While, in theory, any marketer could potentially arrange an affiliate agreement privately with any product owner, the vast majority of affiliates find products to promote on a number of existing marketplaces.

These marketplaces provide an easily searchable database of products that product owners have submitted, pre-negotiated commission rates, promotion tools, tracking and statistics and commission payment mechanisms.

While there are a number of small networks that marketers can choose to source products from, affiliate marketers usually will find products to promote on one of a few major affiliate marketplaces Some of the major ones include Amazon, CJ Affiliate, ClickBank, and JVZoo. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and each lends Itself to different types of products and marketers.

Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is Amazon’s affiliate marketing prop-am, allowing online marketers to promote and earn commissions from almost any product sold on the enormous Amazon marketplace. Amazon Associates offers commissions ranging from.] percent to to percent depending on the category of the product sold, and in some instances the volume of products sold in a given month.

These may seem like low commission rates — and overall, they are — but even at only a few percent, there is a huge potential for earning through the Amazon program. The trust that online shoppers have In the Amazon brand name, the high prices of some hoary items sold on Amazon, commissions earned on up-sells and cross-sells, and the high-quality marketing tools provided by Amazon all make this an attractive program for many affiliate marketers. One downside of Amazon Is that It only pays out commissions two months after sales occur, which is a longtime to wait to be paid.

Pros — Enormous variety of products to promote, easily accessible to beginners. Cons — Low commissions, longer payment terms.

CJ Affiliate

Previously known as Commission Junction, CJ Affiliate represents a huge number of online merchants that marketers can sign up to promote products for. Many of the merchants that use CJ Affiliate are enormous names in the brick-and-mortar world, including companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Bank of America, among others. Many big-name web businesses like MusiciansFriend.com and eTrade.com also offer affiliate programs through this marketplace. This extensive list of highly reputable businesses is the main attraction to this network. Another attractive feature is that commissions are paid out zo days post sale, which is a reasonable time frame. Ci Affiliates does have a more stringent set of requirements for admission than Amazon, making it slightly better suited to affiliate marketers with more experience in traffic generation, web design, and affiliate marketing. These stricter admission requirements reflect CJ’s desire to attract high-quality, long-term affiliates.

Pros — Extensive list of reputable merchants, fast payment. Cons — The program admission requirements has stringent guidelines.

ClickBank

Clickbank is a gigantic marketplace that focuses primarily on digital information products. including eBooks and multimedia courses educating users on everything from wine making and gardening to home repair and personal finance. With over 6 million unique products, there Is no shortage of options for affiliates However, that huge number of choices means that affiliates need to be diligent in their product selection, as not all are created equal. Clickbank usually offers high commissions, often ranging from 50 percent to 75 percent. As a balance to this, product prices are often quite modest. Payment Is prompt, generated once users reach a certain payment threshold, which they choose themselves. Clickbank offers its end customers a 60-day money-back guarantee on all purchases, and products returned within that time frame will result in a deduction from the affiliate’s earnings making it incredibly important that affiliates ensure they only choose to promote the most reputable product offerings in order to avoid charge backs and refunds.

Pros — Beginner friendly, high commissions, fast payment, large marketplace. Cons — Higher potential for refunds and chargebacks.

JVZoo

JVZoo is a marketplace similar to Clickbank, in that it focuses primarily on digtal products like eBooks, multimedia courses, and software tools JV stands for joint venture, and In that spirit, a huge percentage of the products on JVZoo focus on the “make money online” niche, although it does offer products in a wide variety of categories. It is a much smaller marketplace than Clickbank, but it often attracts high-powered product launches. One major benefit to Moo Is that commissions paid to affiliates are paid by the vendors directly, and do not come out of the buyer’s payment. This means that affiliates at JVZoo don’t run the same risk of having commissions clawed back for returns and chargebacks as do affiliates on Clickbank. Much like Clickbank, the quality of the products available varies wildly, and affiliates should be careful in choosing what to promote.

Pros —Beginner-friendly, high commissions, no risk of lost commissions due to returns. Cons — Product quality can vary greatly.

Affiliate marketplaces provide highly accessible, easy-to-search databases of products that affiliate marketers can promote, as well as promotional tools payment processing, analytics, and more. The marketplace an affiliate chooses to use will determine not only the types of products available for them to promote, but also the level of effort and expertise required to promote them. Marketplaces like Amazon Associates and ClickBank are extremely beginner-friendly and offer great places for new affiliate marketers to Jump off from. CJ Affiliates requires a higher level of experience of its affiliates but represents some of the biggest brand names on earth. Clickbank and JV Zoo are perfect for affiliates looking to promote digital products with higher commissions, whereas Amazon and CJ Affiliates offer a huge number of physical products to promote.

Affiliates are free to use as many different marketplaces as they like, and there Is nothing stopping them from promoting products on all four. By understanding the benefits and drawback to each marketplace, affiliate marketers can ensure they’ll always be able to find the right products to promote to any profitable target niche they identify.