They’ve been around for 20 years now, in one form or another.
From humble beginnings as an e-commerce business set up by college friends to sell a peppery jelly, to launching their own affiliate network and finally being acquired by eBay.
eBay then renamed the business ‘eBay Enterprise Affiliate Network’ before spinning it off for it to become the Pepperjam affiliate network all over again.
So let’s take a look at whether or not Pepperjam is an affiliate network that’s worthy of your interest.
So how do you go about becoming a ‘Pepperjam Partner’?
The first thing you need to do is identify yourself as one of the following:
- Brand or advertiser – merchant
- Publisher or influencer – affiliate
- Agency – ummm…you’re an agency
We want to become a partner so you click on the big orange/red button:
You’ll need to provide them with your basic contact information:
And then some details on your business and your affiliate marketing website.
It’s an idea for new affiliates to put some effort into how they describe their website/business, by the way.
Affiliate networks tend to care more about how much traffic your site generates than anything else, but every little extra effort on your part can help.
Now it’s time to describe your ‘Publishing Channels’, so that means choosing:
- What categories your site fits into
- How you generate traffic/sales
- Where most of your visitors come from
- And what social media platforms you’re active on
Then tell them how to pay you.
But you really only get to choose what currency you receive payment in because the only “obvious” payout option is PayPal.
Once an eBay company…always an eBay company, eh Pepperjam?
And then finally agree to their T&C’s, check all the boxes, and submit your application.
I do like that the entire application process is a one-page affair because it speeds the process up.
Pepperjam – from memory – has a pretty quick turnaround on affiliate applications, so you shouldn’t have to wait more than a few working days to receive a “Yay” or “Nay!” from them.
Affiliate marketing networks that make you jump through all kinds of hoops during the application process usually take longer to approve applications than those that don’t.
What brands can you promote?
This can be a deal-breaker for some people and not for others.
But it’s still reassuring to see at least some big brand names on an affiliate network – it’s that type of social proof that tells you they’re a serious business.
There are some surprisingly big brands on the Pepperjam network, such as Puma, Lindt, and Nordstrom. But there are also lots of smaller brands to work with.
So Pepperjam has enough breadth in its offerings to cover most niches.
And the hidden affiliate benefit in these smaller programs/businesses is that they typically represent products and services you’d never have thought of otherwise.
The only potential downside here is that there are fewer than 1,000 advertisers on this platform, so you could run out of options if you’re in a particularly focused niche like online dating, for example.
Ease of Use
You shouldn’t have to work through an affiliate interface or dashboard – it should make your life easier.
The problem is that most of these interfaces are designed by “the data guys”, so they’re clunky, cluttered and lack even the most cursory of nods to UX.
Pepperjam though has one of the cleaner interfaces I’ve used:
All your primary functions are located in the left-hand menu, leaving the main “workspace” area clear for alerts, and information on recently launched programs.
And when you click on one of the menus it – and I’m eternally grateful for this – doesn’t pop out, it expands down instead:
That leaves the top menu free for non-essential info and functions:
- Customer support
- Advertiser Mail
- Account details
So I’m giving them top marks for their affiliate dashboard – it looks fresh and clean but they don’t sacrifice functionality for some stupidly elaborate design.
Now let’s take a look at what it’s like actually finding an affiliate program or three to sign up for.
Finding affiliate programs
This is one of the aspects of affiliate networks I find most fascinating simply because it’s the one area you think they’d focus a lot of their effort on.
They should make it really easy for affiliates to quickly find and sign up for a given affiliate program.
Pepperjam does an okay job in this regard – there’s room for improvement.
To get a list of affiliate programs you click on ‘Advertisers’ and then ‘Find New Advertisers’:
The search function defaults to searching for programs that you have ‘No relationship” with, so that saves time.
You can also search for affiliate programs based on:
- Attribution features
- Offer type
- Term status
- Mobile tracking
- Program ID
- Premier Advertisers
At face value, this looks like a very complete set of filters.
And it is except you have no way of telling how profitable a given program is because you can’t see their respective EPC data.
So you get lots of filters you don’t need, but one of the most critical is missing.
Or Pepperjam doesn’t want to publish that information because it’s not exactly glowing?
Something else that stuck out is that they only have 937 advertisers and not the 1,500 we’ve seen claimed elsewhere.
So we’re hoping that Pepperjam is focused on quality over quantity.
Creating affiliate links
Let’s see how Pepperjam got on when we tried to set up some links.
To get started, click on ‘My Advertisers’, choose the program you want to create a link for and then click ‘Get Creatives’:
From here you can choose between:
- Text Links
- Advanced Links
I really like how Pepperjam uses a tabbed layout here:
It’s just far less convoluted than the way other affiliate networks handle this stuff i.e. you don’t have to jump between pages to find what you need.
A nice touch is the ‘Products’ option – you can create deep links to products instead of just a category (or worse) the advertiser’s homepage.
Why is deep linking important?
Because your traffic will convert better if you can take the visitor directly to the product you mentioned or reviewed in your content.
Pepperjam also offers a ‘Link Generator’ tool.
This is a bookmarklet that you add to your browser that allows you to create am affiliate link to any page on an advertiser’s site.
When you’re finally ready to upload your link, just click on ‘Get Code’ and it appears in a pop-over window:
All very neat and tidy.
As a famous economist once said, “Show me the money!”
Don’t Google that – you’ll just be disappointed.
Let’s take a look at the Pepperjam affiliate payment structure.
Affiliate payments are made on the 1st and 15th of each month, or the closest possible date to that depending on when weekends fall.
Basically, it can take up to a week after these dates to receive payment, so you need to allow for that.
Affiliate payments are only made on locked commissions on 30, 45 or 60 days, so this can cause additional delays in when you get paid.
Basically, Pepperjam is meant to be a net 60 payment deal, but…it varies.
Well, you can choose between PayPal and….umm….PayPal.
Yes, it’s nice to have PayPal as a payout option but it also sucks to have to put up with their ridiculous fees.
Affiliates can also opt for payment via direct deposit or check…but you have to email Pepperjam to set that up.
Why add an additional manual step to what should be a user-driven change?
This is one of the silliest things I’ve seen in ages and no doubt ties up their customer support team in unnecessary paper shuffling.
You will need to earn at least $25 in affiliate commissions before it will trigger a payment from your account.
Support is a big deal especially for those new to affiliate marketing, and Pepperjam has done a better than decent job with the range of available support options.
Firstly, you can ring them, which is a real novelty, but you also get actual email addresses to use and not just a contact form.
They also offer ‘Knowledge Centers’ for both advertisers and publishers:
Their knowledge base is streamlined and the search function actually works pretty well.
You can also use the ‘Advertiser Mail’ function to send queries to the program manager for any affiliate program you’re signed up to.
This allows you to bypass Pepperjam support and go straight to the source.
It’s hardly revolutionary, but it is well implemented.
So overall their customer support is about on par with other affiliate marketing networks.
PepperJam affiliate network feedback
Let’s review what Joe and Josephine public has to say about Pepperjam, just to give you as unbiased a review of the network as possible.
Can’t say fairer than that, right?
So the first piece of feedback appears to be from an advertiser who’s pissed off that things didn’t work out.
The problem is they’re annoyed but not specific – it’s just a shotgun blast of anger.
Next up we have an affiliate who had to wait three months for payment. That’s not a good sign but it might also be an isolated case.
And then finally we have a complaint about their customer service from after Pepperjam “parted ways” with eBay.
The main issue with rounding up feedback is that Pepperjam disappeared into the folds of eBay for a few years, so recent criticism is kind of thin on the ground.
Year established: 2000 and then again in 2016
Number of merchants: 930+
Offer types: CPA and sale
Weighing it up
So, on review, what are the pros and cons of using Pepperjam as part of your affiliate marketing plans?
- They provide dedicated account managers or allude to do that
- A number of big brands worthy of your attention
- Intuitive affiliate dashboard
- You can receive payment via PayPal
- Easy-to-use affiliate link building tools
- Very straightforward sign-up process
- Limited payment options…unless you email them
- Oddly clumsy payment structure
- No public EPC metrics
And that brings us to the conclusion of our Pepperjam affiliate network review.
My final impression of Pepperjam is somewhat mixed.
They do some things really well, but just drop the ball on others.
Like the missing EPC data and the odd fixation on PayPal payments.
But they have a solid range of affiliate and customer service/support tools and do represent some pretty impressive brand names.
So I can only surmise at least some of their affiliates are making bank.
And if you’d like to figure out how to make some of that lovely Internet monies you might want to check out our free 2-hour training class.
We cover the basics of putting together your first affiliate site.
And it’s ideal for beginners, so you definitely won’t feel out of your depth.
The one thing we do need to know though is where to send your invitation.
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