Success in affiliate marketing depends a lot on who you're working with, which is why it's so important to get an in-depth review of affiliate networks pros and cons before making any business decisions. We at AffiliateValley will do our best to help you with that.
Check out our list of the top-5 affiliate networks operating in the eCommerce niche. We've analysed key parameters such as years on the market, commission rates, payouts, quality of offers etc. to bring you the best of the best — the most reliable eCommerce affiliate networks to work with.
One of the oldest affiliate networks is Clickbank, dating back to 1998. It is a private company with offices in the U.S. working worldwide for more than 200 million customers. With 6 million entrepreneurs on the platform and tens of thousands product listings, it's safe to say that many affiliates and vendors trust it. But over such a long history, some users have also developed certain complaints about the network.
Clickbank provides more than 1,000 affiliate programs. Products and services are divided into 22 categories, from cooking and health to e-business and art. Affiliate programs can be searched by keywords, and Clickbank ranks them according to different metrics. One of the most important is Gravity – calculating how popular a particular product is at the moment. There are a lot of junk products on the site, but thanks to this metric you can find popular and well-converting offers.
The main advantage, as well as a disadvantage of Clickbank, is its age. On the one hand, for more than 2 decades they have accumulated an excellent training base for beginners – from introductory tutorials to a knowledge base and Clickbank University for novice affiliates. On the other hand, the outdated design has only recently begun to be cleaned up, and the site can be disorienting at first. Nevertheless, after pushing through the scaffolding of ongoing upgrades and some junk products, it is possible to find truly profitable affiliate programs there.
23 years of experience
The simple registration process and detailed guides for beginners
High commissions up to 90%
Large choice of affiliate products and niches
Weekly and bi-weekly payouts
Many junk products
ShareASale was founded in the U.S. a little later than the previous network, in 2000. In 2017 it was acquired by Awin (Affiliate Window), but it still exists as a separate brand specializing in e-commerce - only the logo is now signed "Part of Awin". The portal remains active, adding new offers daily, and is quite friendly to new affiliates. The main advantage of the network is considered to be easy access to small and medium-sized businesses.
ShareASale has thousands of brands divided into 39 sections, but they are strict about the content allowed on the platform - so there is no adult category. Although there are some fairly well-known brands on the site, ShareASale has long established itself as a meeting place for small and medium-sized enterprises with the same scale site owners. In addition to the comparative ease of registration and bidding, they are attracted by the convenience of searching and sorting programs.
The search is configurable on a large number of parameters, so once you adjust it to the right niche, you can be sure that good offers will not pass by. The design of the site might be considered dated or minimalistic based on your taste, but it is functional. Payouts are made every twentieth of the month, the commission is $1 per referral + 5% of earnings. From minuses, it is necessary to note strongly outdated help center articles and recurring complaints about the lack of Paypal payments and high withdrawal threshold.
Established brand, recently acquired for over $35 million
Wide variety of offers on the platform
Focused on eCommerce
Educational and help articles need improvement
Relatively high withdrawal threshold
Expensive admission for merchants
Perform[cb] is another CPA network with a pedigree, formed by the merger of Clickbooth, Adperio, and Ignite OPM in 2020. The original Clickbooth was founded in 2002 and has since grown organically, focusing on building lasting relationships with affiliates and laying out marketing strategies for brands. They have a division Perform[cb] Agency that offers comprehensive partnerships for content management strategies and services. But what about affiliates?
Perform[cb] has a wide variety of business models: CPC, CPL, CPA, CPS, RevShare, CPI, CPE, and ASO. They focus on popular verticals and have thousands of offers curated by their team. Also, Perfor[cb] emphasizes regulatory compliance and standards, in an effort to weed out questionable advertisers. The company has over 100 employees and many of them are managers with open contacts who become your dedicated assistants.
Affiliate network reviews are overwhelmingly positive – which also speaks to quality customer service. The company and its predecessors have many awards in the industry, most recently it received Adweek's Performance Marketing Award for Campaign of the Year, Emerging Technology 2021. Of the disadvantages, we can identify the fact that the company is focused on a few verticals and only Tier 1 markets of Canada, the US and Europe. Also, there is no specific information about the commissions, which are apparently determined individually.
Reputation and history
Variety of business models
Frequent weekly payments
Awards and recognition
Сlose interaction with managers
Lack of offers in some verticals
No exact data on commissions
Rakuten Marketing traces its history back to 1996 when the LinkShare affiliate network was founded. By 2005 it was taken over by Rakuten, so this company is the oldest player on this list. In times of LinkShare, it established a solid position in the game, so Rakuten Marketing as a big e-commerce business had to acquire it instead of competing with it. However, the company has not lost its position and still has many exclusive brands and offers onboard.
There are about 1,000 offers in total, and those are dedicated exclusively to e-commerce. This may not seem like much compared to other networks, but it's hard to find any that are complete junk and not profitable among them. Speaking of design... It hasn't changed much since the early '00s, but it is functional, and compared to the other "old guys" on this list, it doesn't need urgent rescue. The affiliate program works on a CPA model and the company claims to pay out commissions starting from $1.
The company operates worldwide, so the GEO is not restrictive, but payment options are scarce: Check or ACH (Direct Deposit). The main weakness of this CPA Network is customer service. Although payments are claimed every 30 and 60 days, you can find many complaints on the Internet about late payments, low commissions, and account deletion for no apparent reason. Perhaps they ignore the discontent because they know the value of unique brands and offers onboard, but this does not present the company in the best light.
Dedicated to eCommerce
Great offers and exclusive brands
Easy to sign-up
Oldest players in the business
Delayed payment claims
Comparatively low fees
Limited payment methods
A4D is the youngest contestant on our list and immediately stands out with a funny name and design layout from this decade. But the company, founded in 2008, differs from its competitors not only in this – the main bet they make is on the quality of their offers and close work with affiliates.
Therefore, the number of their affiliates is in the hundreds, but all of them are selected through quite strict filters and many are exclusive. For publishers conditions are not less strict – work with them is unlikely to be for beginners or those who use PTC sites, bots, auto-refreshers, and other shady schemes.
Those who passed the filters may enjoy working with a company, which allows receiving a fairly good average market commission, and this commission is paid once or twice a week (on time). Also, A4D is one of few CPA networks with personal managers who have phones, faces, and Skype and are not afraid to use them to help clients. That's why the reviews of the company on the internet are mostly positive.
Focused on few verticals
Adhere to standards
Selected quality offers
Good Customer service
Not a wide range of deals
Referral commission is mediocre
Limited payment methods
We have listed the most well-known and established affiliate marketing networks for today. Each of them stands out in some way: some have a wide range of offers, some are better at dealing with clients, and some promise high commissions. In the end, the best answer as to which CPA network is the best will be a notification on your phone when the money arrives from a successful campaign.
So if we haven't mentioned any legit affiliate networks that should be on this list – write to [email protected]. Let's make a list of reliable affiliate networks together!
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