A key part of getting started with affiliate marketing is joining a program or network. You can’t make any money if you haven’t got affiliate links to promote. Let’s look at what the process involves and how easy or difficult it is.

It’s normally a very simple process to apply for new accounts at affiliate networks. It will require filling in a regular online form. You won’t have to do Zoom interviews or anything like that. The only time this may be different is if you’re working with a merchant who doesn’t publicly promote their program and only builds relationships privately.

What’s the difference between a network and a program?

An affiliate network is a website you can join and you’ll be able to promote lots of different merchants. Examples of large affiliate networks are ShareASale and CJ. In contrast, an affiliate program allows you to promote just one merchant. Examples include eBay and Amazon Associates. As a beginner, it can often be best to join a network because it means only creating one account and you’ll be able to promote lots of different merchants.

Once you’re approved in a program you’re normally free to promote all their products without limitations. However, in a network you’ll sometimes still need to individually apply to merchants who may have different requirements.

Do I have to submit ID to prove my identity when I join?

Whether you have to submit proof of ID can vary across the affiliate industry. It partly depends on your location. Networks have to make efforts to stop fraud and keep their business secure. This is why they may ask you for identity documents for verification. You often won’t have to do it when applying to create a new account but may have to do it before being eligible for your first payment withdrawal.

Do I have to pay to create an account?

The vast majority of affiliate programs don’t charge you to sign-up with them. Awin does require a small deposit (read details here). The deposit will be repaid when you achieve your first payout. Overall though, don’t worry about sign-up fees.

How big does my audience size need to be?

The audience size for some networks doesn’t matter, they will accept anyone. But some have minimum requirements, such as website traffic levels, before accepting you. The minimum amount required will vary across the networks. Always read their FAQs to find the information.

When I join a network is my account immediately active?

Some affiliate networks have automatic acceptance, others will manually review your application. They may decide whether to accept or reject your membership based on what methods you plan to use to promote their products and how much traffic you have. You’ll always need to at least confirm your email address no matter what.

If approval is required, the duration you have to wait can vary and is unpredictable, some will be within hours, others may take close to a week.

Once approved you should be able to add your personal unique links immediately and start earning commissions.

Tips to increase your chances of being approved by an affiliate network:

  • Always take your time during any application so you don’t make a mistake.
  • Have a reasonable audience size.
  • Fill in all details in the form, even optional fields, give them as much information as possible.
  • Be honest in your application.
  • Have all your data close to hand because you may need to declare your audience size.
  • Contact the company before applying if you have any important questions.
  • If you get rejected the first time consider sending them an email to ask for help getting your account approved

Most of the time it’s fairly easy is it to join affiliate programs and networks, the hard part can be finding the best ones to work with. If you need a hand finding good quality partners take a look at our Find Networks section to see if it helps you discover companies you weren’t aware of.

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