 digital businesses in over 180 countries. Strong support from their publisher community has given this partner network a big boost in rankings.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Digital Products, Software, Software-as-a-Service
  • Payment methods: Check, Wire Transfer, PayPal
  • Minimum payment amount: $100

Visit Site

MaxBounty

max bountyThis is a CPA network, which means each advertiser pays for a specific action.

They offer lots of models, including CPA, CPL and mobile. They work with advertisers involved in market research, diet, dating, and real estate.

That action could be a sale, form submission, download, or any other action performed by the visitor. All of them can be tracked then paid for by the advertiser.

There are certain web services (such as software downloads or file sharing) that generate much more affiliate income when using a CPA program—as opposed to premium affiliate networks such as CJ or ShareASale.

If you’re an ace at conversion rate optimization, this is where you want to be.

MaxBounty has been around for over a decade and is consistently considered one of the best and most reliable CPA networks.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Dieting, Dating, Real Estate
  • Payment methods: Check, Direct Deposit, Wire Transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, Bitcoin
  • Minimum payment amount: $100

Visit Site

MoreNiche

morenicheMoreNiche was established in 2002.  While they don’t have much to choose from, the products are quite good, with most of them offering high commissions (30%-40%).

One of the key aspects that sets them apart from other networks is how they treat their affiliates. Their affiliate managers provide proactive support, giving up to date SEO advice, website audits, and CRO suggestions.

They also hold mastermind events, which I’ve attended and spoken at.  They’re great.

Affiliates are not just income generators – the managers want to generally get to know their affiliates and build long-lasting relationships.  This is the best approach you could ask for from your affiliate network.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Bodybuilding, Weight Loss & Health
  • Payment methods: Direct Deposit, Payoneer, Skrill & BitCoin
  • Minimum payment amount: $100
  • Programs offered: CPS

Visit Site

Market Health

Market Health new logoThis is an affiliate network that specializes in health and beauty products, including more than 200 they manufacture themselves.

This is a friendly affiliate network if you’re selling health and beauty products and operating outside the US. It may even be the best choice for you if you meet those conditions.

I’ve done at least $200,000 with Market Health, and a share of that has to do with their eagerness to reward good partners with better rates. It’s easy to negotiate price bumps as soon as you can do better than 20 sales/day.

They have a global reach to more than 100 countries, and many of the offers come complete with localized language and payment processing.

Affiliates of this network also receive access to a range of interesting perks, including robust tracking software powered by Has Offers and free advertising resources including landers and banners.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strength: Health, Beauty, Physical Products
  • Payment methods: Check by Mail, Bank Wire, Skrill, Pre-Paid Debit Cards
  • Minimum payment amount: $20
  • Programs offered: CPA, Profit-sharing

Visit Site

Pepperjam

Pepperjam brandingPepperjam is an affiliate network that claims to offer something new by eliminating the distance between publishers and advertisers.

Publishers (the affiliates) choose to disclose the methods they use to promote products and decent brands, such as Ebates, RetailMeNot and Honey can directly communicate (and offer personalized incentives) with them.

This open communication philosophy extends to the support team, which promises to end the practice of banning partners without warning or appeal.

Affiliates and advertisers are offered the chance to meet directly and network with one another once a year at a conference that also includes the Pepperjam team.

As for offers, they claim to have in excess of 1000 of them. If you focus on working with a particular product and desire a direct relationship with the people who make it, this could be the one for you.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Coupons, Digital Services
  • Payment methods: Paypal, Check; Direct Deposit
  • Minimum payment amount: $25

Visit Site

Avantlinkavantlink

This network has 10 years of history and a great track record for attracting premium merchants who deal with catalog products. It can be a good alternative if you have problems with Amazon or the ebay partner network.

In addition to outdoor suppliers, they connect affiliates to offers involving everything from major appliances to vacations. There are a lot of offers to choose from with this affiliate network.

AvantLink has a reputation for transparency that exists because they allow members to view details about each merchant’s program before they sign on.

Everyone can appreciate the transparency, but they have several features that will appeal directly to more experienced or more technically minded affiliates.

They have a highly customizable setup that allows you to play with the API or add either third-party or your own proprietary apps. The tracking program is also easily customized.

Expect a bit of a process if you want to join their network, however. They’re really proud of the fact that only ⅓ of applicants are invited to join.

You’ll likely need to show traffic numbers before admittance.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Outdoor, Physical Products, Large Retail Products
  • Payment methods: Check
  • Minimum payment amount: $25
  • Programs offered: CPS

Visit Site


Best Affiliate Programs

Amazon Associates

amazon associatesAmazon is the biggest and most well known online retailer in the US. So, it should come as no surprise that they have the largest and most popular network.

They offer you the opportunity to advertise over a million products to customers, including some that don’t have a lot of attention from advertisers yet.

One of the biggest attractions to this affiliate program is its ease of use and the wide range of physical goods and brands that you can market.

Consider that this program offers you the possibility of marketing not only your chosen product but also all accessories and most products related to it.

From experience, 80%+ of the affiliate marketers I know are in Amazon. There are many in that group who have hit 5 and even 6-figure monthly levels, despite Amazon having a payout percentage that’s nowhere near the industry highs.

Enough traffic will make any program lucrative.

It’s not all upside, though. New members should beware as Amazon has very strict terms of service that they rigidly enforce.

They will not hesitate to permanently kick people out of the program for violations, and they don’t care much how much that costs you.

If you’re willing to toe the line though, Amazon Affiliates can be a profitable partner for almost any industry. The ebay partner network we’ll be looking at next is an alternative if you get banned.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Retail Products (all of them), Physical Products, Digital Products
  • Payment methods: Check, Direct Deposit, Amazon.com Gift Certificates
  • Minimum payment amount: $10
  • 60-day hold on payment

Visit Site

eBay Partner Network

ebay logoEbay. You know what it is, but did you know that the ebay partner network is one of the biggest out there? This global marketplace has 1.3 billion listings attracting 182 million active buyers.

The Ebay Partner Network sells to a global market operating in 13 countries around the world. While it doesn’t control as much of the retail market as it’s behemoth competitor, Amazon, it does offer some impressive incentives.

A spokesperson from Ebay Partner Network says…

Today we pay on percent of eBay’s revenue. You can view our rate care here: https://partnernetwork.ebay.com/legal#program-details

Through the Ebay partner network, you can use simple tools to create links, share products via social media, track sales and view easy-to-understand reports and analytics.

Quick Look:

  • Niche strengths: Retail Products (all of them), Physical Products, Digital Products
  • Payment methods: Direct Deposit; PayPal
  • Minimum payment amount: $10

Visit Site

What makes a good affiliate network?

Size

If you’re a merchant, you need an endless supply of affiliates. Likewise, if you’re an affiliate, you need affiliate offers to promote.

Having access to the greatest number of partners is always going to work out better for you for several reasons:

  1. Not every merchant and affiliate is going to be a good match for each other. More affiliate products means more choices.
  2. A massive community is a show of quality. Bad networks bleed both merchants and publishers. People stay if they get paid.

size matters

I don’t mind smaller operations if they’re focused on specific offer types (for example, pay per sale), or niches. However, I steer clear of the programs that are generalized and smaller.

The only time I’d consider them is if I’m struggling to earn decent commissions from established / larger names. Starting on a smaller network more desperate for players can be a good way to build credibility.

Of course, some are only small because they deal with a very specific product. These often have better credibility with merchants in those niches. Small networks can be beneficial if you’re a specialist.

Experience

Running an affiliate network is complicated. There are a lot of moving parts and the business requires plenty of cash flow, to say nothing of strict legal requirements.

Entire affiliate networks can disappear overnight—sometimes with the help of the FTC and the FBI—and leave partners on both sides without any way to claim money that’s owed.

Choosing an aged network is something of an insurance policy. Anyone who has been walking in this minefield for a while is less likely to get into trouble.

Don’t be a guinea pig and don’t put your commissions at risk.

For the protection of your own income streams, look for partners that have been running for more than five years.

Reputation

logo for amazon

Reputation can be a difficult thing to research, but you’ll get a good feeling for it if you gather enough reviews. Speaking of reviews, this is my stand on Amazon.

The Amazon Associate Program is by far the most comprehensive affiliate opportunity online, but it doesn’t treat affiliates well.

I have heard more than a few horror stories from 6-figure affiliate sites that are killing it one day, only to be banned by Amazon the next.

No reason was given, no appeal offered, no chance to come back. Myself included.

If Amazon (the most recognized affiliate marketing program out there) can treat affiliates this poorly, you can be sure that smaller operations can do the same.

I’d recommend you check all the related forums and Facebook groups. When you do, give special attention to the problems that could cost you money. Look for complaints about payments, skimming clicks or sign-ups.

In other words, do your due diligence.

How should you choose the right affiliate network for you?

door options

Picking the right network is a big deal because the investment it can take to get accepted at all is often weeks of work.

I’m talking about building a website, creating 50 or more pages and investing heavily in outreach just to attract the attention needed to get accepted in the first place.

When you do start to finally pitch yourself, you want to be confident in those offers and those who are hosting them. You want to know that you’re going to get paid on time (and at all).

We might love SEO but ultimately, it’s about getting paid.

The networks on our list make the best affiliate network list for many reasons. But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of affiliate marketing programs out there.

The better you get at managing or selling to a certain niche, the more it matters that you try to get paid for the skill that comes with that expertise.

Value yourself and your skills by searching for unique offers that only get offered to experienced affiliate marketers.

If you’re new to CPA affiliate networks or you’re looking for cost-per-lead (an increasingly popular way to monetize your SEO skills) then I’m going to share with you what I think is important to consider when looking at affiliate offers.

I start by asking myself 5 questions.

1. What types of merchants are attracted to the network?

What I really look at when I’m looking at a network is the type of merchants who are attracted to using the network. Try to get a feel for whether the population is large businesses or more local businesses.

It’s not the competitors that I worry too much about, though it can be a bad sign when most of them appear to be novices.

pencil groups

No matter what they’re selling, you want to verify that there is a lot of activity. More specific than that though, you want a network that’s set up to optimize their platform for you.

If you’re part of their “core” business (whether that’s by offer model or niche), then it’s guaranteed that they set up everything to make your life as easy as possible.

2. What’s affiliate model does the network specialize in?

Some of the larger networks that found their way on to my list have a wide range of affiliate models they promote products using.

  • CPA affiliate programs (cost per acquisition),
  • CPL offers (cost per lead)
  • CPS (cost per sale)
  • CPC (cost per click)
  • CPM (cost per 1k impressions)

Smaller networks (which might have great offers) are likely to make it their business model to focus on 1 or 2 affiliate models. This way they can devote more resources to tools that empower just a single method.

affiliate program process

Specializing in a single method offers you a shorter path to the expertise that typically increases your value and gives you access to better percentages.

if you find using a network that focuses on the model you’re looking to use, they’ll be set up to help you make as much money as possible.

3. How involved is the network’s affiliate manager?

The best affiliate networks of reasonable size have affiliate managers to help facilitate and support both affiliate and merchant.

That’s why you want to choose a network known for managers that truly try to help.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “isn’t that most affiliate networks”? Unfortunately, it’s not. Some networks give their managers an entirely different set of goals and incentives.

Some networks force their affiliate managers to act as salespeople. They train them to double as promoters and push you toward products that maximize the revenue for the network.

all about relationship

That often means that they’re pushing bad data at you when you’re looking for support—instead of offering solutions that are aimed at serving your audience.

After a few failed tries, you’re not likely to try to contact these affiliate managers again. That means that you’re missing out on a critical level of support that is available on other networks.

Good types of managers will go out of their way to find the offers that build on the areas where you’re already starting to excel.

Beyond that, they help you in even more concrete ways. They provide assets and creatives. They’ll be easily contactable and available to talk you through any payment problems or questions you have.

4. What safety measures does the network take?

This is normally the chief concern for the merchant rather than the affiliate. They’re the ones dealing with the greatest amount of money, so it’s a question for their lawyers, accountants and security officers.

You’ll be feeding them traffic or leads via your affiliate link, with the expectation that they’ll pay you the agreed commission rate: on time and in full.

But it’s all part of the ecosystem. As an affiliate, you want a clear and transparent relationship with the merchant via the network.

You’ll want an affiliate network that protects the merchant against fraud because it means fewer complications for you. Problems may lead to the merchant abandoning the affiliate network after you’ve built a relationship.

Better security simply means fewer possibilities of having payments frozen. This is especially important if you’re focused on mobile traffic.

real time data

You also need to protect your own affiliate links from scammers. You need to protect your sales data from people who want to steal it to mimic what you’re doing.

Other things I always make it a point in checking are:

Real-Time Data: I love SEO because it’s data-driven and I take that into my research for affiliate programs (assuming it’s not the Amazon Associate Program).

Naturally, I make a decision on which keywords to target based on (among other things) the affiliate products I can promote.

I need as much data as possible on how well that offer converts before I dig into whether it’s worth ranking for from an SEO perspective.

5. Payment Policies and Platforms

If you want to get paid on time, make sure you review your chosen affiliate network’s payment policies and platforms before you join.

Sometimes, you only have yourself to blame when these are frustrating to deal with.

Payment policy

Payment frequency is important, but it’s not as simple as wanting to be paid as swiftly as possible.

Some affiliate networks will try to claw back commissions based on changing policies, refunds or other factors.

payment policy

This is likely to be more or less of an issue depending on the affiliate model that you’ve chosen.

This might be an issue, for example, if it’s a CPL, CPS or CPA model, I would prefer to be paid after the refund period has passed, so I know where I stand.

Payment Method

Do not get invested into an affiliate network for a month or two without figuring out what they use as their preferred payment method.

Make sure that you’ll be able to receive your money without it getting frozen or destroyed by bank fees in the process.

I know that some networks used to pay by checks only. That can be a serious problem for some because some countries around the world no longer use checks.

payment method in cash

Even countries that use checks might refuse to cash checks that have been sent from other countries.

Platform/Dashboard.

It’s a pet peeve. It will be an even worse one, if like me, you’ve already had the benefit of working with partners who have great dashboards.

When you find a one that has poorly-laid-out dashboards that makes it near impossible to find offers or access important data.

We all need to make an informed decision. Collecting our money depends on having a clear understanding of our performance. Don’t forget to take your platform for a spin, make sure it functions the way you’d like it.

Go Make the Best of the Best Networks

With all this information, you should have a much easier time finding the right program for you.

It’s as easy as choosing one from the list that matches your niche, your level of experience and your need for security and support.

affiliate marketing

If you have any other questions about these affiliate networks or their niches, I hope that you’ll leave them in the comments, below.

FAQ

Can you really make money with affiliate programs?

Yes. There are affiliates earning at all ranges. From $100 per month to $1,000,000 per month.

How much money can you make being an Amazon affiliate?

Despite having a low affiliate commission rate, Amazon affiliates benefit from the trust that visitors have when visiting Amazon. Associates can make between $0 and $100k-$300k per month.

Are affiliate programs worth it?

Absolutely. The easy barrier to entry makes it worth it for any digital marketer to try their hand at affiliate marketing. You don’t need to source products, deal with customer service, etc.

Is affiliate marketing easy?

Yes and no. Some aspects of affiliate marketing are easy, such as requiring a low lack of resources compared to other online avenues of business. But competition is high and will continue to grow that way over time.

Can I be an affiliate without a website?

Yes, indeed. There are many forms of affiliate marketing that don’t require websites. These include avenues such as email marketing, or paid advertisement marketing via social media (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube).