Good Affiliate Programs,
Bad Affiliate Programs


How do I choose an affiliate program?

The best advice I can give you about affiliate programs is this: Participate in them based on your own experience with them as a business. On my pages, I try to make recommendations where I feel that doing business there is good advice, whether or not I have an affiliate relationship with that company. For example, more than half of the links on my booksearch page are to stores where I have no affiliates. Of course, it helps if the affiliate has some relation to the content of your page.

On the other hand, Vishnu, if a company burns you as an affiliate, there is a good chance that they will burn your clients and the people you recommend to them. With that in mind, here is my admittedly personally-biased list of recommended affiliate programs based report on my own experience:

Great Affiliate Programs

SelfPromotion.com - free submit function, unless the person choose to contribute. If they do, you get a percentage of their contribution. Tiered affiliate program, so if they become affiliates, you get a small percentage of their percentage, and so on. A great article on how to make money with affiliate programs.

Allposters.com - 25% on sales of posters and artprints. A free poster after your first sale. Has a subaffiliate program. There is some lag time (a week or two, I think) between your first sale and when they show up in your stat reports.

Powells - Books are jewels and Powells shelves old books next to new books. It's my favorite bookstore in the world. 10% on all sales, no jumping through hoops for new customers or whether the person browses first or not. Stats could be a little better and updated more frequently. Amazon is cheaper on small orders because of the discounts. But Powells does not charge sales tax and shipping is free on orders over $50 so your referrals come out ahead on larger orders.

Mixed Reviews

Amazon.com - Amazon has been good to me. But those days are gone. I made as much as $750 one quarter. Last quarter, it was about $150 and this is years later with more traffic. I think they are competing with their affiliates; here's why I think so: The new default page format that you link to shows your referral a dozen other books they can buy on the same subject -- and if they look at one of those books before buying the book you linked to, your commission falls from 7.5% direct link (used to be 15%) to whatever they pay for browsing this week (think 2.5% to 5%). Less if it's Marketplace. Do the math.

Bad Experiences

Illusions Gallery - It's been years and I never saw a dime from these folks. I'm averaging $100-$150 a month from AllPosters and yet nothing from this. Too odd.

Deal Pilot (before that they were ACSES)- provides a book comparison search of 25+ Internet bookstores. That's a valuable service and I kept their link on my booksearch page for 3 years because it was just such a great service. But after almost 4 years, no check ever and no answer to my emails, so service or not, I took them off. I don't know what happens when a real customer has a difficulty.

avavenue.com - Whenever you start an affiliate program, follow your own link to verify that the link works, and register if that's required to verify the process. I verified the link, I had a friend verify the link and register. No commission, no acknowledgement to my polite email. Web page real estate is expensive. I dropped them.

Commission Junction - The granddaddy of all affiliate sites. Do this if you have a) lot of free time to change your website whenever companies leave commission junction, b) just aren't getting as much junk mail as you'd like.


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