In the world of affiliate marketing, you have essentially three options. You can work through an affiliate network run by a giant, reputable company. Networks like Rakuten, Amazon Affiliates, the iTunes Affilaites or eBay Partners all fall into this category. They tend to be very legitimate, but not very well converting, as far as affiliate networks go. Obviously, when used properly, they’re great. It’s just a matter of using them properly.
The second option is to go with one of the higher quality non-corporate-backed affiliate networks. Among these, Clickbank reigns supreme. Any other high-quality network is typically going to be measured against the bar set by Clickbank.
The third option is to use one of the smaller, shadier affiliate networks. Most savvy marketers tend to avoid these networks, either because they’re unlikely to pay or because they require heavy use of black hat techniques to properly utilize.
This post will discuss Clickbank, as well as two of its primary competitors; Clicksure and Commission Junction. Is Clickbank really as potent as I’ve claimed? Can you succeed with other networks?
Clickbank is one of those affiliate networks that is hard to quantify when you do a simple Internet search. You’ll end up with a lot of low-quality “how to make money” posts, coming typically from people selling products through Clickbank they want you to buy. You’ll find people complaining that the network is a scam, though when you dig deeper, some details just don’t add up. Yet Clickbank is still running. Why is that?
As it turns out, satisfied users don’t post as much about their success as dissatisfied users post about their failures. It’s why a product can have excessive negative reviews and still be a good product; satisfied users just don’t often leave reviews. This means the search results are full of dissatisfied users, while the good users are making bank every day.
Clickbank is a huge network with a massive number of products you can pick through for your affiliate. Where many people go wrong is they go too broad. Much like Amazon, you have to pick a niche and go all-in with it. If you’re too broad, you don’t have the SEO focus to get users in, and the quality of your traffic will be worse.
On the other hand, many people just look for Clickbank affiliate products with high commissions and go for them, disregarding the competition. Clickbank, being a large and popular network, has a lot of users. That means there’s a lot of existing competition for the best niches. You need to find a niche you can make your own.
Clickbank has numerous benefits. It’s a large, old network, so it’s not going to screw you on payments or by disappearing out of the blue. It’s available in 150 countries, so it’s ideal for international marketers. It has very low entry requirements, so it doesn’t take a lot of effort to be approved to sell. It is, thus, an ideal starting point for new affiliates. If you’re good enough, you don’t need to spread out beyond Clickbank’s walls.
Clicksure is a competitor for Clickbank, but as an affiliate marketer, you can use them both if you so desire. Unfortunately, the site has a bad reputation. At various times in their history, Clicksure has been accused of being a scam business.
Clicksure itself is not a scam. They are aware of their bad reputation, but they haven’t done much to combat it, which doesn’t help. However, they do honor legitimate sales and they honor refunds. The only problem is the products sold on their network.
Because Clicksure has a low bar for filtering products marketers sell through their network, you end up with a lot of low quality or scam-like products. This means that you have two options as an affiliate trying to sell products from their marketplace.
The first option is to spend a significant amount of time digging through and researching legitimate products. When you find them, you’re probably going to be faced with stiff competition from the other marketers trying to find those same products. If you can find a new legitimate offering and capitalize on it, you can be the one to dominate the niche.
The second option is to delve into low quality marketing and sell the poor products. You’ll end up with high refund rates and highly variable paydays. It’s possible, but it’s not ideal.
The third affiliate network I’m discussing here is Commission Junction. CJ is another of the old, powerful networks with a lot of variance in the quality of their offerings. On one hand, you have a lot of good products, including physical products, to sell through their network. On the other hand, they have a filter lower than Clickbank’s that allows in some low quality offers. They aren’t as bad or spam-ridden as Clicksure, but they aren’t the fertile grounds you see elsewhere.
CJ is quick and easy to get into. The problem is their internal affiliate interface. There’s a lot of issues with finding everything you want, particularly as a new user. It’s simply not intuitive.
One of the biggest benefits of Commission Junction over Clickbank and other networks is that a lot of famous, highly-recognized products can be found in their system. You don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops to convince your readers that the products you sell are legitimate; they’ll have heard of them and already know.
On the other hand, CJ has one issue that puts it behind Clickbank in terms of value for affiliate marketers. That’s the commission rates. CJ is generally lower for individual commissions than the better networks. You can find cheap products on Clickbank, and you can find valuable products on CJ, but in general you won’t find the best on CJ. That said, if you’re operating on a volume is better than value proposition, you’ll be able to do well on Commission Junction.
Overall, which of the three is better? While it all depends on the offers you find and the niche you choose, generally Clickbank is going to be the best. Clicksure has the worst issues out of the three, and honestly, I don’t recommend it.
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