Why Some Affiliates Prefer To Work Only With Affiliate Networks?

Why Some Affiliates Prefer To Work Only With Affiliate Networks?

Web publishers who want to monetize their blogs, news media outlets, or YouTube channels often resort to affiliate marketing as it brings to them the opportunity to earn money for sending targeted traffic to different brands and merchants. For tracking their referred sales and affiliate earnings, they need some sort of a tracking mechanism.

Usually, a cookie is used to store user data and track user navigation. However, although all the merchant websites and third-party affiliate networks use a cookie-based tracking mechanism, some affiliates prefer to work only with affiliate networks. Why is that? What additional benefits do the affiliate networks offer to the affiliate marketers or the publishers? We will get into that shortly, but before that, let’s get down to the basics first.

If you are a web publisher, you have two options to get started as an affiliate marketer:

1.      You can join an affiliate network to become a partner for any of the merchants that are already a part of the network.

2.      Or you can join an affiliate program that is managed in-house.

Most affiliate marketers prefer to partner with advertisers or merchants via affiliate networks and they don’t usually sign up for in-house programs. And they have plenty of reasons to prefer affiliate networks over in-house programs.

Let’s now take a look at how affiliate marketing works to better understand the differences between affiliate networks and in-house programs.

In case you want to know how affiliate programs work in finer detail, we have a beginner’s guide on how affiliate programs work that might be useful.


Affiliate Marketing – How Does It Work?

Simply put, affiliate marketing is a revenue-sharing arrangement in which an affiliate marketer earns a certain amount of commission for promoting other people’s products. The marketer typically earns a share of the revenue from each sale, and each of these sales is tracked via affiliate links.

On the other hand, the advertiser or the merchant seeks to maximize their sales by allowing affiliate marketers to promote their products. The affiliate network connects these advertisers with affiliate marketers, for which the advertisers have to pay a fee to the network.


How Does An Affiliate Network Work?

Through a single collaboration platform, affiliate networks allow advertisers to find worthy affiliate partners and make things simpler for both the affiliate marketers and advertisers.

Since these networks are vast and have a wider reach than merchants and affiliate marketers, they can bridge the gap between the merchants and the marketers. Each and every transaction gets tracked by these networks, and these networks offer solutions like billing and reporting.

Affiliate marketers can easily log in to their network account and see the sales and commissions from all the merchants they have partnered with.


Popular Affiliate Networks

Some of the biggest and most popular affiliate networks are:


Commission Junction

Impact Radius

Rakuten Marketing


Merchants often have their in-house tracking mechanism powered by third-party affiliate management software solutions, such as Affiliate WP and Affiliates Pro.

Let’s find out now why some affiliates prefer working only with affiliate networks.



When it comes to the trust factor, affiliate networks are the more preferred alternative as it is easy for a marketer to trust a tested platform than to trust individual merchants.

There are many advertisers that fail to make affiliate payouts on time and some of them even change affiliate links without proper redirects and without keeping their partners in the loop. Naturally, this leads to missed earnings for the affiliates and they need to spend time finding solutions to the problems.


Why educate yourself about multiple affiliate marketing software programs, while all you need to do is to get used to a single affiliate network, or possibly a handful? It will definitely save you time and money, and you can show other people on your team how to use these networks to grow your affiliate business.

Billing And Invoices

The more advertisers you work with, the greater your chances of making mistakes with billing and invoicing are.

Think practically. You need to send every advertiser a separate invoice to claim your commission. Imagine the time wasted in the process. Many affiliate marketers are even forced to shut their business just because they cannot handle the billing and invoicing on their own.

Marketers who join affiliate networks get their invoice auto-generated through the built-in invoicing system, which leaves zero hassles for them.

Reduced Work

Just imagine you are using a good ol’ excel sheet to track your agreements with more than a few merchants. If you are a busy affiliate marketer, you might be working with a good number of merchants and you need to log in to each of those in-house affiliate systems. It’s maddening, isn’t it?

Not only this will increase your workload manifold, but it will also cause substantial stress unnecessarily. Marketers who want to stay optimally productive throughout the weeks and months choose affiliate networks just to get rid of these hassles.

Sophisticated Software

Compared to the in-house affiliate software systems, affiliate networks use more complex software applications. Affiliate networks operate in a fiercely competitive market environment, and they go the extra mile to integrate better tracking mechanisms and to add a few advanced features.

From self-billing to reporting to currency conversion, these networks offer a range of extra benefits to the marketers, which is a big reason why many experienced and entry-level marketers choose to join these networks.


Final Thoughts

It’s true that affiliate networks offer a host of benefits to the marketers, which is precisely the reason why the number of marketers choosing to sign up with these affiliate networks is steadily growing. However, the benefits of joining programs that are managed in-house can not be belittled either.

Among the other benefits, dedicated in-person support and super-customized creatives are two of the biggest reasons why you may want to join the in-house programs. Lest we forget, some of the biggest brands, including the likes of Amazon, AirBNB, and Savings.com prefer to manage their program in-house.

If you want to collaborate with one or a few merchants and work your way up or if you want to stick to one or two brands, we suggest narrowing down your search to find out legit in-house affiliate programs. However, if you are in the process of building an affiliate business empire and you are already partnered with a good number of merchants, switching to networks is a good idea. Good luck!

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