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What are affiliate networks?

Affiliate networks are platforms that connect companies with potential affiliates. By doing so they make it easier for both parties to participate in affiliate marketing. Affiliate networks act as intermediaries between companies and affiliates. They manage the tracking, reporting, and payments of affiliate programs.

While some advertisers manage their affiliate program themselves, most advertisers are signed up to an affiliate network. The main advantages for advertisers are better exposure and easier management of their program.

Advantages for publishers

For affiliates these affiliate networks also provide advantages. These advantages are the result from managing multiple affiliate programs in a manor and allowing to combine data from multiple programs.

Requesting acces to an affiliate program is much easier when using an affiliate network. With most networks, you can apply in just one click instead of registering filling in payment data, data about you channels etc.

Furthermore, the tracking and reporting of your performance is much more meaningful. This is because not only information of individual affiliate programs are presented. An affiliate network is able to aggregate the data of all programs you’ve joined. This gives a much better picture of the total amount of clicks, sales, and earnings of your website. It also ensures that you don’t have to login to all programs in order to check if all links are still active. Most affiliate networks report broken links for you so you can check these all in one place.

Another great advantage is that payment processing is done by the affiliate network. Most affiliate programs have an minimum required earnings in order to request a payout. When using an affiliate network these requirement for each individual program are replaced by an minimum for all affiliate programs you promote. Additionally, affiliate networks ensure you get paid on time and accurately for you performance.

Finally, affiliate networks standardize the resources you use, such as marketing materials like banners or product feeds. This makes it much easier to promote programs or integrate promoted products into your website.


Affiliate networks make money from providing these services. There are two common ways they do this. The first way is by charging the advertiser a fee to join their network. This scenario has no disadvantages for the publishers. The second scenario is that the network keeps a small amount of the commission earned. This means that if you promote only one webshop it might be more profitable to register directly at this affiliate program (if available) instead of via an affiliate network. This is also the reason that commissions between affiliate networks can vary for a single program. In our database of affiliate programs you can compare the commission of the affiliate networks per program.

Of course, you are not limited to register with a single network only. There are still many advantages when only having to manage affiliates through two or three networks instead of dozens of individual programs.