The 10 Best Affiliate Networks for 2020

Making money online isn’t quite as complicated as some people would like you to believe it is.

We should know – we’ve generated millions of dollars in affiliate commissions over the years.

And yes, that does mean earning 5-figures per month, year in, year out.

Ah Affiliate Commissions Example

And our whole approach to affiliate marketing is a pretty simple one:

Find affiliate network – find affiliate program – find affiliate products – promote them.

Kind of like the Underpants Gnomes, except we didn’t skip any steps.

Which put some serious amounts of cash into our respective pockets.

Like this.

Ah Affiliate Commissions Example

And this:

Ah Affiliate Commissions Example

So what we’re going to look at in this blog post is the first step – choosing an affiliate network to work with.

Let’s look at which of them is worth your time and effort.

Best affiliate networks

  1. Refersion Marketplace
  2. CJ Affiliate Network
  3. PepperJam Affiliate Network
  4. ClickBank Affiliate Marketplace
  5. ShareASale Affiliate Network
  6. FlexOffers Affiliate Marketing Network
  7. Rakuten Advertising Network
  8. Avangate Affiliate Network
  9. MaxBounty Affiliate Network
  10. LinkConnector Affiliate Marketing Network

So you’d kinda lazy and want the TLDR version of what the best affiliate networks are?

Well okay then, here you go.


CJ Affiliate horizontal logo

CJ is ideal for affiliates who want to promote physical products sold by major brands.




ShareASale Logo

ShareASale is for when you’re looking for those out-of-left-field affiliate offers.




ClickBank is where you go for some of the better digital products and e-courses to promote.

10 Best Affiliate Networks of 2020

Refersion Marketplace

Refersion Homepage Screenshot

Refersion is an affiliate network I stumbled across recently.

And the reason I’d never heard of them before is that they’ve only been around since 2015. But in that time they’ve managed to onboard 17,000 advertisers.

That’s no mean feat in an industry where other networks struggle to sign on a few hundred merchants.

Basically, what the Refersion Marketplace lacks in style, it more than makes up for with its sheer volume of advertisers.

What they do well

You get a fast, minimalist interface and thousands of merchants across pretty much any niche you can think of. 

And they even send out a weekly email to publishers listing their new advertisers. 

What they don’t do well

Their advertiser filtering interface is shit – it needs a whole lot of work. Also, when applying to an affiliate program it triggers a new window and you have to fill in an application form. 

Every.single.time.

Most suited to

 New affiliate marketers who are having trouble getting accepted by other platforms.

  • Offer types: CPS
  • Payment options: PayPal
  • Payment terms: Dependant on advertiser
  • Payment threshold: Dependant on advertiser

CJ affiliate

Cj Affiliate Homepage Screenshot

CJ is one of the oldest networks on the scene, starting up way back in 1998.

Yes, I know they’ve now rebranded to “CJ Affiliate by Conversant” but that’s a mouthful, so I’ll stick to calling them CJ for short.

Their biggest selling point is that they have a number of big brands on their books.

You’ll find the likes of Zappos, Overstock, Lowes, Travelocity, and Verizon use CJ as their affiliate platform of choice.

So, if you want to find where all the programs for the big brand names hang out, this is a great place to start.

What they do well

You get lots of established advertisers to work with. 

You can choose between an affiliate relationship, or selling ad space to advertisers. 

And you also get a range of innovative link creation tools- these make creating affiliate links easy as pie. I also love that you can see EPC data for each program before joining.

This is one of the best affiliate networks out there.

What they don’t do well

A large percentage of CJ advertisers are very picky about the affiliates they approve. But that’s premium affiliate platforms for you.

Most suited to

Established affiliate marketers with proven traffic.

  • Offer types: CPS, CPL, Flat rate, Ad placement
  • Payment options: Check, Direct Deposit, Payoneer
  • Payment terms: Net 30
  • Payment threshold: $50

Check out our in-depth review of the Commission Junction affiliate network here.

PepperJam

Pepperjam Screenshot

PepperJam might not be a name you’re instantly familiar with.

But they’ve been part of the affiliate marketing industry for a long time now, making a big enough splash to be acquired by eBay in 2009.

They were then relaunched under the PepperJam brand again in 2016.

They represent a mixture of huge brands, including Puma, Nordstrom, Orion, and Lindt, but also lots of more niche brands too.

What they do well

There are some things about this network that makes them stand out from the crowd, like the easy-to-use affiliate dashboard, tabbed link creation interface (love this) and you can even email advertisers to query them directly, even if you’re not part of their program. 

PepperJam just feels that bit more “cozy” than some of the bigger affiliate marketing platforms.  

What they don’t do well

They have fewer than 1,000 advertisers on their books.

That’s not a bad thing in and of itself, but you could run out of potential offers in your niche pretty quickly.

Oh, and the lack of public EPC data bugs the hell out of me.

Most suited to

PepperJam is a solid network for new and experienced affiliates alike.

  • Offer types: CPS
  • Payment options: Net 60
  • Payment terms: PayPal – you have to contact support for other options.
  • Payment threshold: $25

Check out our in-depth review of the PepperJam affiliate network here

ClickBank

Clickbank Homepage Screenshot

ClickBank is unique among affiliate networks in that they built their business around helping digital publishers find affiliates to market their products.

This affiliate network has grown from its first office in a converted garage to a business handling US$3 billion in sales each year. 

They’ve also expanded beyond just purely digital products into promoting affiliate programs with physical products attached to them.

What they do well

The signup and approval process for a ClickBank account is one of the most straightforward you’ll find.  

Most of their better selling products can be very lucrative because they offer big upfront commissions and recurring commissions from backend product up-sells. 

They also have products to suit most niches, or all niches if you’re willing to do some lateral thinking.

Another major plus is they offer weekly or bi-weekly payments!

What they don’t do well

The ClickBank interface is now beyond archaic – their homepage is snazzy enough, but their ‘Marketplace’ dashboard looks like it was designed by a high school student. 

Most suited to

Any affiliate marketer who wants to promote some of the best digital products available.

  • Offer types: CPS
  • Payment options: Check or direct deposit
  • Payment terms: Net 60
  • Payment threshold: $10

Check out our in-depth guide on making money with ClickBank here

ShareASale

Shareasale Aff Network Homepage Screenshot

ShareASale is one of those networks that’s overlooked by way too many affiliates and I can never figure out why.

Thanks to their “acquisition” by Awin they’re actually one of the biggest networks out there.

And that’s without mentioning that they manage the affiliate program of major brand names like MasterClass, Reebok, Qatar Airways, and Spanx.

So ShareASale is very far from being some kind of “low value” affiliate network.

For example, quite a few affiliate programs on ShareASale pay $100 – $300 per sale.

And no, they’re not for…umm…“enlargement” products.

What they do well

One of the things I love about ShareASale is how easy it is to filter through advertisers to find the exact programs you’re looking for.

They do this better than anyone else.

In addition to that, their approval process is seamless, and you even get a series of welcome emails.

But something I really love about them is that they have programs for products or services you’d never have thought of before.

And they also provide public EPC data, so kudos for doing that.

What they don’t do well

The ShareASale interface is dated, and there’s now the risk that because they were “acquired” by Awin that they’ll get folded into the Awin brand.

Most suited to

Affiliates who are looking for off-the-beaten-track offers with relatively high payouts and proven metrics.

  • Offer types: CPS, CPL, Pay per Call, Flat rate
  • Payment options: Direct deposit, check, Payoneer
  • Payment terms: Net 30
  • Payment threshold: $50

Check out our in-depth guide on the ShareASale affiliate network here.

FlexOffers

Flexoffers Homepage Screenshot

FlexOffers stand out from the crowd…by not standing out from it.

The affiliate marketing industry is overflowing with hype, but FlexOffers avoids doing that.

Instead, they humbly get on with the business of being an affiliate network.

And they do this despite the fact they provide the affiliate marketing platform for companies like Macy’s, Walgreens, Kohl’s, Hulu, McAfee, and AT&T, among others.

All told, they have 12,000 advertisers to choose from, although they only consider 500 of these to be “premium” merchants.

What they do well

They have a simple and friendly onboarding process – they spotted a mistake in my application process and let me know.

They also allow applications from affiliates using Wix or Blogger, which is a real novelty these days.

Filtering through their thousands of advertisers is made relatively easy thanks to a streamlined interface, including being able to sort by 7 and 30-day EPC.

You can also earn additional revenue thanks to the Flex-Rev$hare program. This is where you get paid a cut of what your sub-affiliates make.

What they don’t do well

Their customer support options are highly visible, but also extremely limited – you get a knowledgebase and an email address. 

And that’s it.

Also, their choice of color scheme is headache-inducing stuff. 

Most suited to

Affiliates who need or want access to the broadest selection of advertisers possible.

  • Offer types: CPS, CPL, Flat rate, Per Install
  • Payment options: Check, Bank transfer, wire transfer, PayPal
  • Payment terms:  Net 60
  • Payment threshold: $25

Check out our in-depth guide on the FlexOffers affiliate network here

Rakuten Advertising

Rakuten Homepage Screenshot

Linkshare is another OG of the affiliate marketing industry.

In fact, they beat most of their competitors to the punch because Linkshare has been around since 1996.  

Linkshare was acquired by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten in 2005, so they now also have a huge financial cushion behind them i.e. they’ll be around for a long time.

Microsoft, Lego, Lyft, Monster, Nvidia and a whole stack of other big names hang out on Rakuten Linkshare.

So, if you don’t have an account with these guys, then it’s more than worth your while to go through their simple application process. 

What they do well

The main advantage they offer affiliates is they have the kind of pulling power to get huge brands to join their affiliate network.

You also won’t have to struggle with their link creation tools – it’s all very intuitive, even for newbies.

And you also get a ton of support options, including an actual telephone number you can call if you need help. 

What they don’t do well

The interface is unpolished, which is a polite way of saying it’s as ugly as sin. 

It’s functional but they really, really need to upgrade it.

And there’s also the potential for delayed payments.

But Linkshare can only pay you when their advertisers pay them, and some of their advertisers are assholes.

Most suited to

Affiliates who are looking for a network that offers what is effectively a curated list of around 1,000 advertisers you’d actually want to promote.

  • Offer types: CPS and Ad placement
  • Payment options: Direct deposit, check, or PayPal
  • Payment terms:  Net 60
  • Payment threshold: $50

Check out our in-depth guide on the Rakuten affiliate network here.

Avangate Network

Avangate Network Homepage Screenshot

Avangate was founded in 2006 and like ClickBank they only promote digital products.

But unlike ClickBank, the brands they represent are software and digital courses – but 99% software.

Now before we go any further Avangate is basically two companies – Avangate is their affiliate software platform.

But their affiliate network is 2Checkout, which is massively confusing because they’re also a payment processor.

Anyways, 2Checkout has 22,000 software advertisers signed up with them, but also a handful of online courses, like SuperReading.

In terms of software, you’ll find everything from Hide My Ass, Bit Defender, Malware Bytes, SEO PowerSuite, and Filmora, to FTP software.

What they do well

2Checkout keeps things simple.

Like how they manage filtering advertisers – it’s the most basic interface you can imagine, but you can find the program you want in seconds.

You also get deep linking tools, geo-targeted shopping carts, being able to use free software trials as a promotion, you can view EPC data, and you can even generate your own coupons.

Something else that works really well is applying to programs – all you have to do is click on ‘Request partnership’ and that’s it.

What they don’t do well

Way too many of the software products they represent are super nichey, so I’m not sure about how large the market is for them.

Most suited to

Affiliates who specialize in software solutions, or are simply looking for new products to promote to an existing audience.

  • Offer types: CPS 
  • Payment options: Check, direct deposit, PayPal and Avangate Mastercard
  • Payment terms:  Net 30
  • Payment threshold: $100

MaxBounty

Maxbounty Homepage Screenshot

MaxBounty is a Canadian network that’s been around since the early days of affiliate marketing.

Or 2004 to be precise.

While most other networks focus on providing a whole slew of offers, MaxBounty focuses on what they do best – CPA offers.

You get paid when affiliates take a specific action like installing a piece of software or completing a form.

And typical CPA offers tend to be far more lucrative than say CPS or flat rate offers.

They have around 2,000 campaigns on their books, including those for more popular niches like online dating, dieting, etc.

What they do well

You can earn a cash bonus of $1,000 if you earn more than $1,000 in legit affiliate commissions within your first 90-days with them.

That’s as good an incentive as you’ll come across in the industry right now. In fact, no other network I’m aware of offers anything close to that.

You get a bright, clean and modern dashboard – they’re well ahead of the curve in terms of some of the downright ugly interfaces you’ll find on other platforms.

What they don’t do well

Their application and approval process is an absolute joke.

I’ve never seen a more convoluted process in my life, and if things go wrong the support provided is sorely lacking.

Most suited to

Established affiliates with plenty of traffic and who need new CPA offers to push.

  • Offer types: CPA, CPL and CPI
  • Payment options: Direct deposit, check, PayPal, Payoneer
  • Payment terms:  TBC
  • Payment threshold: $50

LinkConnector

Linkconnector Homepage Screenshot

Although LinkConnector has been around for over a decade, they’re rarely featured in roundups like this.

But that’s what happens when you basically plagiarize other affiliate marketing blogs for your own content.

So, what makes them different from every other network?

Well, they might not be widely known, but they’ve landed some pretty big names, including Reebok, Levi’s, Dockers, Omaha Steaks, Brain Sensei and Deposit Photos.

That gives you a pretty decent mix of physical and digital products to promote.

But you’ll also find a number of more niche offers in their advertiser directory – it’s pretty eclectic in there.

What they do well

The first thing I like about this network is that it’s smaller than others.

There’s only about 400 advertisers in total, but that means I can find what I’m looking for (or not) pretty quickly.

I also love being able to see 7 and 90-day EPCs on a single line for each and every advertiser.

Applying to a given campaign requires 3 clicks in total, so again brownie points scored here.

Last but by no means least, is their naked linking function – you can simply redirect traffic to the advertiser’s domain and not have to use a custom affiliate link at all.

What they don’t do well

The limited number of advertisers might be a problem, but that’s only a possibility and not an eventuality.

It’s something of a double-edged sword.

LinkConnector also shares the usual dated interface that seems to be endemic with older networks.

I’m beginning to suspect they’re all coded by the same team of time-traveling web developers. 

Most suited to

Any affiliate looking for new offers with visible and proven performance metrics.

  • Offer types: CPS, CPL, Per Click, and Pay per Call
  • Payment options: Check or PayPal
  • Payment terms:  Net 30
  • Payment threshold: $100

What is an affiliate network?

An affiliate network acts as the middleman between an affiliate publisher and an affiliate advertiser. 

They manage both the affiliate program for the advertiser and the activities of affiliate publishers, including their payment.

Affiliate programs vs. affiliate networks

An affiliate program is a direct agreement between you and an advertiser, one where they promise to pay you a percentage of any purchases made by visitors you send to their website.

Affiliate networks, on the other hand, are intermediary platforms hosting and managing the affiliate programs of several hundred (or thousand) individual advertisers.

How do you join affiliate networks?

The application process for all affiliate networks is roughly the same – locate the ‘Publishers’ section on their site and look for a ‘Join’ or ‘Register now’ button or link.

You will then be required to complete a short application form where you provide details on your site/business, some personal information, and to create a username and password.

What to look for in an affiliate network? 

What you’ll need from a network will vary from one affiliate to the next, but here are the metrics I pay attention to:

  • Diversity of programs – something for every niche
  • Minimum of 500 merchants
  • Offers EPC data for advertisers
  • No negative feedback online around payments or unexplained account terminations
  • Ethical – you don’t want your business to be associated with scumbags
  • Payment terms – I prefer net 30, but make sure you know exactly when you’ll get paid

How to use your affiliate manager in the best way possible?

The majority of affiliates never speak to the affiliate manager of the program they’re promoting.

This is a rookie mistake – you should take the two minutes required to say “Hi” when your application is approved.

Why?

Because affiliate managers can be immensely useful people i.e. they genuinely want you to make a ton of cash because it means their business made a ton of cash too.

So, don’t be afraid to drop them a mail and ask them what their best offers are right now in terms of conversion rate, etc.

Establishing a working relationship with them early on in the game is important because they’re the same person you’ll be asking for a higher commission rate several months down the road.

Conclusion

And there you have my roundup of the best affiliate networks – in my opinion, that is.

Yes, there are certain networks you might have expected to find here but aren’t and that’s because:

  1. I refuse to pay to join any program – refund or not
  2. Some of the networks pushed by others aren’t actually networks

You’re going to struggle to make money in affiliate marketing unless you have great affiliate programs to promote.

So my goal in putting together this roundup was trim away all the fluff and just show you the best networks.

The ones you can get started with today, in some cases.

The programs I signed up with almost twenty years ago and many of which I still use.

And don’t forget – if you found this roundup useful feel free to share it on social media.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pocket
Share on email

Article by:

Contributors

Related Videos

Shane Dutka
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video

Ready To Start Your Journey?

Now it is your turn to get started building your own Authority Website.

To help you get started, we put together a free video training that will give you all the tools and tactics you will need to get started even if you don’t have any prior experience.

Click the button below to join the training and let us show you the authority site model.

Scroll to Top