The Ultimate Guide to the Best Affiliate Programs

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Affiliate Programs


What do The New York Times, BuzzFeed and New York Magazine all have in common? Here’s a hint: it doesn’t really have to do with news at all.

What do The New York Times, BuzzFeed and New York Magazine all have in common? It’s not just that they’re all news sites or well-known media outlets. Here’s a hint: it doesn’t really have to do with news at all. These three major players in the media landscape have all harnessed the power of affiliate marketing — and guess what? You should too.

These publications have added a product review and shopping guide platform to their business (Wirecutter, Buzzfeed Shopping and the Strategist, respectively). These are just three examples of top publications that select and feature brands from an affiliate program through Amazon.
When you join affiliate marketing programs as a brand, you have the chance to be featured in gift guides and news stories by major publishers that choose companies and products exclusively from those programs.
This is our guide to the best affiliate programs on the market. While you could easily spend hours searching ‘what is affiliate marketing’ online and trying to figure out the best affiliate programs to join for your brand, we’re here, so you don’t have to (you can thank us later).

The Best Affiliate Programs for 2022

If you have done even one quick search for ‘what is affiliate marketing’, you’re sure to have heard of some of these affiliate network names — but what are they all about? Here, we have done a deep-dive into the best affiliate programs for your brand. These affiliate programs include:

  • Amazon
  • CJ Affiliate
  • ShareASale
  • Skimlinks
  • Viglink


Amazon is probably best known for its Prime service and the shipping and streaming perks that come along with it. The commerce giant also has a huge affiliate program that you need to know about called ‘Amazon Associates’. Amazon is one of the best affiliate programs because of how easy it is to use, how popular the program is and how big the site’s reach is.

To be a part of Amazon’s affiliate program, you have to sign up to be an Amazon seller and list your products on Amazon’s website. Then, Amazon Affiliates can post links to your items and are compensated based on commission fees. Amazon has a standard commission fee structure for its affiliate program, so you don’t have to worry about coming up with a percentage on your own.

An example of a major publication that utilizes Amazon’s affiliate program is the New York Times through its aforementioned review site, Wirecutter. Wirecutter posts blog-style posts reviewing products from the most useful gardening tools to the best gifts to buy on a budget. In these posts, they link to the products they are reviewing.

Amazon is one of Wirecutter’s affiliate partners, so these products are often shared via Amazon links. When your brand’s items are listed on Amazon through the affiliate program, you have the chance to be featured in product reviews on major sites like this.

CJ Affiliate

CJ Affiliate is one of the best affiliate programs and has been around for over 20 years. Once your brand joins CJ Affiliate, publishers can find you through the site’s dashboard and apply to be an affiliate for your brand. You can respond directly to interested publishers, which gives you control over who becomes an affiliate for your brand and lets you monitor brand promotion.

With CJ Affiliate, searching is a two-way street. The site also has a ‘Recruit Partners’ feature where brands can search for publishers and actively recruit them. If you want to reach out to a publisher to be featured, this is a great way to do it. We can help you decide which publishers would make good partners and contact them.


ShareASale is another example of one of the best affiliate programs on the market today. It serves as a portal where publishers can find merchants (brands like you) looking for affiliate partners and lists their commission fees. Publishers are drawn to the site because of how easy it is to use. Publishers can search by brand category to easily find the type of products they’re looking for.

Whether you sell novelty socks or sustainable shampoo, publishers can click on a category for your brand when compiling specific feature articles and gift guides. ShareASale also has a marketing calendar where seasonal events and holidays can be posted, so your brand can personalize marketing initiatives based on the time of year and capitalize on the value of seasonal marketing. Forbes and Business Insider are just two of the big-name news sites that draw from ShareASale’s affiliate marketing pool.


Skimlinks is different from affiliate programs like Amazon Associates, but that is actually a good thing. To join Skimlinks, you first need to be part of another affiliate program, such as CJ Affiliate. Skimlinks promotes brands that are already part of other existing affiliate networks. Over 60,000 publishers use Skimlinks to promote brands and their products, including big names like Huffington Post, Hearst and Conde Nast. There’s a reason why companies like Nike and Adobe use Skimlinks.

Skimlinks is one of the best affiliate programs and is especially desirable to publications because it makes the affiliate marketing process easy. If a news site doesn’t want to even think about ‘what is affiliate marketing’ and how it works, Skimlinks is an excellent choice because it does all of the work itself.

Let’s say you have a pet food company, and a news site writes a feature article about your business. They detail your brand’s backstory and include links to your website home page and product listings for cat food and dog bones. Skimlinks automatically turns these links into affiliate links without the news site having to go through the process of doing so themselves.

Skimlinks also has a feature called the ‘Skimlinks Publisher Hub’. Here, each merchant or brand part of Skimlinks has a profile page with commission fees and other important brand information that publications can easily browse. If a news site only uses Skimlinks for affiliate marketing, it’s vital that you show up on this search to better your chance at being featured.


Viglinks shares many features with Skimlinks. Both are some of the best affiliate programs for brands; they are free to join and turn regular links into affiliate links without publishers having to do so themselves. Viglinks is smaller than Skimlinks, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time. By being a part of both Skimlinks and Viglinks, you ensure your brand and products are available to publications that frequent both sites or prefer to use Viglinks over Skimlinks (or vice versa).

Viglinks lets you and the news publications that want to feature you worry less about questions like ‘what is affiliate marketing’ and more about growing and promoting your company and your brand’s products.

Navigate the best affiliate programs with LaRue

If the questions ‘what is affiliate marketing’ and ‘which of these are the best affiliate programs for my brand’ (and not to mention all of the marketing details that go along with them) give you a headache, we’re here to help.

From picking the best affiliate programs for your brand to landing spots in gift guides or news stories and preparing your brand to be featured, we can help you navigate the ins and outs of the affiliate marketing process from start to finish.

Contact us to get started with your brand’s affiliate marketing journey.

Reach out to us