Welcome to the first in a 5 part series where we will take a look at the top 50 affiliate marketing platforms that you can use to make affiliate commissions. For each platform, we will look at what makes them good enough to get into our top 50 list. You can use the information in these posts to identify the “best fit” platforms for your business.
ShareASale is a very popular affiliate marketing platform for many good reasons. It has an excellent reputation and has been around for a long time. In 2017, Awin (another platform we will discuss in this article) acquired ShareASale for $35 million but the website still retains its branding – for now at least.
It is pretty easy to apply to become an affiliate for ShareASale. All you need to do is to provide the following details:
- Your username
- Your password
- Your country of residence
- Your primary affiliate website (you need to use a live website they will want to use it for verification)
- Your email address – we recommend that you use an email address with a domain that you own rather than a Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook or other free address
- Provide full contact details
- Select your payment method
- Agree to the terms and conditions
It will only take you around 10 to 15 minutes to complete your application. After providing all of your details you will need to wait for account approval. ShareASale is pretty efficient at this and a wait of one business day is usual.
When you log in to ShareASale you will see your dashboard. You will be able to apply to all of the merchants that are associated with the network from here. From your dashboard, you can also generate affiliate links and see all of your metrics.
There are many merchants associated with ShareASale and you will have to make a separate application to each one to gain approval to promote their products and services. This is the usual approach for affiliate platforms like ShareASale.
One of the best things about the ShareASale affiliate marketing platform is that it offers both physical products and digital products for you to promote. There are more than 4,500 merchants that use the ShareASale platform including some well known large companies and other smaller companies.
If you want to promote physical products then you will be spoilt for choice. Some examples include:
- Home and garden
- Sports merchandise
- Green products
There are less digital products and services but these include:
- Web hosting
- WordPress themes
- WordPress plugins
No matter what niche you are in it is very likely that you will find related products and services to promote on ShareASale. Commission rates vary on this platform and the different merchants that you chose to sign up will set them. The individual merchants also set the cookie duration parameters.
With ShareASale, the minimum payout is $50. You can use the “Trending Merchants” feature to see the top ten merchant programs on the platform. When you are looking for offers to promote, you will find the search feature useful. You can filter offers by:
- Earning per click (7 days or 30 days)
- Commission on sales
- Commission for leads
- The ShareASale Power Rank
- Length of cookies
- Auto approval
- Two-tier programs
You have so many options with the search facility there are just too many to list here. Commission payments occur on the 20th day of each month using a “net 30” arrangement. So on 20th September, you will receive payment for commissions you made up to 20th August. You can receive payment by:
- Direct deposit
ShareASale does not offer PayPal as a payment option. Having the money sent directly to your bank is a good idea, as is transferring it to your Payoneer account (free to join) as you can withdraw your money from any ATM with this.
The CJ Affiliate marketing platform (known before as Commission Junction) has been around for many years. It is similar to ShareASale in that it gives you access to thousands of merchants on one platform. At the time of writing this article, the CJ Affiliate platform had more than 2,600 different merchants associated with it.
You will recognize some of the big-name physical and digital product and service merchants on CJ Affiliate which include:
- IHG Hotels
- Office Depot
You will also see several smaller merchants available through the platform as well. As with ShareASale, you have a dashboard that enables you to make individual applications to the different merchants. You can also look at your statistics and grab affiliate links from your dashboard.
To apply to become a CJ affiliate you need to provide some basic contact details first and then they will send you a confirmation email. After confirming your email address you will be required to enter your country, language, currency, and create a password. Then you need to provide more contact information and add your website details.
One of the most impressive things about the CJ Affiliate platform is the amount of large and instantly recognizable brands that associate with it. It has always been the best platform for well-known brands which is a major reason for its popularity.
The CJ dashboard does take some getting used to but there are some good features. From the dashboard you will have access to:
- Your account details
- Affiliate links
- Insights (advanced reports)
You will find that the CJ dashboard is pretty uncluttered which is not the same for all affiliate marketing platforms. There are different color schemes to help navigation.
Finding offers to promote is fairly straight forward. There is a good search function which allows you to filter by:
- The type of merchant (advertiser)
- The status of the merchant
- The permissible areas
You can expand your search further by filtering for the profit potential of a merchant. Start by using the right category and then you can sort offers in terms of their EPC. Use these filters to find what you are looking for:
- EPC 7 days
- EPC 3 months
- Network Earnings
Sort the “Network Earnings” from high to low as this will help you to identify the merchants that have some of the highest EPC’s and commission levels. Some merchants will require you to have made sales with other merchants before approving your application.
Commission payments are the same as ShareASale made on the 20th of each month using the Net 30 principle. There is a minimum payout of $50 and the 3 payment options are:
- Direct Deposit
Again you will not find a PayPal option with CJ Affiliates. There is a lot to like about the CJ Affiliate platform. The company has been around since 1998 and they have a good reputation for both the merchants that they have available and paying their affiliates on time.
Awin (which you may know as Affiliate Window) is a huge affiliate marketing platform. At the time of writing the platform had some 13,000 merchants associated with it. With this many merchants, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to promoting both physical products and digital products and services.
There are some big brands you will recognize on Awin including:
- Under Armour
There are also thousands of smaller merchants that offer products and services across a wide range of niches. Awin operates in a similar way to ShareASale and CJ in that you need to make an individual application to every merchant that you want to promote.
It is not difficult to apply for an Awin account. You will require:
- A live website containing quality content
- Provision of your personal or company details
- Choose the country where you want to promote e.g. United States
- Pay a $5 screening fee which is part of a 2 step verification process (you will get this $5 back)
Awin has a good reputation overall with affiliates. Some affiliates claim to have made a lot of money using the platform. There is a minimum payout level of $20. The commission payment methods are:
- Direct transfer
- ACH (e.g. Payoneer)
The duration of payments depends on the merchant. Awin has a “payment status” feature that works on traffic light colors. So if you promote an offer from a merchant that has a “green” status, Awin will pay you regardless of when they receive payment from this merchant.
If you choose to promote an offer that has an “amber” status then you will have to wait for your commission payments until the merchant has paid Awin. The “red” status refers to the merchant having to pay Awin for all outstanding invoices before they will pay you. We recommend that you avoid merchants that have a “red” status.
There are different rates of commission for different offers on Awin. The highest commission level you can expect is 50% and there are a lot below this (some 10% and lower). The various merchants set all commission levels. They also set the cookie duration.
Within Awin you can see:
- Offer conversion rate
- Approval rate
Another useful tool provided by Awin is its convert-a-link plugin. Add this to your WordPress site and it will automatically convert your product links into affiliate tracking links. You can even earn commissions on products listed on Awin that you are not an affiliate for with this tool.
You may have heard of the affiliate marketing platform “Linkshare” before. Now they go by the name “Rakuten Marketing”. One of the good things about this platform is their association with some well-known brands such as:
- Best Buy
- Jet Blue
- Papa Johns
Rakuten operates in a similar way to ShareASale, CJ, and Awin but they only have around 1,000 merchants at the time of writing. This still gives you a fair amount of scope and you should be able to find offers for most niches. The “big hitter” merchants make the platform attractive to a lot of affiliates.
This affiliate marketing platform started in 1996 making it one of the oldest platforms around. They have a good reputation among affiliates. The parent company, Rakuten Marketing, is a very large Japanese e-commerce outfit that acquired Linkshare in 2005.
You will need to make an application to become an affiliate for Rakuten Marketing. The good news is that there is only a single sign up page, the bad news is that they require a lot of information from you. It is essential that you have a live website or you will not obtain approval. On average it takes around 5 business days for an application review.
The Rakuten dashboard is not as polished as some of the others but it gets the job done. To find relevant offers just go to “Programs” and then “Categories”. You can use a keyword to find niche related offers. There is an “Apply” button associated with each offer so that you can make an application to the individual merchant.
Some merchants will approve you automatically while others subject you to an approval process. One of the things missing with Rakuten is the ability to search by EPC. This is something that affiliates use all of the time to identify offers that are worth promoting.
After a merchant approves you it is very easy to generate affiliate links. With each approved merchant (advertiser) you will see a “View Links” option which will provide you access to text links, banners, images, etc.
Some affiliates will not like the fact that Rakuten works on a Net 60 basis which means you will have to wait a minimum of 60 days to receive commissions. There are three payment methods that you can choose from:
- Direct transfer
The check payment option is not available in all countries which surprisingly includes tier 1 nations such as:
- United Kingdom
Even if you are eligible for a check payment we recommend using another method as it can take a long time for checks to arrive even in the United States. The minimum commission payment threshold with Rakuten is $50.
FlexOffers is another popular affiliate marketing platform that provides affiliates access to more than 12,000 merchants. It is easy to find new offers on FlexOffer because every day they add around 50 new merchants.
There are well-known brands and smaller brands associated with the FlexOffer platform. Some of the more well-known brands include:
- Barnes & Noble
- A T & T
- H & M
- Fresh Books
- Best Western
FlexOffers say that around 500 of their merchants are in the “premium” category which is better than most affiliate marketing platforms can offer. This is very impressive for a platform seen as a lesser option than CJ and ShareASale for example.
There are 4 steps involved with making an application to FlexOffers:
- Provide your email address for verification and supply a password
- Complete the account registration form which will require basic personal or business information
- Tell FlexOffers where you will use your affiliate links – the traffic sources you will use such as your website, social media profiles, your email lists, etc. You will also need to confirm if you operate a comparison or coupon site and use pop-ups.
- The last step is website ownership and phone number verification
We would always recommend that you have your own domain name and website when applying to these affiliate marketing platforms. Interestingly, FlexOffers will accept free sites on Blogger, Wix, and WordPress.com for example.
Your dashboard with FlexOffers could do with some improvement. From the dashboard, you can navigate to:
- Merchants (advertisers)
- Affiliate links
- Data feeds
Finding affiliate offers is reasonably simple. The “Search Advertisers” feature is the best way to start. You can use niche keywords here or enter the name of the merchant. Other ways that you can search for merchants include:
- Data feeds
- Payout types
The payout type is a useful feature as you can find affiliate programs based on:
- Commissions per sale
- Commissions per lead
- Commissions per action
- Commissions per install
- Commissions per click
FlexOffers will provide you with offers EPC’s and when you find something that you want to promote then all you need to do is to hit the “Apply Now” button. As usual, you will need to make individual merchant applications. It takes around 2 to 3 business days to find out if they approve or decline you.
Once approved by merchants it is fairly simple to get affiliate links. You can get the full HTML code and FlexOffers has its own link shortening feature which avoids the need to use third party services.
FlexOffers uses a Net 60 arrangement for commission payouts. So you will need to wait for at least 60 days to receive commissions earned. The minimum payment threshold is $25 and you will have to pay a fee for certain payment methods. The methods available are:
- Bank transfer ($1 fee)
- Check ($3 fee)
- Wire transfer ($5 fee)
To be eligible for a wire transfer you will need to reach a threshold level of $1,000 before they will pay you. Launched in 2008, FlexOffers has a pretty good reputation and has a high number of merchants so you should be able to find offers in virtually any niche.
If promoting digital products is your thing then you need to take a look at the Avangate affiliate marketing platform. In 2017, Avangate acquired the payment processor, 2 Checkout, and there is often confusion about the names. You need to join the Avangate affiliate platform rather than sign up for a 2 Checkout account.
The Avangate platform provides you with access to several different digital products and service merchants. Some of the more famous merchants include:
- Hide My Ass
At the time of writing, there were more than 22,000 digital products and services that you can promote using the Avangate platform. One of the good things about Avangate is that you can search their platform to see if any of the offers are a good fit for you without the need to sign up.
The application process for Avangate is simple. You will need to provide the following information:
- First and last name
- Email address
- Company or sole trader name
- Physical address details
Your application requires approval but in general, this is pretty fast. After gaining approval you can access your dashboard which contains the main menu. You will find the product and service offers arranged in categories:
- Business and Finance
- Home and Education
- Web Authoring
- Software Training
This is helpful to identify offers that are relevant to your niche. The commissions vary for each offer and some are as high as 85%. You will receive commissions for generating product or service sales.
A good thing about Avangate is that you can promote custom landing pages. From your landing page, you can link directly to the checkout page for the offer. Being able to create funnels like this is a great way to increase your conversions.
It is also possible to use data feeds with Avangate so that you can automatically display features and other details for the products. This is a great tool when you intend to promote multiple products on the Avangate platform.
Avangate has a minimum payment threshold of $100 which affiliates find fairly easy to achieve given the range of products and services available for promotion. There are 4 payment methods:
- Wire transfer
- Avangate MasterCard
You can filter the Avangate marketplace by the newest offers or those that have the highest commission payouts. The minimum cookie duration is 30 days and with some merchants, this can be as long as 180 days.
Avangate started in 2006 and has a good reputation with affiliates. The support offered is very good and everything about the interface is simple to understand. With so many digital products and services available it is worth considering this platform.
If you are familiar with CPA (Cost Per Action) marketing then you may have heard of Peerfly before. The platform launched in 2009 and is continuously growing with over 3,300 associated merchants at the time of writing. There are more than 8,000 offers available on Peerfly and offer types are:
- Cost per action
- Cost per lead
- Cost per sale
There are several different categories on Peerfly so it should be fairly easy for you to find offers related to your niche. There are business to business offers, fashion, health, photography, and many more.
Although there are quite a few smaller brands on Peerfly they do have some larger well-known ones as well such as:
You will find both physical products and digital product offers on Peerfly. The merchant presenting the offer dictates the commission levels and you will have to obtain approval from different merchants to promote their offers.
It is not as easy to have your application approved by Peerfly as it is with other affiliate network platforms. They are pretty choosy about who they accept. Your application will require you to provide basic details including:
- Your name
- Website URL
- Marketing tactics
You will need to tell Peerfly how you have promoted your website. You must use an active website when you make your application. Peerfly has a very strict application process and they will certainly check your site.
It will take a couple of business days for you to find out if your application was successful or not. Sometimes an affiliate manager will request a call with you using a service like Skype or Zoom to ask you questions about the offers that you want to promote and the methods that you will use. Just be confident during these calls.
Most of the offers on Peerfly are CPA. With CPA offers you can make a few cents for each action completed up to a few dollars. You will need to drive a lot of traffic to be successful with CPA offers. It is easier to get a visitor to complete an action such as enter their email address than it is to persuade them to purchase a product though.
Peerfly has a minimum payout threshold of $50. There are 5 ways that affiliates can receive their commissions from Peerfly:
- ACH/Direct Deposit (only in the United States)
- Bank wire (fee for US $22, international $22)
- Check ($5 fee for non-US)
- PayPal (2% fee capped at $20)
- Payoneer (free transfer)
You need to discuss payout arrangements with your Peerfly affiliate manager as they offer Net 30, Net 15, and Net 7. Your assigned affiliate manager wants you to succeed and they will offer you a lot of support which is great.
Did you know that eBay has its own affiliate marketing platform? Well, it does and when you join it you can earn commissions on eBay listings that you promote. This means everything listed on eBay which provides you with a huge choice. We recommend that you promote the permanent listings rather than auctions as these are transient.
To become an eBay Partner Network Affiliate you will need an eBay account. At the bottom of the eBay home page, you will see an “Affiliates” link so click on this and sign up. You will need to provide your address and choose your payment option. Then you will have to fill out the required tax form.
To be eligible for the eBay Partner Network program you need:
- To be at least 18 years of age
- To have an eBay account that’s in good standing
- To live in a country where you can receive a direct deposit or PayPal payments
- To have a website or other online platform that does not contain illegal, adult or restricted content
It is not difficult to become an affiliate. You don’t have to meet minimum traffic to your website thresholds as other affiliate marketing platforms require for example. Almost anyone can become an eBay affiliate.
One of the great things about eBay is that it has been around for a long time and people from all around the world trust the platform. You may not be aware that eBay sells millions of items at set prices. This is really good news for you.
You can promote eBay listings using your website or on your social media profiles. To start making money as an eBay affiliate you need to do three things:
- Find an item for sale on eBay that suits your niche and that you trust
- Obtain a traceable affiliate link by using the tools available in the eBay Partner Network
- Add the affiliate links to your website or blog, social media profiles, email marketing campaigns, etc
You need to be aware that eBay will not make a lot of money with certain categories such as special promotions, items that charities sell, and gift cards. As a result, you will not make much with these categories either.
The cookie duration for set price items is 24 hours. If you want to promote auctions then you will earn a commission even if it lasts for up to ten days. There is a payment threshold of only $10 and the eBay Partner Network will pay you each month using direct deposit or directly into your PayPal account.
Walmart is one of the most famous stores in the world. You can purchase almost anything at Walmart which is great news for you if you want to join their affiliate marketing platform. It will be pretty easy for you to find products sold by Walmart that are a good fit for you. Even obscure items such as rifle sights or a 3D printer are available.
No other offline retailer in the United States can match Walmart for its range of products. You can earn a commission on any product that Walmart sells, unlike other platforms. A company called Radius Impact runs the affiliate platform for Walmart.
As a Walmart affiliate, you will have access to your unique affiliate links and creative’s like banner ads. It is a lot easier than you may think to apply to join the Walmart affiliate network. You will need 3 things:
- A family-friendly website
- North America must provide the majority of your website traffic
- Your site must work at the time you make your application
You need to know that although Walmart makes a great deal of money each year their margins are very tight. They have immense overheads that all have to factor into the prices so there isn’t a great deal of money left to pay affiliates. As a result, you can expect to earn only between 1% and 4% commission on any products you promote.
Some categories pay a higher commission than others. If you promote toys sold by Walmart then you will earn 4% while other online retailers are paying less. Walmart will place a tracking cookie that lasts for 3 days which is better than one of its major competitors.
Here are some of the benefits of being a Walmart affiliate:
- Their brand recognition is huge – almost everyone trusts Walmart
- There are more than 4 million products you can promote
- There are usually professionally designed banner ads and other graphics that you can use on your site to increase conversions
- You can use data feeds which are good for top-selling products as well as exclusive products
Walmart pays its affiliates every month using Net 60 which means that you will need to wait a minimum of 60 days to receive your commissions. You earn commissions on net sales and this does not include shipping and handling, returns, or sales tax. All payments made via bank transfer. There is a minimum payment threshold of $50.
Fiverr is the world’s largest marketplace for digital services. There are more than 3 million gigs available at the time of writing that you can promote to earn a commission. It gets even better if you recommend new buyers to the Fiverr platform through their dynamic CPA model. Every four seconds someone purchases a Fiverr gig.
There are many different categories of gig available on Fiverr such as:
- Graphic design
- SEO services
- Voiceover services
- Content writing
- WordPress services
- Video creation
Fiver has introduced a “Pro” section where they handpick the highest quality professionals to sell their services at premium rates. To become a Pro seller all applicants have to pass a stringent application process and only a very small number make it. You can make great money promoting Pro gigs.
There are good commission rates with the Fiverr affiliate platform. Two commission plans exist which are:
- A CPA for first-time buyers of between $15 and $50
- A $10 CPA with an additional 10% revenue share for any purchases made in the first year
Different subcategories earn different CPA commissions. This works as follows:
- Explainer videos and whiteboard videos – $50
- WordPress services – $40
- Copywriting for business – $30
- Blog post and article writing – $25
- Other subcategories – $15
If you promote Fiverr Pro gigs then you will earn $150 CPA and you can earn 30% promoting Fiverr Learn. It is a good idea to recruit sub-affiliates for the Fiverr platform too as you will earn 10% of their revenue.
Another good thing about the Fiverr affiliate platform is that they provide you with a 30-day cookie. You can also perform deep linking to specific Fiverr pages. Affiliates have access to a large number of marketing materials such as banners available in different sizes and formats and different languages too.
The minimum payout threshold for commissions is $100. You have the option to choose either US Dollars, GB Pounds or Euros. You can receive your commission payouts in three ways:
- Bank transfer (wire ACH)
It is easy to promote services from Fiverr. Many people are still not aware that this market place even exists and are used to paying a lot more for graphic design and other in-demand services. Content is a very good choice because all websites need it. Find a good content writer on Fiverr and promote their gigs for good commissions.
Applying to become a Fiverr affiliate is easy. You need to complete the form and provide the following details:
- Your username
- Email address
- First and last name
There is an approval review process which is quick. Sometimes they approve affiliates in minutes of receiving their application. Provide as much information as possible to help your case such as your website details and why you want to be a Fiverr affiliate. Your website or blog needs to provide how-to advice and tips related to online services.
We hope that you have found part one of our 50 Best Affiliate Marketing Platforms helpful and informative. You need to check out what an affiliate platform can offer you and if it is the best fit for your online marketing. Watch this space for part two as we will post it very shortly.
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