Have you often wondered which Affiliate Program you should choose?  I’m often asked to help small business owners choose the most appropriate affiliate program to help others promote their products and services.  Additionally, I’m often asked about which program integrates with Wishlist Member (membership plugin for WordPress).

To me, it comes down to functionality and price and there isn’t one correct answer – it all depends….

Here are some thoughts to consider when choosing an affiliate program.

Clickbank process all the payments for you… Which is great because they allow customers to use their credit cards or paypal.  Clickbank will process all refunds, pay your affiliates and then pay you (as the merchant) the balance of the transactions.   This is great for smaller businesses however, if you want to ‘control the money’ this may not be an appropriate option.

One of the important things to note with Clickbank , is that your client is actually Clickbank .  This means that you will have one client – and may well simplify your accounting and taxation.

1SC (AutoWeb Business ) – is good and it has a lot of funcationility – the ability to have Shopping Cart, Affiliate Program and Autoresponder in one package is appealing. The price tag may be daunting for those first starting though.
The big drawback with 1SC is that you can not process recurring payments through a standard paypal account – for whatever reason, 1SC has not implemented that functionality.

To be able to take recurring payments, you must have an internet merchant gateway like Authorize.net and the startup costs may be high for a new business.

3rd Party Self Hosted Affiliate program
If you want to manage your own program and all payments at a lower cost, a 3rd party, self hosted Affiliate Program is worthwhile considering.   There are two programs that I have used and feel are appropriate – they are relatively low cost and allow for recurring payments with Paypal.  They are iDevAffiliate and JROX JAM – although JAM has since been replaced by JEM and I haven’t reviewed that yet.

iDevAffiliate is well supported, integrates with many shopping carts ‘natively’ and I’ve seen it used with a ‘generic’ integration on many other carts.

Other Alternatives

There are other third party affiliate programs that I have looked at from time to time – ClixGalore , LinkShare ,ShareASale and Commission Junction.

Much like Clickbank , these services do all your affiliate management – however, they don’t process all your sales and hold the funds. They do require that you maintain a minimum ‘cash’ balance to pay the affiliates though – so there is a trade off.

Charly Leetham is a Online Business Implementation Expert who helps businesses harness the Internet as a sales channel. Charly provides services to solopreneurs and small business who wish to sell or promote their products and services online. For more information on creating an online community, visit AskCharlyLeetham.com for more information

Note: Women in Ecommerce™ is searching for the best affiliate management program for our members and this article was very helpful to us!