Before we get into the range of affiliate directories, there are...


Affiliate programs are usually publicized on affiliate companies' websites...  Look for a link to one of the synonyms listed in "What's Affiliate Marketing All About?".  (Be aware that a link to "Partnerships" is more often related to a site's advertisers rather than its affiliate program.)

You might have in mind some specific companies or types of companies whose offerings could fit in with your website or the other advertising you envision.  It's definitely worth going to individual sites to see what the affiliate programs you come up with are like.

Some companies, however, choose for whatever reason not to announce their affiliate programs in this way.  Unless you contact the company in question (which might not be a bad idea - at least it would give someone at the company the feedback that you might be interested in such), to know whether they had one or not, you would need to turn to one of two kinds of affiliate program directories to find out...


The first type of affiliate directory is that of an affiliate program clearinghouse (the 3rd-party vendor often called an "affiliate network") that actually administers the programs for affiliate companies.  An affiliate company can pay this middleman a fee to handle the tracking, sign-up, and payments for each referral/sale and affiliate.

Most of these clearinghouses offer visitors to their site a view of their "stable" of affiliate companies.  Some, frustratingly, force you to sign up with them (at no obligation) before you can see their list of companies.

You can find these clearinghouses by doing a web search on terms like "affiliates", "associate programs", and the like [and see the partial list below].  It's very instructive to search through one or more of these databases of company listings...  You may be amazed to discover how many types of companies might fit in with your website (or whatever).  And if you are intrigued by a company, it will open up possibilities in your imagination for how to intrigue others...

Below is a list of some of the major clearinghouses from around the world...

("affiliate commissions" = they pay to refer merchants and/or affiliates to the clearinghouse)

[updated 1/2010] Singapore pay-per-action network Indian network; per-click, -lead, or -sale a United Kingdom clearinghouse, Scandianian pay-per-action network, also in U.K. and U.S. (.se in Swedish) huge global pay-per-action network a U.K. effort that focuses on global selling
  // a Canada-only pay-per-action network Australia, UK, and US; affiliate commissions; two-tier; per-impression, -click/search, -action, -lead, or -sale affiliate commissions; international, with their site translated into other languages & many international programs affiliate commissions; single-tier programs only; only digital products single-tier; international; pays to PayPal or MoneyBookers accounts affiliate commissions affiliate commissions; large international network  Australian network
  // pay-per-action network; selected banner rotation  a "pay-per-deal" network, with a few differences:  high payouts, some 2-tier, eco-focused, also automated for offline affiliates and resellers, encouraging offers of many types of creative marketing tools  LinkShare - Get Your Share! affiliate commissions; includes a B2B network Chinese pay-per-action network expanded into many markets worldwide (including the Middle East) pay-per-action network; international (with payments in local currencies) Middle Eastern & North African network; per-lead or -sale
  // affiliate commissions; levies per-sale charges to affiliates - !; pays to PayPal or StormPay accounts affiliate commissions; large Costa Rican global pay-per-action network
  // global network, on 7 continents, 160+ countries; per-lead or -sale affiliate commissions; some two-tier (not obvious); per-click, -lead, or -sale Hispanic network in Latin America & U.S.; per-everything options Swedish network expanded across Scandinavia, much of Europe, Ireland & the U.K., & Japan South African network (also dealing in U.S. and U.K.); per-lead or -sale, or per-click (for AdWords-type ads) Mainland Chinese pay-per-action network (in English or Chinese) affiliate commissions; global display ad network, includes video spots; per-click or -lead large Japanese network (in Japanese) truly global programs (including such as Turkey, Thailand, Eastern Europe, Greece, & Russia); site in several languages
[ is an unsorted list of many clearinghouses of all types - in case you have time and inclination to dig into them...]


The other type of register is an affiliate directory set up by someone who has done research on various companies and offers the results on a website (or in a book) for the benefit of anyone who wishes to peruse it.  To be honest, a benefit may also accrue to the author of this information, because s/he may have signed up as an affiliate for many of the companies on the list - and is more than willing to have you sign up as a sub-affiliate under her or him, where that applies.

Most of these affiliate directories list indiscriminately a whole raft of programs to choose from, often with many in the same category.  Some give annotations to each program (which in some cases are simply advertisements from the companies themselves) and sometimes rank them according to a (not necessarily obvious) set of criteria.

In a huge, indiscriminate directory, you can hope for guidance amongst the programs from a rating system...  Unfortunately, the visitor-rated ones aren't very actively used by program participants, and editor-rated ones tend to focus only on webmarketing.  Directories that contain many, or only, editor-recommended programs, though, can offer more value... especially if they contain programs that may be of interest across the board.

Aside from the occasional warning about a company's lackadaisical treatment f their affiliates or poor customer service, the main virtue of any directory, in my mind, is to find out about companies that might fit in with your plans...  You'll then evaluate the website and affiliate program yourself, according to your own criteria.

(* = of particular interest) large, good organization, useful reviewing system, screenshots of program website home pages; U.K. programs subset some pretty unusual programs, from all around the world Australian programs
* large (over 9000 program listings, if not critiqued in any way) a relatively new source for freshly vetted programs a list of ~150 programs available in N.Z. (site links but no info)
* large; a superb newsletter, helpful resources, some reviews, screenshots of program website home pages
* huge (over 27,000 programs); useful Worldwide subcategory (esp. for Australia, Europe, & U.K.) detailed descriptions, ratings based on feedback from program participants
* selective; some unusual programs (includes other than affiliate work-at-home programs)
Spanish language/Latin American and international programs (en EspaƱol)
German language programs (auf Deutsch, but with some English translation) German and internationally-paying programs (auf Deutsch)
Also, the primer section "Top Affiliate Marketing Tools" is for the most part a directory of affiliate programs, some of which may interest you in terms of your own promotions.   However, that aspect of the list is incidental to the usefulness of the tools themselves, to either, or both, merchants and their affiliate partners.  No doubt there are many more good programs that you might bump into in other ways - but I've included here what I consider to be the best, to my knowledge, of their genres, and only those I've researched (most of which I've used) and feel good about.  (And I won't recommend a program here that I wouldn't advocate to my closest friends - assuming they had an appropriate interest!)


Many affiliate program directory editors and affiliate gurus will particularly recommend their favorite programs... which will usually mean, they'd like you to sign up for the programs that will bring them the most money thereby! (i.e., they'll highlight multiple-tier programs with high-ticket sales potential).  But remember two things...  Your job is to find the programs that are best suited to your business niche; and sometimes "little" programs - even those of only passing interest - might also complement your efforts to make "real money" with those that are proven top-producers for others.  Work creatively with little programs, and you might make them big.  

Especially considering that many programs still promoted widely are rather "over-worked" in this now more mature web environment of jillions of sites, it's important to do your homework...  You don't want to unwittingly come off as a mere copycat.  Choose those programs that will be the best affiliate programs for you! - and your clientele.  

If you concentrate on filling the needs of your unique website users, you'll be far more likely to succeed at webmarketing in the long-term than any site developer who relies on a guru to tell him how to do what he did!  (What he did was unique, if he's successful - and if he's very successful, he's probably sewn up the market for that subject offered in that way, so what would you be doing creating a copy?  Think about it...  Always look for ways to provide a new angle, or provide for a new niche.)  

As far as your income expectations go, only you can say what success will be for you - making enough to live a little more comfortably or to retire wealthy on are vastly different goals!  The route you select might also depend on how much of yourself you're willing to invest in this webmarketing effort.  But whatever your path, real success probably comes down to this:  

Find your niche, and fill it wisely.  

I'm sure there are some good affiliate programs that you can incorporate into that recipe.