Among affiliate networks, two of the biggest names are Clickbank and Commission Junction. That is, they used to be; Commission Junction changed names and rebranded; they are now known as CJ Affiliate by Conversant. To keep things straight, throughout this piece I’ll refer to it simply as CJ.
First off, let’s start with Clickbank and see what they say about themselves. Their site is here, if you want to follow along at home.
Clickbank bills themselves as a global Internet retailer, with over 200 million customers around the world. Their homepage is plastered with featured advertisements, offers and their payouts. There’s an anti-aging course for $79.99, a dancing course for $14.95, a sugar detox for $67, and a musical course for $10. Of course, these are the prices to subscribe, not necessarily the prices an affiliate marketer makes.
Moving on to their Digital Marketers (publishers or affiliate marketers) page, we see more details. They boast, here.
They also mention the ability to partner with other sellers, though this isn’t always a good idea. It splits your revenue with a partner in exchange for adding their selling power to your own. Potentially good, potentially terrible, depending on your partner.
Now let’s move on to what CJ has to say for themselves. Their publisher page begins by promoting reliable tracking and reliable payments, similar to Clickbank. They go on to talk about their robust analytics, as well as their compliance with third party networks. In particular, they boast real time transaction monitoring, so you don’t have to wait days to see whether a customer purchased through your link.
They also advertise their CJ Performer program, which is a special support and training course they personally offer you when your site performs well enough. It’s designed to help you increase your earnings, and gives you access to more reporting and advertising options. To qualify, you need to make $10,000 per month in commissions, through multiple advertisers.
One thing I note is that they don’t specifically mention the commission percentage for their offers. Is that good or bad? Up to you.
One thing any affiliate marketer should do before they sign on with a network is shop around. One of the best sites to shop around is OfferVault, as it’s little more than a giant search engine that indexes the name, payout, category, network and update date for offers. Let’s look at facts about Clickbank and CJ.
Error: Data not found. OfferVault doesn’t have data for any Commission Junction, CJ or Conversant (their former name) offers whatsoever. This makes it hard to compare them. I see people talking about offers that pay from $60 to $190, ranging from payday loans and psychic readings to exercise equipment and web hosting sales.
CJ does have offers in lead generation and pay per call, as well as traditional sales. These are easier in a sense, because you only need to foster interest, not close a sale. On the other hand, they tend to pay worse.
Overall, it sounds like both networks are potentially on par in terms of earnings. That’s not unusual, though. The real determining factor comes down to a personal choice on your party. Consider:
Overall, my inclination is to consider Clickbank the better network. However, it all comes down to personal experience and how well you can perform with the offers available. Explore both sites and see for yourself.
Kenny is a blogger and networking professional. He uses blogging and content marketing as a launchpad for small businesses looking to grow their online presence.