Most of the publishers begin monetizing their blogs by signing up with well-known ad networks – usually one or more CPC (Pay-Per-Click) programs in conjunction with CPM (Pay-Per-Impression) networks. As a second option they tend to go for referral programs as well. However, in most cases, the affiliate programs can reward much better earnings than CPC ad networks if chosen carefully and implemented well.
From publishers’ point of view Affiliate Networks broadly fall into two categories. One, the consolidated networks like ‘Commission Junction’ that host a number of affiliate advertisers for publishers to choose from. This is a pretty straightforward approach. Part of the commission earned in this case has to be parted with these networks. However, the advantage here is that in one sign up you get to work with plenty advertisers or networks. The other type is where you can directly sign up with affiliate programs and start displaying their ads one by one. The earnings in this case will be much higher but you have to pick the right programs. I am talking about CPA (Cost-Per-Action) networks here. There are also major CPC (Cost-Per-Click) networks such as Shopzilla and tier 2 networks like ShoppingAds, TTZ Media etc but they are basically paying for clicks rather than commission for sale.
Given below are some of the top affiliate programs that pay really heavily around the CPA model.
Yahoo Affiliate Networks: Yahoo Affiliate Networks is one of the highest paying affiliate programs in the industry today. For example, for a Yahoo small business (hosting etc) account sale via click generated from a publisher site, it pays $60. The case is similar with other Yahoo products such as Yahoo Personals. Though Yahoo runs its own affiliate program, the sign-up, reporting, payment etc are done by Commission Junction. The program is usually approved for high quality, high traffic sites that have major readers in the US. The payments are made via check or wire transfer.
Amazon.com Associates: Amazon is one of the oldest in the online shopping business and one of the best programs for its associates. The commission per sale is a minimum of 4% of the proceeds and it goes all the way up to 10%. The approval process is pretty fast and it is not as strict as that of Yahoo! Amazon Associates is a highly recommended affiliate program. They payments are made via direct deposit, check or by Amazon gift certificates.
DealDotCom: The DealDotCom is a relatively new player but their affiliate commissions are very good and multi-tiered. There’s only one deal per day that appears on the publisher site and usually they sell books, SEO products, software etc. There are also DealDotCom widgets available for WordPress publishers. The commission is 35% for any purchase made by your direct referrals and 15% for their referrals (second tier referrals). And most importantly, this is valid for life.
Orbitz: Orbitz is a travel portal that pays nicely for any sale generated through your site that hosts their ads. The approval process is simple and fast. The commissions are as follows:- Air ticket: $5.00 for each ticket, Hotels: $6.00 for each retail transaction, $12.00 for each merchant hotel transaction, Car rental: $4.00 for each car transaction, Cruise: $25.00 for each cruise transaction, Vacation Packages: $30.00 for each vacation package transaction etc. The commissions are distributed at point-of-sale and hence no need to wait until travel is over.
There are a number of other affiliate programs that I have short listed and will be reviewing them shortly. Also check out D$ ProdFinder to pick and compare some of these programs.