Affiliate marketing is the process which the affiliate drives sales to the advertiser, and after the process, the advertiser will give the affiliate one portion named commission as reward for the affiliate’s leads. Since the development of Affiliate marketing began, E-commerce store owners has noticed more about managing affiliate programs. This is quite sensible because customers are the targets of marketing and business, so you much utilize all resources to attract visitors and convert them to leads. For Magento users, it is quite easy because they have possess the powerful Magento Affiliate plus extension, which you can read more in the topic A boom to Magento Affiliate program. Now you have the concept of Affiliate marketing, let’s find out 5 steps to master Affiliate marketing, which start first with Comparison between Affiliate network and in-house Affiliate program.

To read the whole series, follow

Step 1 – Comparison between Affiliate network and in-house Affiliate program.

Step 2 – How to calculate the commission in Affiliate program?

Step 3 – How to create creatives for affiliate?

Step 4 – How to promote and recruit Affiliate?

Step 5 – Report and paying commission in Affiliate program.

Compare between Affiliate network and your own Affiliate program definitions

Affiliate network is the core to make Affiliate program. As you can read from Top 8 popular Affiliate programs for blogs and websites, beside Magento Affiliate program there are other 7 Affiliate networks contributing as Affiliate programs for your own E-commerce website.

Top 8 popular Affiliate programs for blogs and websites

So you can conclude that the very first definition of an affiliate network is where multiple merchants, or in another term – the advertiser, promote their Affiliate programs to other multiple affiliates (some Affiliate network call them publishers). Then the affiliate will promote programs through publishing content, creating visual content or many other methods to audiences. Also in the post of Top 8 popular Affiliate programs, the most used Affiliate network are LinkShare, ShareASale, Commission Junction, Amazon Associates, Google Affiliate Network, Peerfly and MaxBounty.

Meanwhile, an in-house Affiliate program is not public like affiliate network, and need a software to manage the affiliate program thoroughly. We can called own affiliate program as a private label program.

Advantages and disadvantages of Affiliate Network

As we wrote in Affiliate plus & Commission Junction and ShareASale Comparison, we can see both pros and cons of the popular specific affiliate network named ShareASale and Commission Junction. For example these are the pros and cons of ShareASale


Pros • Easily to use, compatible with many types of website• Affiliates on ShareASale network will see your program listed in the appropriate category, as well as in “New” category for a period of 20 days• Website will be displayed on the list of 2500 merchants
Cons • High price• Affiliate must have and operate at least one website in order to create an Affiliate -Account at• Many steps to finish the registration process• There’re limited countries can participate in ShareASale network

And here are the pros and cons of Commission Junction:

Commission Junction

Pros · Free, quick and easy sign up· Flexible affiliate linking and many banner ad sizes· Mobile ads available· Intuitive search tools

· Ability to manage multiple affiliate websites owned by single affiliate publisher

Cons · Extremely high price· No PayPal payment option· Customer support only via phone and web form but not email.· The commission rates are typically lower than other top programs

However, it is quite specific. We conclude that the advantages of an affiliate network can be referred as below:

_ Require minimum effort. Because the affiliate network corporation has created their own resources for both advertisers and the affiliates. That means the merchants mustn’t build their resources for affiliate program. With minimum effort, a small business may consider to use affiliate network. They simply just need to pay a little fee to maintain every month. The rest of the works will be done completely by the network.

_ Connections are simple. In an affiliate network, it is simple and easy to leverage the connections and build relationships. That’s quite important for merchants who have little time to research and find the best affiliates. The affiliate network will show the information of all publishers and advertisers, so each affiliate can easily access the affiliate program of advertisers. With enough information of the publishers, the merchants can consider to use them or not. And through a network, it is much convenient to leverage the connections as well as build relationships with the ones you want to make contact. Imagine it as a world of making affiliate.

_ Networks have expertise in verticals, meaning the businesses and industries will find the insights of the merchants’ field, through this help the advertisers build creative and attractive assets and campaigns in their affiliate programs.

Beside the advantages, many disadvantages that the Affiliate network bring back to the merchants.

_ They all have higher cost, if don’t want to mention that extremely high cost. At first, you need to pay a setup fee to the affiliate network company. Then you should pay a transaction fee, or called performance based fee for each time your affiliate refers a sale. And we don’t mention the monthly fee for maintain the Affiliate network.

_ It’s virtually impossible to create direct relationship with affiliates with some network solutions. Because it’s a mass network, where everyone can join and publish your sales, so a direct relationship with great affiliates is quite difficult than a private affiliate program.

Advantages and disadvantages of building your own Affiliate Program

Building your own Affiliate Program, for example using Magento Affiliate plus extension, have many undeniable advantages:

_ Opposite to the higher cost of Affiliate network, an in-house affiliate program saves cost as you just need to pay the setup cost. There’s no need to pay transaction fee or monthly fee.

_ Direct relationship. You can easily establish a direct relationship with your affiliates through your own affiliate program.

_ And the most important advantage is the increasing of control and flexibility. With more integration, you can much more easily track affiliate referrals for the lifetime of the customers.

However, building your own Affiliate program has some little disadvantages, for example it required much studying to utilize the program well.

We’ve done the first step to master Affiliate marketing with full comparison between Affiliate network and your own Affiliate program. Next time, we will come to step two – How to calculate commission in Affiliate program.


Kate N. is now working as a Retail Solution Specialist at Magestore. She has 3+ years of experience in brand management, marketing, and customer's insights. Kate loves to travel to experience new cultures and discover what is happening with retail all around the world.

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