If you’re looking for affiliate programs to sign up with or get into affiliate marketing, you’re in the right place at the right time.
In 2018, over $2.7 trillion worth of retail products have been sold online.
And that figure continues to grow.
For example, in the US the e-commerce still accounts for only 9% of all retail sales, according to Statista.
Now, affiliate marketing has emerged as one of the few dominant channels in that space.
Not every business that sells online uses this channel, but the main ones like Amazon, eBay or Walmart, they all do.
And for those who are using this channel, affiliates represent almost a quarter (23%) of their revenues and almost all of them are happy with it.
However, like all things online, affiliate marketing is a vibrant and fast-changing market.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen major updates like Amazongeddon, or most recently Amazon shutting down its CPM ads.
As things constantly change, it makes sense to have a good grasp on the market, knowing what’s out there and who pays what.
And that’s why we’ve put this guide together.
What you will learn
Let’s get you started.
General Product Affiliate Programs
Despite the changes, Amazon Associates is still among the best general affiliate programs around, and it’s what I like to use to start most of my sites.
There are two reasons why:
- People love shopping on Amazon
- Amazon is really good at converting people
What it really means is that even if commissions are lower than they used to be, Amazon is so good at getting people to buy stuff once they get them on the site the residual sales (many of which will come from sales in other categories) and holiday spikes still make the program really good overall and much better than almost everyone else.
There are also plenty of huge markets to get into that still offer great commissions on Amazon.
Additionally, the product selection on Amazon is absolutely massive, and you can find loads of really obscure things to sell.
If you’ve got a car site, for example, and you want to recommend jumper cables, you can pick one of the many hundreds of different brand and models. That’s something even most major retailers can’t match; at least not for every conceivable type of product.
In other words, Amazon is still great, and for most authority and affiliate sites, it’s where I would start.
Ebay Partner Network
The eBay Partner Network (EPN) is also one of the best affiliate programs that’s been around for a long time, and plenty of marketers have made good money with it.
It has many of the same advantages that Amazon has, namely a huge, well-known brand and really high on-site conversion rates.
I don’t have any data for this, but I also suspect the high emotional impact of eBay’s auction system is a major part of their conversion rates and, therefore, is likely also good for affiliate commissions.
Of course, because eBay is an auction-based marketplace and not a straight-up eCommerce store, affiliate commissions behave differently: rather than pay a commission on the final sale price, eBay pays a commission on the fee they charge for the auction.
Here are the rates:
If you’ve never been a part of this kind of structure, it may be tough to understand how that translates to dollars. So, with eBay, I find it’s usually easier to think about EPC instead of commission rates.
In the interest of full disclosure, I couldn’t find very much hard data, or even many people who openly share their EPCs. But from the reports I did find, EPCs seem to range anywhere from $0.10 to $2.00 EPC. That can be more or less than Amazon depending on who you talk to, but the long and short of it is that there’s still some good money there.
Target.com may be the best overall replacement for people looking for alternatives to the Amazon Associates program.
While their selection of products isn’t as big as Amazon’s they still (obviously) have a massive selection; you just won’t be able to find products for every little nook and cranny of your site, and you might have trouble if you’re in a more obscure niche.
They also aren’t going to have specialized or top-of-the-line goods (e.g. if you’re publishing content about gaming computers, it might be difficult to recommend the mostly average PCs Target sells).
The biggest benefit, though, is that they still operate on a volume-based fee structure, and it’s pretty generous. Just be aware that they also cap commissions for certain categories.
Baby gear as rates similar to Amazon (4.5%), and health and beauty has terrible commissions, so Target may not be the best choices for folks in these markets; however, for the relatively massive markets of apparel, general home goods, and general outdoor goods, the commission rates are great.
Target’s other selling point is their 7-day cookie, short by niche affiliate standards but pretty long by general-big-brand standards (Amazon’s cookie is one day).
A few other miscellaneous cool things:
Jet.com was (in my opinion) overhyped as the “Amazon killer” when it was released.
As ridiculous as that was, they are one of the few online retailers who’s competing with Amazon in a business model that’s similar to Amazon.
In other words, their model is to sell everything.
And they’ve been pretty successful, growing to over 31,000,000 visitors per month. Those aren’t Amazon-level numbers, but it still indicates a strong customer base.
Jet runs their affiliate program through LinkShare, and because they’re one of the few online retailers that sell everything, it’s worth mentioning them as a possible alternative to Amazon.
That said, for my money, they’d likely only be a replacement for publishers in the niches with the lowest commission rates. Why?
…mostly because of their commission rates:
If that seems pretty low, it’s because it is (at least compared to most tiers on Amazon); however, the following tiers now have the same or lower rates than this:
- Video games
- Video game consoles
- PCs and PC components
- DVD and Blu Ray
So if you’re in one of those niches, Jet.com could be worth testing.
I’m adding Walmart mostly for one niche: toys.
Walmart is and has always been a low-margin company that wins business because they usually have the lowest prices, and if you’ve been an affiliate for any length of time, you probably know that low prices are not your friend.
Because they have such margins, their commissions are understandably low as well.
The commission rates are either 1% or 4% for most categories.
None of those commissions are going to beat other major online retailers except for the one I just mentioned: toys.
Walmart’s toy commissions are 4%, which barely edges out Amazon’s 3%. It also beats Jet’s flat 2.5%, and we’re not sure where toy’s fall in Target’s commission structure.
So Walmart seems to have a slight edge for that one niche. Just a few things to keep in mind…
- Walmart doesn’t have a huge selection of toys
- Your residual commissions won’t be as good as they will on Amazon
I wouldn’t recommend Walmart as your primary affiliate program, but it can likely be a good supplement to toy-based affiliate sites (and there are a lot of those).
General Affiliate Networks
What’s an affiliate network?
Affiliate networks are third-party platforms (you’ll hear me refer to them as “platforms” below) that help advertisers (often called merchants or vendors) link up with publishers. The bigger platforms can have tens of thousands of merchants and tens of millions of affiliate programs.
Most networks also facilitate reporting, analytics, and payouts, making them a good solution for publishers who want to manage multiple affiliate relationships at once.
There are lots of these. I’m only going to cover the biggest ones and the ones I have the most experience with in this section.
ClickBank is easily one of the oldest and most popular affiliate platforms out there.
They like to boast on their site that they’re the top 100 online retailer with 200 million customers, in 190 countries.
Their marketplace is massive, easy to use, and (by all accounts) ever-expanding (although I couldn’t find hard data to support that).
Listings include a “gravity score,” which tells you how many people are currently (or have recently been) making money by promoting a product.
They also have a lot of experience with affiliates and lots of ways to keep both affiliates and publishers happy. For example, they have a joint venture program, which allows you to set up joint ventures with vendors. That’s something you could also feasibly use for collaborative business deals.
Additionally, they make it pretty easy to promote upsells and products that generate recurring commissions, and from my personal use, I’ve found the interface, user experience, and payments to all be pretty good.
Finally, they’re one of the few I’ve found who have any sort of training. For ClickBank, it’s in the form of a “ClickBank University,” a paid program.
CJ (Commission Junction)
CJ affiliate (which used to be called Commission Junction) is one of the oldest and most popular affiliate platforms in the world.
Because it’s one of the oldest and most popular, it attracts both very serious affiliates and very serious advertisers.
It also incorporates lots of tools for both. That includes, by all accounts, some of the best reporting in the game.
Additionally, because they are a marketplace and not a retailer, you can find loads of good products, both digital and physical, for pretty much every niche, and a good chunk of them will probably be from big brands.
Of course, because this isn’t a one-stop shop, it usually means publishers (you) will need to build content around products rather than simply targeting good keyword and finding whatever products fit the article (a major advantage of places like Amazon).
The biggest benefit of CJ, of course, is the incredible diversity of digital goods–especially infoproducts and software, which make it possible to earn money outside of the physical product-dominated world of Amazon.
Viglink is a pretty innovative platform that monetizes your blog with very little effort. Here’s how it works.
It scans your content for any mention of a product. Then, it turns that product, no matter where it is (blog post or page or whatever) into an affiliate link.
Readers can then click on the affiliate link, and you’ll get a commission if they buy.
The appealing part for a lot of people is that they send people to the best merchants dynamically.
In other words, at the time of the click, it runs through all the merchants for that particular product and attempts to make your reader to the one that converts the best and/or pays the most commission.
Last I checked, they had around 70,000 merchants, which is a pretty good selection.
“My beef with VigLink is that just because you’re accepted into VigLink does not mean you’re automatically accepted to promote all merchants affiliate with VigLink. You still need to apply individually to many merchants. This in my mind defeats the purpose and the main benefit of this type of affiliate service.
Fortunately Skimlinks operates differently; once accepted into Skimlinks you can promote any merchant without further red tape.”
Skimlinks is a platform similar to Viglink. They have a bunch of merchants on board, and you can create links for any of them while keeping all the reporting and analytics in the Skimlinks dashboard.
Here’s the big benefit, though: once you’re approved at Skimlinks, you’re automatically approved for every single merchant in the program. No need to apply to any of them.
Aside from saving time, it allows websites who couldn’t get accepted at certain merchants to promote them anyway. If that seems ethically grey, remember that all of these merchants have agreed to do this with Skimlinks.
This is especially good for people who have been banned from certain merchants.
Of course, the primary disadvantage is that Skimlinks is going to want a small cut of the business, so you’re not going the get the rates you’d normally get from the merchants directly most of the time.
Jon Dykstra also had some good stuff to say about Skimlinks:
“I do okay with Skimlinks. It isn’t millions, but it’s been a good chunk of incremental revenue.
Amazon is the one merchant in Skimlinks that I still link to directly… usually. Sometimes I don’t bother hence I have some Amazon revenue via Skimlinks.
Other than Amazon, Skimlinks is an amazing affiliate tool that increases my revenue and saves me a ton of time.”
Here’s another quote from, Sebastian Schäffer, an AuthorityHacker Pro member who uses it extensively:
“…Skimlinks is a solid solution if you either got banned from Amazon or if you don’t want to bother with affiliate related things (signing up to networks, setting up links) at all.
Easy to install, they even have a wordpress plugin and you get a paycheck at the end of the month. Their dashboard is ok but not great and you lack ways to really dive deep into the data but that is probably something the target audience doesn’t really care about too much.
That being said you will leave A LOT of revenue on the table using Skimlinks just because they take a large chunk of your commissions.”
Shareasale is one of the biggest affiliate platforms out there (although not the biggest), with over 4,000 offers available.
As of this writing (according to my own dashboard), of those 4,000 merchants, 1,073 are exclusive to ShareASale, so you won’t be able to find them anywhere else.
This is actually why I started using ShareASale: a few products I wanted to promote used ShareASale exclusively, something you might find in more esoteric niches.
I don’t have any data on this, but they also seem to dabble more in physical goods than platforms like CJ, which focus a lot on digital goods (although there are still digital goods on ShareASale.
The main complaint about ShareASale is that the dashboard is a bit antiquated, and it’s difficult to contact both them and their merchants.
Vin from WordAgents echoes this:
“ShareASale is solid. Been using them since 2013. Biggest problems with them is the interface is a little dated / wonky. It’s also difficult to deal directly with the advertisers. You think you’re speaking to an advertiser rep, but it’s really just someone from SAS. You have to use a special (hard to find) contact form to contact the advertiser….and it’s rare you get a direct response from them.”
Most recently, the network has been acquired by AWin (previously Affiliate Window). Right, now both run separately but we may see some interesting opportunities come out of this.
Peerfly isn’t quite as big as some of the other platforms (they have 2,000 live offers), but they’re still plenty big.
It’s a CPA network only, which is why their merchant roster isn’t quite as extensive as some of the other big guys.
Here’s the reason a lot of people like Peerfly, though: they guarantee to match or exceed payouts from any other network.
This makes their commission rates pretty high most of the time (or at least as high as you’ll find anywhere else).
One upside for a lot of publishers is their payout options.
They offer optional advanced payments, as frequently as every week, but you’ll have to work it out with your affiliate manager. In addition to that, they pay through PayPal, which is relatively common but isn’t offered everywhere.
One possible downside is that you have to be active to keep your account; if you don’t make sales, you’ll be suspended (although it’s pretty easy to get reinstated).
One possible downside is that you have to be active to keep your account; if you don’t make sales, you’ll be suspended (although it’s pretty easy to get reinstated).
AWin (previously Affiliate Window)
AWin is similar to platforms like CJ and ShareASale, but they’re jointly headquartered in the US and Europe, making for a slightly different merchant roster and a slightly easier time for EU-based publishers.
Of course, they still do have plenty of merchants in the US.
AWIN has been quite busy acquiring other affiliate networks such as Affilinet or Shareasale. While Shareasale still runs separately, the others have already been merged and integrated into AWIN.
As a result, the company boasts to offer 13,000 brands on their network across all sectors. That said, their primary sectors are finance, retail shopping, telcos and services, and travel.
One major upside for smaller publishers is the low payout threshold. You can get a check if you earn as little as $20.
They also payout twice a month, which isn’t’ the most aggressive payout schedule on this list but is still very respectable.
Finally, they offer lots of bells and whistles for affiliates, like a real-time discount code feed and cross-platform tracking. As for drawbacks, the main complaint we found was the dashboard.
This is a quick quote from AuthorityHacker Pro member Megan Marrs:
“Affiliate Window: I hate Affiliate Window’s dashboard. It feels very cumbersome to me and a bit overwhelming.”
With over 10,000 advertisers, FlexOffers is another huge platform that helps affiliates promote a wide range of products.
So they’re big. They’re also serious about growing; they’ve got something called the FlexRev program, which is essentially a referral program for publishers to refer other publishers and then get a % of their commissions, which is honestly a pretty cool and a good idea.
They also have over 20 million products in a wide range of markets.
This is purely anecdotal, but when I’ve come across private companies that don’t host their own affiliate programs and instead opted to use a third-party platform, it’s seemed to me that FlexOffers was represented disproportionately, making it seem like the place to find ways to promote all those weird little niche products (again, anecdotally).
They’re also home to plenty of big brands.
Other Similar Platforms
Of course, there are tons of general platforms out there. We wanted to devote detailed descriptions to the best of them. The platforms below are platforms I either haven’t used, our members haven’t used, aren’t as big as the others, or have a major glaring flaw that ranks them slightly lower.
That absolutely does not mean they are bad. They’re still worth checking out, especially if they have specific merchants you want to promote.
|AvantLink||Lots of merchants, reportedly a fast-growing network, but only about 30% of applications are approved.|
|PepperJam||I’ve used them, and they were good, but I’ve recently been getting phishing warnings from Chrome.|
|Rakuten||Big and big brands, but our users report unpredictable payments and not so many partners.|
|ImpactRadius||AH Pro member Adam Connell likes them but mentioned that “One issue with the marketplace is that you can see programs/payouts at a glance, but some advertisers show 'out of funds' when you click for more info.”|
|MaxBounty||Claims to have over 1,500 active offers, works with digital products but many report getting terminated without an apparent reason.|
|JVZoo||Quite popular, works mostly with digital products.|
|OfferVault||Many offers but some people report too much hassle with applying with merchants.|
|TradeDoubler||A European network with over 2000 UK and European merchants.|
best Affiliate Programs by Niche
For our purposes, “outdoors” covers outdoor related hobbies and gear–stuff like hunting, camping, fishing, climbing, etc.
There are lots of Amazon affiliates in this space, mostly because it’s a strong hobby (i.e. passion) niche with tons of products. Which is good, since tons of these big stores are very general in nature, making it possible for big outdoors sites to possibly even pick one or two stores to recommend (this, in turn, might have other advantages, too, like negotiating better rates with those brands).
Lastly, at least from a physical-goods standpoint, the affiliate programs in this market still have pretty good commissions–some (but certainly not all) go as high as 10% on a volume based model, which could potentially outperform Amazon.
|REI||REI has massive brand recognition on its side and offers a wide variety of products. They run their program through AvantLink. They give 5% commission on a 30-day cookie.|
|Cabelas||Another massive brand in the outdoor space. They also run their program through AvantLink, awarding 3% commissions on a 14-day cookie. That might not sound too hot, but their average order is $130.|
|Sportsman’s Guide||I think this is a great find. I’d never heard of them, but they sell virtually all outdoor goods and have the best commissions in the niche: up to 10% on a volume-based tier model. Their cookie lasts 7 days.|
|BassPro||BassPro isn’t just a fishing store; they also sell hunting, boating, shooting and camping gear. The give affiliates a flat 5% commission.|
|Mountain Hardware||This looks like one of the best affiliate programs I found in this space. CJ reports an 8% commission, while their site says “up to 10%,” which likely means 8% is the average. That’s especially good when you look at the price of their products. Cookie duration is 21 days.|
Health & Fitness
In health and fitness markets, affiliate programs seem to fall into two main categories: supplements and equipment. Both can be profitable, due mainly to large order sizes (equipment), high commissions (supplements) or recurring sales (supplements).
Products that don’t fall into those two categories are usually either infoproducts (like Venus Factor) or workout programs (like P90X), which can also be profitable but don’t necessarily represent the product variety that supplements and equipment might.
This market also has the advantage of featuring lots of products that you either can’t find on Amazon or that people would rather buy directly from the manufacturer (e.g. a BowFlex).
|BodyBuilding.com||A mainstay of the fitness market and seen as a source of info from industry experts, making it a great place to point customers. They pay 15% for new customers and 5% for returning customers; however, each cookie is only good for one transaction.|
|GNC||Another major brand in the supplement space. GNC uses CJ to handle the backend of their program. You can earn up to 5% commission on a 7-day cookie.|
|CrazyBulk||A relatively big brand with not so much recognition. You can earn up to 40% commission with a lifetime cookie.|
|iHerb||One of the popular alternatives to Amazon for buying supplements. The website offers 5% commission with a 45 day cookie.|
|BowFlex||This is a big brand with a smaller product line, but it’s been around since (I think) the 90s, and their primary product is immensely popular? Commissions are 3-7%, but the average order is over $2,000.|
Web hosting may or may not be a lucrative market. But it’s definitely one to look into.
In short, there are 1.2 billion websites and 140,000 get launched each day. No surprise the web hosting services industry is worth $20 billion.
It’s a very competitive market, but the commissions are good.
Anyway, let’s have a look at what’s out there:
|GoDaddy||GoDaddy is arguably the leader in this space. The company racks in huge revenues and a share of those come from affiliates. The offer is attractive, with 40% commission. You can sign up on AWIN and CJ.|
|HostGator||HostGator is another giant. The group behind it reports $1.2 billion in revenues. As an affiliate, you’ll get up to $125 per signup.|
|Rackspace||Rackspace is among the relative newcomers in the market. The company spends a lot of money on brand awareness and beating competitors in the level of service and support. They offer $50 per sign up.|
There’s more in the market. If it’s something you’re interested to have a closer look in, we recently wrote an article that analyzes is, so head over there.
This is a vast market. If entrepreneurship, online marketing or anything online business is your niche then there’s a lot of affiliate programs out there for you.
The commissions vary, and the products too. From education to software there’s a lot to look at so here’s a simple demo of some of the solid affiliate programs you can sign up for.
|Shopify||Shopify is e-commerce software that powers a huge number of popular online stores as well as it is a go-to choice for e-commerce startups. You can earn up to 200% on a sign up with $2000 payout on the premium plan. The cookie duration is 30 days.|
|ClickFunnels||ClickFunnels is a website where people create landing pages and sell infoproducts. You can earn up to 40% per sale and 5% from the revenue of each affiliate you refer.|
|StudioPress||StudioPress is a WordPress hosting and framework service. Just for the reference, 27.5% of all websites use WordPress. You can earn a 30% commission within 60-day cookie window.|
Electronics are weird because commission rates will vary so much between each of the sub-niches. Printers, for example, typically offer commission rates in the double digits, while computers and video game consoles tend to offer very low commission rates.
Additionally, many of the major brands in this space have terrible commissions; BestBuy offers 0% commission on a major chunk of its product lines.
So here’s the trick: check individual brands. Some will be higher, and some will be lower, but you’ll be able to find some gems in there if you poke around enough. Also, if you’re looking to build a new site, consider some of the niches in which commission rates are high (like printing).
Obviously, I can’t list affiliate programs for every brand, or even every sub-niche–below, so I’m just going to give you a sampling of some of the interesting ones I found.
|Microsoft||Commissions aren’t great here, but they’re better than Amazon for a few categories, and they’re very good for a few products. For example, you can earn 5% commission on a Surface and 7% commission on digital products and video game consoles.|
|ComboLink||You’ll have to find this one on CJ, since it doesn’t appear to be on their site. Still, it’s a good example of the rather crazy commission rates in the printer industry: 25% on a 120-day cookie.|
|Garmin||A good example of one of those gems. Garmin offers up to 10% commission on their products, blowing the typical 1%-2% of their competitors (as far as I saw) out of the water. They’re on FlexOffers and VigLink.|
|Razer||Not the best affiliate program if you’re recommending whole PC systems, but definitely a good one for peripherals, since they offer 7% commission. Also you’ll get 20% on software.|
|GearBest||This is one of the better general consumer electronic affiliate programs I found. They offer 1%-10% tiered commission with an average (according to CJ) 6% commission and a 30-day cookie.|
Like with electronics, the trick with sports is to look at sub-niche stores and, occasionally, to specific brands.
There are quite a few general sporting goods stores in this niche, but commission rates can sometimes be lower, and a few have made some drastic changes to their affiliate programs (and not for the better).
Dick’s Sporting Goods, for example, which used to payout a reported $130 EPC, reduced their cookie duration to just 5 hours. So, for sports, it’ll likely pay to find nichier affiliate programs.
|Paragon||This was the best general sporting good retailer I found. They sell pretty much everything and focus on expensive, name-brand products. They also offer up to 8% commission (CJ reports 6%) with a 7-day cookie.|
|Modell’s||This is a big, general sporting goods store that sells pretty much everything. It offers a 5% commission, which barely edges out Amazon’s 4.5% on sporting goods, which may or may not be wroth it depending on Modell’s average order size, etc.|
|OnlineSports||Another good general sports retailer. Commissions here seem great, too: 10%-14% on a 60-day cookie.|
|Soccer Garage||A good example of a sport-specific retailer with better-than-average commission rates: tiered payouts from 7%-10% on a 60-day cookie.|
|Trendy Golf||Golf is a huge niche, and there’s no shortage of retailers. This is just one. Commission rates are a flat 6% on a 30-day cookie.|
Betting and Casinos
Betting and online gambling can be an interesting market too if it’s something you want to get into.
In the US, 50% of adults over 18 have placed at least one bet online. Sports betting accounts for over 40% of the entire market.
Then there are casinos and let’s not forget online poker, which is quite popular especially now with every dude and his dog wanting to be like Dan Bilzerian (who got rich from poker).
The upsides of online gambling? Well, it’s basically as addictive as any drug so if you’re a complete libertarian or simply don’t give an f*, here’s a quick look into it.
|Betfair Affiliates||Sports betting is huge and arguably fun. Betfair is a giant in this space with some lucrative offers. For example, you can earn a lifetime revenue on referred players plus cross product earnings.|
|888||888 is the leader in the online casino space. Games include casino, poker, bingo, sports and so on. You’ll get up to $200 CPA with 20% - 40% revenue share.|
|iAffiliates||iAffiliates is a network of prominent online casino brands. It has some interesting affiliate programs to encourage people to revisit sites and generous promotions. It offers up to $500 CPA.|
Finance (Stocks, Forex and Crypto)
Trading is a huge market and it can be a very interesting one too. The reason is that there are literally trillions of dollars traded on a daily basis.
Secondly, most retail investors are day traders. That means, they make multiple trades daily each earning a commission.
Lastly, there’s many markets and leverage. People trade stocks, currencies, cryptocurrencies, derivatives and often multiple’s of the volume they invested.
Here’s a sample overview.
|Z.com Trade||One of the popular Forex brokers. It promises up to $500 CPA, $7 per lot revenue share and 15% from sub-affiliates.|
|iQ Option||Another online broker. You can trade a plethora of instruments there, such as CFDs, ETFs, crypto and options. The commissions are 70% of the fees for the first month, 57%, the second month, 50% the third month, then 35%, 20% and 15% to finally 5% in all subsequent months.|
|Binance||With cryptocurrencies on the hype train, Binance is the largest and probably the most legitimate cryptocurrency exchange. It offers 20 - 40% revenue share.|
Surely, with more people stuck to their screens, losing their social skills there’s an increasing need for online dating services.
While quite scammy, it can be a solid market. The downside is that the apps most people use, like Tinder don’t have affiliate programs, so you might be stuck with some of the scammy websites.
Here’s a look at a couple of legitimate ones.
|eHarmony||eHarmony is quite a household name. It’s also one of the highest paying and most popular dating affiliate programs. You can earn up to $188 per sale.|
|Cupid.com||Cupid is another relatively legit and popular website. You can earn $15 just on a free sign up and up to 90% on paid membership.|
It’s slightly tougher to find affiliate programs in the pets space–but in a good way: it’s only because Amazon is still really competitive here and still beat out the major players in terms of commission rates.
Outside of Amazon, there’s not a lot out there. There are only a few big info products. There are also only a few subscription boxes, but these tend to be really hot right now.
|Petco||A big, general pet supplies retailer. They match Amazon on commissions (8%) but beat them (as most people do) on cookie length: 7 days.|
|CesarsWay||CesarsWay is, of course, a dog-only pet shop, but in addition to dog supplies, they also sell training material, and Cesar is by far the biggest brand in this space. Commissions are 5%-8% (which is great for a DVD), and cookies last 30 days.|
|VetShop||This is a pet supplement shop, and, like many other kinds of supplements, they offer pretty good commissions: 10%.|
|BarkBox||BarkBox is one of the new and hot pet-based subscription boxes to have come out in the last few years. As far as I can tell, there’s no commission here, but they pay a very respectable $14 per lead.|
Like pets, Amazon remains competitive with all home good categories except appliances (they offer 8% commissions for furniture, home improvement, home, and pantry categories, while they offer 4.5% for their kitchen category).
Some of the opportunity in this niche is going to be referring people to luxury brands that have higher order values than we might see on Amazon. I can’t disclose the person or the site, but one of my colleagues is in one of these niches and reported significant revenue increases from testing other affiliate programs against Amazon–before Amazongeddon.
The other big opportunities here are going to be in specific product sub-niches that offer higher commissions; mattresses, for example, are notoriously profitable.
|Great Deal Furniture||This is one of the better affiliate programs I found in my research (they’re being aggressive while introducing their affiliate program). Commissions are 10% for all products, which is insane for furniture, and “high performers” get 13%. Cookies last 45 days.|
|Hayneedle||As far as affiliate programs go, Hayneedle is probably one of the better general home goods stores out there. They list commissions at 3%-8%, but CJ lists 8%, which may indicate payouts are on the high end of that spectrum. The cookie duration is 30 days.|
|Designer Living||Home decor and furniture online retailer selling many big and popular product brands. The commission is 12% on a 30-day cookie window.|
|One Kings Lane||A successful high-end online furniture retailer. They offer 5% commission within a 14-day cookie window.|
Let’s wrap up our niches with babies. This is another massive niche in which Amazon lost a bit of ground with the update.
It’s still not a super high-commission market, although there are some good opportunities with more specific sub-niches. There’s also a few interesting opportunities with unique products and gifts.
Finally, although some of them seem pretty sleazy to me, there are quite a few infoproducts in the pregnancy niche, and they pay pretty well.
|EroBaby||EroBaby isn’t a huge store by any means, but they still have a good selection of product lines, focusing on stuff that maximizes a parent’s ergonomic comfort. They have among the highest commissions I found in this market: 10%.|
|CornerStorkBabyGifts||CornerStork is a baby gift retailer (think, like, baby shower-type stuff). They also have strong commissions: 12% on a 120-day cookie.|
|ABaby||ABaby focuses mainly on baby furniture but offers a few other things as well. They pay out 8% on each sale, and their cookies last 45 days.|
|Pregnancy Miracle||This is one of those may-or-may-not-be-sleazy infoproducts. I don’t know much about pregnancy, or I could tell you more. Of course, because it’s an infoproduct, commissions are really high: 75% with an average commission of about $36. You can find this one on ClickBank.|
Other Affiliate Programs & Niches
Finding Your Own Programs
I’m no superman, though, guys. I can’t give you a list of every program out there. The affiliate programs above are just a sampling of the best ones I could find.
But here’s a secret I’ve told you before: there are affiliate programs for everything.
Literally. I have not yet come across a niche for which there weren’t multiple affiliate programs to tinker with and test against each other. And it’s important to find these programs; it’s just like testing ad networks–you need to test lots of affiliate programs to find the best combination for your specific site.
Here’s how I like to find them.
Method #1: Straight Up Just Google It
This is the most obvious as well as the easiest.
It’s a good place to start if you already have an idea of what you want to sell or if you already have an established site that makes sales.
Just use this query: “[niche/product] affiliate program.” In that “[niche/product]” spot, you’ll usually want to check for:
- Broad niches
- Product types
- Specific popular products
Here’s an example.
Suppose we had a weightlifting site. We might try the following queries:
- “weightlifting affiliate programs”
- “gym affiliate programs”
- “fitness equipment affiliate programs”
- “bowflex affiliate programs”
Your results will probably include lists of programs on blogs, programs listed on networks, and programs published on retailer websites:
That absolutely does not mean they are bad. They’re still worth checking out, especially if they have specific merchants you want to promote.
None of these is better than the other, really. You’ll just have to poke around and try to find which offers the best combination of:
- Products your readers want
- Commission rates
- Affiliate resources
Method #2: Leverage the Networks
This is probably one of my favorite ways to look for programs, because this is often where companies turn first: the large affiliate networks.
If I’m selling physical products, I usually start with:
If I think I want to recommend infoproducts, I usually start with ClickBank.
The big advantage of this method being able to simply browse entire categories and see all the data in one place.
And that’s what you do: log into a network and filter results by the appropriate category. For example, here’s what VigLink’s ’s beauty category.
As another example, here’s what you might find in ClickBank’s cooking category.
Method #3: Monitor The Competition
We’re big fans of keeping an eye on the competition here at Authority Hacker, it works for keyword research, it works for link building, and it also works for monetisation, including affiliate marketing!
There are several areas you should be monitoring to find what programs your competitors are pushing:
- Their email marketing (build a catch-all inbox)
- Their blog content (subscribe to their feeds)
- Their ranking keywords. (Ahrefs reports)
- Their ads
The idea, then, is to find a bunch of different affiliate programs you can test on your own site.
This, of course, is difficult to demonstrate, since every site is different, and you’ll be writing about and selling different things.
But in general, I toss programs that I might want to test into a simple spreadsheet.
And that’s it!
After that, it’s mostly a matter of mixing, matching, and testing (which would be even more difficult to demonstrate).
But the bottom line is this: there are so many affiliate programs out there, you stand to make a lot of money online by simply finding and testing the ones available in your niche.
Over To You…
How do you find programs? Are you diversifying like I am? If so, how’s it going? Let me know in the comments!