Sunday, August 19, 2012

Affiliate Marketing Simplified

Bloggers often utilize affiliate marketing in order to make the big bucks.  Affiliate marketing is simply when a website owner (aka affiliate) places online ads for merchants.  Merchants reward the affiliate for each potential customer or sale referred to them as a result of their ads.  This happens one of three ways: through pay per click, pay per sale, or pay per lead.

Pay Per Click
Affiliates are paid each time a potential customer clicks one of their ads.  These don't pay much, but they convert well.

Pay Per Sale
Affiliates are paid when a  customer purchases an item or service.  This can be a percentage of the sale or a flat rate commission.  These don't convert as often, but if you pick the right product for your website, it often pays well.

Pay Per Lead
Affiliates are paid when customers click the ad and fill out a form.  Some lead forms require only an email address while others may require an address and credit card number.  Long lead forms obviously pay more than short ones, but the shorter ones convert more often.  The pay per lead model is often used for things like free trials.


Here is just a sampling of some of the major affiliate networks available:

  • LinkShare_180x150Linkshare is free to join and pays monthly.  This is a large network and includes many well-known merchants such as: AT&T, Nutrisystem, Macy's, McAfee, Omaha Steaks, Barnes & Noble, Chase, and Walmart.
  • Neverblue is also free to join and pays monthly by check.  Each affiliate is assigned their own affiliate manager.  This is a global network and specializes in mobile campaigns.
  • Commission Junction was acquired by ValueClick and is free to join.  Current clients include Lord & Taylor,, VTech Toys, and Allstate Motor Club.
  • Clickbank specializes in digital downloads. Pays weekly and direct deposit is available.  Tens of thousands of products are available with earnings up to 75%.  Clickbank is free to join as an affiliate.  If you wish to sell your own products, there is a one-time fee of $49.95 and then a commission fee of 7.5%.  
  • The eBay Partner Network offers generous commissions.  It is free to join and pays monthly through direct deposit or Paypal.  EBay is such a well-known company that referring customers is easy provided you advertise the right products for you site.
  • Amazon Associates is the network for Amazon's online store.  Pays up to 15% of its advertising fees on qualifying purchases, not just the products advertised.  Amazon also allows affiliates to set up a professional online store on their own website. 
  • Google's Adsense network pays affiliates to display relevant and engaging ads on their websites.  Earnings vary based on the type of ads displayed, the pricing of the ads, and the quantity of Adsense products used.  Pays monthly.
  • MaxBounty is a CPA network that pays weekly.   Features clients such a Columbia House,, and Publisher's Clearing House.  This network does require a phone interview.

Be sure to research each network you intend to use to make sure it fits your individual needs.  Like I said, this is just a sampling of networks that I happen to be most familiar with.  Feel free to share your own experiences in the comment section below.