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What Are The Best Affiliate Marketing Networks For Beginners

Did you just made the leap into affiliate marketing? But still don’t feel you have a system that works at an optimum level or even no system at all, that’s ok. It is almost always that way for those new to this arena. Affiliate marketing is full of great opportunities. But also ripe with huge promises and slick-typing scammers, thus making education a must for success. Which, leads us to what are the best affiliate marketing networks for you, the beginner.

Let me share some insight with you regarding six of the best affiliate marketing companies for beginners. Ultimately, you may continue to work with one or more of these or none at all, but they are learning platforms that get you paid, and, honestly, isn’t that why you’re here?

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is a 4 part system to make money online.

  • You, the affiliate marketer – promote products sold by someone else like Amazon, Walmart, ClickBank, or any company that sells digital or physical products. With this in mind, most are managed by affiliate marketing networks. You are trading with the company, and you are free advertising for them. In return, you make a percentage commission. For instance; You are interested in mattresses, so you put different mattresses on the internet, and link to the place that sells these mattresses.
  • The customer or consumer – The consumer goes to the internet looking for mattresses and finds your promotion linked to the company. Next, they click on one, and it takes them to the site that sells the mattress, and they place an order.
  • You make money – At this time, you make a percentage of 1%-75% for each sale according to the companies agreement.
  • Everyone is happy – As a result, the customer is happy because you solved their problem, and you are happy because you made money.
Join Affiliate Programs Without A Website diagram of affiliate marketing

What Is An Affiliate Program?

An affiliate program is a financial partnership of types between you and a program or product developer, such as, Amazon, Nike, and Priceline.

In addition, software, plugins, and themes are examples of programs. Just as there are thousands upon thousands of businesses worldwide, there are thousands of affiliate marketing programs you could partner with, but starting with the right one could very well be the difference between disappointment and daily deposits. For this reason, it is essential to know the best affiliate marketing networks to find a company to be your partner.

2 Levels Of Affiliate Programs

I will group affiliate programs into two levels.

  • Individually managed programs
  • Network managed programs

Individually Managed Programs For The Best Affiliate Marketing Networks

To begin with, we will talk about individually managed programs which are more personal, but they can be substantial for companies like Amazon. With this in mind, the company sets up an affiliate program you can join, and your approval is usually by someone directly in the company.

It may be more beneficial to join companies managed by a larger affiliate networks because you can apply to many different companies within the networks. But if you have a product you are promoting, and the company is individually managed, then, by all means, do apply to their affiliate program.

Network Managed Program For The Best Affiliate Marketing Networks

Secondly, is a network-managed program which is a large company whose sole purpose is to manage affiliate programs for many different companies. Below are some network-managed programs with brand names.

networks 8 best

6 Best Affiliate Marketing Networks For Beginners

These six programs include both individual and companies managed by affiliate networks. I will note each to clarify the differences explained in the above sections. They are:

The Laura Method

  • Amazon Associates
  • ShareASale
  • Awin
  • CJ (Commission Junction)
  • Rakuten
  • ClickBank
Best Affiliate Marketing Networks  amazon

Amazon Associates #1 Best Affiliate Marketing Networks

Amazon Associates is likely the largest individually managed program in the world; not to mention, it has great name recognition along with literally millions of products. They offer excellent links, and you can earn a commission on any product a person buys when they click your link. For instance, if you link Wireless Routers and a visitor clicks on your link, but once they’re on Amazon, they decide on a lawnmower part; instead, you still get paid commission on the sale.


  • First, they are probably the largest in the world
  • Second, they offer literally millions of products and programs
  • Third, their links are easy to follow land apply
  • Lastly, you can earn up to 10%


  • Absolutely abysmal ratings from users regarding Amazon itself
  • Negative ratings on communication, service, delivery, payments and every other metric of trust beyond name recognition.


Amazon makes it easy to link products and check your earnings on their platform. But their 10% payout is rare yet their regular payout is ridiculously low and their rules are extensive.

Awin #2 Best Affiliate Marketing Networks

Best Affiliate Marketing Networks   Affiliate Programs For Beginners

Awin Affiliate is a network-managed program based in Berlin, Germany, and has over 1000 employees, 100,000 contributing partners, and 13,000 advertisers worldwide. They’re free to join, but you are required to make a $5 security deposit. Once you open your account, you get it back when you make your first commission. In addition, Awin has a unique Traffic Light System for its affiliates that mitigates your risk. This system lets you know if you should work with someone by sharing a risk ranking for each. Awin affiliate networks post a green, orange or red light as the companies status.


  • Well established, 20 plus years
  • Well-Respected in the industry
  • Convert-a-link plugin. It lets you convert any link on your website into an affiliate link
  • Payments are fulfilled via major E-wallets like PayPal
  • Traffic Light System
  • Commissions can be lucrative at up to 59% if they are in the more desired niche, products/service


  • No real training offerred
  • Commissions can be very low if not one of the niche focus areas at the time


Awin is a top-notch choice with some excellent tools to make your mission easier; in addition, the traffic light system and convert-a-link plugin are game-changers. With this in mind they can have you on the way to loading up a bucket of commissions but focus on the niche areas to get the top end. However, they do not offer training, so do a little research or check the forum to light your pathway.

ShareASale #3 Best Affiliate Marketing Networks

share sale

ShareASale is a network with over 700,000 affiliates to choose from, making it an excellent choice for beginners. In addition, it is one of the largest affiliate networks today. Not to mention, they make it easy to join their program, and once inside, you can choose the best programs to fit your niche. Awin acquired SharASale so the information for these 2 is the same. Please refer back to Awin’s information.


See the Pros and Cons for Awin.

Best Affiliate Marketing Networks   Affiliate Programs For Beginners

CJ ( formerly Commission Junction ) #4 Best Affiliate Marketing Networks

CJ Network is over 20 years old and a subsidiary of Publicis Groupe, aligned with Publicis Media.

They have over 23 years of experience connecting affiliates (the advertiser) with publishers (the company); not to mention, it is the leading affiliate network. CJ has over 70,000 affiliates to choose from and won the Global Excellence award in June of 2021. It was founded in 1998 using the name Commission Junction, which later became the abbreviated CJ.


  • Works with premier clients such as Barnes & Noble, Overstock, Office Depot, J.Crew, Priceline and many more.
  • Ecosystem of over 165k publishers and 3800 Global brands
  • Numerous awards from the likes of Forbes and Fortune.


  • New leadership 2019 Mayuresh Kshetramade. Mayur spent three years as the SVP of Client Development and Data Science at CJ.
  • Recent reviews via TrustPilot are very critical.
  • New leadership 2019 Mayuresh Kshetramade. Mayur spent three years as the SVP of Client Development and Data Science at CJ.
  • Recent reviews via TrustPilot are very critical.


It may or may not be an excellent time to add CJ as a marketing partner. Despite their pedigree and success, they have a dismal rating with Trust Pilot with various commission and service complaints. In fact, it may be due to new leadership or as a result of past leadership, but the ship is not right.

Best Affiliate Marketing Networks   Affiliate Programs For Beginners

Rakuten #5 Best Affiliate Marketing Networks

Rakuten, Formerly known as Ebates, is headquartered in Tokyo and employs over 10,000 people worldwide. The word “rakuten” means “optimism” in Japanese. In addition, they have 12 million members / over 1 billion paid out in commissions. They are one of the top-rated affiliate network marketing companies worldwide, as evidenced by the 2020 Customer Choice Award from TrustPilot.

They also offer you the ability to customize ads to fit your needs, but working with them requires both patience and understanding as the merchant ultimately decides to honor or not honor a deal. It can be frustrating.


  • One of the top rated affiliate network marketing companies worldwide.
  • List of advertisers is basically every advertiser
  • 12 million members / over 1 billion paid out in commissions


  • Requires understanding and patience as the merchant ultimately decides to honor or not honor a deal. Can be frustrating.


This well-entrenched network-managed affiliate is a solid company to align with, but the commission method can be frustrating if you count chickens before they hatch. While they have amazing reviews, the one area of criticism is the sales that wash out. They provide all the data if you’re using their tools developed for you; in other words, understanding and monitoring each commission’s journey will enable you to maximize your potential with them.

One challenge I see with Rakuten is they service the product vendors better than the affiliates. But even with that knock, they are still a solid consideration.

Best Affiliate Marketing Networks   Affiliate Programs For Beginners

ClickBank #6 Best Affiliate Marketing Networks

ClickBank is a Top 100 company, has over 20 years, and operates in over 200 countries. With a wide variety spanning more than products, this network-managed affiliate provides many paths to success. In addition, their success is due, in large part, to their commitment to both clients ends.

On the affiliate side, they offer a fantastic learning portal, an active training, and consulting blog, a daily updated YouTube channel, podcast, and more.


  • Highest rated customer service of the top companies.
  • Particularly complimented on fast response and solutions.
  • Over 20 years and in over 200 countries
  • Top 100 internet retailer
  • 200 million customers/ 6 million entrepreneurs
  • Wide array of products / over 4,000
  • Higher quality products
  • 30,000 daily purchases
  • Succeeds based on focus at both ends of client model
  • Learning portal, active training and consulting blog, YouTube channel, podcast and more


  • Clickbank has a reputation for allowing scams to join their network. Just check the product out well before you promote it.


Being the highest-rated company and showing strong affiliate focus is a winning combination for a beginner. While any of the six are excellent, ClickBank has scores of satisfied affiliates like you. And who would be satisfied if they weren’t making money? Exactly.

What To Look For In Affiliate Marketing Networks

How can you look at an affiliate program and feel confident it will be a possible good fit? If you have spent a lot of time in your affiliate training you definitely want to find the right program and these 5 main areas will help.

I look at five main areas. These areas will give you the best overview of the program. Not to mention these are the areas that will provide you with the best information. Information you need to decide what affiliate marketing networks you can benefit from and what to look for in other affiliate marketing networks within your niche. The five areas are:

Best Affiliate Marketing Networks pin
  1. How much will you make-what is the percentage of commission?
  2. When will you get paid-do they pay monthly and is there a payout threshold?
  3. How long is the cookie life-Is it 15 days, 6 months, a year or a lifetime?
  4. The ease of filing an application-Do they make the process so complicated that it is not worth your time?
  5. Do they provide adequate marketing information-Is there banners and a personal link that will mark your commission? Can you easily market their product with what they provide?

Wrapping It All Up

Preparation is one of the most significant steps when you apply to affiliate networks. Have your branding in place because the affiliate will look at your site.

Be prepared to give personal information and go into detail about how you will promote their product. The affiliate does not have time to figure it out and will only approve your application if you have detailed information.

Always be kind. The affiliate is your partner, and you are their free advertisement. You work together for the better good of everyone and using their software is a privilege.

And above all, do not give up if a company rejects your application. Use the feedback they give you to improve and try again.

The Laura Method

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