Choosing an Affiliate Network to Join

Just a few years ago, there were only a handful of affiliate networks available. Nowadays, there are hundreds of affiliate programs that show potential. The challenge now is to find which affiliate network offers the best selection of merchants, products, and services. Joining the right affiliate network opens up the opportunity for you to create an influential and lucrative online empire. So what exactly do you need to look into? In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on the things you need to analyze and consider prior to investing time and resources in an affiliate network.

How Affiliate Networks Work
Basically, affiliate networks serve as the intermediary between the merchant and affiliates. These networks take a cut by providing mutual financial gain to both parties. Each network will have a unique approach to the basic business model. The variations would usually involve the following:
•    Number of affiliates who are active on the network
•    Industry specialization and focus
•    Support services offered to the merchant and affiliate
•    Acceptable methods of promoting affiliate products
•    Program specialization (ie. pay per sale, pay per lead, co-registration)

These variables have a significant impact on the affiliate program. That’s why it is important to analyze each network to see if it is right for you. Some of the aspects you should consider include the affiliate network’s reputation, competition, payout potential, and your personal preferences. Let’s tackle these issues further:

Reputation of the Affiliate Network
With so many affiliate networks competing for the same market, you can afford to be choosy. Check out what others have to say about the service by reading reviews and visiting forums. If a significant number of individuals have a bad experience, it’s better to stay away. Take note that there will inevitably be some good and bad reviews. It is best to visit the website itself before making the final decision.

Competition
By “competition”, we’re not referring to the affiliate network’s competitors but your competition. If a network has many members who are selling the same thing, then it might be more difficult to lure customers to your website. In choosing a network and products to promote, it is best to find niche industries that aren’t too crowded yet.

Payout Potential
Compare the payout potential of all the affiliate networks you’re interested in. Most networks will have one specialty. For example, some focus exclusively on digital products while others are associated with top names in the retail industry. There are more specialized sites that only deal business-to-business (B2B) merchants. Whatever the case, it is up to you to decide which particular affiliate network shows the best payout potential.

Personal Preferences
Of course, you can’t take personal preferences out of the equation. There are actually a surprising number of people that choose one affiliate network over another simply because of the payout method the network uses. Others go with gut feel. You’ll have to check out the various sites that meet your interest to make a proper decision.

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