What Are The Best Affiliate Programs For Beginners In 2020?

One of the biggest challenges you will face when starting your affiliate marketing adventure is finding the right affiliate programs to promote.

After all, there are thousands of individual programs to choose from.

Choosing the wrong program can potentially push you months back, while choosing the right one can lead you to create your first affiliate partnerships even before your site is “finished”.

So, since this question is often asked of us, we’re going to take some time together to this blog post and take a look at the best affiliate programs for beginners.

And we’ll try to give you a much more balanced understanding of why signing up with affiliate networks sometimes makes more sense than an internal affiliate program, and vice versa.

Let’s get to this.

Best Affiliate Programs For Beginners

  1. Amazon Associates Affiliate Program
  2. CJ Affiliate Program
  3. ShareASale Affiliate Program
  4. ClickBank Affiliate Program
  5. Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Program
  6. Etsy Affiliate Program
  7. eBay Partner Network Affiliate Program
  8. Fiverr Affiliate Program

Affiliate Networks Vs. merchants

The first mental hurdle you must overcome is the difference between in-house affiliate marketing programs (merchants) and affiliate networks.

Some newbies refer to these terms as if they were interchangeable, but not interchangeable.

Not at all.

Let’s say you’re building a reputable outdoor sports equipment website advertising products like trampolines, water slides, lawn sports, and more.

After that, you will have a choice: register several (or dozens!) Affiliate programs for different manufacturers and suppliers.

Or you can simply sign up for an affiliate network that can connect you to most of the product suppliers you want to work with.

The smart way for a newbie to affiliate marketing is to simply sign up with affiliate networks and go from there.

But affiliate networks are not a panacea.

In fact, there are several affiliate programs that only exist outside of affiliate networks, so you will have to sign up for them individually.

My favorite example of this was when I was building my first affiliate site … with precision lightsabers.

True story – I made a lot of money selling toy lightsabers.

The company behind them was called Master Replicas and they had their own affiliate program. So I had to sign up with them directly, because then they “owned” the market for props and replicas.

Over the years, they switched to an affiliate network, but the payouts were lower, the conditions were terrible, and in the end, I just let the site die of a broken heart … and broken affiliate links.

So, we’ll look at both sides of the game.

Firstly, the best and most popular affiliate networks, and secondly, a number of diverse and fairly versatile affiliate programs that are applicable to most audiences.

What to look for in a good affiliate program

Ease of use

When you’re just starting out with affiliate marketing, you should make it as easy as possible for yourself.

This includes signing up for affiliate programs that not only make sense but are equal parts, great management, and great design.

After all, the very last thing you want to deal with is the clusterf ** k interface.

This can make creating affiliate links or downloading a banner an absolute nightmare.

I was that soldier – crying over my keyboard because the geniuses behind this affiliate program created an interface so complex that the only person able to “solve it” was to be a hybrid of Stephen Hawking and Doctor Strange.

Affiliate networks generally don’t have this problem – their goal is to make your affiliate marketing life as simple as possible.

Because if you don’t make money (that is, passive income), then they also don’t make money, and neither do their clients.

With that said, there are just as many proprietary affiliate programs out there that are the Sistine Chapel version for affiliate marketing.

But we want to emphasize that usability should be a decisive factor for any affiliate programs you choose.

It won’t be a big problem if there is a little more skin in the game.

Point of contact

From time to time, something will go wrong.

Links stop working, or you’re wondering why last month’s sales report looks upside down.

This is when you need the help of an affiliate manager.

Affiliate networks tend to have a slight edge here because you can rely on their support staff in addition to the affiliate manager for any program you have a question about.

Just remember that affiliate managers are no different from personal managers in that some are really good and some are terrible.

Always check what kind of support you get before signing up for any affiliate program, i.e. you have a dedicated affiliate manager.

“Jack, the IT guy, will take care of this” is not the type of response you want … or have to accept.

Commission and payments

Find out not only how much you will be paid for this affiliate program, but also when you will actually get paid.

Most of the affiliate programs are Net 30, but some are Net 60 and even Net 90.

What the above means in plain English is that most affiliates are paid 30 days after the sale is made, while others are not paid 90 days.

It’s a long time to wait for your affiliate money, especially if you have bills to pay.

8 Best Affiliate Marketing Programs For Beginners

Now let’s take a look at the affiliate programs that we believe give you the best chance of early success.

Basically, the ones that give you the best chance to make money online with your new business.

Amazon Associates

Jeff Bezos is a pretty smart guy.

He is also indescribably rich – his bank account looks like his name converted to binary.

This wealth comes from foresight, like one of the first online retailers to offer an affiliate program back in 1996.

Yes, in 1996 there was the Internet, except you heard it when you answered the phone. Ask your parents what this means if you don’t understand.

The Amazon Affiliate Program (also called the Amazon Associates Program) is extensive and covers all the products they sell online.

So if you can find something on Amazon, you can sell it and get some of the profits.

And that includes everything from books to horns and everything in between – there is something for every audience.

The Amazon Affiliate Marketing Program is the first place we send new partners, simply because it is so easy to use, especially when building your first affiliate link.

URL: Amazon Associates Program

Cost: Free

Type: Affiliate Network

You get paid: net 60

Payment threshold: $ 10

Best for aspiring: affiliate marketers building their first website.


  • International brand recognition – everyone knows what Amazon is 385 Million Products for Amazon Associates to Promote.
  • They put a lot of emphasis on customer service, so you benefit from it.
  • Creating and managing links is super easy.
  • Easy to use affiliate panel.


  • Amazon changes its mind about commission rates as often as they change their underwear.
  • 24-hour cookies are far from ideal.

Commission Junction

CJ Affiliate is one of the oldest affiliate networks that I have been using since about 2002.

What sets them apart from Amazon is that Commission Junction specializes in large brands as well as small suppliers of products and services.

So, at the time of this writing, they represent major companies such as Zappos, Walgreens, Verizon, UnderArmor, Trip Advisor, Staples, Sonos, Disney Shops, Sears and Samsung.

And about 2,473 others.

In addition to a very diverse range of brands and products, you also get great support and their affiliate link building tools are some of the easiest to use we’ve come across so far.

But what I really like about Commission Junction is their metrics – I can clearly see if the program is profitable or not.

This is a huge time-saver.

There is no guesswork here, so you can figure out exactly what programs you intend to promote and roughly how much you can expect from the sale.

URL: Junction Commission

Cost: Free

Type: Affiliate Network

Payment threshold: $ 50

You get paid: net 30

Best for: Affiliate marketers with 3 to 6 months of experience.


  • Intuitive interface and dashboard – ideal for budding marketing partners
  • Many really big brands under one roof
  • Direct advertising opportunities (flat fee and commission)
  • You can find profitable affiliate programs without guessing
  • Support and tutorials keep things simple


  • Big brands come and go on this network all the time
  • There is a very soft learning curve compared to Amazon


Recently acquired by Awin, it’s probably one of the most underrated affiliate networks out there.

This is partially due to the fact that the interface looks very much in 2002 – it hasn’t changed since I signed up for my account many, many months ago.

And the absence of the “Wow” factor puts some new partners from this network

But my friends, my friends – ShareASale has programs that pay $ 300 to $ 350 per sale. And no, software has nothing to do with … “extension” products or anything like that.

They actually represent about 5,000 different affiliate programs, but they are more focused on small but profitable companies rather than just big brands.

The affiliate dashboard is basic but functional, and sometimes the lack of complexity is actually good.

ShareASale is one of the networks that you should seriously consider in order to sign up.

URL: ShareASale

Cost: Free

Type: Affiliate Network

Payment threshold: $ 50

You get paid: net 30

Best for: Affiliate marketer looking for new brands or more indirect products and services.


  • Thousands of products and services to promote
  • Smaller, unknown, but very worthwhile programs
  • For example, the Find Sellers feature far outweighs commissions.
  • Their power rank shows where the program is in the top 1000 on ShareASale
  • You don’t have to wait months to get paid


  • Very outdated interface
  • The program approval process can be unpredictable at times


ClickBank is another grandparents affiliate network that has been online since 1998.

And this is a true business story that starts with friends sitting at the garage but ends up as a business with $ 3 billion in annual sales.

While every other affiliate program has tried to figure out how to deliver goods but still make a profit, the guys at ClickBank turned the idea upside down, focusing instead on selling digital products.

This meant instant delivery, almost no overhead, and the ability for them to work directly with the creators. And while they never imagined social media to be anything special, their product range can also work very well with this audience.

You can find all of their products on the ClickBank Marketplace, but they also have some physical products these days.

The Marketplace interface is functional, but looks like it hasn’t changed since 1998. It’s a small problem, but it’s long overdue.

If you need more help getting started with ClickBank, read our (well written by Gael, so we collectively) article on How To Make Money With ClickBank.

URL: ClickBank

Cost: Free

Type: Affiliate Network

Best for: Marketers looking to promote digital products

Payment threshold: $ 50

You get paid: net 60


  • You rarely need to be approved to promote a program
  • Probably the best network for affiliate marketers without a website
  • Their best programs average around $ 50 per sale.
  • You will have many opportunities to promote programs with a regular commission
  • Much of the pre-sale is done for you by the seller landing page
  • Digital products can work hand in hand with email marketing / social media
  • It’s easy to create your affiliate link


  • The market has not changed even once in 19 years – it is functional but very outdated
  • Some programs may result in a very high return rate

Rakuten Linkshare

You may not have heard of Rakuten, but it is a very large Japanese marketing company.

They placed their bet on the door of the affiliate marketing scene when they acquired LinkShare in 2005.

Since then, they’ve turned the Rakuten Linkshare platform from being in the marketplace to being an award winning over the years.

So … is it good for budding partners?

The short answer is “Yes”, but let me clarify:

The interface is very similar to most other affiliate networks
They represent over 1000 brands and businesses
Their merchants supply everything from gifts and flowers to consumer electronics and office supplies.
The only potential downside is that Rakuten is a serious player in the affiliate marketing scene, so the approval process can be slow, especially if your site has little or no traffic.

With that being said, Rakuten is a sleeping giant that most newbies don’t pay enough attention to.

Some affiliates imply that this network is slow to pay, but I’ve never had a problem with them.

URL: Rakuten Linkshare Affiliate Program

Cost: Free

Type: Affiliate Network

Best for: Affiliates looking to expand their horizons beyond Amazon and eBay.

Payment threshold: $ 50

You get paid: net 30


  • Many large affiliate programs live here
  • Reasonably intuitive interface – it gets the job done
  • Sells over USD 100 million annually
  • One of the oldest affiliate networks


  • The interface is so dated it makes me look young
  • Lack of metrics gives me stomach pain

Etsy Affiliate Program

The Etsy program is a bit of a hybrid affiliate marketing program.

This is because the products sold through the platform are made by independent craftsmen, vintage traders and artists, although some overseas manufacturers have tried to make a claim here.

So this is an affiliate network for sole traders, if that makes sense.

What Etsy has managed to do is become the leading platform in its niche – no one else comes close. They went from scratch to a public company in a very short time.

What I love about Etsy is that a surprising number of people I know have either bought something on Etsy or are selling their own handicrafts on the platform.

You can make money by linking to the products you find on the platform and / or browsing them. Then, when one of your visitors makes a purchase, you will receive 4% commission

You probably won’t be retiring on Etsy commissions, but it does give you a great chance of earning decent affiliate income.

URL: Etsy Affiliate Program

Cost: Free

Type: Merchant (via Awin)

Best for: Partners with an interest in handicrafts, personalized items, or vintage items.

Payment threshold: $ 50

You get paid: net 30


  • Clean, modern interface with easy navigation
  • Constantly updated assortment in stock – always something new
  • This affiliate marketing program is the best of its kind in the crafts/vintage/gifts market
  • You support independent product creators (micro-businesses) when you promote Etsy
  • Their product range is diverse enough to keep people on the site for hours.


  • Popular vendors leave the platform over time – don’t put all your eggs in one basket
  • Etsy traders grumble about the latest algorithm changes on the platform

eBay Affiliate Network

We’re not going to offend you with a short history of eBay because everyone knows what it is.

But what started out as a way to clear out their garages and make a few bucks has become a global marketing platform for individuals and big brands.

Did you know that over 80% of the 1.4 billion listings on eBay are for new items?

This is not just a market for used goods and / or junk.

So while most newbies jump right into bed with Amazon (not a bad solution), very few pause to take a look at the eBay affiliate program.

eBay also runs its own affiliate program, so “resellers” are not involved – you work with them directly.

This means that you will be able to build relationships with your branch management team, which can prove invaluable to you in the coming years.

The eBay Affiliate Network (EPN) is not ideal, but it can be a great place to launch new partners, usually in conjunction with the Amazon Associates program.

URL: eBay Affiliate Network

Cost: Free

Type: Merchant

Best For: Anyone – If you’ve ever been to eBay, you’ll see why

Payment threshold: $ 10

You get paid: net 30


  • EPN actively welcomes newcomers – very low barrier to entry
  • Globally recognized brand
  • Hundreds of millions of products for sale
  • You can offer your visitors real value for money here – often better than Amazon
  • Relatively high commission rates, up to 70% per sale
  • You can receive payments through PayPal


  • 24-hour cookie – an only session-based cookie can make things worse
  • Lots of reproduction/knock-off products on their platform

Fiverr Affiliate Program

Selling services is usually much easier than selling physical products.

Just provide your audience with a list of service providers and they’ll take care of the rest.

Fiverr took this basic concept and backed it by monetizing the gig industry for services spanning the following categories: graphic design, marketing, writing, video and animation, music, programming, business, lifestyle, and industries.

While you can sign up for their program at CJ.com, instead we’re going to focus on their own affiliate program for the sake of simplicity.

With the Fiverr Affiliate Program, you can earn anywhere up to $ 150 per referral depending on the category of the service provider you are advertising.

You also have several ways to make money on Fiverr, including Learn From Fiverr courses where you get paid 30% for every sale.

While this gaming platform has built a reputation for selling digital services like WordPress installs and backlink building, you can now also find services like art crafts, tarot reading, or even relationship advice.

Yes, and their affiliate program takes about 30 seconds to sign up – literally just enter your name, email and choose a password.

URL: Fiverr Affiliate Program

Cost: Free

Type: Merchant

Best for: Any blog with a topic that is directly or indirectly related to the Fiverr gig category, although business-style services tend to sell very well.

Payment threshold: $ 100

You get paid: net 30


  • A really nice affiliate interface is a breath of fresh air compared to others
  • Fiverr is the market leader, so there is no real competition
  • New services become available for sale all the time – you will always have something to sell
  • The potential for incredibly high commissions of $ 150 per referral – a lot of money can be made here


  • You are not paid for any sales made to existing customers
  • Like Etsy, some of the most popular gigs will eventually head over to their own site.
  • Completion of the case
  • And here is finally our in-depth blog post on the best affiliate marketing programs for beginners.

We’ve covered as much as possible here, hopefully you have many passive income opportunities.

The cool thing is, if you have any existing traffic, you have the opportunity to start earning passive income from your visitors literally tomorrow … with some payments coming in over the next 30 days.

How many businesses can you think of where you can make a profit in the first month?


But if you sit there and think, “Well, that’s great, but I still feel a little confused …” – fear not, Gael and Mark are here!

Or they take our free training seminar where the guys will show you how to get started with affiliate marketing.

Take a second to enter your email address here and we’ll tell you about an invitation to over 2 hours of information, fun, and wisdom with them.

But not in that order.


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