With the advent of the internet, people have been finding newer ways to make money. This is why digital marketing and similar forms of advertising are on the rise. Arguably, they’re some of the best ways you can make cash in this day and age.
Affiliate marketing is especially effective. If you run a popular website, you can make cash through affiliate links that would bring you commissions. In the end, you’re making money by doing nothing.
Although it can be easy, you may think it’s hard to get affiliate links on your site. This is far from the case as you can join programs through the aid of affiliate networks. After all, there are enough of them out there.
In this article, we’ll be providing you with a look at the best networks, so that you know which is worth your time.
How Do You Choose The Best Affiliate Network?
Before we dive into the reviews, you need to know what makes up the best affiliate networks.
When choosing a program, look for a network with the most advertisers. This would help you find an affiliate network that would get you the most commissions. If you’re an advertiser, you need a site that has a large publisher pool. Otherwise, there’ll be no one to host your links.
The site should be easy to use as well. If not, you’ll find it hard to communicate with respective parties.
You may be new to affiliate marketing. It isn’t hard to get around, but your best bet would be to find a network that offers a guide. This allows you to learn everything you need to know.
If you’re a publisher, traffic requirements have to be noted. You may be a small website, so if the network only lets publishers with a lot of traffic, you’ll be wasting time trying to join their programs.
And lastly, look for a site that offers adequate payment methods. If they only pay through Paypal and Paypal isn’t available in your country, you’re going to be in a sticky situation.
VigLink – The King Of Affiliate Networks
VigLink is one of the most popular affiliate networks out there. If you’ve ever wanted to work with an affiliate network, you’ve probably visited their site at least once.
They’re an American network based in San Francisco. Their company was founded in March 2009 by its CEO Oliver Roup.
VigLink is enormous. In 2012 alone their CEO stated that they were working on over 5 billion pages a month. Compared to their competitors, this is very impressive.
If you choose to work with the platform, get ready to meet with success. They have one of the largest publisher pools out there at 2 million.
Their advertiser pool is massive as well. If you work with the network, you can choose from 70,000 merchants.
Not only is this a vast number, but many of these merchants are a mix of large and small names so your choices are diverse.
VigLink spoils its users in terms of payment choices. There are four ways you can receive your money. This is either through PayPal, direct deposit, check or ACHs. Although great, there’s a downside to this. Depending on where you live, these payment choices differ.
Like the majority of affiliate networks out there, you might be wondering if VigLink’s services affect SEO work. The answer is no, thankfully. However, this is common with affiliate networks as many of them offer affiliate links that don’t negatively affect sites.
If you choose to work with the network, the cherry on top is the fact that anyone can join. Many of VigLink’s competitors have strict traffic requirements, limiting the number of publishers that can join their programs. There’s nothing like this on the platform. That being said, if you don’t get the most traffic, you might not want to work with them. You won’t get any clicks, so no commissions for you.
ShareASale – Work With Exclusive Brands
ShareASale is a US giant when it comes to affiliate networks. Unlike Rakuten (the network on our number 7 spot), they weren’t bought over by another company. So, you could argue that they’re the largest affiliate network in the US.
As of now, they have over 700,000 affiliates a part of their site. 700,000 is a huge number of influencers to have around. If you’re an advertiser, this is good news.
Since its inception, the company has steadily been growing. They’ve won a number of awards, including the APP Fair Practice Award, which is quite impressive.
As ShareASale is such a major name, you don’t have to worry about working with them. They have a reputation to live up to which is why they pay their users on the 20th of every month. To some, this is great news, but certain networks pay their users weekly.
Although they have over 700,000 publishers for advertisers to choose from, the number of merchants they have isn’t the best. There are a little over 5000 as of now. Although it’s disappointing, some of the merchants on their site are very big names.
In fact, they have an exclusive collection of 1000 names that you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re wondering what kind of names are on ShareASale, they are Viator, WP Engine, Mod Cloth, Jillian Michaels, and the NBA Store.
If you’re a fan of custom affiliate links, you’ll enjoy the time you spend on the platform. We all know that users don’t like clicking long links as they’re daunting.
Unfortunately, ShareASale’s sign up process is not known to be quick, so keep this in mind.
Awin – A German Powerhouse
Awin wasn’t always known by that name. The affiliate network used to be called Zanox and had a considerable presence. They adopted the name Awin after they rebranded by merging with their sister company.
Like other networks, they’re based in Germany. Awin was founded in Berlin.
They’re big, but you may be wondering how reputed they truly are. Well, Awin has over 100,000 publishers on their site. The number of publishers is steadily growing which is something all advertisers want to hear. In terms of the advertiser pool, there are about 13,000 of the present. This isn’t the smallest but it’s certainly not the largest out there.
Like Rakuten, Awin is an international company. They represent over 180 countries which is impressive.
Not only is the Awin platform easy to use, but there’s also a range of tools that you’ll love. The platform has a convert-a-link plugin that is quite popular. Basically, it searches your site and turns any link into an affiliate link. As you can imagine, this drastically increases your income.
However, you need to pay a security deposit when you join. You’ll have to deposit $5 if you want an account on the site. Thankfully, this is not a lot of money. However, you won’t get your $5 if you don’t make a commission.
You won’t get a thorough training as you would on other networks, and there are barely any resources for you to use. If you’re new to affiliate marketing, this can make or break your decision to work with the network.
Adrecord – Sweden’s Favourite Affiliate Network
Situated in Sweden, Adrecord has been around for a decade in affiliate marketing. During this time, it has managed to get both well-known advertisers and affiliates on board with its operation. As such, the company has grown rather quickly.
So, what can affiliates expect from this organization? Well, to begin with, Adrecord caters mostly to more experienced affiliates. Thus, you may be more successful with this company if you have been managing various accounts by yourself.
Nevertheless, the company does give you plenty of opportunities to succeed. As mentioned, their advertisers are already quite renowned. This makes it a lot easier for you to convince people to head to their sites.
However, Adrecord makes this even easier. This is all thanks to the deep linking feature. Essentially, this allows your readers or followers to be directed to a specific product or service upon clicking on your link.
As you can imagine, this increases the chance of that visitor being converted to a customer. In turn, this increases the opportunity for you to make a commission on your sale. Thus, this is certainly good news for you.
At the same time, the organization also makes it a lot easier for you to track your performance. This means you can figure out whether a particular strategy is working out for you rather quickly. Therefore, you can alter your techniques accordingly.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Adrecord is perfect. For instance, there is a minimum payout feature in place. So, if you don’t make your numbers, you may not get paid by a particular advertiser.
Furthermore, the rules regarding each advertiser can be a little confusing. This is because they tend to differ from one brand to another. It will take you some time to learn how to deal with each advertiser.
Adtraction – A Multi European Marketplace
Adtraction is a quickly expanding affiliate marketing company. Having been founded in Sweden, the company now has branches across 12 countries in Europe. They have partnered up with over a thousand advertisers and have worked with 65,000 affiliates.
Certainly, one of the benefits of working with Adtraction is that it is so well-established. This means that it has attracted well-known advertisers, making it rather easy for you to sell certain products and services to your followers and subscribers.
Not to mention, with so many advertisers to select from, it is much easier to pair up with one that is well-suited to your niche. This makes it easier to advertise the brand more naturally and seamlessly in your content.
It is quite easy to get started with Adtraction. In just a few steps, you can set up your own account and channels and begin selecting your advertisers. On top of this, the acceptance process is rather quick as well. Thus, you will know whether your application has been selected or not rather early on.
Adtraction allows you to customize your links so that the text can better fit in with your content. Also, you can set up your own deep links to improve your chances of converting a visitor to a sale. In addition, this is quite simple for you to do as well.
Last, but certainly not least, this website makes it easy for you to keep track of your performance. As such, you will know exactly how much you are making at any given time.
There are a few downsides to this company, however. To begin with, your entire balance isn’t always paid out to you. Instead, it is only handed out on a monthly basis. On another note, the company doesn’t have a referral program either.
Admitad- A Sleepy Giant
Although well-known, Admitad isn’t the most popular affiliate network out there. This doesn’t mean they aren’t doing well for themselves, however.
The affiliate network came into being in 2009, in Heilbronn, Germany. The company prides itself on being an international marketplace which is why they have offices in 7 different countries.
If you think Admitad is the network for you, you’d be glad to know how big their publisher pool is. Since you’re an advertiser, you would want the best people to work with, after all. You’ll be able to do so with the network as they have over 700,000 influencers. What’s great about this is that the number is steadily rising.
However, the number of advertisers they have isn’t the best. There are only 1500 of them which is nothing compared to VigLink.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing, it can be daunting. You don’t have to worry when using Admitad, though, as they’re known for their thorough educational resources. They have a section on their site called ‘Admitad Academy’ which is highly educational. The best thing about it is that it’s for everyone and not just for publishers. There’s informative content for advertisers too.
Anyone can join the site. There are no traffic requirements when publishers want to join their programs. However, their sites are in English.
Some networks are sporadic with their payments. This isn’t the case with Admitad as you will be paid weekly. This is also a plus point as some networks pay their publishers once a month or so.
You are paid either through PayPal or wire transfers. The fact that there are only two options doesn’t cut it, however. You might expect cheques too, as more networks offer this payment method.
Rakuten- The Most Popular Affiliate Network
Rakuten Marketing is a very old affiliate network. Arguably, they’re the oldest on our list. The company was founded in 1996 in New York City. As of now, they have over 500 employees on their team.
The network has a presence in over 200 countries. You’ll see their offices all over the world, including cities like Tokyo, London, Tampa, and Chicago.
They weren’t always known as Rakuten. The affiliate network used to go by Linkshare and was created by Stephen Messer and Heidie Messer. In 2005, they were sold to Rakuten for over $400 million USD.
Rakuten is a highly international company. This makes it easy for you to receive full payments. They work with a range of currencies, so you will never have to worry about conversion rates.
As they’re a renowned company, Rakuten Marketing is a staple in the affiliate network industry. This is why it’s arguably the most popular name on our list.
Like Admitad, Rakuten has an amazing educational section. They offer some of the most thorough resource guides and videos out there. If you want to, you could join one of their courses on affiliate marketing. Similar to Admitad, Rakuten’s educational page is open to everyone, not just publishers. They’re also known for their informative newsletters which are a breeze to read.
Rakuten is user-friendly. This is due to its dashboard which is thorough. So whether you’re an advertiser or publisher, you’d love this feature. Its website is easy to use as well since it has a very clean interface.
If you’re looking to make big money, Rakuten may not be the network for you, however. They have a little over 1000 merchants on their site. Compared to their competitors, this is tiny.
The number of publishers they have is much better. There are about 150,000 of them. Although this is a considerable number, don’t forget that VigLink has over 2 million.
When you’re working with the network, know that getting paid won’t be that simple. Users have reported that they were paid 2 months after their commissions were due. This is because Rakuten Marketing only pays commissions if the advertiser has paid them. The fact that you get your money only through direct deposits and cheques should be considered.
Daisycon- The Multi Platform Wonder
Daisycon was only technically established in 2007, but the premise of the company has been around longer than that. In fact, Daisycon has technically been in the affiliate marketing business for two decades. During this period, they have grown exponentially, offering services to dozens of countries across Europe.
On the surface, Daisycon may seem like many other affiliate networks, but it is actually rather unique. In many ways, this company has managed to establish itself as a visionary and exclusive company. Furthermore, it also provides a number of opportunities for affiliates.
To begin with, Daisycon allows its affiliates to make money in a number of ways. In addition to making a commission through the traditional conversion option, this site gives you other routes as well. For instance, you stand a chance to make money through lead generation and unique clicks.
In addition to this, Daisycon really allows you to flex your advertising muscles. For example, there are many media platforms to select from. This includes social media, email marketing, websites, and advertising networks.
The company also makes it easier for you to take advantage of certain natural peaks in sales throughout the year. They give you the opportunity to apply various promotions and other tactics so that you can boost sales and your commission.
You can also access improved statistics and tracking methods. This gives you a clear idea of how your sales are performing. Not to mention, it promises total transparency as you know exactly how much you are making at any given moment.
Now, Daisycon isn’t a perfect operation. The main issue with this site is that it can be rather complex to use. There are so many different new features and options. Thus, it can take a while to learn the ropes. Not to mention, it may not be entirely suitable for those new to affiliate marketing.
MaxBounty – A Bounty Of A Network
MaxBounty is one of the best networks to come out of Canada. The company was founded in 2004, in Ottawa. Since then, they’ve proved that they are a force to be reckoned with.
They’ve achieved this by passing strict regulations, helping merchants be as confident as possible. This isn’t the only thing that makes the network strict. If you’re found violating its rules, you’ll immediately be dealt with. As a result, whatever commissions you’ve made would be lost.
Speaking of cash lost, you might not get your security deposit back. You need to deposit $100 if you want to register. You’ll get the cash back when you make $100 in commissions. For some users, this may be impossible.
That being said, this is unlikely. MaxBounty is very selective when it comes to who’s allowed on their site. They’re so selective that they interview you before you’re allowed to register – through the phone!
Naturally, this is a site that gets a lot of traffic so it’s for the best.
You’ll find it easy to make cash through the network. They have a range of account managers for you to work with. They’ll guide you every step of the way, helping you find the best programs. What’s more, they’ll help you make the most cash.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing, you may feel lost. Don’t fear as you can join the MaxBounty university, which has great resources. Not only does it teach beginners, but it also offers tips and tricks that intermediary and advanced affiliate marketers can use.
There are many affiliate programs you can join. Getting paid for leads is the easiest, which MaxBounty has a lot of programs for. In terms of when you’ll get paid, this would be the 15th of every month.
AffiliaXe- A Middle Eastern Treat
You might be familiar with AffiliaXe. They’re one of the largest affiliate networks in Israel, after all. As of now, they’re situated in Tel Aviv and focus on CPA.
We have an issue with the network:
Getting in is so difficult that users have claimed the site is biased. This shows how nit-picky they are.
If you want to find the best affiliate programs, you’ll appreciate AffiliaXe. They have programs for specific countries, regions and even cities. The selection of countries is immense too.
Of course, if you want to find a program that’s doing well for a specific niche or industry, this can easily be found.
One of the many benefits of working with them is the account manager you’ll be assigned. They’ll be in charge of everything you do, which means you have a guide to help you out.
However, this could be intimidating for some users.
You’ll love their live map. AffiliaXe provides a global map that shows you when and where your conversions are happening. This is an affiliate’s dream as you can use this data to improve campaigns.
Speaking of being global, the network’s site is available in 24 different languages.
You’ll have to pay a security deposit. However, you’ll only have to pay $50 which isn’t as bad as MaxBounty. That being said, some networks only ask for $5, so keep this in mind.
One of the biggest disadvantages of working with the network is that it has only a few merchants. Apart from the site, there are only 1000, which is not impressive at all. Thankfully, their highly specialized affiliate programs make up for this.
Frequently Asked Questions
With our reviews out of the way, you may have a few questions about affiliate networks. In the below section we’ll be running through some of these.
How Do You Get Paid?
In terms of affiliate links, you only get paid when your link causes a transaction. You’ll get a percentage off the sale/sales.
This is how it’s usually done, but you may also get paid per click you get.
Who Pays You?
You might you’re paid by the merchant. However, it is the network that sends the cash to you. This is why it’s important that the advertiser pays the network. Or else, they may not transfer the commissions to you.
How Much Do You Get Paid?
The commission rate depends on the merchant. This is why you should find a network that has a lot of merchants. This helps you find someone who offers the best rates.
Sometimes, they may offer a flat rate instead.
How Common Is Affiliate Marketing?
If you want to be an affiliate marketer, this is quite common. According to a Rakuten Marketing survey, over 80% of brands utilize affiliate marketing, so you’re joining a major industry.
With that said, it’s easy to see why VigLink is the best network on our list. However, Rakuten is the best-known so it may be what you’re looking for.
If you want a network that’ll ensure quick payments, ShareASale is for you.
All in all, each of the networks on our list has its advantages. They’re all worth your time, some more than others.