Top Affiliate Networks

Top Affiliate Networks
Affiliate Networks

In this post, we will explore some of the best affiliate networks.

For a beginner, all these concepts can be complicated. To make things clear, we will explain some of the jargon of our ecosystem briefly before we list the networks.

Affiliate Program: In our ecosystem, affiliate programs are the main components. Everything is happening around affiliate programs. It is straightforward. Merchants determine the rules of the program. eg. Promote Product/Service A by using this affiliate link. If there will be a sale in 30 days connected to the traffic you sent, you will get 10% of the sale price as your commission. This rule itself is the core of the program.

Affiliate: You are an affiliate if you promote that product or service. You are the one who will get that commission. You can be an affiliate marketer, content producer, publisher, blogger, vlogger, YouTuber, or influencer. Your title is not so important. You are an affiliate in this ecosystem.

Merchant: You sell a product or a service. You need more sales. You need to advertise (people may also call you an advertiser or vendor). Instead of paying a direct advertising fee, you accept to pay commissions. Voila, you are a merchant in our ecosystem. (For the sake of this description, let’s think Pay Per Sale and Pay Per Lead structures. Many other payment structures exist, of course, such as Pay Per Click, Pay Per Impression, etc.)

What is the role of affiliate networks in this setting?

Let’s continue with an image.

The galaxy of affiliate programs
The galaxy of affiliate programs
The galaxy of affiliate programs — Image Credit

Imagine, all the affiliate programs in the world are in the image above. All of them. Let’s say all blacks in the image are affiliate programs.

Now, circles or rings represent affiliate networks. As you will see there, in order to reach some of the affiliate programs you need to visit a circle (network).

Some of the merchants decide to work with an affiliate network or multiple affiliate networks at the same time. That’s why you will see that the circles in the image overlap. So as an affiliate you can join the same program with the luxury of choosing which affiliate network to use as an intermediary.

Some of the merchants decide to run their program independently, without being a part of any affiliate network. Hence they run it “in-house”. So if you see a black part without any circles on it, it represents an in-house affiliate program.

In summary, affiliate networks are intermediaries between merchants and affiliates. They help merchants by allowing them to reach many affiliates at once and automating administrative stuff. They help affiliates by allowing them to reach many programs at once and following reports and payments from one dashboard.

At this point, we need to clarify something. From time to time, we see that people mix affiliate networks and affiliate program directories.

You can use an affiliate network as a directory. They classify the programs that they have within their network and show you as a catalog. From there you can apply to the programs you are interested in.

There are two disadvantages.

Look at the image above one more time. Instead of looking at the whole image, you will be looking at one circle only. Because you are inside the boundaries of one circle (network). So you will be missing a whole lot of affiliate programs outside that circle. Like being limited to the movies inside the catalog of Netflix or Hulu.

Second. Since many affiliate networks get their own commission from sales or get paid by a merchant in a different arrangement, they tend to feature programs that they “like”. Not ideal for affiliates who want to choose the most suitable program for their needs.

Now, back to directories. Affiliate program directories are independent resources. At least, they should be. Most of them have become outposts of affiliate networks to collect commissions or they excel at promoting shady and spammy affiliate programs.

That’s why we develop Affiliate Program Database (APDB). It is an independent affiliate program directory. We operate under the guidance of our Unbiased Information Policy.

APDB is a compass for affiliates. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.. the galaxy in the image above :)

We want to show you all the options. All programs, in and out of network circles. Circles, black parts, overlaps, everything. We try to give you the whole picture in a transparent way on APDB.

This is the difference between directories and networks. Networks can act as a directory but a directory can’t act as a network. The purpose of a directory should be different.

Ok, let’s start listing networks.

But we need to determine a methodology first. Because affiliate networks are like neighborhoods. In some, you can live and work peacefully. In some, they will steal your car. In some, you will wake up in a bathtub full of ice with a kidney missing :)

Don’t worry, we will protect you.

Here are our rules:

Ready, Set, Go!

Networks that focus on Pay Per Sale and Pay Per Lead programs

If you want us to add your network to the list, contact us:

Do you want to join our community on Reddit? Anything and everything about affiliate marketing: r/AffiliateMarketing247

Affiliate Program Database (APDB):

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