The Top 7 Affiliate Networks – Pros & Cons

The Top 7 Affiliate Networks

Hi there guys thought I would do a  quick review of the top 7 affiliate networks today.  I am giving the low down on what the networks don’t advertise to you when they want you to sign up. Please give me a yell down below and what you thought.

  1. Share A Sale
  2. CJ Affiliate
  3. FlexOffers
  4. Avangate Affiliate Network
  5. Awin
  6. Rakuten
  7. Amazon Associates

When you choose a network to use to promote your affiliate programs, take your time when you decide to jump in on the products, determine what will work for you.

Share A Sale

shareasale home page

It is straightforward to join up with the Share A Sale platform, but you do need to have a website that has activity showing up on it.

Share A Sale has Access to almost 4,000 affiliate programs. The platform has a wide range of categories in just about all niches.

It has an easy to use search platform for all programs using keywords, categories, and merchants.

They also have regular webinars and workshops, making it easier for start-up affiliate marketers to find their feet.

Their merchant linking platform is straightforward; it doesn’t have some of the advanced features out there that other platforms offer, such as deep linking.

Pros of Share A Sale

  • The platform does give you the option of both standard & digital payment setup.
  • The platform has a live tracking facility for both the affiliate and publisher.
  • The strong affiliate support team for publishers is a central feature with this platform.

Cons of Share A Sale

  • High payout monthly threshold (minimum $50)
  • Has no automatic notification if a merchants program is suspended or closed down.
  • The support section is hard to navigate and find relevant answers.

CJ Affiliate (Formerly Commission Junction)

cj affiliate program

Being one of the largest and most respected Affiliate networks out there, it does draw an extensive range of the big-name companies out there to advertise their products on it.

This makes it suitable for you as you certainly won’t run short of advertiser choices in any niche that you choose.

Sign up is free on CJ and are usually approved straight away. You do, however, have to apply to each merchant program manually. They will have their terms and conditions.

Of all the platforms out there, CJ Affiliate has one of the most comprehensive and easy to use platforms.

At times it can take a little bit of time for merchants that you apply to get back in touch because CJ is so large.

The promotional tools are extensive, and the tracking tools for your campaigns are very comprehensive.

CJ will cancel accounts if they are not being used, so if you try to log in one day and find you can’t, it most probably because of lack of use.

Pros of CJ Affiliate

  • It has one of the most extensive range of advertisers out there compared to others in all types of categories.
  • Has a wide range of tools for affiliates such as deep link generator, deep linking automation, and product widgets.
  • Has all the tools for instant time tracking, free and fast sign up and reliable payment setup.

Cons of CJ Affiliate

  • Though you can sign up instantly, they will still check your application thoroughly because the CJ affiliate has very high standards.
  • Each advertiser must be applied to individually, and then it is up to them to approve or reject your application.
  • Additionally, it doesn’t support modern payment methods like PayPal.


flexoffers affiliate program

Flexoffers is an extensive affiliate marketing network with a range of about 11,000 affiliate programs covering all niches, including major brands like Macy’s, Nike, and Lord & Taylor, just to name a few.

The platform itself is very user-friendly, giving easy access to promotional products with the advertiser you are partnered with.

All the affiliate programs have been subdivided into categories making it easier for you to find your programs.

Flexoffers has a referral program of its own where anybody you refer to them sign up as an affiliate you will get paid a commission.

This does come with stringent conditions, though, to prevent fraud.

The registration is relatively simple to go through. You will have to give the necessary information about your website and a link to it and how you intend to promote.

Your application is then sent to the network for evaluation, and you will know within one business day of your status.

Pros of Flexoffers

  • Payout is quick and reliable.
  • You get a dedicated affiliate manager to ask advice from.
  • The tracking is in real-time.
  • You can promote products without approval.

Cons of Flexoffers

  • Affiliate who live in the USA are only bank transfers or checks. Wire transfers and Paypal are only used for international Affiliates.
  • Publishers must have up to date information on the traffic source. This also includes adding a snippet of code to your website to prove it is yours.


avangate affiliate network

Avangate is an affiliate network that is focusing on the software and digital products niche.

Because of the emphasis on the digital product niche this would be a good network to centralize your affiliate efforts.

Here are a few of the well-known software merchants.

  • Bitdefender
  • Kaspersky
  • Hide My Ass (the VPN)
  • Awario)

The affiliate network has Access to about 22,000 type of software, so if you promote digital products, Avangate is for you.

All about Avangate

  • The Avangate network is all about software and digital products.
  • The commission rate varies depending on what merchant you are with, but some offer a commission of 85%. Avangate usually have a higher commission rate because they are selling digital and software products.
  • Cookie duration averages between 30 – 180 days, depending on the merchant.
  • Minimum payout threshold is $100

Pros of Avangate

  • You can choose to be paid by PayPal
  • A vast range of software and digital products

Cons of Avangate

  • The minimum payout threshold is $100 and is the highest that I know of.


awin affiliate network

To join up with AWIN, you have to a website that is actively being updated with quality content and have an affiliate disclosure setup.

The sign up is a simple 4 step process. There is a $5 fee to join AWIN, but if you are accepted, the money is refunded after approval.

Their dashboard is a very powerful tool that is relatively easy to navigate, and they have a range of handy plugins and a chrome extension tool that can make your marketing efforts easier.

Who Is AWIN best suited for?

Awin is more geared to the affiliates who have traffic coming to their web site and have a decent amount of experience to be able to start without much assistance.

It is frustrating that they have a minimal FAQ setup. And if you are trying to find out a small inquiry, it is annoying to go through support.

It has a twice-monthly payout system with a $20 minimum payout threshold, which can make it easier to have a steadier income flow, unlike some other networks.

Pros of AWIN

  • $20 minimum Payouts twice a month
  • All publishers and advertisers are checked out thoroughly before joining.
  • Dashboard is straightforward to use with an extensive range of plugins.

Cons of AWIN

  • Having to pay a fee to apply for the network.
  • Loss of deposit if your account is not approved.
  • Lack of readily available help information which can make it frustrating.

Rakuten (Formally Link Share)

rakuten affiliate network

Rakuten is one of the oldest affiliate networks out there, but it is also a lot smaller the significant players out there with only about 1000 advertiser affiliate programs

But they have a couple of features that add a lot to your efforts as an affiliate.

They have the ability for you to have rotating banners working for a single product on your site for maximum optimization.

Instead of you having to manually choose which banner ad you wish to run on your website. Linkshare gives you a snippet of code which, once activated, will allow the banners to rotate.

Pros of Rakuten

  • Deep linking choices – You get the decision on where you would like your traffic being sent to. This gives you the flexibility to promote various affiliate offers.
  • Rotating banner ads – will help to give your site a fresh look and improve optimization.

Cons of Rakuten

  • A smaller network, giving you fewer options over the bigger ones out there.
  • Unpredictable affiliate payments. You are only paid when money is collected from their advertisers and a lack of Paypal option.
  • You have to apply to each advertiser affiliate program manually.

Amazon Associates

amazon affiliate network

You may be wondering why Amazon is at the bottom of the list. About two weeks after I wrote this article in April 2020, Amazon did a significant shake-up of its commission structure with an overall average of about 50% across most products.

Here is the most potent affiliate network out there is Amazon started up in 1996 and has millions of products to choose from.

If you are a rank beginner, then this network is right for you. It is easy to sign up for an affiliate account and get going.

There is no lack of niches out there to choose from; if you can’t find something to promote, then you should quit being an affiliate right now.

In general, commissions on Amazon can be low but can earn you a bit if you get steady traffic coming to your site.

A big drawback is that Amazon cookies only have a 24-hour lifetime span. If your traffic comes back outside the 24-hour window timeframe, the sale will not be accredited to you.

But there is an excellent feature to Amazon. If somebody clicks on a link of yours for a dog bowl and then they go and buy a tv as well, you get a commission for that as well if it is within the 24-hour cookie lifespan.

Pros of Amazon

  • · Easy to sign up for an account.
  • · Access to millions of items across a vast range of categories.
  • · You get commissions even if the product bought was not the one that you advertised on your site.

Cons of Amazon

  • Cookies only have a 24-hour lifespan.
  • As of April 2020 Amazon Just slashed their affiliate commissions almost 50%
  • Amazon has no facility for PayPal affiliate payments.

My Summary On The Affiliate Programs

Overall with the research, I have done on the basics of each of the networks, you can see some of the PROS & CONS of them all.

I  have tried to spread the range of networks out so that there should have a network that could suit your niche. EG: Avangate.

A note to all of my readers a few of you would have noticed that I didn’t include Click bank in the list. I believe that they have let their standards slip and don’t rate a ranking on my site.

Kevin delahaye

Hi there everyone my name is Kevin Delahaye and I am the owner of Niche Marketing Toolkit.

I will try to bring value to you with each and every post I write and hopefully have the answer to the question you were seeking.

If you have any questions leave a comment below and I will get back as soon as possible. Cheers

11 thoughts on “The Top 7 Affiliate Networks – Pros & Cons”

  1. Hey there. This is a good site and keep up the work of good content. I love the idea of your website being all about niches as it’s one of the things that new entrant to affiliate marketing struggle the most to figure out.

  2. Hi Kevin, I am just thinking which affiliate program i should join according to my own Niche. Your analysis on pros and cons of top 7 website are very useful for me. I think i will start with Amazon as beginner.

  3. Hi and thank you for this detailed information on affiliate networks. I am aware of quite a few of them, however, your article is great because there is info on the pros and cons which is very helpful. I can use this when looking for which additional networks I want to join. Have you had a bad experience using Clickbank?

  4. Very interesting article, in-depth and useful to readers.
    Love the structure of this too, kept me interested and wanting to read on which for me is a key tactic, congrats 🙂
    Thanks for writing and sharing this with us all!

  5. Hi Kevin,
    I used to love Amazon Affiliates – I’m so disappointed that they cut their commissions by so much especially since they’re making more money than ever (stock price keeps hitting new highs) and their affiliates have helped them get to where they are now. It’s really unfortunate. Personally I’ve started looking into ShopStyle Collective as a potential replacement for some of Amazon’s products – have you ever used it? It looks more fashion and accessory oriented.
    Thanks for the list!

    • Cant say I have ever heard of it. But I was just commenting on amazon with another person and those people who have the sites with amazon all they have to do is a little research and point their links to other vendors and adjust the content a little. There site traffic will come in.

  6. Hey, I’m digging your affiliate marketing site. Looks like you did a lot of research on the topic and you’ve been really focused on making this page all about top-notch content. I’m actually going to save this page because it’s good to see what other’s opinions and experiences are when it comes to this. It’s sad to hear about Amazone cutting their commissions by 50%. It’s something to think about.

    • Thank you for your feedback. And yes Amazon are starting to get a little to greedy the covid 19 could have something to do with it. But a lot of those people who have established sites are going to be hurting.

  7. Hi Kevin

    Thanks a lot for this. I signed up with Clickbank which I see isn’t on here. Is that one that you would recommend? I had no idea there were so many choices and will now have a look at some of the smaller ones. I love the idea of your website being all about niches as it’s one of the things that new entrant to affiliate marketing struggle the most to figure out.



    • My top 2 recommendations would be shareAsale & CJ Affiliates. But the others are high quality networks as well.

      Clickbank is one of the largest networks out there but I left it off on purpose. In my opinion most of there products are of low quality and with the 60 day refund policy a lot of people just strip the product bare and then ask for a refund.
      That being said the interface is easy to to use and you can sign up to anything there with no problems.

      My belief is affiliate beware with clickbank

  8. Thanks for sharing this list of pros and cons of various affiliate networks. I’m a member of CJ Affiliate and was surprised to learn that they do not offer payouts via PayPal. But they do work with Payoneer. Alternatively, they’ll send you your commissions directly on your bank account. I’ve received a few payments so far and I’m happy with the network. Thanks again for sharing this post.


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