15 Best Affiliate Programs For Beginners To Earn Money (2023)

When starting an affiliate marketing business, one of the most difficult tasks is searching for the top affiliate programs for newcomers.

After all, you can pick from thousands of affiliate programs, many of which offer generous payouts.

Finding the right affiliate program can get you making affiliate bucks before your site is even “finished,” while picking the wrong one can set you back months.

This is a common inquiry, so let’s spend some time in this post discussing the best affiliate programs for newcomers.

We’ll also try to provide a more nuanced explanation of when it’s better to join an affiliate network rather than build your own in-house program, and when it’s not.

What Are Affiliate Programs?

Affiliate programs, also known as associate programs, are like matchmakers for businesses and individuals, bringing them together on a third-party platform to collaborate. But there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye. These programs are actually complex machines that offer essential services to both parties.

How Do Affiliate Programs Work?

Ever heard of affiliate programs and how they work? They’re a pretty cool way for individuals or businesses to make some extra cash. Here’s the rundown:

  1. You sign up on the platform and choose the brand you want to promote.
  2. The platform gives you a unique link to share with your friends, family, and followers.
  3. When someone clicks your link and buys something from the brand, you get a commission.

It’s a win-win situation! Companies get more sales and you get a little kickback. Plus, the platforms have tracking technology to keep track of all the affiliates, so everyone stays organized.

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs For Beginners

Now, let’s check out some of the top affiliate marketing programs for newbies, the ones that will give your online business the best possible shot at making a profit.

1. Amazon Associates

In my humble opinion, Jeff Bezos is one smart cookie. And on top of that, his wealth is off the charts, which just goes to show you how smart he really is.

He made his fortune through some seriously smart moves, like launching the Amazon Affiliate Program way back in 1996 when the internet was still in its infancy. Can you believe it? Back then, you could actually hear the internet when you picked up the phone. But Bezos saw the potential and took advantage of it.

The Amazon Affiliate Program, also known as the Amazon Associates Program, is one of the oldest affiliate marketing programs out there. And it covers just about everything Amazon sells, so you can pretty much sell anything from books to bullhorns.

It’s super easy to create an affiliate link with the Amazon program, so we usually recommend it to new affiliates first. Whether you’re looking to sell books, gadgets, or anything in between, there’s something for everyone.

  • Commission rate: Between 1% and 20%, depending on the product.
  • Payment cycle: 60 days after the current month ends. Amazon also holds payment until you earn at least $10.
  • Payout method: Check, direct deposit, or Amazon gift card.

2. ClickBank

ClickBank is one of the OG affiliate networks and has been around since the 90s. It’s a classic “from rags to riches” story, starting off as a group of friends in a garage and now they’re bringing in over $3 billion in annual sales.

What sets ClickBank apart is that they were ahead of their time by focusing on digital products while everyone else was still figuring out how to profit from shipping physical goods. This led to instant gratification, low overhead, and working directly with the creators. And even though they didn’t predict the rise of social media, their selection of products is perfect for online communities.

All of their digital products can be found in the ClickBank Marketplace, and they even sell some physical goods too. But here’s the thing, the Marketplace interface looks super outdated, like it hasn’t been updated since the 90s. It’s not a huge deal, but it could definitely use a refresh for the modern era.

  • Commission rate: Varies depending on the product.
  • Payment cycle: If the account has opted to be paid via direct deposit (international or US), users are eligible to receive their payment weekly, rather than biweekly.   
  • Payout method: Direct Deposit, Wire, and Checks

3. ShareASale

ShareASale is seriously underrated when it comes to affiliate marketing platforms. I mean, the interface is pretty outdated – it hasn’t changed since I signed up a long time ago. But don’t let that put you off! Some of the best affiliate programs out there can be found on ShareASale. I heard one vendor even pays $350 per closed deal!

Plus, they offer a network of over 5,000 affiliate programs, a lot of which promote small businesses that have the potential to be really profitable. So, if you’re looking to join a network, give ShareASale a shot. It may not have the fanciest interface, but sometimes keeping things simple is the way to go. Their affiliate marketing dashboard is a great example of that.

  • Commission rate: Varies depending on the brand.
  • Payment cycle: Affiliates get paid on the 20th of each month.
  • Payout method: Direct Deposit, Wire, Checks, Payoneer

4. CJ Affiliate

CJ Affiliate, formerly known as Commission Junction, is one of the oldest affiliate networks in the industry. It was established in 2002 and has been serving affiliate marketers for over two decades. The network represents big corporations such as Zappos, Walgreens, and Samsung, as well as over 2,472 other affiliate networks.

One of the benefits of using CJ Affiliate is the vast selection of brands and products to promote. You also have access to high-quality customer service and all the resources you need to succeed as an affiliate marketer, including quick and easy affiliate link generation.

The metrics provided by the network are also extremely useful in determining whether a particular affiliate program is profitable. You can plan out your promotions and anticipate how much money you can make from each sale, saving you time and eliminating surprises.

  • Commission rate: Varies depending on the product.
  • Payment cycle: Affiliates get paid within 20 days of the end of the month, as long as they have a minimum payment threshold of US$50 (Direct Deposit) or US$100 (Check).
  • Payout method: Direct Deposit, Wire, Checks, Payoneer

5. Impact

Impact is a relatively new player in the affiliate marketing space, but don’t let its youth discourage you. The network was developed by the founders of Commission Junction and has quickly become a popular choice for affiliate marketers. Impact boasts a list of well-known brands such as Adidas, Airbnb, and HSBC, and over 2,517 brands were actively using the platform at the time of writing.

One of the standout features of Impact is its polished user interface, which is much more advanced than that of its established competitors. The “Brands to Work with Instantly” section is a great resource for novice affiliate marketers, as it features a list of advertisers that provide instant approvals. This helps get new businesses up and running quickly.

  • Commission rate: Varies depending on the brand.
  • Payment cycle: Affiliate earnings can be withdrawn on any day of the month you choose.
  • Payout method: BACS, PayPal, or direct transfer.

6. Rakuten Advertising

Rakuten is a Japanese affiliate marketing service provider that may not be as well-known as some of the other players in the industry. However, since acquiring LinkShare in 2005, Rakuten has become a major player in the affiliate marketing world, winning numerous awards.

The layout of the Rakuten Linkshare platform is standard for affiliate networks and they represent over a thousand companies and brands. The stores they represent sell everything from novelty items to computers and office supplies. However, the approval process can be lengthy if your site receives very little traffic, as Rakuten is such a big player in the industry.

Despite some affiliates’ perceptions that Rakuten is slow to pay out, the network has a good reputation overall. If you’re just starting out as an affiliate, Rakuten is a great option to consider, especially as it is often overlooked by newcomers in the industry.

  • Commission rate: Varies based on the partner merchant’s commission rates.
  • Payment cycle: Rakuten pays out 90 days after merchants pay it. For your payment to be processed, you must also earn a minimum of $50 in commissions.
  • Payout method: Check or direct deposit.

7. Awin

Awin is one of the largest and oldest affiliate networks available, with over 16,500 advertisers and 225,000 publishers. The platform made a whopping $1 billion in commission in 2020, with 182 million in yearly sales. With roots in zanox and Affiliate Window, which were both founded in 2000, Awin has been around since 2017. The network operates its own merchant network, and also acquired ShareASale, another network on the list.

One of the best things about Awin is its dedication to prompt payments. There are several affiliate programs that offer expedited payments, and you’ll be paid for validated transactions, regardless of when Awin gets paid by the advertiser. Awin hosts many well-known brands, such as Etsy and Under Armour.

  • Commission rate: Sellers determine their own rates.
  • Payment cycle: Commissions are paid on the 1st and 15th of each month. You need to earn at least $20 in order to cash out.
  • Payout method: ACH, BACS, or international wire transfer.

8. eBay Partner Network

Everyone is familiar with eBay, the global marketing platform for both small businesses and multinational corporations. Over 80% of eBay’s 1.4 billion listings are for brand-new products, making it more than just a flea market for unwanted items.

The eBay Partner Network (EPN) is a good place for new affiliates to start, often in conjunction with the Amazon Associates Program. EPN handles their affiliate program in-house, so there are no intermediaries. You’ll also have the opportunity to network with their affiliate management team, which could be invaluable to your business.

  • Commission rate: Varies between 1-4% depending on the category. 
  • Payment cycle: Around the 10th of every month to accounts that have made more than 10 units of a country’s currency (e.g., $10 US, £10, etc.).
  • Payout method: PayPal and direct deposit (if the affiliate’s country supports it).

9. Etsy Affiliate Program

The Etsy Affiliate Program combines elements of affiliate and direct marketing and is specifically geared toward independent business owners.

Etsy is the leader in the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods and has an affiliate program where you can make money by reviewing and linking to products you find on the site. You’ll earn 4% commission on sales made by your referrals.

While Etsy may not make you rich, it presents a significant opportunity for financial success.

  • Commission rate: Varies between 2-4% depending on the category. 
  • Payment cycle: Affiliate can receive a commission for a qualifying sale if the sale was made within 30 days on the Etsy website or 7 days in the case of a sale made via the App.
  • Payout method: Check, international wire, payment to bank account via ACH.

10. Fiverr Affiliate Program

Fiverr is a platform that offers a variety of services, ranging from graphic design to music, programming, business, and lifestyle. With their affiliate program, you can earn up to $150 for every customer you bring in.

The best part is, Fiverr gives you multiple ways to monetize, including a 30% commission on sales from “Learn from Fiverr” courses. The sign-up process is quick and easy, and you can join their program on CJ.com.

  • Commission rate: Fiverr offers two commission plans, namely, a $15 to $150 CPA for first-time buyers, and a $10 CPA plus a 10 percent revenue share for purchases made within the first year. For the $15 to $150 CPA plan, your earnings will depend on the service subcategory.
  • Payment cycle: A standard 30-day referral period.
  • Payment method: PayPal, Payoneer, or direct deposit.

11. PepperJam

PepperJam is an affiliate marketing company that has been around for a while. In 2009, eBay acquired PepperJam, and in 2016, they were relaunched under the PepperJam label.

They are the face of many well-known companies such as Puma, Nordstrom, Orion, and Lindt, as well as many smaller, specialized ones.

Despite not being a household name, PepperJam has proven to be a reliable and trustworthy affiliate marketing company.

  • Commission rate: 5% commission, capped at $1,000 per transaction.
  • Payment cycle: Affiliates receive commissions on the 1st and 15th of every month through Pepperjam.
  • Payment method: PayPal, direct deposit, or check.

12. Shopify

Shopify is a top-notch ecommerce platform that offers everything you need to launch a successful online store, from templates to payment processors to shipping partners to marketing solutions.

And as a Shopify affiliate, you’ll get 100% commission on the first two payments of any subscription plan that a referral purchases. That means if your referral signs up for the Basic Shopify plan at $39 per month, you’ll earn $39 for the first month and another $39 if they stay for a second month.

  • Commission rate: 100% commission on the first two payments of a recurring plan.
  • Payment cycle: After the 15th of each month, balances over $25 will be paid out five business days later.
  • Payment method: PayPal. 

13. FlexOffers

FlexOffers is a reputable affiliate network that stands out for its simplicity and lack of hype. Unlike other affiliate marketing platforms, FlexOffers focuses on the business of being an affiliate network, providing the platform for well-known companies such as Macy’s, Walgreens, Kohl’s, Hulu, McAfee, and AT&T. They offer access to 12,000 advertisers, with 500 considered “premium” merchants.

This program is best suited for affiliates who require a broad selection of advertisers.

  • Commission rate: Varies depending on the brand.
  • Payment cycle: It takes 60-90 days to get paid after the month ends.
  • Payment method: Bank transfer, wire transfer, check, PayPal.

14. MaxBounty

MaxBounty is a Canadian network that has been in the affiliate marketing industry since 2004. Unlike other networks, MaxBounty specializes in CPA offers, where affiliates get paid for specific actions such as installing software or filling out forms.

These offers tend to be more profitable compared to CPS or flat rate offers. MaxBounty has around 2,000 campaigns, including those for popular niches like online dating and dieting.

This program is best suited for established affiliates with a lot of traffic looking for new CPA offers.

  • Commission rate: Varies depending on the product.
  • Payment cycle: Earnings are credited 15 days after the last business day of the month.
  • Payment method: Direct deposit, check, PayPal

15. Avangate Network

Avangate was founded in 2006 and exclusively promotes digital products, with a focus on software and digital courses. Their affiliate network is 2Checkout, which also serves as a payment processor. 2Checkout has 22,000 software advertisers and a few online courses, including SuperReading. The software offered ranges from security software like Bit Defender and Malware Bytes, to SEO PowerSuite, Filmora, and FTP software.

This program is best suited for affiliates interested in promoting digital products, specifically software.

  • Commission rate: Varies depending on the product.
  • Payment cycle: Monthly basis. 
  • Payment method: Check, direct deposit, PayPal, and Avangate Mastercard


If you’re looking to start an affiliate marketing business, congratulations, you’re on the right track! Now that you’re aware of some of the best affiliate programs for newbies, take your time and check them out. Trust us, finding the right affiliate program and brand for your niche may take some time but the results will be totally worth it.

Just make sure you do your research and steer clear of any shady scams. Once you’ve selected your preferred affiliate marketing program, you’ll be all set to start your journey in affiliate marketing. Who knows, this might just turn into your dream side hustle and take you to new heights!

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