While it’s awesome to rake in a percentage of another company’s products just by placing a link to their site on yours, it’s hard for beginners (and, honestly, all of us) to find the right affiliate programs to work with.
To save you time and stress, we put together this list of tried-and-true affiliate marketplaces.
Table of Contents
- 10 Best Affiliate Marketplaces
- 1. PartnerStack
- 2. Fiverr
- 3. FlexOffers
- 4. ShareASale
- 5. Rakuten (Formerly LinkShare)
- 6. 2CheckOut (Now Verifone)
- 7. ClickBank
- 8. CJ (Commission Junction)
- 9. PepperJam (with Partnerize)
- 10. Impact
- Bonus: #11. Amazon Associates
- Best Affiliate Programs for Beginners
- How Do Affiliate Programs Work?
- What Is the Difference Between an Affiliate Network and an Affiliate Program?
- What To Look For In A Good Affiliate Marketing Program
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Affiliate Marketplaces
Check out our list of affiliate networks. All of these are free to join and apply to affiliate programs (don’t ever sign up for a marketplace that tries to charge you, unless you are trying to advertise your own product).
Best affiliate network
- Lots of big-ticket items to promote for high commissions
- Easy to set up and navigate the success of various affiliate partnerships
- Simple commission payout
- Largest B2B SaaS affiliate network
- Creating custom links is easy
- We've experienced intermittent reporting issues with some partners. Plus subid setup/reporting is not intuitive and easier on other platforms
- Difficult to view the program by program breakdown for partner payouts
PartnerStack is an incredibly popular tool, with some businesses going as far as to say it’s their absolute favorite among all affiliate marketing networks. Many of our partners across our portfolio of websites have switched to use PartnerStack this year.
It has one of the easiest platforms to use in terms of finding new partners, creating custom links, and then tracking performance. If you do experience any snags, the customer service is excellent.
All of your affiliate programs and partners’ contact information are kept in one centralized place, making the process of tracking the success of their partnerships. Plus, users receive regular notifications and updates when they score new partners or get new deals.
One of the best things about this SaaS tool is how easy and streamlined it makes cashing out payments.
Best for small businesses
Fiverr Affiliate Pros:
- Huge marketplace for digital services
- People are likely to use affiliate links to this site, so the opportunity for profit is high
- Different and generous commission options (CPA or % revenue share)
- Option to use the sub-affiliate program
Fiverr Affiliate Cons:
- Commissions only apply to first-time buyers
- Fiverr Pro commissions are capped
- There are some scams on Fiverr to watch out for as a buyer, but this is not really relevant for affiliates
Fiverr has the largest marketplace for digital services in the world. Because of how many services they offer, the chance of folks following your affiliate link and purchasing a service is high.
The flexibility for commission plans is a huge selling point that we love about Fiverr’s affiliate program. You can choose to earn a CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) of up to $150, or $10 CPA + 10% revenue share. See Fiverr's full commission plan here.
They also support sub-affiliates so you can earn a percentage of the revenue that the affiliates you refer earn (like I do if you were to sign-up as an affiliate through my link— rest assured, you still earn the same amount!)
Unfortunately, Fiverr’s program is limited to the first purchase made using your link, but we think the sheer size and popularity of the site make up for it.
- Easy, straightforward onboarding process
- Partnered with over 12k advertisers and 65+ networks
- Referral program allows businesses to earn commission by referring businesses to them
- Businesses get a dedicated rep that helps them strategize and manage partnerships
- Net60 pay structure means a longer wait for payment
- Transaction fee on payments
Flexoffers is a great option for beginners to affiliate marketing who have a smaller business and less experience since there is no minimum sale requirement.
Another feature that makes this affiliate platform beginner-friendly is its connections to a large variety of programs across numerous industries and the dedicated rep that can help folks who are new to affiliate marketing through the process.
Advertisers on Flexoffers offer cost per sale, cost per action, cost per lead, and cost per click commission, so businesses can choose the model that best suits them.
A bonus: Flexoffers will give businesses the ability to earn recurring commissions for the people who sign up as affiliates.
- Well-run and organized by talented professionals
- Extremely quick payouts
- Over 20 years of affiliate marketing experience
- Free training and resources
- Don’t offer Paypal
- Payment threshold is $50, which some believe is too high
With over 20 years in the business, ShareASale has figured out a unique, effective approach to providing affiliate connections.
While partnering with huge companies may seem attractive, they’re less likely to want partnerships and more likely to ghost you. ShareASale has made the smart move to focus on smaller companies that offer publishers a higher acceptance rate and produce more profitable relationships for partners.
In the past, the interface and overall design of ShareASale were kind of clunky. It seems the folks at ShareASale listened to this feedback and revamped their site because the design has recently improved dramatically.
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- Huge companies like Walmart, Papa John’s, and Best Buy in their network
- Global, well-known affiliate powerhouse with a reach to over 200 companies
- Account managers are knowledgeable and experienced, providing great customer service
- Get paid by direct deposit, check, or Paypal
- The interface is clunky and difficult to navigate
- Slow approval process since their affiliates are such big-name companies
If the name “Rakuten” sounds familiar to you, that’s because it probably is. They recently rebranded their cashback system for online orders to “Ebates,” which you’ve probably seen ads for. But they also have a huge affiliate marketing platform.
This huge company is a global force with reach across over 200 countries. They partner with big companies like Walmart, Papa John’s, and Best Buy, which means they can offer medium-to-large-sized companies huge partnerships.
Unfortunately, their strongest selling point to some companies is a dealbreaker for others. Since it is so hard to get approval for relationships with giant corporations, small businesses aren’t likely to land any connections like that. They also have fewer advertisers since they focus on nurturing their relationships with their big-name ones.
2CheckOut (Verifone) Pros:
- You can generate your own discount codes if you want to share your profits with visitors to induce sales.
- Three different types of partnerships are available
- Advertiser filtering interface makes finding the right affiliates easy
- Onboarding is easy and they offer video tutorials
2CheckOut (Verifone) Cons:
- Small, niche products
- The whole multiple-name, multi-purpose situation is kind of confusing
Formerly known as Avangate but now renamed Verifone, 2CheckOut has affiliate programs for a small segment of software products.
2CheckOut is a payment processing service that offers a solid affiliate program for mobile commerce providers, web developers, and entrepreneurs.
Partners have the option to become a standard partner, developer partner, or enterprise partner. Each tier has specific features like different referral link options, tech support, documentation resources, and a dedicated partnership manager, depending on which tier you go with.
- A popular choice for eBook authors who are looking for affiliates to help sell their books
- Over 20 years of experience
- Options for recurring commission
- Creating links is easy
- Equal amount of trashy gimmicks and hidden gems in their directory
- Some high refund rates
Created back in 1998, ClickBank has had decades to improve its affiliate marketplace platform.
The focus on this particular site is placed not on big-name products and companies, but rather on smaller, more niche digital products. Online courses, eBooks, and membership sites are a few examples of the types of digital/information products they work with.
These smaller digital goods are a perfect match for niche sites, and commission rates on some can be up to 90%, meaning you won’t be missing out on the money that could come from physical products.
Commission Junction Pros:
- Large variety of programs
- Simple, intuitive interface
- One of the oldest affiliate marketing platforms
- Reliable, timely payments
Commission Junction Cons:
- Some advertisers on the site can scam you
- Some reviewers claim the site isn’t as stellar as it used to be
If you look up CJ (aka Commission Junction) reviews, you’re going to get quite the mixed bag. That being said, it’s my favorite marketplace.
They have an extensive catalog of affiliate marketers large and small, making it likely that you will find a service or product that fits within your niche.
Unfortunately, with such a large variety of affiliates, there are bound to be a few scammy ones. Some users have chosen to work with companies that have ended up weaseling their way out of fair payment. But I don’t think that’s entirely CJ’s fault.
The simple interface, customer service, reliable payment system, and variety of businesses make this my favorite platform.
- Well-run with a good user interface
- Link generator tool makes creating links easy
- $25 minimum threshold is low, making it easy to cash out ASAP
- Customer service is great
- Smaller number of programs
- Paypal is the only easily accessible payment method (you have to email support for direct deposit)
Though they have a relatively smaller number of advertisers than some on this list, Pepperjam makes up for it with the quality of their service. Some of the bigger names they partner with include Puma, Bath & Body Works, and Nordstrom Rack.
The user interface is one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use out there, but if you do encounter any issues, the customer service is reliable and helpful.
They promise an average 18:1 return on ad spend and the offers that you’ll get through Pepperjam are all legit, compared to some of the iffy deals you could be getting with similar sites.
- Solid line-up of advertisers with good commission plans
- Because it’s a newer service, the interface has a modern design
- Easy to create new links
- They constantly add new features as they grow
- The fancy user interface can be cumbersome to navigate
- Not as many connections as some of the older affiliate network sites
One of the “new kids on the block,” Impact has made quite the… impact in the affiliate network scene.
Comprehensive, cross-device tracking makes it easy to keep an eye on the progress of your various affiliate relationships and they offer some pretty great commission plans.
Compared to other, older affiliate networks, there is a somewhat shorter list of partners.
The site’s big sell is also its biggest obstacle for some. Since the company is newer, the interface has a modern, “fancy” sort of design. Though pretty darn cool, this interface can be cumbersome to navigate.
Overall, Impact is a solid option with some great opportunities for affiliate marketing, just be prepared for a bit of a learning curve in the beginning.
While not technically a marketplace, Amazon is worth adding to your arsenal because they are the biggest online retailer in existence, and you can make a commission off of anything they sell. Commissions range based on the product vertical. Aside from low commissions compared to other marketplaces, the other big downside is an extremely short cookie duration of only 24 hours.
You can find a variety of products to promote within these sites, but remember they are certainly not the only game in town. Also, many advertisers run their own in-house affiliate programs. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of these as well since they’ll often pay higher commissions because they don’t have to pay a listing fee.
Amazon Associates' Commission Fee by Product Category
|Commission Fee||Product Categories|
|10%||Luxury Beauty, Luxury Stores Beauty, Amazon Explore|
|5%||Digital Music, Physical Music, Handmade, Digital Videos|
|4.50%||Physical Books, Kitchen, Automotive|
|4%||Amazon Fire Tablet Devices, Amazon Kindle Devices, Amazon Fashion Women's, Men's & Kids Private Label, Luxury Stores Fashion, Apparel, Amazon Cloud Cam Devices, Fire TV Edition Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV Devices, Amazon Echo Devices, Ring Devices, Watches, Jewelry, Luggage, Shoes, and Handbags & Accessories|
|3%||Toys, Furniture, Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets Products, Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments, Business & Industrial Supplies, Outdoors, Tools, Sports, Baby Products, Amazon Coins|
|2.50%||PC, PC Components, DVD & Blu-Ray|
|2%||Televisions, Digital Video Games|
|1%||Amazon Fresh, Physical Video Games & Video Game Consoles, Grocery, Health & Personal Care|
|0%||Gift Cards; Wireless Service Plans; Alcoholic Beverages; Digital Kindle Products purchased as a subscription; Food prepared and delivered from a restaurant; Amazon Appstore, Prime Now, or Amazon Pay Places|
|4%||All Other Categories|
Best Affiliate Programs for Beginners
The best affiliate programs for beginners are highly profitable, easy partnerships like Content at Scale, Amazon, and Fiverr. There’s no guesswork or risk involved and the setup is easy to understand.
How Do Affiliate Programs Work?
Affiliate programs work by a site, usually, a blog or other content/niche site, referring their audience to a product or service using a specific link. This drives traffic to the affiliate’s site.
Advertisers get these referrals by offering a commission or a certain percentage to other sites in exchange for these referrals. The affiliates can track which customers were brought to their site by that specific publisher using the unique link created.
It’s a win-win for both parties since advertisers get a wider audience to expose their products to, and publishers earn a portion of sales.
What Is the Difference Between an Affiliate Network and an Affiliate Program?
Affiliate Networks: Takes the guesswork out of creating partnerships by providing blogs with a list of advertisers and providing advertisers with a list of content creators that are ready to promote their products.
Affiliate Programs: Offered directly by the company selling the product or service to content creators. Blogs and content creators looking for an affiliate program reach out directly to the advertiser or vice versa to create an agreement themselves.
Here's an analogy to get a better understanding of the key differences between affiliate networks and programs.
Affiliate networks are like the dating app of affiliate marketing, while an affiliate program is like trying to meet someone at a bar.
For affiliate networks, multiple advertisers and content creators have plenty of options to choose from, but you will have to pay a commission to the platform in exchange for this service (like paying for a dating platform with a pool of potential dates).
With an affiliate program (or romantic interest that you meet the old-fashioned way), you have to seek that advertiser (or person) out. Your efforts could ultimately lead to a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship, where you make more money without swiping endlessly through incompatible profiles (advertisers).
The pool is larger with affiliate networks, but you do have less control over the deals since the network sets the terms. Networks also take a percentage of the commission as a sort of “finder’s fee.”
What To Look For In A Good Affiliate Marketing Program
Not all affiliate marketing programs are built alike. Wasting your time with a bad affiliate marketing agency or program could cost more stress than it’s worth.
There are a few things that you can look out for to make sure your affiliate’s program is going to be mutually beneficial.
If you’re going to make any money off of the affiliate product, you need your audience to actually buy it.
This is why it’s important to partner with goods and services that fit your site’s niche so that you’re more likely to get those sales.
You’re also going to want to make sure that the commission rates and payment are worthwhile.
The average affiliate commission rate is 5%-30%, but obviously, the higher the better.
Consistency and Organization
Lastly, if it seems like the company you’re partnering with turns out to be a total trash fire, don’t work with them.
Even with the highest commission rate possible, if the organization of the company is messy and communication seems inconsistent, they probably won’t be forthcoming with payment or easy to negotiate with.
Plus, you don’t want to be associated with a business that’s shady anyway, right?
Want to jumpstart your affiliate website?
Check out our guide on where to bulk-order affiliate content and what to look out for.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the best affiliate network?
PartnerStack is the best affiliate network.
What is the highest-paying affiliate program?
Content at Scale is the highest-paying affiliate program.
Are affiliate networks free?
Though some affiliate networks have a fee required to join, many affiliate networks are free to sign up for. They make their money by taking a percentage of your commission made from your affiliate partnerships.
How can I start affiliate marketing as a beginner?
Using an affiliate marketing network is a great way to form relationships with businesses with little knowledge of how it all works.