The Most Profitable Affiliate Programs: Comparing the Pros and Cons

6 min


Making money in our sleep sometimes seems too good to be true. However, with the rise of the Internet, affiliate programs have become quite popular. They have given individuals a chance to become affiliate marketers, earning passive income by just promoting products as best as they can. 

Still, someone who’s interested in this sort of job would need to have all the information about it. So, let’s see what the most profitable affiliate programs may bring to those looking to make affiliate marketing their new career.

Shopify Affiliate Program

With each referral that signs up for a paid Shopify plan, we can earn $58 (200% commission on the first two payments) on average, and that’s just if we take into account the basic plan (the referral pays $29 per month). Furthermore, there’s an even higher commission rate for Shopify Plus. We can easily earn $2,000 per each Shopify Plus conversion.

Shopify also provides its affiliates with a personal manager, which is good news for novices who don’t know anything about affiliate marketing yet. Sadly, it uses a 30-day cookie to track the conversion process, which isn’t a lot. Additionally, affiliates can be paid only through PayPal and in USD.

 Pros:

  • Great profit potential
  • Good support

 Cons:

  • The cookie tracks the potential lead for 30 days only
  • PayPal is the only payment option

 To sign up to Shopify Affiliate click here.

ShareASale Affiliates

ShareASale offers affiliate programs that might prove quite profitable, depending on our expertise and ability to convert customers.

On the ShareASale website, we can choose from pay-per-lead, pay-per-sale, and pay-per-click affiliate programs. What’s more, the commission can either be set as a percentage of the sale amount or as a flat rate, depending on the merchant.

There’s also a vast range of products and merchants to choose from. Practically every niche/blog can sign up.

However, ShareASale offers reliable commission payments, as long as the account balance is at least $50. If the account balance is below or equal to $25, inactive affiliate accounts, which haven’t had any transactions or haven’t been accessed for six months, can be removed.

Furthermore, with incentive websites, pay-per-click and pay-per-lead programs require written merchant permission.

Pros:

  • Nice variety of merchants and products available
  • Reliable commission payments

Cons:

  • $50 payment threshold
  • Inactive affiliate accounts are promptly deleted if noticed

 To sign up to ShareASale click here.

Amazon Associates

If we opt for Amazon Associates, we don’t have to pay anything to join the program. It’s free, and there are millions of categories and niches to choose from. Additionally, new marketers won’t feel lost at the beginning. Amazon offers extensive support, including discussion forums and a resource centre.

It has a low barrier to entry, so even websites with little traffic can possibly get approved. Also, the customer doesn’t have to only buy the specific product we’re linking to. If they buy anything else from the website within 24 hours, we get a commission for that too.

Still, it’s important to note that commission rates are pretty low in some categories and may even go below 5%. What’s more, Amazon uses a 24-hour cookie. Unfortunately, that might not be enough for most customers to decide on a product if the affiliate wasn’t convincing enough.

Pros:

  • Amazing support for newbie marketers
  • Millions of categories, products, and niches available
  • Low barrier to entry

Cons:

  • 24-hour cookie
  • Pretty low commission rates

 To sign up to Amazon Associates click here.

eBay Partners

With eBay’s affiliate program, there’s a good chance we’ll generate a huge profit, as some of the commissions go as high as 70%. There’s even a bonus for referring shoppers who haven’t bought anything through eBay in 12 months (100% of baseline earnings).

Just like Amazon, eBay has a low barrier to entry. If the website complies with its Terms and Conditions, it’ll likely get approved. Also, it offers a vast range of categories, full of products that are not as easy to find as some on Amazon, for example.

As far as the payment methods go, we can get money either via PayPal or direct deposit.

Unfortunately, it might be a bit harder selling anything, purely because most customers would like to purchase “new” products and think eBay is a bit shady. Also, the number of products found on the website can be a bit overwhelming for new marketers.

 Pros:

  • High commission rates
  • Low barrier to entry
  • Many categories to choose from

 Cons:

  • eBay is not as popular among consumers as Amazon

 To sign up to eBay partners click here.

ClickBank

With ClickBank, commissions can be as high as 75%. Earning a profit is easy, as long as we know which products are worth the trouble.

ClickBank also offers ClickBank Analytics, which is a superbly made reporting tool that provides a detailed insight into all types of data relevant to affiliate marketing.

As far as the cookie goes, it’s valid for 60 days. Furthermore, many products offer “upsell.” We can earn more commissions by adding additional offers the customer might want to go for as well. In addition, ClickBank provides various payment options: wire transfer, Payoneer, check, and direct deposit.

Yet, getting that payment might be a bit tricky. There’s a Customer Distribution Requirement. ClickBank won’t pay us unless we’ve made a minimum of five sales. Still, once we do, the payouts are steady.

Pros:

  • High commission rates
  • An excellent reporting tool that contains all the data a marketer might need
  • The cookie tracks for 60 days

Cons:

  • Customer Distribution Requirement might discourage some marketers
  • We cannot use PayPal

 To sign up to ClickBank click here.

Rakuten Marketing Affiliates

Rakuten Marketing offers payouts available in 25 different currencies. Also, there are nearly 1,000 merchants to choose from, most of which, if not all of them, are famous brands consumers know and love.

We can easily set up rotating banners, as well as incorporate deep linking that will get potential leads to the products fast. What’s more, Rakuten even offers a dashboard that doesn’t require much tech-savviness.

The bad news is that the payment schedule is not reliable. It mostly depends on the merchants, so sometimes, the marketer might have to wait up to 60 days. Also, Rakuten Marketing is only for top-tier affiliates. Newbies are not welcome, and just like ClickBank, it doesn’t offer a PayPal payment option.

 Pros:

  • A great variety of tools for creating the best (and most profitable) ads
  • Easy-to-use dashboard
  • 25 currencies available

 Cons:

  • No PayPal option
  • Inconsistent payment schedule
  • Only for seasoned marketers

 To sign up to Rakuten Marketing click here.

Leadpages Partner Program

The Leadpages affiliate cookie lasts for 30 days, which should be enough for some people. Nevertheless, the commission is quite high and recurring, so trying this program could generate a nice profit.

If a member sticks to Leadpages, we get a 30% commission each month. Since there are many plans available, some of which cost up to $199, there’s a huge chance for making a sizeable profit. We can even get our payouts via PayPal.

But, there are a few issues. We’d be mostly marketing to entrepreneurs, i.e., a limited number of those who are trying to start their small businesses online. Although not exactly mandatory, it’s also expected from the marketer to purchase a Leadpages plan. On top of that, payouts are available two months after the sale.

Pros:

  • High and recurring commission
  • PayPal is available

Cons:

  • Late payouts and a 30-day cookie
  • Buying a plan is recommended
  • Limited audience

 To sign up to Leadpages Partner Program click here.

CJ Affiliate Publisher’s Program

CJ Affiliate has over 2,500  advertisers available and a great variety of niches. Furthermore, there’s a fantastic interface with a slight learning curve that tracks in real-time. Marketers can even manage a few affiliate sites at the same time.

CJ also offers a Performer Program for top affiliates. That gives the most hard-working marketers a great incentive to continue putting in the effort. What’s more, payouts are on time, around the 20th of each month.

As a downside, CJ is one of those affiliate programs that require an active website. It’s also difficult to get approved.

If we don’t make a commission in six months, the account gets deactivated. Furthermore, PayPal is not available, and the payment methods depend on the country we’re in.

Potential marketers also cannot get an overview of the advertisers before they join.

Pros:

  • 2,500+ advertisers available
  • The Performer Program is a fantastic incentive
  • Reliable payments

Cons:

  • An active website is necessary
  • No PayPal option
  • Difficult approval process

 To sign up to CJ Affiliates click here.

MaxBounty Affiliate Network

MaxBounty is one of the rare affiliate networks that offer weekly payments (after the first payment goes through). Additionally, it has a diverse range of niches available, from health and beauty to the finance and automotive industry.

Variety of payment methods are available, including PayPal and Bitcoin. It even offers performance-based bonuses and rewards.

Unfortunately, the network has a rigorous registration process. Also, for most of the offers, marketers have to seek out approvals from the advertisers themselves. What’s more, if they use a type of promotion that the advertiser didn’t list as an option, they can get banned.

Pros:

  • Weekly payments
  • Variety of niches to choose from
  • Bitcoin and PayPal payments available

Cons:

  • Difficult registration process
  • Marketers are at risk of getting banned if they don’t follow the instructions and conditions
  • Some offers require advertiser approvals

 To sign up to MaxBounty Affiliate Network click here.

Final Thoughts on the Most Profitable Affiliate Programs

Even though affiliate programs might confuse newbies, it’s evident they can generate a great passive income in a relatively short amount of time. However, before choosing one, potential sales-savvy marketers have to take into account a variety of factors, including how much effort each program entails and if the rewards are truly worth it.

 Luckily, all of these programs promise fantastic results, albeit with different earning possibilities.


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Petr Royce

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