One of the best ways to make money online is with a CPA Network. This is very closely related and even interchangeable with “Affiliate network”. They are simply middle-man companies that connect publishers (those with traffic) and merchants (those who are paying for ads/leads/sales).
There are literally hundreds of different CPA programs and affiliate networks (the names are interchangeable), but there are far more bad ones then there are great ones. I have personally worked with 50+ various networks, and over 100 affiliate programs.
Below is the list of the best affiliate networks, and the programs I have or currently work with.
So what makes a good affiliate or CPA network? The list is pretty simple really, but not always easy to pull off.
The magic formula to have a great network is:
- Lots of offers
- Fast and reliable payouts
- Good affiliate support
- Reliable Tracking
Yup, if an affiliate network can get those 4 things right, they are well on their way to continued success in this industry.
Failing at any 1 of those 4 is simply not acceptable, and the only one you could possibly get away with is poor affiliate support.
W4.com is easily one of my favorite CPA networks of all time. They really know how to treat their affiliates. They have been around for a long time and have retained much of the same staff as the early days.
W4 has tons of offers, and they provide weekly payouts if you reach their volume threshold (around $1k/week revenue).
Best Features of w4
- Weekly Payments
- Thousands of Offers
- Amazing Affiliate Managers
- High Level of Trust
Payment is always on time from W4.com. Payments are sent once a month for normal affiliates, and once you start doing real volume you can request to be put on weekly payments.
You should be doing $1500-$2000/week before you ask for weekly payments at W4. I’m sure they would make exceptions if you are having legitimate cashflow issues, but this is a general good rule of thumb.
There are dozens of categories to choose from at w4.com, and you’ll notice many of them are chalk full of high paying and converting offers.
- eCommerce, Subscription Box, AsSeenOnTV, Automotive, Beauty/Skincare, Biz-Opps, Cash Advance, Continuity, Coupons, CPC, Credit Cards, Credit Reports/Repair, Daily Deals, Dating, Debt, Diet/Weightloss, Education, Email Submit, Free Trial, Gaming, Health/Wellness, Home Improvement, Horoscope, Insurance, International, Job, Kids, Lead Gen, Legal,Mobile, Mortage, Software Downloads, Satellite/Cable/Telecom, Seasonal, Seniors, Sweepstakes/Surveys, Shopping, Travel, Zip Submit
This is definitely an area where w4.com shines. I have nothing but good things to say about their affiliate managers and the executives at this affiliate program.
If you can consistently do $2000/week or more volume with w4 then contact me and I will hook you up with my personal affiliate manager.
Don’t hesitate for a second to sign up for W4.com. If you can push targeted traffic to their offers, you will convert and get paid.
It is one of the tightest run ships in the industry, because most importantly – you get paid on time, every time.
Commission Junction is one of the oldest affiliate networks in existence. It has thousands of offers from a myriad of merchant advertisers, and they add new offers nearly every day.
There are some serious CPA’s in all of the major niches, and there are lots of % of sales commission gigs too.
No matter what your website or online endeavor is about, you will definitely be able to find an affiliate program to go with it at CJ.
The company started in 1998 when a group of 5 Santa Barbara students decided to create the project together. Since then, CJ.com has been an absolute mainstay in affiliate marketing.
Payment info varies from country to country, but typically they will pay out once a month for the previous pay period.
You can select from a direct transfer to your bank account or to receive a check.
- Accessories, Art/Photo/Music
- Buying and Selling
- Computer & Electronics
- Department Stores/Malls
- Financial Services
- Food & Drinks
- Games & Toys
- Gifts & Flowers
- Health and Wellness
- Home & Garden
- Online Services
- Recreation & Leisure
- Sports & Fitness
Affiliate management varies widely within CJ.com, because individual merchants handle their own affiliates. If you are massive whale or large affiliate you also may be able to get a direct manager at CJ.com, though in most cases it is a self serve affiliate network.
There is nothing wrong with that, but sometimes individual programs have “manual approval” set, and don’t bother checking.
It’s pretty rare, but I’ve seen it happen. These advertisers are surely losing money by not allowing CJ.com’s affiliates to automatically start promoting their goods and services. Co
Commission Junction does their own very strict approval process before even allowing you into the general area, so I never got the double approval thing.
Overall, CJ.com is a staple in the affiliate marketing industry for a good reason. They have a massive network of advertisers at your disposal, and thousands of website owners rely on CJ.com for a living.
I would suggest signing up to this program as a go-to, because you never know what type of product to promote might pop up at CJ.
Shareasale is an amazing affiliate program, one of the old school networks in the industry. They are known for having hundreds of offers, top brands and one of the biggest parties every year at Affiliate Summit East.
Payments are sent once a month on the 20th, paying you for the previous month’s earnings. Payment can be done by check, bank wire or Payoneer.
There are countless categories at Shareasale. Literally every niche site you can think of could find a possible match here. Login to Shareasale.com to see the current category and sub-category list.
Affiliate management is done by the individual merchants, similar to CJ.com and Clickbank. Therefore, the quality and engagement of the various affiliate managers vary widely.
Shareasale is one of those programs that you just have to join as one of your main affiliate programs. You will be surprised at the breadth of their offer selection, and surely you’ll be able to find something for yourself.
Maxbounty is undoubtedly one of the best CPA networks out there. They have several busy categories to choose from and there are new offers added almost every day. MaxBounty.com is known for taking care of their affiliates in every way, and that starts with their team of great affiliate managers. Even if you are not a huge affiliate yet, they won’t treat you like you are second class.
Best Features of MaxBounty
- Weekly Payments
- Tons of Offers and Categories
- Engaged Affiliate Managers
- Tons of Contests
- Sub Affiliate Program
- Social Media
There is a high level of interaction with you and your affiliate manager at MaxBounty. Even if you are not a big hitter yet, they will work with you until you are. How many other affiliate networks can say that? Not many.
Payouts are done via once a week via Paypal or your payment method of choice.
I would highly recommend joining Max Bounty, especially if you are a big affiliate. If you would like to be introduced to my personal affiliate manager who I can vouch for, just drop me a note. I have been working with MB for many years and I don’t have anything bad to say about them. Like any other network, they have the same growing pains. The difference lies within how they handle them, and that’s why I will continue to do business with Max Bounty for a long time.
Being a very large affiliate network, Linkshare may lose some of the coziness of smaller CPA networks, but it is undeniably a major player in the game. They have hundreds of different offers spanning dozens of categories.
Linkshare has been making timely payments for a decade. They only send out your commissions once a month for the previous pay period. You can get paid via check or bank wire.
Affiliate management is handled by the individual programs. That is what makes the main difference between an affiliate network like LinkShare or ClickBank, compared to a CPA network like w4.com. At w4, they supply the affiliate managers that deal with the programs for you.
Without a doubt, you will be able to find something to promote on LinkShare. They have a serious selection of advertisers and they are bringing in new ones every single day.
ClickBank was arguably the largest affiliate network in the world at one point, with thousands of different products and services available to sell. It has grown from a largely e-book network to all sorts of services, products, online tools and even offline physical sales. Browsing the famous Clickbank marketplace is a great way to get ideas for your next niche site, and it is equally good for finding products for sites you already own.
Best Features of Clickbank
- Weekly Payments
- Largest and most specific affiliate program database
- Work 1 on 1 with product owners
Payments are sent 2 Wednesdays after the pay period ends. This gives a bit of time to allow to recalculate for any charge-backs, etc. Your payment terms can be set in your account, from 1-week to monthly. The minimum payout to get a check is $100.
You can get paid by ClickBank via the following methods:
- Wire Transfer
- Direct Deposit
Here are the main categories in Clickbank’s “Marketplace” You can view their full Marketplace and sub-categories before signing up to get an idea of what products you can push.
Arts & Entertainment
Cooking, Food & Wine
E-Business and E-marketing
Employment & Jobs
Health & Fitness
Home & Garden
Politics & Current Events
Software & Services
Spirituality & New Age
There is little to no affiliate management at Clickbank when you are just starting out. In fact, unless you are a big player pushing a ton of sales, you will not hear directly from a Clickbank representative, ever.
That being said, affiliate management is supposed to be handled by the merchant/product owner themselves. As you may expect, the engagement with affiliates varies widely from owner to owner.
You are much more likely to be contacted proactively by the product owner if you are pushing good numbers, however, you can reach out to them even before promoting and start a relationship. Most people will answer you not even knowing if you are a beginner or pro.
Overall, you can earn some serious money as an affiliate or as a merchant with Clickbank. They are one of the largest affiliate/CPA networks out there for a good reason. They provide a fair and easy to understand platform on both sides, and never miss a payment. Forget any negative press you here about Clickbank – there are affiliates making millions selling products you’ve never heard of, so don’t be shy to give it a shot yourself.
That being said, it is not an easy network to make money on. You will need a lot of targeted traffic, and at that point you will see success. Many of the Clickbank products do require some sort of presell, so the most common way to push CB products are through e-mail marketing series, etc.
Do your research, promote products that you trust and understand, and you can do very well with Clickbank.