The Downsides of Affiliate Marketing – YOU CAN STILL BE A WINNER!

The Downsides of Affiliate Marketing – YOU CAN STILL BE A WINNER!

In the USA alone, the affiliate market is twice the size of the Belize economy, and the US, as well as the global affiliate market, is continuously thriving and evolving. However, like any other form of marketing, affiliate marketing also has its fair share of disadvantages. If you are about to start your journey as an affiliate marketer, you should consider both the advantages and disadvantages of affiliate marketing.

Let’s now take a look at the biggest demerits of affiliate marketing (we will talk about the advantages too in the future. Watch this space!)

Sales-Based Commissions

Merchants that partner with affiliate marketers typically pay commissions on qualified sales. For a sale to qualify as a referred sale or affiliate sale, the customer has to click on one of the affiliate links placed on your website or blog, and once they get redirected to the merchant’s website, they need to make a purchase.

Although most merchants follow the sales-based commission models, there are only a few merchants that follow the CPC or CPM commission models. Read more about CPC affiliate programs and CPM affiliate programs.

Generally speaking, merchants pay commissions when a referred customer makes a purchase or becomes a lead.

Needs Hard Work And Patience

Many affiliate marketers give up hope within a few days of starting their journey as they fail to realize that affiliate marketing needs a lot of hard work and patience.


In the initial stages, you need to build a website, generate lots of relevant and value-adding content, create appealing multimedia materials, build your social presence, grow your fan-following and manage a lot of other things simultaneously.

Affiliate marketing needs a lot of dedication and perseverance and you need to embrace different strategies as you move ahead.

It’s not a pushover, but you don’t need to move mountains either. But if anyone ever told you that affiliate marketing can make you super-rich overnight, just don’t trust him.

You Cannot Control The Competition

As an affiliate marketer, you do not have a right to own the affiliate programs you join.

You just need to obey all the rules and regulations outlined by the merchants and fit yourself in their ecosystem.


While the benefits of affiliate marketing outweigh the risks and downsides, and many people engage with the affiliate marketing industry to reap these advantages, you don’t have control over the competition.

You need to play by the rules set by the merchant.

You cannot create a new product.

You cannot improve an existing product.

You cannot promise anything that the merchant doesn’t.

So basically, you only have control over your activities. If people simply do not like the brand or product you are promoting, there’s not much you can do, except optimizing your campaign.

Intense Competition

The job of an affiliate marketer is highly challenging as there is cutthroat competition in the marketplace.

Irrespective of the product you are choosing to promote, there will be mid to high level of competition as there are many other marketers who are also trying to bring home the bacon.

Therefore, it might be difficult for you, especially at the beginning, to catch the attention of your target customers.

Choosing A Product Relevant To You Is Difficult

Choosing the right merchant to partner with can be extremely difficult.

Even if you like a product and you think ‘okay, this one’s the right product to promote as there is already considerable demand for it in the market’, the merchant has to first approve you as an affiliate marketer.

On the other hand, if the merchant approves you as an affiliate marketing partner, it might not be the right vertical or right product for you to promote.

Choosing the right affiliate program can be quite challenging.

We have discussed how to choose an affiliate program that is relevant for you, but you should always do your homework before choosing an affiliate program.


Final Thoughts

Starting out as an affiliate marketer can be quite easy, but being quite successful at it can be extremely challenging. However, the salient benefits of affiliate marketing completely outweigh the disadvantages.

The biggest benefits of affiliate marketing are that you can learn through earning and you can get started with minimal investment.

If you can study different affiliate programs and platforms, you can surely taste success as an affiliate marketer.

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