The entire reason I created this site is because as an affiliate marketer, I started getting upset with the lack of ethics and misinformation being spread from MANY affiliate marketers, especially as it pertains to the “make money online” niche. So many online marketers out there promise you quick easy money if you just sign up and pay for this or that. Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. Growing an affiliate marketing business is just like starting any other business – it takes time, effort, and a lot of trial and error. I won’t get into it here, but if you’d like you can read my honest article about how long it takes to earn a full-time living with affiliate marketing. 

Their policies are strict. Be sure to read through Amazon’s affiliate program policies very carefully. Any violation of their policies is grounds for account suspension--something which could be devastating if you build an entire website or store around affiliate links. Amazon has also been known to suspend accounts without any prior notice, so tread carefully.
The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.

Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ad will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.
I am a HUGE fan of the “freemium” business model. Wealthy Affiliate follows that model by offering a free membership account. The free membership gives you limited access in the Wealthy Affiliate dashboard. Some of your access lasts forever, such as some of the training videos and community features, while other features only last for a limited time, such as the live chat feature. Here is what you get with the free Wealthy Affiliate Membership:

SkimLinks is primarily for established content producers (bloggers) who want to monetize their content. With a powerful WordPress plugin and scripts for just about any website type, setting up SkimLinks is very easy. And because you have access to all offers on their platform after you’re approved, SkimLinks is very well designed for affiliates who don’t want to spend a lot of time fiddling around with settings and other fine-tuning.
Recent corporate changes and folding 2Checkout into a larger company that is involved in payment processing and e-commerce means that the affiliate program can sometimes feel somewhat neglected. But the ability to generate custom coupon codes and the comprehensive knowledge base make 2Checkout a good option for experienced affiliates with an established user base. But if you’re just entering the affiliate field for the first time, 2Checkout might not be where you want to start.
For example, when I first started back in 2009, I learned from a service called Solo Build It. I knew absolutely nothing about building an online business, let alone what “affiliate marketing” even meant. However, they changed my life and taught me how to build money-making websites online, which is what I’ve been doing with my life ever since. This is another great service to consider and you can read my review of Solo Build It here.
SkimLinks is primarily for established content producers (bloggers) who want to monetize their content. With a powerful WordPress plugin and scripts for just about any website type, setting up SkimLinks is very easy. And because you have access to all offers on their platform after you’re approved, SkimLinks is very well designed for affiliates who don’t want to spend a lot of time fiddling around with settings and other fine-tuning.
Amazon launched back in 1994 and, two short years later, they developed their Amazon Associates program. In so doing, Amazon was able to increase exposure to their marketplace by enabling web developers and site owners to work as evangelists for their products. It helped drive more traffic to Amazon while giving these business-minded individuals the opportunity to generate more revenue for their own sites and businesses.
Products are now put in a category. The commission will be based on the category each product has been placed in whether or not the category is correct. For instance, I had a sale for a child riding toy tractor. Instead of it being in toys category which would have only earned me 3%, it was actually placed in lawn and garden category which I then actually earned 8% instead.
There’s also the fact that Wealthy Affiliate is not and never claims to be a get-rich-quick strategy. You will learn how to build a real, legitimate online business and one that can earn you some serious cash, but just like any other business, it is going to take a lot of time, effort, patience, and support along the way. If you have realistic expectations, are willing to learn from those who have succeeded before you, and you’re willing to put at least 6 months into your business before you see any profits at all, then Wealthy Affiliate is a good place for you.
One big difference between SkimLinks and VigLinks, however, is that once you’re approved by the company, you can choose to work with any merchant or program on its platform. SkimLinks has also published a white paper discussing its partnership with Buzzfeed, giving SkimLinks a lot of credibility. SkimLinks also has a higher tier of vetted merchants called “Preferred Partner” and “VIP” that both pay higher commissions than standard merchants.
Previously known as Affiliate Window but now officially referred to as “AWIN” after acquiring Zanox a few years ago, this network claims to work with over 13,000 active advertisers and 100,000 publishers (affiliates). Founded in Germany, AWIN’s merchants primarily hail from Europe (especially Great Britain) although the U.S. network is growing rapidly. AWIN is currently active in 11 countries.

Unfortunately, the 2Checkout dashboard is a bit limited in scope, making it difficult to get any metrics on conversion rates or even sorting by commission payouts. The workaround is to go to the Avangate store, which does list their best-selling products, and then search for these on the affiliate dashboard. That being said, 2Checkout does offer products from more than 4,000 different vendors, making it the leading affiliate network for software and digital products.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people who sign up for Wealthy Affiliate are those who are in dire need of financial help. They may have lost a job or may have suffered some other financial setback such as medical issues. The thing is, there’s no reason these people should stay away from Wealthy Affiliate, but many of them have this expectation that they can create a full-time income in a matter of weeks or even a few months. That is NOT the case. Remember, it takes an average business 3 years to profit. Fortunately, it will not take that long with an online business, but it will take considerable time and effort. If you need an income source fast, Wealthy Affiliate is not the place to provide that. Instead, Wealthy Affiliate teaches you how to build a real, sustainable online business over a period of time that will also last a long time.
FriendFinder is an adult-friendly network of dating websites that has a terrific affiliate marketing program, both in terms of customer service and commission rates. Because they rely heavily on affiliates to recruit new members, they treat their affiliates like true business partners. They have a solid reputation for payment and security, and have frequent special offers. Checking into your affiliate account at FriendFinder is always a fun experience, and often a profitable one.
It has universal appeal. Unlike some types of marketing that work better for certain segments than others, affiliate marketing is really something that anyone can use on their WordPress site or e-commerce store. With millions of products available and categories covering a wide spectrum, you’re bound to find more than enough products worth promoting.
Hi, Jamie! Very good list. I needed something like this for 2018 so that I know what to target in the future blogs I create. As for now, I’m comfortable using SiteGround affiliate network and it’s pretty good actually. Their hosting service is pretty much the best considered its price. I’ve tried others but SiteGround stands out. I’ll also try new affiliate networks, something from the list you have just provided. I think Amazon is too saturated at the moment, and I need a better network. 2018 will be interesting indeed.
Pithy and informative. This book examines the world of Amazon product promotion and how to earn commission with Amazon Affiliates. He goes into the process of content generation, promotion, and call to action. I especially liked his steps to increase sales section. Some of the ideas he presents are in areas that other marketers are not using, yet is not more work. The list of long tail keywords for the bonus section is really helpful to understand the process and importance. I tired the long tail keywords on my website and noticed a jump in traffic! BRAVO! Read this book and improve your performance!
Udemy.com – Udemy is an online training platform where “instructors” can create courses and sell them to “students”. There are some extremely high-quality courses on Udemy created by high-quality instructors who really have made a lot of money online, but there are a lot of very low-quality courses as well. Most of the higher quality courses are quite expensive, sometimes exceeding $100. While the training might be good, the training on Wealthy Affiliate is excellent as well, plus you get all the tools, community, and support included as well. Once again, I believe Wealthy Affiliate is the better option.
The average commission rate is $58 per the Shopify website. Shopify’s commissions are paid according to different metrics. For instance, if a referral signs up for the Shopify Plus enterprise plan (the highest tier), the payout is a flat $2,000. Referrals who sign up for the standard plan earn a $598 commission. The payout for a Basic account is $58. Commissions are calculated as follows: you will earn two times the monthly rate but only two months after the user has been a paying customer.
LinkConnector is something of a mixed bag, so it’s probably best for experienced affiliates who have become disillusioned with other networks and are looking to expand. LinkConnector’s bizarre mix of high-quality products and a low-quality dashboard make it hard to truly assess its viability, but their exclusive deals with some vendors can make it a true home run for publishers working in certain niches.

Yep. I’m back again lol. Started making SOME money on my website – about $150 per month. I started in May, I write 3-5 posts PER day, sometimes more if I feel up to it, but I know with the 3-5 posts I am doing a lot more than a lot of others lol. However, in the beginning I DID link images to the amazon product. Then I just decided it was too much work (because it is when you do it manually), but I think I might make that change, starting this month and try it for another 4 months and see if it increases my income.
ClickBank allows you to join for free, and the approval process is virtually automatic, so it’s a great choice for people entering the affiliated game for the first time. ClickBank has a ton of information, including FAQs, walk-throughs, and videos available, so the barrier to entry is quite low. There’s also a (paid) program called ClickBank University with courses and assistance from experienced marketers.
Finally, if you’re only planning on “dipping your toes in the water” to see what affiliate marketing is all about, do not sign up for the premium membership. The free membership is more than enough for you to see what it’s all about. Premium membership should be reserved for those who are actually serious about building a real business for themselves. If you aren’t in this for the long-haul, there is no reason to waste your money.
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