Affiliate Networks (Affiliate Ecosystem #5)

Aykut Pehlivanoglu
Jul 5 · 8 min read

This post is a part of the Affiliate Ecosystem Series.

Beam me up, Scotty

  1. Prologue
  2. Affiliate Program Management Agencies
  3. Affiliate Marketing Events
  4. Inactive Affiliate Programs
  5. Affiliate Networks (you are here)
  6. Coming soon…

Soon I will be publishing the other parts on Medium. Follow me to get updates.


A little announcement: Do you want to join our community on Reddit? Anything and everything about affiliate marketing: r/AffiliateMarketing247


In this post, we will discover the affiliate networks.

For a beginner, all these concepts can be complicated. To make things clear, I will explain some of the jargon of our ecosystem to you briefly before passing to the list of networks.

Affiliate Program: In our ecosystem, affiliate programs are the main components. Everything is happening around affiliate programs. It is straightforward. Merchants determine the rules of the program. eg. Promote Product/Service A by using this affiliate link. If there will be a sale in 30 days connected to the traffic you sent, you will get 10% of the sale price as your commission. This rule itself is the core of the program.

Affiliate: You are an affiliate if you promote that product or service. You are the one who will get that commission. You can be an affiliate marketer, content producer, publisher, blogger, vlogger, YouTuber, or influencer. Your title is not so important. You are an affiliate in this ecosystem.

Merchant: You sell a product or a service. You need more sales. You need to advertise (people may also call you as an advertiser or vendor). Instead of paying a direct advertising fee (like you can do during a Super Bowl), you accept to pay commissions. Voila, you are a merchant in our ecosystem. (For the sake of this description, let’s think Pay Per Sale and Pay Per Lead structures. Many other payment structures exist, of course, such as Pay Per Click, Pay Per Impression, Pay Per Kiss, Pay Per Hug, Pay Per Sloth, etc.)

What is the role of affiliate networks in this setting?

Let’s continue with an image.

This is the galaxy of affiliate programs :) — Image Credit

Imagine all the people... No, not here, brain. You met my brain in the previous post I believe :)

Imagine, all the affiliate programs in the world are in the image above. All of them. Let’s say all blacks in the image are affiliate programs.

Now, circles or rings represent affiliate networks. As you will see there, in order to reach some of the affiliate programs you need to visit a circle (network).

Some of the merchants decide to work with an affiliate network or multiple affiliate networks at the same time. That’s why you will see that the circles in the image overlap. So as an affiliate you can join the same program with the luxury of choosing which affiliate network to use as an intermediary.

Some of the merchants decide to run their program independently, without being a part of any affiliate network. Hence they run it “in-house”. So if you see a black part without any circles on it, it represents an in-house affiliate program.

I will be publishing more posts in the future about the dynamics of these choices. Preferences of involving parties, what affects their decisions, etc. This post will be so long if we talk about those here.

In summary, affiliate networks are intermediaries between merchants and affiliates. They help merchants by allowing them to reach many affiliates at once and automating administrative stuff. They help affiliates by allowing them to reach many programs at once and following reports and payments from one dashboard.


At this point, I need to clarify something. From time to time, I see that people mix affiliate networks and affiliate program directories.

You can use an affiliate network as a directory. They classify the programs that they have within their network and show you as a catalog. From there you can apply to the programs you are interested in.

There are two disadvantages.

Look at the image above one more time. Instead of looking at the whole image, you will be looking at one circle only. Because you are inside the boundaries of one circle (network). So you will be missing a whole lot of affiliate programs outside that circle. Like being limited to the movies inside the catalog of Netflix or Hulu.

Second. Since many affiliate networks get their own commission from sales or get paid by a merchant in a different arrangement, they tend to feature programs that they “like”. Not ideal for an affiliate who is about to choose the most suitable program for himself/herself.

Now, back to directories. Affiliate program directories are independent resources. At least, they should be. Most of them became outposts of affiliate networks to collect commissions or they excel at promoting shady and spammy affiliate programs.

That’s why I started Affiliate Program Database (APDB). It is an independent affiliate program directory. We operate under the guidance of our Unbiased Information Policy. You can find more of my ideas about the subject on that policy page. I envision APDB as a compass for affiliates. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.. the galaxy in the image above :)

I was a publisher who wanted to see the image above. All programs, in and out of network circles. Circles, black parts, overlaps, everything. But I had a hard time seeing the big picture and I knew that I was missing a lot of opportunities. So I started my own directory. We try to give you the whole picture in a transparent way on APDB.

I guess you understood the difference between directories and networks. Networks can act as a directory but a directory can’t act as a network. The purpose of a directory should be different.


Ok, let’s start listing networks.

But we need to determine a methodology first. Because affiliate networks are like neighborhoods. In some, you can live and work peacefully. In some, they will steal your car. In some, you will wake up in a bathtub full of ice with a kidney missing :)

Don’t worry, I will protect you.

Here are our rules:

  • If you want me to add your network to the list, send me an email.
  • I will stick to similar guidelines on this page. Guidelines that we use to add programs to our database. So, network representatives, please check these guidelines before spending your precious time contacting me.
  • I will classify networks according to their focus. If they mostly add Pay Per Sale/Lead programs to their network, that list. CPC & CPM, to that list.
  • I will order them by their Moz Domain Authority (DA) score. 100 is the best, 1 is the worst.
  • All the links below are clean. No affiliate links. I will NOT get compensated when you become a member of a network below. As I said before, “Unbiased Information”. We do that on APDB, I will do it here as well.

Ready, Set, Go!


Networks that focus on Pay Per Sale and Pay Per Lead programs

  • Awin (DA: 92)
    Part of the Axel Springer and United Internet Groups, with ShareASale, Awin’s global affiliate network is powered by 15 offices worldwide, over 1,000 employees, 205,000 contributing publishers, and 14,600 advertisers. With twenty years of experience, their network offers a global community of people, technology, and business intelligence insights.
    https://www.awin.com/
  • Sovrn //Commerce (DA: 92)
    Sovrn //Commerce (formerly VigLink) technology instantly and automatically captures the value of content that drives commerce. Their technology works across sites, apps, and social networks so you can focus on your business, earn more, and avoid the hassle of managing countless affiliate programs.
    https://www.viglink.com/
  • Tradedoubler (DA: 92)
    Founded in Sweden in 1999 and listed on the OMX Nordic Exchange, Stockholm, in 2005, Tradedoubler is a leading international performance marketing company that drives results through high-quality traffic, technology, and expertise. Tradedoubler operates performance marketing programs in more than 80 counties and has 260 employees.
    https://www.tradedoubler.com/
  • ShareASale (DA: 85)
    ShareASale has been in business for 20 years, exclusively as an Affiliate Marketing Network. In January 2017, global affiliate network Awin acquired ShareASale to provide further international opportunities to domestic advertisers and publishers.
    https://www.shareasale.com/
  • CJ Affiliate (DA: 79)
    Since being founded in Santa Barbara, California in 1998, they have been passionate about driving intelligent growth for their clients. Located across 14 offices worldwide, their employees are dedicated to delivering innovative solutions and strategies designed to drive big results.
    https://www.cj.com/
  • Rakuten Advertising (DA: 69)
    With Rakuten Advertising, advertisers and agencies can find sought-after inventory and audiences, and a trusted partner to help their brands make the genuine connections that drive genuine performance. Tap their consumer insights for data-driven campaigns that outperform awareness, acquisition, and engagement goals.
    https://rakutenadvertising.com/
  • Skimlinks (DA: 63)
    Its technology automatically earns publishers a share of sales they drive through product links in commerce-related content created by editors. The platform is a one-stop solution providing the technology and the data to start, grow, and successfully scale a content commerce strategy. It works across desktop, tablet, and mobile.
    https://skimlinks.com/
  • ClickBank (DA: 62)
    ClickBank is one of the leaders in the performance marketing of digital products, with over six million clients and distribution in 190 countries. Entrepreneurs everywhere use their online and mobile e-commerce platform to build a vibrant business across popular lifestyle categories.
    https://www.clickbank.com/
  • JVZoo (DA: 61)
    Named one of the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America, JVZoo is a SaaS that facilitates and automates online sales, marketing, and delivery. Their expansive network gives its partners the tools and solutions they need to run successful and profitable online businesses.
    https://www.jvzoo.com/
  • MaxBounty (DA: 58)
    MaxBounty is a performance-based CPA network that specializes in maximizing the ROI of their clients. Their goal is to provide the best service possible to both affiliates and advertisers by creating a seamless, global online marketing experience. They aim to anticipate, evolve and think one step ahead of the industry.
    https://www.maxbounty.com/
  • LinkConnector (DA: 54)
    LinkConnector leverages over 14 years of Affiliate Marketing solutions and sets itself apart as a technology company able to provide customized technical solutions that do not exist elsewhere. One of its valuable difference-makers includes LinkConnector’s patented Naked Link Technology which simplifies pay-for-performance partnerships between internet brands and content creating bloggers.
    https://www.linkconnector.com/
  • FlexOffers.com (DA: 50)
    Founded in 2008, FlexOffers.com is an award-winning affiliate marketing network that provides comprehensive solutions to both advertisers and publishers. They use multiple marketing options, various data delivery options, and advanced payment solutions.
    https://www.flexoffers.com/
  • Pepperjam (DA: 50)
    From partner discovery and recruitment to attribution, real-time analytics and optimization, payment administration, comprehensive fraud prevention, and brand safety protection, and an open API for integration into attribution systems of record, Pepperjam’s Ascend platform moves the industry beyond the legacy network model.
    https://www.pepperjam.com/
  • PeerFly (DA: 46)
    PeerFly is an award-winning, international online affiliate platform that removes the costs, risks, and headaches associated with traditional online advertising by funneling that burden across a network of thousands of professional affiliates who get paid only when a measurable transaction occurs, such as a lead or sale.
    https://peerfly.com/

This post is a part of the Affiliate Ecosystem Series.

Beam me up, Scotty

  1. Prologue
  2. Affiliate Program Management Agencies
  3. Affiliate Marketing Events
  4. Inactive Affiliate Programs
  5. Affiliate Networks (you are here)
  6. Coming soon…

Soon I will be publishing the other parts on Medium. Follow me to get updates.


If you want me to add your network to the list, send me an email.

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