6 Top Affiliate Marketing Programs To Make Money With

best affiliate marketing program

In most respects, doing business online is no different from running a brick-and-mortar business, but there is one major difference. Online business offers unparalleled opportunities for marketing through affiliate marketing programs, which traditional business methods do not. However, increased opportunities bring increased risks, and like with any other business, you need to know your market, and you need to be absolutely clear about your goals and objectives.

While there are many rags-to-riches stories about internet entrepreneurs who have made it big, there are also many stories of heart-break, failure, and financial ruin due to a lack of understanding about how affiliate marketing programs can either make you, or more likely, break you. Affiliate programs are not created equal, and there is no single program that can do everything for everyone, and you must do your due diligence to find the affiliate program that is right for you.

If you are an old hand at affiliate marketing, none of this should be news to you, but if you are thinking of putting up a website to start selling products and/services online, you should be aware that the road to success contains more potholes than smooth parts, which is why you need to read this post.

We do not claim to know everything about affiliate marketing, but what we do know is that some programs are better suited to beginners than others are, and in this list, we present you with the six affiliate marketing programs that we believe will help you get your online business off the ground faster than any others. So, in no particular order, here they are…

CJ Affiliate- (Formerly Commission Junction)

top affiliate marketing program

Founded in 1998, CJ Affiliate trades globally, and is based in California. CJ offers a mix of features that is aimed at both beginners, and experienced affiliate marketers, which makes it the program of choice of marketers the world over. One of the main benefits of using this program is the fact that you can connect directly with the vendors whose products you are promoting, but moreover, the vendors provide product descriptions as well, which is half your battle won, right there.

Some features of CJ:

  • Up-to-date reporting with date available in real time.
  • User friendly
  • Sign up and registration is free.
  • Searchable database of products and vendors.
  • Technical support is free.
  • Payment system is guaranteed secure.
  • Above average commissions.
  • For direct deposits, the minimum payout is $50, while for checks the minimum payout is $100.

Rakuten(LinkShare)Affiliate Network

Rakuten Affiliate Network boasts more than 2 500 vendors, and more than 10 million members, which should tell everyone something positive about the company. Nonetheless, Rakuten LinkShare is aware of the many pitfalls that can swallow newbie traders whole, which is probably why they offer a user-friendly interface. The company also offers advanced cookie features that are designed to keep you info (and earned commissions) safe. The company trades in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States

Moreover, Rakuten has been voted the “#1 affiliate marketing program four years in a row”, and its main area of business is the facilitation of “long-term, profitable partnerships between advertisers and publishers.”

Some features of Rakuten (LinkShare):

  • Sign up and registration is free.
  • Payment is fast and secure.
  • Offers tools to follow advertising trends.
  • Reporting data is available in real time.
  • Offers searchable databases of merchants and products/services.

Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is without any doubt the most popular affiliate program for newbie online traders, simply because of the way it is set up. All you need to start trading is to set up a blog, or website, and you don’t need third-party advertising approvals either. Once you’re approved, you simply choose a line of products from among the more than one million products available, and you can start earning up to 10% commission from day one. Of course, you don’t have to feature a million products- you can limit yourself to particular niche markets, which is probably the sensible thing to do.

Some features of Amazon Associates:

  • Reporting data is available in real time.
  • Registration is easy and free.
  • Choose from among more than a million products.
  • Searchable databases of products.
  • Free support through email.
  • Minimum payouts for direct deposit is only $10, while you need a minimum of $100 for payouts by check.


Shareasale is a affiliate marketing program that features several million products, and provides “pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, and pay-per-click programs for webmasters.” Not only that though, they offer a comprehensive training program, and a client support program that focuses on your particular needs, and helps you to get the most out of your chosen marketing strategy. The program also offers higher commissions on certain products during focused promotional campaigns, while at the same time reducing costs on selected features to increase trader’s profit margins.

Some features of Shareasale:

  • Reporting data is available in real time.
  • Secure, fast payout system.
  • Sign up is free.
  • Operate several online stores under one account.
  • Free help and support.
  • Searchable databases of products, services, and vendors.


ClickBank offers newbie online traders access to more than 200 million consumers of life-style products. Although more than 10 000 traders are currently active on ClickBank, the site offers commissions of up to 75% in some cases, and a guaranteed credit for your sale, even if a client does not make the payment for up to 60 days after ordering from you, or just clicking your link.

ClickBank also offers a comprehensive training program for affiliates and merchants, and their 17 year history is some proof that it really is possible to make money online.

Some Features of ClickBank

  • Sign up for free.
  • Reporting data is available in real time.
  • Several payout options are available.
  • Establish joint0ventures with other affiliates.
  • Offers the opportunity to promote up-sell offers to clients.
  • Payout system is guaranteed secure.
  • 24-hour customer support is available.


Skimlinks represents the next phase in the evolution of affiliate marketing. The five programs listed above are largely DIY efforts, in the sense that you have to join up, and then manage your account(s) manually. Skimlinks however, is one of new breed of affiliate programs in that everything is automated when you join up, and you get automatic access to more than 20 000 merchants, at no cost.

The payment system works on the “revenue-split” model, and in this case, Skimlinks “skims” their cut (25%) from all affiliate revenue generated by your blog or online store. However, it’s not all bad- they offer a referral network, and once a year, they will give you back 35% of what they took from your referrals.

Some features of Skimlinks:

  • Signup is free
  • Admin is fully automated.
  • Minimum payout amount is $10
  • Several payment methods are available.
  • Programs Offered: CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC
  • Referral program is available.