The year 2007 was the first time I heard about someone making six-figures per year on autopilot from Commission Junction (now known as CJ Affiliate by Conversant)
“What’s Commission Junction?”, I asked a tech-savvy friend.
“It’s an affiliate marketing platform”
“What’s affiliate marketing?”, I innocently asked.
That’s right, I heard about Commission Junction (CJ) even before I had any idea what affiliate marketing was.
That’s how long it has been around.
Almost every experienced and successful affiliate marketer has been a CJ affiliate at some point in time.
But is it still as vibrant and profitable as its early years? Should you become a publisher on CJ Affiliate and start promoting products? Or is CJ a dying platform that makes money by scamming its affiliates and suspending their accounts when it’s time to pay their commissions?
In this detailed beginner’s guide, I’ll be responding to all these questions. I’ll also tell you how to get started with Commission Junction and the best ways to make money from it as an affiliate marketer.
What Is Commission Junction (CJ Affiliate by Conversant)?
Commission Junction is among the world’s top affiliate marketing platforms for digital & physical products (although mostly digital). It started operations back in 1998 when the internet was a very different place from what it is today.
Affiliate marketing was still a new concept in the online world and making money was much easier since there was no competition, Google algorithms, or unnecessary affiliate regulations.
As a result, CJ quickly became one of the fastest growing online businesses and attracted thousands of affiliate marketers who made millions from it in its early days.
Because of its exponential growth, Commission Junction was acquired in 2003 by ValueClick and was later rebranded in 2014 as CJ Affiliate by Conversant.
The core business, however, remained the same.
More than two decades later, CJ Affiliate is still one of the most popular affiliate networks with thousands of advertisers and pays more than 1.8 billion dollars every year in affiliate commissions.
In fact, according to a market analysis by Datanyze, CJ Affiliate is the second most popular affiliate network after Amazon Associates, with a market share of almost 8%.
Affiliate marketers prefer Amazon Associates because of their physical product range. Among the platforms exclusively dealing in digital products, CJ Affiliate is the clear market leader ahead of giant corporations such as Rakuten and ShareASale.
But it’s not just about the number of sites that use CJ Affiliate.
The quality of affiliates is an even bigger question and this is an area where CJ Affiliate once again leaves behind all its competitors.
According to SimilarTech, CJ Affiliate is the number one choice among the top 10 thousand affiliate websites in the world.
This includes multi-million dollar publishers such as CNN, TIME, BuzzFeed, and many others who rely on CJ Affiliate to find relevant and high-quality brands that they can promote to earn a consistent income through affiliate marketing.
Why The Leading Brands Use CJ Affiliate?
Some of the world’s most popular and trusted brands including Barnes&Noble, GoPro, and Lowe’s recruit affiliate marketers through CJ Affiliate.
I tried to find the exact answer to this question but there are a lot of different perspectives on this if you search the internet.
But here’s my conclusion.
The number one reason why brands trust CJ Affiliate is its strict affiliate recruitment and publisher policies. This gets them a lot of hate from affiliate marketers because they’re more focused on recruiting the right affiliates than just boosting their numbers.
But it makes them ideal for advertisers because they know they’re working with the best publishers available.
Recruiting affiliates, of course, can drastically improve the ROI of a company’s marketing efforts because advertisers only need to pay affiliates when they sell their products.
I also really like the incremental calculator on CJ Affiliate’s website that lets advertisers calculate exactly how much increase in sales they can expect by working with CJ Affiliate.
Advertisers can get a comparison by entering their existing traffic and sales numbers. I used random numbers to see how it works.
Based on these numbers, this is the comparison CJ Affiliate showed me.
It shows several other states that do a great job of convincing advertisers to start recruiting affiliates.
Overall, I think it’s the credibility of CJ Affiliate and its marketing strategy that helps them attract such high profile advertisers.
Why Affiliate Marketers Use CJ Affiliate?
I’ve already shown you how popular Commission Junction is among affiliate marketers.
The reason is simple.
It’s a reliable platform that gives you access to some of the world’s most lucrative and credible affiliate programs.
No matter what niche you’re in, you can find relevant products, membership programs, training courses, and other types of affiliate offers to match the needs of your audience.
Plus, the payout rate and cycle are pretty convenient so there’s no reason not to join CJ Affiliate as a publisher.
However, despite its high standards, CJ Affiliate still has its share of crappy products. It’s not like you can pick any product from CJ and immediately start making money from it.
Not at all.
You have to be really choosy and need to consider several factors before signing up for a product.
But more on that later in the post.
The Major Pros & Cons Of Commission Junction For Affiliate Marketers
There’s a lot to like about CJ Affiliate but it doesn’t mean it has no weaknesses.
Let’s look at some of the major pros and cons of Commission Junction to help you decide if its the right affiliate platform for you.
- CJ Affiliate is among the oldest and most credible affiliate networks for digital & physical products
- It has some seriously big brands on board as advertisers.
- Many second and third-tier brands also join CJ Affiliate as advertisers because of the top brands
- CJ offers one of the best reporting dashboards in the affiliate industry with real-time transaction monitoring
- They offer timely payouts within 20-days of the month’s end (in which you made the sale)
- Filtering and choosing affiliate programs is quite simple
- Creating affiliate links is a hassle-free process in CJ
- The minimum payment threshold is a friendly $50 for direct deposits.
- CJ offers a very limited range of physical product affiliate programs. Its primary strength is in the digital product space
- It has a long learning curve for beginners because of the huge number of programs and options available (a good problem to have IMO)
- Their affiliate approval rate is lower than other platforms so you need to have a functional website or any other platform where you’re generating traffic before applying. Not ideal for complete beginners
- Even when you get accepted as an affiliate on CJ, it doesn’t mean you automatically qualify for every affiliate program listed on the platform. You’ll have to apply to every program separately
- CJ does not offer payouts via PayPal or checks which is a big turn-off for many affiliates.
- CJ certainly isn’t the best when it comes to customer support. You need to make sense of things yourself or wait for days to get a response from their support reps.