One of the main concerns of someone working online is whether they will get paid on time, which is why those companies with reputable affiliate programs are popular amongst affiliate marketers.
These reputable programs have been paying their affiliates on time for a decade or more, so new affiliates can be confident that they will get paid for their efforts. There is nothing worse than earning a lot of money with an affiliate program only to find out that they do not pay or cannot pay on time.
It is also important to know that most reputable affiliate programs will delay their payouts approximately 60 days. Although some affiliates believe the money is held to allow the networks to earn interest on your income, earnings are actually held for 60 days to protect the affiliate program from fraud, refunds and chargebacks. Without this protection, a large affiliate network can have major problems paying their affiliates on time, so this should be viewed as protection for affiliates as well.
In general, there are a few things that an affiliate network should offer to be considered a reputable affiliate program.
- On-Time Payouts
- Reliable Transaction Reporting
- Reliable Commission Tracking
- Reputable History of Affiliate Payouts
- Timely Affiliate Support
Although it has no bearing on the actual affiliate program, it may also be important for the program to have trustworthy merchants who advertise on that network. Untrustworthy merchants who may defraud their customers can cause problems for the affiliate program and even the affiliates who promote their products. Refunds are rolled back to the affiliates who referred the original sales, so it is very easy to waste time and money promoting merchants who don’t live up to their promises.
The Commission Junction affiliate program is considered the most reputable affiliate program by many. Affiliates can detect sales in their account in real time, and more detailed reporting is available once a day.
CJ has been around for a long time and has always paid their affiliates on time. The only payment delays that ever occur on this network are a result of specific merchants who require an extra waiting period to ensure the referred sale is valid. Some of the top paying affiliate programs on this network, like website hosting providers, have this extra waiting period, but the huge commissions are often well worth the wait.
Highly experienced affiliate marketers can receive extra performance bonuses on this network, especially when they can refer a high volume of sales to a single merchant. These bonuses are controlled by the advertisers, so there are not standard rules that apply to the entire network.
In general, these incentives will be advertised by the merchant through CJ. However, there are particular companies that will invite their top affiliates to join a special, in-house affiliate program that offers amazing commission rates compared with the public affiliate programs.
The other reason why Commission Junction is ranked as one of the most reputable affiliate programs is because of the high quality of their merchants. Unlike many major affiliate networks, CJ does not generally allow individuals to advertise on their network, since the merchant must verify $50,000 in monthly revenue to join their network.
This is important for affiliates because it is a very good indication of the quality of the advertisers who can be found on CJ. Trustworthy merchants provide better customer service and have higher quality products to sell, which means their affiliates will experience extremely low refund rates. To further improve the reputability of this network and their own affiliate programs, merchants will often require each new affiliate to be manually approved to promote their products.
Amazon is an industry leading affiliate program, so affiliates can always depend on timely payouts from this network. Merchant quality is not as high as it is on CJ, so it is important for affiliates to carefully select products to promote. Although a large majority of Amazon’s merchants are top-class companies and very reliable product distributors, there are a few bad merchants who try to sell standard items for ridiculous prices.
This company is very similar to Commission Junction, except they will allow a wider range of merchants to advertise on their network. Just like on the Amazon network, affiliates will want to carefully choose what to advertise to take complete advantage of this program.
From a merchant or affiliate perspective, Clickbank is a very reputable affiliate program. They actually pay their affiliates and merchants without a 60 day delay like the other networks, but they have utilized an allowance system to prevent problems with refunds. 10% of payouts are held for 12 weeks and then returned when those funds are safe to release. This allows Clickbank to make their payouts with as little as a one week delay.
The one negative aspect about Clickbank is that some of their merchants have very high refund rates because of sometimes unfounded claims by customers who have simply changed their minds. As an affiliate on this network, it is very important to carefully choose which products to promote.
Whenever possible, it can be a good idea for an affiliate to actually purchase a product they want to promote to ensure it will deliver what the merchant has promised. Beyond the low merchant quality problem, Clickbank actually has some of the highest paying commission rates in the entire affiliate marketing industry.