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 more than one affiliate program through a single registration.
- Providing analytics, various reporting tools, and reliable payment processing.
No matter what types of affiliate products or services you promote, you can find a variety of reliable affiliate networks to suit your needs.
This article will help you do that. Let’s get started.
Below is a list of my personal list of the best affiliate networks for 2021. 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.
Table Of Contents
- 2021’s Best Affiliate Networks
- Best Affiliate Networks For Beginners
- What Makes a Good Affiliate Network?
- Go Make the Best of the Best Networks
2021’s Best Affiliate Networks
Affiliaxe bills itself as the best option for experienced marketers.
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 and high commissions. 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…
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.
ShareASale 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 publishers 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.
Personally, I’ve earned a lot of income with ShareASale.
FlexOffers 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.
Rakuten Affiliate Network
Formerly 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 networks, 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.
This 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 digital 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 digital products? 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 any digital products to publishers through an affiliate network, but this is likely where I’d go if I did.
If rank and rent lead generation is your game, then this affiliate network is not one to be overlooked.
PX 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.
Formerly 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.
2checkout 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.
This 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.
MoreNiche 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 affiliates networks is how they treat their people. 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 – each affiliate manager wants to generally get to know their customers and build long-lasting relationships. This is the best approach you could ask for from your affiliate network.
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.
Affiliate marketers of this network also receive access to a range of high quality perks, including robust tracking software powered by Has Offers and free advertising resources including landers and banners.
Pepperjam 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 merchants who make it, this affiliate network could be the one for you.
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 affiliate partners 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 publishers.
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.
Best Affiliate Networks For Beginners
Amazon 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 commissions 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.
eBay Partner Network
Ebay. 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 affiliate links, share products via social media, track sales and view easy-to-understand reports and analytics to help you make money.
What Makes a Good Affiliate Network?
If you’re a merchant, you need an endless supply of affiliates (and the traffic they bring). 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:
- Not every merchant and affiliate is going to be a good match for each other. More affiliate products means more choices.
- A massive community is a show of quality. Bad affiliate networks bleed both merchants and publishers. People stay if they get paid.
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.
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.
For the protection of your own income streams, look for partners that have been running for more than five years.
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 and has lower commissions.
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.
Go Make the Best of the Best Networks
With all this information, you should have a much easier time finding the right affiliate network for you.
It’s as easy as choosing one from the list that matches your niche, your level of affiliate marketing experience and your need for security and support.
If you have any other questions about these affiliate networks or their niches, I hope that you’ll leave them in the comments, below.