Disclosure: The links to Shareasale in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to sign up with Shareasale, as either a merchant or affiliate, Joomlabear may receive some compensation for the referral. This is the essence of an affiliate program, and if you have not tried performance marketing before then I urge you strongly to try Shareasale. Joining Shareasale will allow you to place links on your site to merchants with products and services relevant to your website’s audience, and you will get paid a commission when your visitors purchase products or services from these partners.
I’ve had a real soft spot for Shareasale since I fist joined them in 2008. I personally believe they run the best affiliate network in operation at the time of this writing, for the following reasons:
- Communication, great people and great support
- Fairness and honesty – a parasite free network
- Very good range of merchants to partner with and promote
The first and foremost reason why Shareasale shines brighter than any other network is people. Shareasale was founded by Brian Littleton, who still acts as the CEO and has a very hands-on roll in the running of the company. I have dealt with Brian directly on a number of occasions, and it has always been a pleasure. It still amazes me that in the rare event when I have run into an unusual issue, I have been able to email Brian directly and the problems have been resolved very quickly. No other network offers this. My second favourite network to work with is Commission Junction, or CJ for short. They are also excellent in many ways, however the handful of times I have needed support I have had to wait 2 or 3 days for an answer that reads like it was pasted from a user manual. I do still get great value from CJ, but they lack the personal touch.
Fairness and honesty are paramount in any relationship, and when it comes to affiliate marketing I cannot stress how important these qualities are. Shareasale is a pioneer in this regard, and has lead by example over the past decade. Shareasale is the only network I know of that truly has a zero tolerance to spam and parasites. What this means is that they do not tolerate their affiliates promoting merchants using any dubious methods, such as email spam, or Adware popups which are parasitic (those annoying popups that come from nowhere when you visit a website, or possibly because you installed a browser toolbar which lets you play some free games at the price of having random popups appear periodically). Only affiliates who promote a merchant through quality channels and real websites can participate in the network, and this creates a fair and very rewarding place to do business.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time discussing the finer details of how unscrupulous affiliates can actually steal your commissions, but very briefly this is how it is done: You write a wonderful, honest review of a product you love and use. A potential buyer arrives at your website and reads your review. Because your review was so detailed and presented a number of great reasons to purchase the product, the visitor proceeds to click your affiliate link to the merchants website. Clicking your affiliate link then sets what is called a tracking cookie in the users browser, and lets the merchant know that the commission on the sale should be attributed to you. Great! Now the bad stuff happens… A few seconds after the buyer arrives on the merchants site a popup appears, quite often in the background behind the users browser window. The parasitic affiliate loads the merchants site in the popup, but uses their affiliate link to load the page. This then sets a second tracking cookie which attributes the sale to the parasites affiliate account, even though the visitor only bought the product because of your excellent review. It’s an awful thing and this type of theft is unfortunately rife in some of the networks who refuse to police this type of behaviour.
The best solution to all of this is to work with Shareasale – the only network that I believe is truly parasite free,
The final reason to join Shareasale is because they have a great range of merchants to promote. There are literally thousands to choose from, and something to fit every site. My own mother, who is a pianist and piano teacher, runs her own website providing piano lessons for beginners. She was able to partner with the creator of an excellent video tuition series for piano, and promote their DVD courses on her site. Now she earns a commission every time someone buys the course. This is just one example of the many great merchants you can work with in the Shareasale network. These relationships allow you to create great passive revenue streams from the hard work you have invested in your website.
I hope this has helped to explain what an affiliate network is, why you should avoid parasites who steal your commissions, and why Shareasale offers much more than the competition. If you want to try your hand at performance marketing, and get paid commission for promoting products that are relevant to the audience of your website, then sign up as an affiliate with Shareasale. I’m certain you won’t regret it.