According to Wikipedia, affiliate networks act as an intermediary between publishers (affiliates, people promoting the products) and merchants (product owners).

What it means to you – an affiliate, or a soon-to-be affiliate – is that affiliate networks can point you towards interesting products that you can promote to your audiences … but you probably already know this.

Essentially, affiliate networks act like marketplaces for affiliates. It’s a place where you can browse through hundreds of different programs and choose ones that interest you the most.

What Affiliate Networks to Start With

The most popular affiliate network out there, especially among beginner affiliates, is Clickbank.

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It’s a great place to start because their marketplace makes it possible to find products for almost any niche, even the strange ones, like chicken coop construction guides, for example.

Another thing is that Clickbank works with international affiliates all over the world.

To sign up, just go to: https://www.clickbank.com/affiliateAccountSignup.htm and fill out the form.

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Once you get approved you’ll be able to browse through the Clickbank marketplace. Start by selecting the category (image below) that interests you the most.

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There are some important factors to notice when searching for a product to promote on Clickbank. The obvious part are the commissions. Depending on the product, they usually range between $7 and $50 (and more). The bigger the better, obviously.

But just because you’re promoting something that offers big commissions doesn’t mean that you’ll make it profitable. When it comes to Clickbank there’s one more important factor – gravity (example below).

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Gravity is a score representing the number of distinct affiliates who earned a commission by promoting the product during the last 8 weeks. In other words, it’s how effective affiliates promoting the product are. In most cases, the higher the score the better.

Once you decide on a product simply click the “Promote” button and get your custom affiliate link.

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Depending on the program you choose there might be some additional promotional materials provided by the merchant. Simply browse through to the product’s site and search for a link marked as “affiliates” (usually found in the footer).

All you have to do now is start your campaigns and earn some commissions.

If you want to do business with more networks, not just Clickbank then consider these three more companies.

Other Affiliate Networks to Consider

The following affiliate networks are in many ways quite similar to Clickbank. There are always some products to promote and some requirements to meet if you want to become an affiliate. The main rules are the same – you get commissions when you refer a sale or send a lead towards the merchant.

ShareASale

ShareASale

ShareASale has a wide range of different products and services. The network lists both digital products and physical items sold by hundreds of e-commerce stores. First you need to sign up to the network as an affiliate, then sign up to each individual program you want to promote (there’s a search feature available).

Commission Junction

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Commission Junction is all about physical products. Start by signing up as a publisher and filling out all the required information. When you get in you’ll be able to browse through the available products and ads, and then place them on your affiliate site.

Google Affiliate Network

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The fact that the giant has their own affiliate network is not surprising. The signup process is quite easy, especially if you already have an AdSense account. Start by clicking the “Sign up as a publisher” button (image above) and filling out the form. Once you’re in you can start searching for affiliate programs.

In the end, we advise you to start with Clickbank as your first affiliate network. Once you get going you can also check Commission Junction and ShareASale. Google’s network is not that big of a deal right now, you’re probably better off sticking with the three other networks.

What’s your experience with these affiliate networks? Do you find them easy to work with or have you experienced any problems whatsoever?