The reality of the affiliate marketing landscape is such that some verticals are greatly represented on concrete affiliate platforms but not so much others. Software affiliate programs, however, are a notable exception. They are all around the place, which turns finding them into an interesting exercise. To ease the process for you, we have decided to put together this detailed explanation on where to find and how to join affiliate marketing programs run by software brands.
Regardless of the fact that some research may make it appear as if software isn’t an area in which traditional affiliate networks are particularly strong, one may get surprised by how many top software brands run their affiliate programs on the CJs and ShareASales of the world. Additionally, there is also a number of highly specialist affiliate networks with primary focus on software of all types and kinds: from business-to-consumer (B2C) to business-to-business (B2B) software, and from downloadable to that which is offered on software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis. Finally, do not count on affiliate networks (whether traditional or specialist) only. There will be brands that do not belong to any network but run their own in-house based affiliate programs (either on their proprietary platforms, or on purchased/leased software). So, in your search for software affiliate programs you really want to look for them in three places: (i) traditional affiliate networks, (ii) software-specific networks, and (iii) in-house based affiliate programs.
In what follows, we would like to illustrate the above points by concrete examples.
Traditional Affiliate Networks
Some of the world’s best software brands run their affiliate marketing programs on traditional affiliate networks. Below you may find a list of such affiliate networks as well as select examples of respective software programs (picked based on their performance at the time of this post) found on these networks. There are many other software-related opportunities on each network, and it is a good idea to join these networks to browse the options for yourself (either as an affiliate looking to monetize your efforts, or as a brand doing your competitive intelligence). Whether you will find a good match or not, will depend on the type of technology or software that your target audience is interested in.
CJ Affiliate (formerly known as “Commission Junction”)
- Norton by Symantec, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, AVG, and Panda Security
- Corel Corporation
Rakuten Affiliate Network (previously branded as “LinkShare”)
- Intel / McAfee
- Alibaba Cloud
- a number of VPN services
Impact (formerly operating as “Impact Radius”)
- HotSpot Shield
- FreshBooks (our former client)
- MyChoice Software
- Skylum Software
- Patriot Software
- Individual Software
- Astute Graphics
- mSpy (our former client)
- GreenScreen Wizard
Specialist Affiliate Networks
There are a number of affiliate networks that specialize primarily in software affiliate programs. There are clear benefits to joining these: both for software brands and for affiliates who are interested in this niche. We recommend that you consider the following ones (which have traditionally focused on everything software, SaaS, and technology):
Avangate by 2CheckOut
MyCommerce by Digital River
As you may have noticed, the above list is merely alphabetical. Keep also in mind that many of the above are significantly broader than a pure “affiliate network”. Some of them provide true all-in-one solutions that empower software vendors with everything needed to sell their product online (from online interfaces to payment processing, and much more).
In-house Affiliate Programs
There are also software affiliate programs that don’t belong to any network, but are run internally. Here are just a few examples of such programs:
- AWeber (our former client)
- HubSpot (our current client)
- H&R Block
- Volusion (our former client)
Again, there are many other software brands that chose to keep their affiliate programs in-house, and the above list represents only a few of the top brands that do so. To find the platform choice of your favorite brand (be it a network or their “in-house” one) just look in their website’s footer or search for their affiliate program using your preferred search engine.
There are two additional factors to keep in mind here:
(1) Brands do change platforms at times, and may migrate their affiliate programs from one to another.
(2) Some companies run affiliate programs on more than one affiliate network/platform (for example, at the time of this post, both Parallels and Corel run their affiliate programs on CJ and OneNetworkDirect, Symantec is both on Impact and CJ, while McAfee is on Rakuten, Impact, and Admitad; and these are just select examples)
Our final advice is this: open affiliate accounts on all of the above-listed affiliate platforms (they are all free to join) and browse around to analyzes things for yourself.