Affiliate network management can be a time consuming part of your online business. That’s why most people use something like the Clickbank affiliate program or Commission Junction, both “full service” affiliate-based sites. There’s benefits to this. All the hard work of setting up affiliate links, tracking you affiliate’s sales and paying out your affiliates’ commissions is all taken care of for you.

This can be a good way for products owners who are just starting out to get a feel for what affiliate marketing can do for them. For the serious online business though, there are some major drawbacks to using these sites to for your affiliate network management. But first …

What is Affiliate Marketing?
In the online world, “affiliate” is the term used to describe someone who pitches, promotes and sells (for a commission) products that someone else has created. Affiliates are online sales agents, and they can sell anything from books and ebooks to MP3 players to house insurance Just about anything that is sold via the internet can be sold through affiliates.

In affiliate marketing, you’re either a Vendor, someone who has products to sell, or and Affiliate, someone who wants to promote someone else’s stuff. Affiliate commissions can be as high as 75% on some products, so there’s definitely a lot of money to be made online by promoting other people’s products. The real big money though, comes from selling your own products through a network of online, commission-based affiliates.

Effectively affiliate network management takes a bit of work though. As I mentioned earlier, starting out with one of the full-service affiliate sites is a good way to get your feet wet, but ultimately not the best route for most serious business owners.

For one, “processing fees” can be steep (, for instance, takes nearly 10% of your sales!). That might not seem like too much if you’re just making a few sales a month with your e-book, but if you’re running a high-revenue online business, those fees can add up to a lot of money every month.

More importantly though, you have very little control, if any, over who your affiliates are, and usually no way to communicate directly with them with these full-service affiliate network management sites – and communicating with your affiliates is crucial to overall success.

Proper Affiliate Network Management
As the product owner, you already know the most effective ways to promote your product (if you don’t, you should!) and communicating this to your affiliates is absolutely essential to your success (and theirs too). Good affiliate program management usually involves some form of affiliate marketing training. It doesn’t have to be complex. It could be just some simple tips and pieces of advice about what you have found works best.

Of course, you’ll want to provide affiliate marketing tools for your team too – things like pre-written emails to send out; articles about your product and industry; banners; product reviews, etc … all with your affiliate’s unique affiliate tracking ID embedded.

There’s affiliate management software out there to do all this for you. Yes, you can probably find free affiliate tracking software too, but in my opinion, properly managing your affiliate network is such an important part of your online business that it’s definitely worth investing a small amount of money and time in a quality system that provides the security you need and the flexibility to grow and manage your affiliate sales team easily and effectively.

Author's Bio: 

Mike Deslippe is a published author and internet marketer who uses Fusion HQ’s free affiliate program software to manage his affiliate network. For more info and online marketing tips, visit his website,