The Major Affiliate Networks Every Blogger Needs to Know

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The major affiliate networks every blogger needs to know | Oh, She Blogs!

There are a lot of different ways bloggers can make money, although my favorite is, by far, affiliate marketing. We recently answered the question, “What is Affiliate Marketing?” so now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about the actual affiliate networks.

After you’ve decided that you want to start using affiliate links on your site you have to decide first which programs you’d ideally like to work with and then begin the application process. There are many different affiliate networks from which to choose, but if you’re just starting out you’ll want to begin by first getting acquainted with the major affiliate networks, aka the affiliate powerhouses. (OK, nobody calls them that except for me.)

For the majority of these networks, you will need to apply to individual advertisers once your application to join the affiliate network has been approved. I recommend taking a look at each network, making a list of your favorite advertisers, and then only apply to a few. (Check out the bottom of this post for a FREE Affiliate Network Application Checklist that will help you stay organized.)

One thing to keep in mind is that while you will probably get accepted into most of these affiliate networks, each advertiser has their own review process and you WILL get rejected from some programs especially if you are a new blogger. Don’t worry – it happens to the best of us! Seven years later and I still get the occasional rejection. You just never know what an advertiser is looking for in terms of its partners. Let it roll off your shoulders and look for other programs.

Ready to get down to it? These are the major affiliate networks you need to know.


Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is one of the easiest affiliate programs to join and use! When anyone clicks on an Amazon product you recommend and then purchases that item, you will earn a commission!  Or, you can set up an Amazon “store” of items you love and put a widget into the sidebar of your site.  Again, anytime anyone makes a purchase from your store you will receive a commission.  Amazon wants you to earn money selling their products {so they earn more}, and getting started with them is simple and straightforward.

There are no site requirements to join Amazon Associates, although if you are in a state were affiliate nexus laws are being introduced then you are likely ineligible to join.


Awin isn’t the biggest affiliate network on this list, nor is it the most well-known, but I recommend it for one big reason: This is where you will find the Etsy affiliate program! If you ever promote anything from Etsy on your blog, this is definitely a program I recommend joining!

Please note that in order to join Affiliate Window you will need to place a $5 charge on a credit card. This is how Awin does security checks to make sure you are not a spammer or a scammer. They do not keep the money and the $5 immediately gets placed into your account.


CJ is one of the largest affiliate networks and represents some of the largest stores out there.  While anyone can join CJ, you must individually apply to each advertiser in their network*.  Some advertisers will accept any site into their affiliate programs, while other stores have site requirements, such as number of readers, site content, etc.

Once you are accepted into an advertisers affiliate network you will have access to banner and text ads for each advertiser, and many stores also provide a full product catalog of items, meaning that you can place individual items on your site.  When people click on the links in your site and make a purchase, you can earn a commission on a pre-specified percentage of that sale.  Each advertiser has a different percentage they are willing to pay you for sales.

*CJ now has a Content Certified Program. After you are approved for CJ, click here to apply to be content certified. Once certified you will AUTOMATICALLY be accepted into many affiliate programs, based upon your niche. You’ll just have to accept the terms that will be pushed to your account.

Notable CJ Programs: Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic,, Zappos, American Eagle, Bed Bath & Beyond, Buy Buy Baby, Free People, Sears, Kmart, Trip Advisor, Expedia


Pepperjam Exchange

Pepperjam Exchange represents approximately 1,000 advertisers at this point in time.  You must apply to Pepperjam, and then apply to each advertiser individually.  It has been my experience that Pepperjam is one of the easier networks to gain admittance but I find the interface is less intuitive than others.

Notable Programs: BareMinerals, BaubleBar, BCBG, Cosabella, Dollar Tree, Fashion to Figure, French Connection, Hanky Panky, Melissa & Doug, Nordstrom Rack, Torrid


eBay Partner Network

Did you know that you can get paid for getting people to shop at eBay?  True story!  Once you get savvy using eBay Partner Network you can even make money by driving people to your own eBay sales (shhh… don’t tell them I told you that!)! I should note that eBay is pretty strict about the sites they accept into their network, and do not have the open-door policy that some of the other affiliate companies have.


Escalate Media Affiliate Network

I really like Escalate Media, though it’s unlike any of the other affiliate networks on this list and it’s definitely not for everyone. Escalate is primarily suited for deal and coupon bloggers, as their offers are primarily for freebies and coupons. This is a cost per action network, meaning that you’ll typically get paid when someone completes an action, such as signing up for an email newsletter, printing a coupon, or ordering a free item. Their payouts are some of the best, and they send very detailed and informative emails about every offer.


Impact Radius

Impact Radius is one of the newer affiliate marketing companies and is good at attracting a number of daily deal sites as well as other specialty retailers. Advertisers keep switching to Impact Radius, so I don’t think it will be long until this is one of the biggest affiliate networks.

Notable Programs: Target, ULTA,,, Hotwire, Tommy Hilfiger


Rakuten LinkShare

Rakuten LinkShare is one of the biggest affiliate networks and they work with hundreds – if not thousands – of advertisers. You must apply to join Rakuten LinkShare and then once you are a member you must apply to the affiliate program of advertiser you wish to promote.

Notable Programs: Macy’s, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Bloomingdale’s, Clinique, Coach, JCPenney, Lane Bryant, Sephora, WalMart, Kohl’s



Shareasale works with many different advertisers that you won’t find on other affiliate networks.  Wine companies, magazine companies, stationery companies, and hundreds (thousands?) of other retail outlets all call Shareasale home.  Like many of the other sites you must first apply to Shareasale and then once you are a member you can begin applying to the programs of each advertiser.

Shareasale is easily one of the most blogger-friendly affiliate networks. Their merchants are great about working with bloggers in various ways, like offering free products to review or offering posting bonuses. Here are some of the best Shareasale merchants for bloggers.

Notable Programs: One Kings Lane, Wayfair, Shutterfly, Gymboree, Reebok, GroopDealz, Craftsy, Domino, Zulily


Subaffiliate Networks

When you register for these networks you will be granted access to all of the advertisers they have partnered with, meaning there’s less work for you to do in terms of applying. While it’s easier to get set up with subaffiliate networks, the longterm downside is that these sites don’t give you the opportunity to create relationships directly with the advertisers.



RewardStyle is a subaffiliate network, meaning that once you get accepted into the network you will be able to promote ALL of their advertisers, of which there are hundreds – if not thousands! RewardStyle is probably the affiliate company that is most popular with fashion bloggers. RewardStyle is an invitation-only affiliate company,

Notable Programs: They work with tons of advertisers, including many that don’t have affiliate programs you’ll find elsewhere, like J.Crew, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, and ASOS.


ShopStyle Collective

Like RewardStyle, ShopStyle Collective is a subaffiliate network so once you are accepted to the site you will be able to place links on your site from any of the advertisers in their network. What separates ShopStyle from any other network on this list is that they pay on a PER CLICK basis, meaning you will make money anytime someone clicks your links but you won’t make anything extra if those clicks lead to sales. ShopStyle is actually the first affiliate network I usually recommend bloggers join because it’s an easy way to get your feet wet in affiliate marketing.



With most affiliate networks you need to do the legwork. In other words, if you want to post an item from Gap you would need to head to CJ, go to the Gap page, and then search for the specific item you want to post about. If you install SkimLinks you don’t need to do any of that! SkimLinks turns the regular URLs on your page into affiliate links automatically! Even if you’re already using other affiliate programs I highly recommend installing either SkimLinks or VigLink because you never know when they will be able to earn you extra commission somewhere!



VigLink works just like SkimLinks, in that they turn your regular URLs into affiliate links and then keep a portion of your commissions. Even if you’re already using other affiliate programs I highly recommend installing either SkimLinks or VigLink because you never know when they will be able to earn you extra commission somewhere!


We know that keeping track of affiliate networks and advertisers can be a lot of work, so we created a downloadable PDF that you can use to keep track of your applications to both affiliate networks and six of the advertisers within each program.

Click here to download our Affiliate Network Application Checklist.

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Lisa Koivu

Founder at Oh, She Blogs!
Lisa Koivu is the founder of Oh, She Blogs! A seven year blogging veteran, Lisa can also be found posting shopping deals and steals at . In her free time (ha!) she is also a freelance writer who has written for and U.S. News.
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  • This is awesome! I’m always looking for more information on affiliate marketing and what opportunities I should pursue. Thanks for the tips!
    – – Rachel @ Tidy&Teal

  • Wow, this was extremely informative. Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve been involved with CJ from many years ago, but it so nice to see there’s more Affilliate companies out there aside from them and amazon.

  • Hi Lisa! Thanks for this great post! I have a quick question — I tried applying for Affiliate Window because I’m sure I’ll recommend a lot of Etsy products in my future posts, it being an arts and calligraphy blog. But then I got an error message at the end of the application.

    Do you think it’s got something to do with the fact that I’m based in a country that’s not on their list (e.g. US, UK, Canada, France, Ireland)?

    Thanks so much and keep up the good work! 🙂

  • I just came across your blog….Ha! where have I been all this while? I must confess that I have never come across so names on this list. This is arguably a complete list of affiliate marketing opportunities. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hi Lisa,

    This is such a helpful, fabulous post! Thanks so much for putting it out there for the rest of us. Many of these companies I’ve heard of. The big ones yes. I use shopstyle and love it. They also rep One King’s Lane, Serena and Lily, Williams-Sonoma Companies and a bunch of other great brands. And with their browser button, it couldn’t be easier to link to the product. I even link some on pinterest.

    One thing though. Maybe they didn’t do this when you wrote the post, but now they do pay a tiny commission if there’s an order. They’re pretty cryptic about it. But I am able to extrapolate based on the numbers of clicks and revenue earned. There’s something left over after the 5 cents a click has been calculated. I mean tiny, like maybe a couple of dollars/per order on average, but hey, it all adds up.

    • Oh wait. I looked again and my apologies; you are correct, Lisa. What it is, it appears is that different vendors Shopstyle reps have different amounts they appropriate per click. Some are 3 or 4 cents and some might be as high as 6 or 7 cents. But most are 5 cents. At least, I think that’s what it is.

  • Hi! I just started blogging and signed up with ShopStyle. I find that they do not have Zara as a retailer and many of my great finds are from Zara. Any advice?

  • Hello Lisa,
    Your Blog posts are always very helpful, I read few of them before as well.
    I’m using Amazon Affiliate Program for quite a long time and on my own Blog Ease Bedding, which is solely monetized by only Amazon affiliate links by the time of writing this comment and now I’m planning to join at least one or two more programs to use with amazon.
    Thanks for collecting all the information to put together on this page.

    • You definitely don’t want to have both because the code will compete – it might render both useless! I’ve used both Skimlinks and Viglink and they’re pretty much identical. I’m using Skimlinks now, but that’s just because it’s the second one I signed up to try.

  • Great list! Trustworthiness and a good affiliates support are very important. So far I’ve had a lot of issues with Rakuten in this regard, so would not recommend it.