When you own a blog, signing up to an affiliate marketing program could be one of the most rewarding decisions you can make. However, success in this field does not come easy; you will need to tackle the obstacles that come with operating any business venture. The first hurdle that you have to clear is selecting the best affiliate program for you to join. Although there are now many to choose from, two of the most popular are the Amazon Affiliate program and the eBay Partner Network.
Which Affiliate Network Is Better?
Clearly, you can choose to promote both programs. However, if you are to boost your chances of success, it may be best to concentrate all your marketing efforts on just one of them for a start. Once you have achieved success with your first choice, you may then choose to try out the other.
Every affiliate program comes with its own benefits and shortcomings. The choice you make will also be influenced by whatever personal preferences you may have, marketing expertise and which will be the best fit for promotion on your site.
Benefits of the Amazon Affiliate Program
A Large Product Catalog
With regard to choice and flexibility of the products available to promote on your blog, the Amazon affiliate program definitely offers you greater freedom on the selections you can make. This is because the giant retailer offers more than 30 product categories for you to choose from. Within each category are thousands of different products produced by leading brands. Whether you prefer flat screen TVs, home appliances, smart phones, digital cameras or gardening tools, you will find them all at Amazon.
Simple Signup and Approval Process
Signing up to the affiliate program at Amazon is very simple. In fact, the program will accept your application, regardless of the traffic, you can deliver and even if you do not have your own website. The program will even allow you to sign up and promote its products on free blogging platforms, such as BlogSpot and Google’s Blogger. The approval process is quick too. Some of Amazon’s affiliates have been very successful, despite not even having a website of their own and using direct linking advertising or email.
Simple Earnings Structure
When you sign up as an Amazon affiliate, it is easy to estimate what you will earn, because the program has a simple payment structure. The earnings on most products are made out as a percentage commission. Your income from Amazon is therefore calculated by getting a percentage of the price of the item you promote.
However, the program also has items with a fixed commission. An example of fixed-commission items are consumer electronics like cameras and laptops. If you promote laptops, you earn a flat commission of $25 for each item sold, regardless of the cost of the device.
Attractive Discounts That Help to Drive Sales
Occasionally, Amazon offers buyers seasonal discounts on selected items and great bargains that include Black Friday madness and deals for Cyber Monday. There are also exciting offers provided during holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day and others. The seasonal offers provided by Amazon increase your chances of boosting sales.
Disadvantages of the Amazon Affiliate Program
Lower Commissions Paid to Affiliates
One of the things that discourages many people from joining this affiliate program is that it has a relatively low commission on most products that ranges from 4% to 8.5%. All new affiliates are started out at 4% commission, which means that if you promote and are able to complete a sale worth $100, you will only earn $4. However, the more you sell, your commission is increased. Still, a ceiling of 8.5% is still pretty low for many affiliates.
Longer Pay Cycle
Another key drawback is that the payment period for this program is generally longer than that of eBay. Normally, you will have to wait for about 2 months before you receive your earnings. If you live outside the US, it could actually take as much as 4 months for your payment to be cleared, when snail mail delivery and out-of-country check clearance are considered. This applies to affiliates who choose to be paid by check. A different option that is available to US affiliates only is to receive payment as a gift check or via direct deposit.
Benefits of The eBay Partner Network
Partnering with the Biggest Name in eCommerce
An obvious benefit of signing up to this affiliate program is that you are associated with the ‘eBay’ name. The online retailer has more than 160 million active buyers signed up as well as over 5 million sellers. The result is that the site makes more than $70 billion in sales every year, making it a win for blog owners and their audiences. As a worldwide brand, eBay’s global reach, including that of its mobile application, is more than 291 million people.
An Extensive Catalog of New and Used Items
In a similar way to Amazon, eBay offers you a catalog of millions of products for you to promote contained in more than 30 different categories. This allows you to have greater flexibility and choice than you would get at most other affiliate programs. When looking for products that would be a good fit for promotion on your blog or website, you can use the search box and category pages to find products that relate to your blog content.
What is great about the eBay Partner Network is that even if you are in an obscure niche, you are still likely to find a wide array of products for you to promote. This is because the retailer has an active marketplace for a range of products including books, cameras, DVDs, musical instruments, sporting goods, toys, antiques, clothes, computers, industrial equipment, pet supplies and event tickets. There are even automobiles on sale on the website.
Seasonal Offers and Affiliate Bonuses
eBay has a variety of attractive seasonal discounts offered to buyers for selected new items. This allows you to maximize your sales potential during major holidays. There are other promotions as well, including Daily Deals on eBay and an ongoing 200% bonus paid out to affiliates who can bring new buyers or reactivate buyers who have not made a purchase at the website within 12 months. Highlighting the deals and attracting customers to take advantage of the deals is a great way to drive traffic to the retailer’s website.
Excellent Support and a Range of Affiliate Tools
The eBay Partner Network offers affiliates an impressive range of tools that will be useful for those just starting out as well as experienced affiliate marketers, including simple additions like link generators, widgets, API’s and more. The retailer also has a responsive and dedicated customer support team and active channels of communications that are available 24/7 to offer assistance to affiliates and to advise on best practices.
Disadvantages of the eBay Partner Network
Signup for the Program Is Not as Simple as Amazon
To sign up as an affiliate on the eBay Partner Network, you must have your own website and prove that you can drive enough traffic to the retailer’s site, else you will not be accepted into the program. If you do not own a website that has a significant audience, do not bother trying to sign up to eBay since you are likely to be rejected.
Earnings Are Unpredictable
One of the major gripes that affiliates have with the eBay network is that it is difficult to calculate how much you can earn. The commissions are dependent on the quality of visitors that your blog sends to the retailer’s website. If you want to make the big bucks on this program, you must first concentrate on bringing quality visitors to your blog.
The affiliates who put in the time to build quality blogs that offer value to their visitors will perform much better than individuals who put together websites with little more than AdSense and affiliate links. The best quality users are captured by blogs that have useful product-related content and only a couple of highly relevant affiliate ads.
As you can see when you are aware of the pros and cons of each of these popular affiliate programs, you will be better positioned to decide which one is the right one for your blog or website.