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What Is an Affiliate Program

Affiliate programs, also called associate programs, are agreements in which online merchants like Amazon.com or eBay agree to pay website owners for traffic or sales that originate from the owner’s affiliate website.

But does affiliate marketing really work? It sure does! In fact, visitors to online merchant websites like Amazon.com and eBay spend roughly $82,382 every minute of the day. This consumer activity generates a whopping $43.3 billion in total annual revenue.

Simply put, affiliate programs afford the chance for everyday website owners to cash in on the money-making power of today’s most trusted and well-known Internet retailers.

What Kind of Affiliate Programs Exist

Today’s affiliate landscape is as diverse as ever. Companies like Apple, Expedia, eBay, Circuit City, and of course Amazon.com each offer a few of today’s best-known and most respected affiliate program opportunities.

Target Affiliate Programs

Popular Affiliate Programs

In 1996, Amazon introduced the world to its first online affiliate program. Naming its affiliate “Amazon Associates”, its launch set off a tidal wave of other big-name affiliates like Google AdSense, ClickBank, and Commission Junction. Suddenly, almost as if overnight, stay-at-home moms and business-type professionals were clamoring to their computers to start selling affiliate products on their websites.

So which affiliate programs pay the most for your promotional efforts? The answer is surprisingly simple.

Products like travel, software, electronics, and high-end luxury items score very high in the big-payout department. This just makes sense. The more expensive an product or service, the more money you can earn in affiliate commissions.

To help you discern which affiliate programs offer the best return for your website, we have compiled the following run-down of what are today’s longest-operating and most-respected Internet affiliate programs.

Have an affiliate program you’d like to have featured? Please contact us at with your suggestions.

5 Star Affiliate Programs  

Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates Affiliate Program Logo

Amazon.com began as an online bookstore in 1995. Within four short years, Amazon reported $5 billion in profit and already began paying dividends to its lucky investors. Since then, Amazon has dutifully won its title as a dominating force in the Internet ecommerce market.

In fact, Amazon.com today makes a cool $34 billion in revenue each year. Even more startling, 40% of this revenue is generated by its affiliate partners.

Amazon.com has achieved monumental affiliate status due to its enormous catalog and house-hold name recognition. Amazon.com features products from hundreds, if not thousands, of categories including books, electronics, home decor, pet supplies, high-end jewelry, auto parts, and many more.

Become an Amazon Associates Affiliate today!

5 Star Affiliate Programs  


ClickBank Affiliate Program Logo

Named the “#1 Affiliate Network in America for 2011” by Revenue Magazine’s Online Advertising Blue Book, ClickBank is an online digital products marketplace. Earning over $1.9 billion in revenue for its affiliate partners, ClickBank’s massive collection of ebooks, service software, and other digital downloads has products available for any kind of website or turnkey website business niche.

ClickBank is unique in that it enables its affiliate program partners to create entire website businesses around a just a few or several hundred of its instant-download digital products. Customers with ClickBank pay for digital products immediately and download their purchase on the spot. This makes ClickBank an easy win for webmasters looking to add low-cost, low-maintenance affiliate programs to their portfolio.

Become a ClickBank Affiliate!

5 Star Affiliate Programs  

Commission Junction

Commission Junction Affiliate Logo

Commission Junction (nicknamed “CJ”) is the largest affiliate program in North America. This is because Commission Junction’s goal is to connect brand-name e-commerce retailers with affiliate website business owners. Commission Junction’s unique business-to-business model has enabled the growth of a rich marketplace filled with high-quality advertisers like Expedia, Apple, Host Gator, GAP, and other popular household brand names.

Commission Junction’s affiliate portfolio also includes high-paying luxury item brands like Orient-Express Hotels, Priceline.com, Kurt Geiger (luxury UK shoe retailer), and many, many more.

Become a Commission Junction Affiliate!

5 Star Affiliate Programs  

Google AdSense

Google Adsense Affiliate Logo

Google AdSense ranks as one of today’s most popular and perhaps well-known website affiliate programs, thanks to its ubiquitous namesake. A bit different than Amazon.com, Google AdSense allows website owners to place text, image, and video advertisements on their website. Google pays its affiliate partners (called “publishers”) on a per-click basis. Each time your website visitor clicks on an advertisement from Google AdSense, you make money.

Google’s popularity comes from its ability to target advertisements to search patterns, browsing habits, and the YouTube activity of users who visit your affiliate website. This means that each ad that displays on your site is relevant and targeted to your website audience.

Become a Google AdSense Affiliate!

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