An affiliate network acts as a channel between publishers (affiliate marketers) who sell products and services and the merchants who create those products and services offered through their affiliate program.

For merchants, affiliate networks provided often include reporting, tracking, payment and refund processing, affiliate management, and most importantly – access to a large base of publishers (affiliate marketers).

For affiliate marketers, an affiliate network provides a choice of affiliate marketing programs organized by category and popularity, a simple way to join those programs, reporting tools, analytics and payment processing.

While affiliate marketers are generally able to join affiliate networks for free, merchants usually have to pay a fee to participate in the network. Affiliate networks usually charge an initial setup fee for each merchant and often a recurring membership fee.

There are several payout methods used by affiliate networks including the two most popular models: CPS and CPA.

(CPS)Cost-Per-Sale

CPS, also referred to as PPS (Pay Per Sale), pays a set commission to the affiliate marketer who refers a lead that results in a purchase.

Affiliate marketing companies love the CPS model since they only pay a commission after they get paid first by the purchasing customer. It’s basically free marketing and advertising since the affiliate is the one who produces the lead without any up-front cost to them.

This is also why CPS payout commission percentages are so high. Incidentally, the CPS model is primarily what we focus on here on this website.

Categorized in: