Affiliate marketing has become increasingly popular in recent years. Affiliate programs offer merchants the opportunity to employ vast armies of salespeople who only get paid for the results they achieve. The rewards for affiliates are high too, and the skilled affiliate marketer can make many thousands of dollars a month. This win-win situation has lead to an explosion in the number of affiliate programs that are available to the would-be marketer. With this proliferation of opportunities comes the question, how do you go about choosing the right one for you? What qualities should you look for in a program? How do you go about choosing a program that is right for you, and which gives you a good chance of providing a sustainable income? In this article, I will give you some tips that will help you to evaluate merchants and their programs and hopefully help you avoid wasting time and money. Here are some common questions that you should ask:

1. How Much Commission Does the Merchant Pay?

I know this seems obvious, but it is important to determine the amount that you can expect to make from a sale. There is no point in spending time and money on promoting a product that doesn’t pay well. It is probably best to stick with products that have a high commission value, unless you have found a niche market where you can sell vast quantities of product, and make substantial commissions on your volume of sales.

2. How Much Traffic is The Merchant Getting To His Site?

3. How Often Do They Pay Their Affiliates?

Some merchants pay as often as every week; some once a month, others only pay every quarter. It is important that you know how often you can expect a paycheck if you are going to have financial control over your business. Do you have the financial resources to continue to market the product if you have to wait a long time before you get paid? It may also be wise to find out the minimum that you need to earn in order to get paid.

4. Does The Company Use Tracking Cookies?

Many customers don’t buy straight away. It is therefore important that the merchant uses cookies on their site so that you get credit if a customer returns and buys at a later date. Check out how long they last. The longer the cookie lasts; the better the chances are of making a sale and getting paid!

5. Does The Merchant Pay on Subsequent Sales?

Some merchants will only pay commission on sales that come through directly from your link. If the customer returns again via another route you will not get paid. It is important that you get paid no matter what route the customer returns by if you are to build a sustainable business.

6. What Promotional Resources Does The Merchant Offer?

Look at the type of promotional material that they provide. Do they provide articles or content that you can use to promote them on your site or free guides, offers, or samples? If the promotional materials are good it is likely that the merchant will work with you as their affiliate to promote their business.


Finding the right merchant can be a tricky business. The best advice is to do your own research. Use the above questions as an aid in finding a merchant that will enable you to reach your financial goals. You never know-you could strike gold!

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