Have you came across these words Affiliate Program, Affiliate Network ? Don’t know what exactly they are, what is the difference ? Then, this articles throws some light for you.

The term Affiliate, is defined as the system in which one entity associates one or more other entities.

  • In the Internet Business world, the affiliates are the one who joins or enrols with a business merchant to promote his product, such an opportunity package is termed as Affiliate Program.
  • Don’t think like a broker job, here no brokers or no intermediates, the affiliates or the person, directly interacts with the merchant and gets the commission for the product promotion.
  • On the other end, Affiliate Network, is a collection of Affiliate Programs. Here the person joins the network to access multiple programs, opportunity to promote products of multiple merchants – a place to find all these merchants.
  • The affiliate could earn the commissions for the product promotion from the Affiliate Network, indirectly paid by merchant.

A product promotion could be a sale, program sign up, download etc.network

Okay, lets compare the Affiliate Program and the Network in some more detail,

Affiliate ProgramAffiliate Network
Direct Merchant Employ

  • In affiliate programs, the merchant directly employs the affiliates and provides them with necessary referral links, banners etc. to promote their own product.
  • The affiliate joins with the business merchant and interacts directly with him from start up till getting paid with the commissions and so on.
InDirect Merchant Employ

  • In affiliate networks, the merchant indirectly employs the affiliates through the affiliate network and provides them with necessary referral links, banners etc according to the product taken for promotion.
  • The affiliate joins the affiliate network and interacts directly only with them, hence the network lays an abstract layer between the merchant and the affiliates.
  • The affiliate only interacts with the network from start up to the commissions.
Product Restriction

  • Here the affiliates are restricted with single or similar type of products.
  • Advantage is that, an affiliate familiar with that particular product could make good earnings but at the same time, if the demand for that product drops in the market, there is a hard HIT.
  • I could say, there is no immediate alternative product available other than the one offered to promote.
Multiple product choices

  • Here the affiliates are given with multiple choice of different products.
  • Advantage is that, an affiliate could promote any type of product from the available list and if the demand for a particular product drops in the market, options are always available to switch to different product promotion easily.
  • Commission are comparatively less but that depends on the business operation, promotions that you are doing and the number of products taken.
Merchant Commissions 

  • Directly paid by the merchant to the affiliates. Earnings will be comparatively high as there will be a single transaction.
Commissions paid through the affiliate network.

  • Commissions are paid by the merchant to the affiliate networks and then affiliate n/w pays the affiliates.
Recruits less affiliates and hence comparatively less competition.

  • Major disadvantage is that, if not satisfied you have to quit the affiliate program.
Recruits more affiliates and more competition.

  • Major advantage is that, if not satisfied don’t worry, multiple program choices are available.

Though you want to join a affiliate program or a network, everything depends on how you are selecting the quality product and how do you promote the product online.

How To Select Quality Affiliate Product For Sale ?

Again, in the reverse way, the quality of the Affiliate product depends on the selection of right affiliate program or the affiliate network. Here I would take you through the major steps involved in selecting the right affiliate product.quality

Planning The Right Affiliate Product.

You should make a plan of whatever affiliate product that best suites your blog. Browse through the Internet for the most wanted online products and find out the best product that suites your blog. Even make a list and rank such products that helps to try for varieties in future.

For example, if you blog about Personal Finance then you could select products like finance related eBooks, Software/App downloads etc.

In short, Identify or understand your audience.

Trial-and-Error Method ?

You can promote 3 products at a time and see how your earning goes, look for the poor performer and replace with another.

Finally, the right and quality affiliate product will be selected. Make sure one product should not fully dominate the sale of the another product, positively this may lead to more sale on single product but negatively that depends on the cost of the product.

Say, if a cheaper product dominates the sale of a costlier product, you will get profit to lower margin. Its best to maintain a balanced sale across the affiliate products sold.

Validate or Monitor Sale Progress.

You should periodically monitor your product sale and the profit, have a track record of your progress. Better to maintain an excel sheet that graphically showing your progress, if you are interested.

Most of the affiliate networks have all these historic data. Take corrective actions on all the negatives that you have are identifying in your affiliate product sale history. Affiliate sale validation helps you to improve your future sale and hence improves making more money online on a consistent way.

Joining an Affiliate Program to promote a specific product or an Affiliate network to find bunch of products, doesn’t matters – it’s the “right product reaching the right audience” matters.


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I love-to-code, passionate-to-write, an upcoming author, and WordPress enthusiast. Here at BlashO, I mostly share WordPress tips. Connect with me @Twitter.

One Comment

  1. Dahon Cadenza - Reply

    Thank you for your post, honestly, can you sign up as a topic writer for wikipedia because the current entries hosted there for our hobby is quite frankly next to useless. I can’t say I agree completely with it but I agree with it on the most part and I wholeheartedly applaud your effort in putting it so ably.

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