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Affiliate marketing is an excellent way for publishers to generate passive income online. You don’t have to worry about inventory, shipping, and other complications that cause merchants headaches. Instead, you simply drive traffic to offers and earn juicy commissions on the sales you initiate.

Affiliate networks are your gateway to all the hottest offers. They connect affiliates and merchants, making them vital ‘middle men’ in the process. In this article, I’ll discuss the best affiliate networks, helping you decide which platforms to partner with. 

Software Shortlist 

Here’s the list of the best affiliate programs that I’ll cover in this article.

  1. LeadDyno - Best for eCommerce affiliate marketing
  2. CJ Affiliate - Best for partnering with large corporations
  3. Amazon Associates - Best for monetizing the dominant ecommerce platform
  4. eBay Partner Network - Best for auction income
  5. FlexOffers - Best for award-winning performance marketing
  6. Rakuten Advertising (was LinkShare) - Best for amplifying digital marketing performance
  7. Impact - Best for connecting with top brands
  8. Refersion - Best for accurate commission tracking
  9. JVZoo - Best for instant affiliate payouts
  10. ClickBank - Best for offers that scale

Comparison Criteria

What do I look for when I select the best affiliate networks? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria: 

  1. Track record: I look for affiliate networks with a solid track record and a good reputation in the industry
  2. Robustness: I expect networks to demonstrate high uptime and fast performance
  3. Affiliate support: I’m seeking affiliate platforms that support publishers with dedicated account managers
  4. Reliable payouts: I look for affiliate networks that pay publishers quickly and dependably 

Affiliate Network Key Features

When evaluating affiliate marketing networks, I’m looking to see professional-level features, including:

  1. Choice of offers: A good range of merchants in various niches, plus a diverse selection of offers.
  2. Multiple commission models: Support for pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, pay-per-call, and other payment method options.
  3. Revenue enhancers: Technology that enables upsell and downsell flows,1-click upsells, recurring billing, etc.
  4. Variety of media: Support for a wide range of ad creatives, including images, video, text, and rich media.
  5. Tracking and reporting: Reliable tracking, real-time reporting, and granular analysis tools that help publishers maximize earnings.
  6. Data feeds: Product feeds from merchants that allow publishers to build complex product pages quickly.
  7. Minimum payout: A low payout threshold so that publishers get paid promptly.

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Overviews Of The 10 Best Best Affiliate Networks

Here’s a brief description of each affiliate network to showcase what makes each a great choice for affiliates.

1. LeadDyno - Best for eCommerce affiliate marketing

leaddyno affiliate networks screenshot
LeadDyno shows you how your program is growing.

LeadDyno is an affiliate tracking solution designed to manage affiliate programs. Using this software, companies can grow revenue, monitor performance, and engage with potential partners. The system allows merchants to offer incentives to publishers and provides tools to help you find the right organizations to partner with.

Affiliates can receive their earnings by PayPal, with payments scheduled regularly. LeadDyno integrates with top e-commerce platforms, payment processors, CRMs, and email platforms. 

LeadDyno affiliate software works with third-party systems such as Stripe, Mailchimp, and Cratejoy. Many integrations can be installed with one click to get things running quickly. 

2. CJ Affiliate - Best for partnering with large corporations

cj affiliate affiliate networks screenshot
CJ Affiliate allows you to partner with a wide range of organizations.

CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction) is one of the best-established affiliate networks, with a history that goes back over 20 years. As a pioneer of affiliate marketing, this network brings you many of the world’s largest merchants.

Publishers can select the merchants they want to work with and choose the creatives that work best for them. CJ Affiliate ensures that merchants deposit sufficient funds to cover affiliate payouts and work to prevent merchant fraud from occurring.

The network provides search tools for finding relevant affiliate programs and facilitates two-way communications. The Deep Link Generator tool makes it easy to create tracking links from a brand site or leverage technology to convert existing URLs into trackable links. 

The minimum publisher payout is $50.

3. Amazon Associates - Best for monetizing the dominant ecommerce platform

amazon associates affiliate networks screenshot
Amazon Associates shows you which geos are producing income. 

Amazon Associates is the oldest and best-known affiliate marketing program, with a history from the 1990s. Publishers choose the Amazon program because it allows them to leverage the Amazon brand, plus Amazon’s unparalleled ability to sell online.

When promoting products as an Amazon Associate, you can earn commissions on multiple products. If a customer clicks on your affiliate link, then purchases many products, you earn commissions on everything purchased.

The Amazon affiliate program is easy to sign up for and offers various creatives and promotional tools. Commission rates are on the low end, but Amazon makes up for this by selling in volume. 

The minimum publisher payout in the Amazon affiliate program is $100.

4. eBay Partner Network - Best for auction income

ebay partner network affiliate networks screenshot
Any publisher can apply to join the eBay Partner Network.

The eBay Partner network allows affiliate marketers to profit from the billion-plus listings hosted on eBay. This program remains popular because it gives affiliates a huge choice of offers to promote.

Multiple affiliate models are supported. These include email marketing, social sharing, loyalty/rewards shopping, and blogging. Publishers get paid every time a buyer completes a qualifying transaction. The compensation consists of up to 4% commission plus an incentive credit.

As an eBay affiliate partner, you get unlimited access to banners, buttons, pot links, and other creatives. These range in sophistication from cut and paste to advanced link-building solutions. 

The minimum publisher payout is $10.

5. FlexOffers - Best for award-winning performance marketing

flexoffers affiliate networks screenshot
FlexOffers gives you access to many thousands of advertisers. 

FlexOffers is an affiliate marketing solution that connects publishers with a vast number of advertisers. Offers are available in every imaginable vertical, giving affiliates unparalleled choice in monetizing their sites.

The platform offers advanced features for publishers. Admins can monitor trends in sales, revenues, and clicks. They can also add predefined marketing content to their websites using HTML documents or Excel spreadsheets. The Dynamic Report Link Generator facilitates creating reports based on custom type and file format. 

The minimum publisher payout is $25.

6. Rakuten Advertising - Best for amplifying digital marketing performance

rakuten advertising affiliate networks screenshot
Rakuten supports publishers and merchants with detailed reports and insights.

Rakuten is a well-established affiliate marketing network, formerly known as Linkshare. It allows publishers to work with big brands worldwide, profiting by promoting their products.

Affiliates can search offers based on factors such as type, affiliate offer number, and start/end date. Then, using the publisher dashboard, they can view transactions and analyze performance. 

Customizable reports can be created to track key performance indicators. Rakuten marketing offers a wide range of tools to support affiliates. 

The minimum publisher payout is $50.

7. Impact - Best for connecting with top brands

impact affiliate networks screenshot
Impact shows you how your campaigns are performing and suggests new offers to promote.

Impact is an affiliate network that connects publishers with many of the world's largest brands. These include merchants in sectors such as retail, travel, beauty, fitness, and financial services. 

The platform offers robust reporting and alerts, giving insights into key metrics. You can use the real-time affiliate campaign reports to respond quickly while also using custom email and SMS alerts to stay one step ahead. 

You get direct affiliate manager contact info, which you can download as a targeted merchant list. Publishers can choose to be paid by direct deposit, BACS, or PayPal in any currency.

8. Refersion - Best for accurate commission tracking

refersion affiliate networks screenshot
Refersion tracks all sales, commissions, and conversions accurately.

Refersion is an affiliate network that allows you to work directly with the brands you partner with. Many brand partners offer above-average commissions to encourage publishers to promote their offers.

Thanks to first-party cookie tracking, Refersion is able to eliminate tracking errors that can otherwise reduce your earnings. You get to see which links are clicked and what's working in your marketing. 

The platform gives you transparent data commissions earned and overall performance in near real-time. Armed with this information, you can decide whether to double down on a campaign or launch a new one. 

9. JVZoo - Best for instant affiliate payouts

jvzoo affiliate networks screenshot
JVZoo gives you detailed information on potential merchant partners. 

JVZoo is an affiliate network best known for digital product offers, such as software and courses. The platform ensures that all offers are fully compliant, so you can confidently recommend any product type to your audience.

Due to the digital nature of the offers, commissions for publishers can be very high. Payouts of 50% or more are common on this platform.

Publishers can also request instant payouts of their earnings. In this scenario, you get paid your affiliate commission by PayPal as soon as a sale occurs.

10. ClickBank - Best for offers that scale

clickbank affiliate networks screenshot
Publishers can make an excellent income when promoting ClickBank offers. 

ClickBank is a well-established affiliate network with a wide range of both physical and digital offers. Thanks to its huge publisher base, it’s the first choice of many direct marketers when choosing an affiliate platform for their products.

The top-selling ClickBank products achieve very high volumes, creating opportunities for any affiliate marketer to make money online. Standard commission rates are up to 75%, but successful publishers may be able to negotiate up to 100% commission payouts.

The ClickBank platform supports complex sales funnels with upsells, downsells, and recurring commissions. This increases the average order value, thereby maximizing publisher commissions.

The minimum publisher payout is $50. 

Other Options

Here are a few more marketing network options that didn’t make the top list.

  1. Walmart Affiliate - Leverages the Walmart brand to help publishers earn income through their affiliate program
  2. Avangate Affiliate Network - Established network for software and digital goods
  3. Pepperjam - Affiliate network with a long track record
  4. MaxBounty - Leading CPA network with a wide range of offers
  5. Awin - Affiliate network with a strong European presence
  6. ShareASale - Established network that’s popular with both publishers and merchants

Other Advertising & Promotion Software Reviews

Here are some related lists of software reviews that you may find useful when considering how to advertise and promote your content online.

What Do You Think About This List?

With hundreds of platforms to choose from, narrowing down the top picks was quite a challenge. Did I nail the best affiliate network? Or do you have other suggestions? Let us know in the comments.

While you’re here, I recommend you check out our articles on the 10 best advertising networks for indie media creators and the best content management software

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By Nuala Turner

Nuala is passionate about indie media, and is excited about the possibilities that the future holds for the field.