Which Affiliate Network?
There are hundreds of affiliate networks to choose from and it can be an awkward process deciding which one will work best for you product. We have provided a list of the highest regarded affiliate networks. You should consider the price and features before deciding on an affiliate network. Another important aspect is the number of affiliates using the network.
Price: $49.95 Activation & 7.5% + $1 per sale.
Features: Large Network (100,000 Affiliates), Quick Approval
ClickBank does have its advantages and disadvantages. Many people choose Clickbank because of the simplicity involved with getting a product approved. For around $50, you can submit your product and have it approved within hours. Your product will also be displayed in a marketplace containing over 10,000 products and over 100,000 affiliates. Clickbank.com is a network that can only be used for digital products. Their percentage-per-sale structure is one of the highest in the industry, and this is a result of their check processing fees and administration. One of the biggest complaints among merchants is the refund policy. ClickBank only requires a return email from the “purchaser” to a certain email address if they want a refund.
Price: $20 Activation & 6.9% + $1 per sale
Features: Software Affiliate Network
RegNow.com is one of the software industry's premier affiliate networks. They have a wide range of analytical tools, robust linking functionality, and a network of affiliates that are knowledgeable promoting software. They also offer functionality where you can offer extended download licenses and CD's versions of the software to further monetize your traffic.
Commission Junction (http://www.cj.com)
Price: $2250 + 30% of the payout
Features: Advanced Tracking, Large Support Network
Commission Junction has the largest network of retail and service related products on the Internet. They have a large support system and a very complex (and often times confusing) affiliate and merchant administration systems. If you are a very large company and want to support of a strong, multi million dollar network like CJ.com running your affiliate operations, CJ is a good choice. If you are not willing to spend $1000's to get your name on an affiliate network, you should consider your other options such as Clickbank.
Price: $5000 + 2-3% of sales
Features: Large Network, Account Management
Linkshare is very similar to Commission Junction in size and cost. Linkshare contains many different products and services, primarily focusing on the online retailers. Many larger companies use both linkshare.com and cj.com as advertising platforms to increase overall exposure. Unless you are selling goods that value over $1,000,000/year, we suggest that you use an alternative network or create your own independent affiliate program.
An "in-house" affiliate program will either require a degree of technical expertise on your part, or you will have to pay someone to set-up your affiliate program. There are definitely some advantages to running an affiliate program in-house:
- one-on-one contact with all of your affiliates
- can run incentive programs
- can adjust commissions structures for affiliates easily
- full control
- do not run the risk of a third party company dropping your program
- do not limit your methods of payment
There are definitely some disadvantages running an in-house affiliate program. Here are some of them:
- have to create a system to pay affiliates
- may have to hire an affiliate manager
- have to take care of all refund requests
- responsible for maintaining and securing data
Before deciding on an in-house affiliate program, you need to decide if the time and money investment will outweigh the long term value that an in-house affiliate program will bring your company. We suggest that you choose an in-house program if you want full control of everything from your payment processor, refund management, to affiliate management.