The Best and Worst Affiliate Programs
This post will explain the best and worst affiliate programs on the planet. Over the last 2 years, I have started building up affiliate marketing websites and YouTube channels. Everything in this article is from personal experience.
There’s a lot of great affiliate programs out there and there’s also a lot that is a huge waste of time. Some are trusted with creators way more than others. Because this is a tech-related website I will focus mostly on tech-related and music equipment related affiliate programs.
This is my list of the best and worst affiliate programs I have used personally.
Is Sovrn/VigLink Legit?
Sovrn/VigLink was the biggest waste of time on the planet. I have lost all trust in their program. They are clearly misleading creators with their list of “official partners”. I emailed each of the companies that Viglink/Sovrn claimed to have had as partners and they literally told me they had nothing to do with them.
Stay clear of Sovrn. As of writing, this VigLink is changing its name to Sovrn. Stay clear of both.
Trying to close the account on VigLink is almost impossible. I felt like their website was a way to scour personal information off people.
Affiliate Programs to Be Careful with
Amazon Associate Program / Affiliate Program
Some people, including myself, had great results with Amazon. The biggest issue with them is their terms of service. There are almost 30 ways you can get banned and if you use the wrong terminology, link their images or do anything else wrong you can lose your account.
Amazon is the easiest way to get into affiliate marketing. If the majority of your traffic is in the USA then go for it. Amazon Australia, Japan, and Canada is a waste of time so just stick to the US side of it. In terms of the UK affiliate program, if your core audience is located in the UK sign up.
I wrote a huge article about how I was banned from Amazon for inadvertently breaking the rules. They later reopened my account “due to an error with the initial ban” only to ban me again without warning or breaking the rules.
Amazon clearly takes advantage of legitimate content creators and will ban you without any warnings. If you sign up, make sure you understand what you are in for if things go badly.
If you do have an established audience, Amazon is a decent option but they continually drop the % of the commission you will be paid. This happened twice in a year.
The Great Affiliate Programs
AvantLink is by far the easiest and most comprehensive affiliate program out there. They offer hundreds of quality options for a niche website.
I have been using AvantLink now for 3 months and their product linking tool works a treat. The AvantLink affiliate control panel shows you everything you need to know.
Once you sign up you can sort by niches, products, or company names to find the right affiliate association for your website.
If you have a niche website in tech or any other industry, odds are they have something that will benefit your site. In my first few months, I am seeing sales ranging from $120 USD – $300 a month.
The B&H Photo Video affiliate program works with anything audio or video related. I use the BH photo video affiliate program on this very website as well as on my YouTube channel.
If your site revolves around technology, camera, audio, or production equipment B&H is the largest retailer in the USA. Their site has everything.
You’ve no doubt seen their name mentioned in a lot of YouTube videos. The reason for this is, B&H is very trustworthy and reliable. I have a direct line of communication with the affiliate team (unlike Amazon).
The clear benefit over Amazon with BH Photo video is they are a professional shop so you know who you are buying from. This sits much better than buying from some random seller on Amazon.
You can receive up to 8% commission with B&H which puts them ahead of the game for a lot of tech-related niches.
If you live in Australia, a great option is Commission Factory. I’ve spent the last 5 months using their services. Much like AvantLink, you have hundreds of merchants to choose from.
Commission Factory offers everything from technology affiliate programs to clothing and more.
The back end control panel is by far the best out of all of the affiliate programs. Amazon has one of the best affiliate programs back ends but Commission Factory kills them.
Being that no one uses Amazon in Australia, give Commission Factory a shot. I use commission factory for camera gear and also for music equipment on my other websites.
Do You Want Your Affiliate Site to Perform Well?
Affiliate websites (like this one) need to be hosted on fast Webhosting. If your server speed is slow then your website performance will be horrible. I can highly recommend A2 Hosting. The reasons I suggest this site is because I use them personally for 8 websites and their support is fantastic.
I used to use GoDaddy. GoDaddy was the most unreliable hosting plan I have ever used. They also decided to jack up the price at the end of the first year. A2 has been a pleasure and like anything in life. You get what you pay for.
If you are planning on running multiple affiliate-based websites give A2 Hosting a look. Much like in this post they have a “Refer a Friend” option which allows you to get $50 hosting credit for anyone that signs up using the link.
The CJ Affiliate program is one of the largest of its kind online. It covers a wide range of product types and services available to sign up for. CJ affiliate didn’t offer as competitive commissions or relevant companies for me.
That said, check them out and see if they suit your niche a lot better than some of the individual associate programs. If you are already well established online then CJ might be what you are looking for.
CJ is responsible for millions of dollars a year being sold and paid and have stood the test of time.
Which affiliate program is best for you?
If you already have an established website with lots of traffic this part is easy. Thanks to Google Analytics (or similar) you will be able to tell where the majority of your readers are located. Finding a suitable affiliate program will come down to a few things.
- Knowing where your audience is located.
- Finding an affiliate program with a trusted seller. This means finding a shop most people in your niche will know about.
- Making sure you find the best commission rate. Usually, 3% is as low as I would suggest. 6% makes a huge difference. If you can find 8% or higher, even better.
- If the affiliate program is part of a network (AvantLink etc) then read as many reviews as you can to ensure you are signing up with someone good.
What Not to Do
- Don’t sign up with a shop no one is aware of unless it’s a very particular niche. The more well known the merchant is the easier it will be to make commissions.
- Don’t sign up until your site or YouTube channel has some traffic. The more traffic you have, the easier it will be to get accepted by the Merchant.
- Do Not sign up without reading each merchants terms of service. For example, Amazon has almost 30 ways you can get banned from their program without warning. You can read more about how this happened to me and why I don’t now recommend them.