Compare North American Affiliate Networks Side-by-Side

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I wanted to provide this information for a total of eight affiliate networks, but two have never responded. I have included their names in the table, and will add their information if/when it becomes available. I compared the more traditional networks, and have not included any of the sub-affiliate ones here (read about the differences in this blog post of mine).

Here’s my brief side-by-side comparison of how much a merchant should expect to spend on launching an affiliate program on the top North American affiliate networks, and how much they should be prepared to spend to maintain the program:

Network’s Name
Setup Fee
Transaction Fee
Affiliate Future
30% of commission
$100/mo access fee
3% of sale’s total
2-3% of sale’s total $500 monthly min
Google Affiliate Network
varies ($1000-5000)
25% of commission $500 monthly min
Rakuten Affiliate Network
2-3% of sale’s total $500 monthly min
Pepperjam no data
25% of commission
20% of commission
$25 monthly minimum

With some of the above-listed networks the setup fee includes such things as assistance with tracking integration, technical and automatic configuration of daily datafeed updates (AvantLink is known for that), additional exposure for newly-launched programs, and account management interface training.

The above list follows an alphabetical order, and is not meant to rank, but only compare whatever affiliate network information I was able to obtain. Experience shows that it is not unusual for the pricing to change; so, it is always best to check for the most up-to-date information with the affiliate network directly. The above comparison should give you a good preliminary idea of what to expect to pay.

23 thoughts on “Compare North American Affiliate Networks Side-by-Side

  1. Sandis,

    I don’t want to go into the affiliate program management costs (remember, you cannot manage affiliates!). Some of the networks don’t do it, while others would provide such information to their existing clients only. So, I’ll just keep the number of columns limited to the ones that I have above.

  2. Raphel,

    Thank you for your question. I decided to stay away from “CPA networks” (see the first paragraph), and stick with the traditional ones only.

  3. Geno,

    Thank you. I am helping a merchant start an affiliate program. We are looking for a network and this information helps. The 50% difference in the set-up and long-term transaction fees is much larger than we expected. I doubt this large disparity exists between the competing merchants in these networks – so why here?

    I do not want to discount the value from some of the merchants but can you help me understand what value justifies an additional 25% and 50% transaction fee.

    I initially thought it might be because affiliates only work with one network but I learned that affiliates belong to multiple networks and shop for the best merchants.

    So do all networks provide equal access to all affiliates – to all super affiliates?

    Thank You Again,


  4. Thanks for the list Geno and the recommendations but I don’t understand why you say CJ costs $500 – $20,000/mo. It’s my understanding that with CJ there is free account setup and then you apply to individual affiliate companies within CJ site and I am pretty sure it doesn’t cost any money to apply to them. So what costs are you talking about? Thanks

  5. Trevor, all of the above affiliate networks do not charge affiliates anything for setting up an account with them. The pricing provided above applies to merchants/advertisers. So, do not worry about this.

    Two additional points to make:

    (i) The range you quoted for CJ is my bad. The setup fee is actually $3,000 for merchants (I’ll correct this in my original post as soon as I post this response), but the $500-20k range is for having CJ manage your program.

    (ii) As an affiliate you do want to be aware of CJ’s dormant account fee. Clause F in their Service Agreement says: “If Publisher’s Account has not been credited with a valid, compensable Transaction that has not been Charged-back during any rolling, six consecutive calendar month period (“Dormant Account”), a dormant account fee at CJ’s then-current rate shall be applied to Publisher’s Account each calendar month that Publisher’s Account remains an open yet Dormant Account or until Your Account balance reaches a zero balance, at which time the Account shall become deactivated.”

  6. Carlen, thank you for your note. As stated in the opening lines “I compared the more traditional networks”, and excluded “CPA networks” and niche-specific ones like ClickBank which focuses on “digital goods”, and isn’t anywhere as all-encompassing as the above-listed affiliate networks.

    1. Thanks, Timofey. From my past experience, many of the numbers I have quoted over a year ago in the above table are negotiable and merchant-specific. But I certainly appreciate your input.

  7. Hi Geno,

    I’m trying to help a company set-up an affiliate program. I am making a comparative analysis of possible affiliate network to choose. Aside from the attributes you put in here like set-up fee, deposit etc., what other factors should I need to consider in my analysis?

    Thanks in advance.

  8. I love this article. Thank you so much. If you can choose one without having to worry about money or setup fee, which would you pick and why?

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