Pros and cons of joining a White Hat Affiliate Network

Published: April 30, 2020

Category: Affiliate marketing guides

Joining a white hat affiliate network is just one of the options every publisher and advertiser faces when selecting their business model. Here’s our input.

What does “joining a white hat affiliate network” mean?

There are three options when you choose your affiliate marketing methods. These are white, grey, and black hat. These terms signify the cleanliness of your business. Firstly, the black hat means turning to scams and illegal activity, as well as not respecting terms of service. Secondly, the grey hat is a cleaner business model. Those who choose it tend to respect the law but pretend not to see the terms of service and guidelines. Lastly, the white hat means every side respects the contract 100%.

Simply put – a black hat will send you to jail. Grey will ruin your reputation and stunt your growth. Possibly permanently. With a white hat strategy you may go slower, but you’ll remain squeaky clean.

Affiliate network vs. affiliate program

Choices, choices. Now that you’ve (hopefully) decided to go clean, we got another conundrum. You can choose to join an affiliate network or start your own program. But what’s better?

We’re sorry to say, but there’s no easy universal answer. It all depends on your situation and aspirations. After all, affiliate marketing is no child’s play. An advertiser needs to find people who’ll sell their product. Affiliates, on the other hand, have to find companies whose products they’ll promote. Do you want to do these things personally, or let a company do it for you? There are good and bad sides to both options. Let’s have a look.

Option 1: Joining a white hat affiliate network

An affiliate network acts as a mediator between advertisers and affiliates. Hence, they have a great number of both in their marketplace. Joining one means you’ll be able to find collaboration opportunities right away. You just need to create an account, and everything will be set up for you. In other words, you won’t have to write pitches, send emails, and read hundreds of reviews. You’ll save valuable time and effort. An affiliate network is a fastest and easiest way to start.

Planet Earth with many connected green dots
Joining a White Hat Affiliate Network will help you get connected

It all comes for a price, though. An affiliate marketing network will charge you some combination of a setup fee, transaction fees, deposit, and a monthly minimum. Even though there are many tiers and payment options, this doesn’t guarantee affordability for everyone. Additionally, the other bad side of joining a network is the lack of control. With some networks, you’ll get some permissions. But, most of them will take over and manage your campaign.

Option 2: Creating an affiliate program from scratch

If you choose to make your own program, you’ll have an amazing level of control. You can set your own terms of service and guidelines, set the rules, and make sure everyone’s paid accordingly. This more personal approach is sure to build better partnerships. Not to mention, it’s a lot cheaper. You’ll need to install affiliate software and set it up (you might need some help with that) or use some extensions and an excel sheet if you’re tech-savvy.

A hand on a mixette button
Fine-tune your program yourself!

Now for the bad part. If you’ve decided to go solo and ditch the network idea, you’re losing all the features it offers. You’ll have to take over everything they’d do for you. Mainly, you’ll need to find affiliates or advertisers you really like and trust, then pitch them the collaboration. And they have the option to refuse. At the end of the day, people get tons of emails daily. Running an affiliate program by yourself takes time, and may not show great results for a long while.

Whichever option you may choose, it’s best to get as much information and expert help as you can.

Make profit

Now that you got a game plan in mind, let’s talk about how it all works. Affiliate marketing is one of the most prominent marketing methods, and it’s growing by the day. Here’s why.

many gold coins
Affiliate marketing is a lucrative business

There are three or four parties involved, depending on your choice of joining an affiliate network or starting your own program. These parties are advertisers, affiliates, customers, and, optionally, affiliate networks.

Advertisers are companies that want to sell their products or services. Affiliates are influencers with at least a modest following, who would like to promote said products and services. Thus, both can make some money from every sale. Affiliate marketing enables both parties to get what they want. The conditions of a great collaboration are:

  • Both sides should be in the same niche and have a similar target audience
  • The product should be of great quality
  • Affiliate’s followers should trust the affiliate’s opinion

If all of the above is true, advertisers get CPA traffic, affiliates get their commissions, and if everything is done right (AKA white hat way), both sides can get both profit and expand their online presence.

Best affiliate marketing forums

One would think affiliate marketing is a dog eat dog world. After all, everyone wants the most profit for themselves. Surprisingly enough, it really isn’t like that. As in every field, people in affiliate marketing gravitate to communities and enjoy helping others. For example, you might be seeking an opinion on a tactic, or a review of a service that just seems too good. Similarly, you may want to check out the best CPA offers. In addition, maybe you need tips from an experienced colleague. Most importantly, no one wants to feel alone and misunderstood.

Affiliate marketing forums are thriving, filled to the brim with all sorts of people, from newbies to industry experts. They contain many reference pages and experiences. Additionally, if you have a question, you’re sure to find the answer there. Don’t miss the opportunity to make real connections, and, hey, maybe even friendships with like-minded people.

People celebrating after joining a white hat affiliate network.
Turns out true profit is the friends we made along the way

Where to go

Here are some of the best affiliate marketing forums. See which you like best and start making connections.

Go, find someone to talk to. Lastly, and most importantly, take care of yourself.

Join the discussion!