I have tried a few monetization methods in the past which didn’t work out too well (such as using Adsense, Chitika, and Kontera on the same page). That seemed to actually lower my overall income. I also thought I would try the Google affiliate program, and I did sign up and check it out. I will briefly tell my experience with the program below.
Is the Google Affiliate Network Worth It?
I am a lover of all things Google. I love Adsense, I love the search, I love Google maps, I love it all. So I was excited and optimistic to sign up for the Affiliate network.
For those of you who don’t know, Google bought out DoubleClick some time ago, and re-branded many of their services under the Google brand. One of those programs was the affiliate network.
So I applied to become a publisher (blogger) for the Google Affiliate Network. I was approved within about 1 day. So I quickly logged in to check out the offerings. Unfortunately, it was a little disappointing for my particular niches.
First, you have to apply to individual companies within the network. That is a little too time consuming for my taste. Next, I had difficulty finding programs via the browse or search feature. Many times it wouldn’t bring up any companies related to my terms. So I easily wasted an hour trying to even find offers.
In addition to that, many of the companies in the affiliate program only offer a limited time frame for the affiliate offer. So, for example, you may sign up to promote a product, and it may only last for 1 month. After that, you will have to go and edit your pages and update it to a new affiliate offering. That really seemed impractical to me.
Lastly, most of the affiliate offerings were disappointing in terms of earnings. I never actually tried any of them, because they all seemed like they would offer a very low return. For example, Netflix was an affiliate, and they only pay if the referred customer signs up directly from your click, and even then, it is a small earning amount (less than $20 if memory serves me right). I would imagine it would take a lot of clicks to actually convert to a sale, and I would imagine Adsense would fare better.
Google Affiliate Network Program VS. Google Adsense
In my opinion, Google Adsense wins hands down. Adsense is much more attractive to bloggers/webmasters, and I also have a feeling advertisers probably like Adsense/Adwords better too.
There is no sifting through advertisers, they just appear automatically. There is no updating offerings or ad units, just paste the code and that is it. It is also super easy and quick to update your ads now via the Adsense “Manage Ads” link.
You get paid up-front for your referring clicks (or page impressions), and to me it seems that Adsense would be much more lucrative than the affiliate network for my blogs and my niches.
Is the Google Affiliate Network Program Useless?
Not at all. I think the Google affiliate network has its place carved out on the web. I think some sites may see a better fit with the affiliate network than others. But I certainly wouldn’t write it off as useless. I would say it probably won’t be nearly as successful as Adsense though.
Another issue to consider with the affiliate network is the increasingly complications with the tax code. As more jurisdictions try to increase tax accountability from affiliates/companies, I think it will harm the affiliate program. For example, Amazon has had a difficult time with their affiliate program after New York made all products shipped to the state taxable as long as at least 1 affiliate was located in the state. That additional tax burden can quickly force companies to ditch affiliate programs.
These tax issues usually are not as common with direct advertising (so far), and I hope it stays that way. Amazon may be better off eventually relying solely on advertising alone, and it may benefit them to ditch the affiliate program.
But I do think the affiliate program can work with certain niches. I just didn’t think it was a good fit for my monetization plan once I tried it.