Most online entrepreneurs would agree that affiliate marketing is a lucrative way to earn an income online, but that doesn’t make it easy. When you’re getting started, there’s many things to consider.
Previously, I mentioned another affiliate network called Flexoffers, but they’re not the only, and they’re not even the biggest. Affiliates getting started have to sort thru affiliate networks, programs, and payment terms, and it can be very time-consuming, and even overwhelming–that’s where my reviews of affiliate networks come in.
In this post, I will be reviewing Commission Junction, one of the largest affiliate networks worldwide. I’ll offer you:
- The backstory on CJ.com aka Commission Junction
- How to get started
- How to choose the best products to promote
- How others are selling CJ.com products and services
- Traffic generation methods
- How they pay
- Niches they cater to
- A compilation of case studies
- Whether I recommend them or not
- and more…
Just to be clear, CJ.com is also known as Commission Junction, CJ Affiliate by Conversant, and CJ, so I’ll be using those names interchangeably throughout this review. If this explanation answering “What is CJ.com?” sounds good to you, then let’s get started…
- 1 How Affiliate Marketing Works
- 2 What is CJ.com (aka Commission Junction)? An Overview
- 3 How Does CJ.com (aka Commission Junction) Work?
- 4 How Do You Make Money with CJ.com (aka Commission Junction)?
- 5 How Much Can you Make with CJ.com (aka Commission Junction)?
- 6 How Do I Get Started with CJ.com (aka Commission Junction)?
- 7 How Do You Make Money with CJ.com (aka Commission Junction)?
- 8 When do you get paid with CJ.com?
- 9 The Good & the Bad
- 10 Who is Commission Junction For?
- 11 CJ.com Tools & Training
- 12 CJ.com Support
- 13 What’s The BBB Saying About CJ.com?
- 14 CJ.com (aka Commission Junction) Price
- 15 My Final Opinion of CJ.com (aka Commission Junction)
- 16 VERDICT: Recommend
- 17 Want More Help Making Money with Affiliate Marketing?
- 18 CJ Affiliate Aka. Commission Junction
- 19 Pros
- 20 Cons
How Affiliate Marketing Works
Since some of you reading may need a little refresher on affiliate marketing and how it works, I’ll give this brief synopsis. Affiliate marketing is basically where you get paid for referring others to someone else’s products or services.
There’s typically three parts to the transaction: the affiliate, the tracking software or affiliate network, and the merchant or advertiser.
What is CJ.com (aka Commission Junction)? An Overview
CJ.com is an affiliate network. They work between affiliates and advertisers to:
- Form new collaborations
- Negotiate commissions
- Create terms of service
- Provide tracking (link tracking and call tracking)
CJ Affiliate was founded in 1998 in Santa Barbara, California as a solution to help create partnerships between advertisers and publishers. Over the last 20 years, they’ve grown, and now have 15 offices across the world. CJ.com is a part of a fortune 500 company called Alliance Data Systems that includes CJ Affiliate, Epsilon, and Conversant.
With a full team of engineers on staff, CJ.com continues to develop new technology to improve affiliate performance tracking, and to improve advertiser and publisher collaborations. The result of affiliate collaborations between publishers and advertisers is:
- More sales
- More relevant solutions to promote
- Higher lead quality
- and overall, more money!
As a result of the work done at CJ.com, they’ve won several notable awards from those in the affiliate marketing industry. You can see a few of them below…
How Does CJ.com (aka Commission Junction) Work?
CJ.com has one of the largest pools of publishers who are ready to promote products thru affiliate relationships. They have large publishers like CNN, Time, Kiplinger, Digg, Buzzfeed, Wirecutter, LoyaltyOne, and others. They also have many much smaller publishers: small startups and mature companies. As a result, when an advertiser creates an account with CJ.com, they have the potential of having their products and services promoted to a huge audience.
Once you become an advertiser of CJ.com, you’re business will be listed in the directory where publishers can go to read your terms of service, what you offer their audience, and what payment terms you offer them. You can see more information about how publishers browse CJ.com to find optimal affiliate partnerships in this video:
As a publisher, you’d be able to choose from very reputable brands to promote. Many of the brands that have their affiliate programs managed at CJ.com are household names. As you can see below, brands like Lowes, Gopro, Barnes&Noble;, Office Depot, J.Crew, Priceline, and others.
Once you become a registered publisher with CJ.com, you can shop thru their directory of advertisers to see which ones align with the niche you publish content about, who has payment terms you like, and you can apply for relevant affiliate programs.
How Do You Make Money with CJ.com (aka Commission Junction)?
There’s three ways to make money with CJ.com: increased sales to an existing business, cost per sale advertising, and cost per lead advertising.
Advertisers: Increased Sales to an Existing Business
As an advertiser, the goal of registering with CJ.com is to increase the engagement of new prospects with your business. By tapping into the relationships of influencers with their audiences, you can acquire warm leads, shorten your sales cycle, and increase sales.
As a publisher, you can join affiliate programs that pay you in exchange for each sale. Publishers create valuable and helpful content (usually with an educational tone), and when buyers decide to make a buying decision as a result of the content, the affiliate gets paid.
As an alternative to cost-per-sale advertising, you can also get paid for cost-per-lead advertising for companies. Some publishers will pay an amount in exchange for the lead giving specified information. Typically, the information a prospect would exchange would include, name, email, phone number, and the answers to a few questions. When the prospect completes the intake form, CJ.com will track the transaction, and credit the affiliate for their contributed transaction.
How Much Can you Make with CJ.com (aka Commission Junction)?
CJ.com has so many different affiliate programs with so many different terms of service, and so many product and service prices, that there’s no way to give you a definitive answer about how much you can make. Alternatively, you can check out a few CJ.com success stories:
Jo Lynne Shane – Lifestyle Blogger [CJ Publisher]
Jo Lynne Shane was registered with CJ Affiliate since 2010, but she hadn’t been really relational with the staff or informed about the programs there. She came to a point in her business where she wanted to increase the number of advertisers she worked with, increase her commissions, and increase her sponsorships. She went to CJ Affiliate and told them her goals, and they helped her. They enrolled her in a “Content Solution & Content Certified Program”, she was able to build 61 more advertiser relationships, and she had 6 sponsored posts! The collaboration with CJ Affiliate to grow her income was a success.
You can see the full success story here.
Sharon Gourlay – Digital Nomad Wannabe [CJ Publisher]
To say that Sharon Gourlay had a bittersweet experience with Commission Junction would be an understatement. After creating content, getting rankings, and building an income upwards of $500/month on CJ Affiliate, she was banned without a clear explanation. They questioned why many of her sales were coming from the same IP address.As a travel blogger who writes about extensive trips she’s taking, she understood that a reader who is trying to book with one of her advertisers (Expedia, HotelsCombined, TripAdvisor, and Skyscanner) would probably visit the sites several times before fully booking their trip, so the abrupt ban from CJ was disheartening for her.
For a couple months, she wasn’t able to sign in and her links either were pointed elsewhere or they didn’t work. It was a major hardship for Sharon. After a thorough investigation by CJ, they found the activity on her affiliate account was legitimate and allowed her back as a publisher.
Ian Lapuch – PPC Ian [CJ Publisher]
PPC Ian is a commercial real estate investor and “a Silicon Valley business executive”. He creates websites as a side gig and uses SEO to drive traffic to them. He said in his income report that he earned $991 in one month on CJ.com by placing links to their advertisers on his blog.
You can see his full income report HERE.
Financial Services Brand had a Great Launch thanks to CJ VIP Influencer Program [Advertiser]
Often times, clients don’t like to reveal themselves, so marketing agencies have to respect that in their case studies. On their website, it seems that CJ Affiliate has a few advertiser stories like that.
One advertiser success story is a financial services company that was launching a new product. Other marketing campaigns left them with low quality leads, so when they came to CJ, they were comparing the lead quality. CJ Affiliate ran a VIP Influencer campaign where they had some of the publishers promote the upcoming launch.
The launch yielded them much higher lead quality than other marketing methods.
How Do I Get Started with CJ.com (aka Commission Junction)?
To get started with CJ.com, you have to register either as an advertiser or as a publisher.
As an Advertiser
To get started as an advertiser, you have to meet the three criteria listed below…
Then, you have to complete the registration form on the left. Once you’re approved, you’ll be given an advertiser ID and CJ will work with you to create and launch your affiliate program.
As a Publisher
As a publisher, you have to complete the registration by answering a few questions about your business like name, email, website, normal traffic volume, traffic sources, etc. The registration form looks something like this…
Once your publisher account is approved, you’ll be given a customer ID number, and access to the directory of advertisers.
When you look thru the website, you’ll see thousands of advertisers. You can apply to only a few, or you can apply to lots–it’s up to you.
Some advertisers have thresholds you have to meet, so they decline new publishers or those who haven’t met certain criteria. Some only approve publishers in a certain demographic.
Don’t take it personally if you get declined by any publishers. You can re-apply later after you have more proof.
How Do You Make Money with CJ.com (aka Commission Junction)?
To make money with CJ.com or any other affiliate program, there are four general steps that look like this…
(Image Source: Wealthy Affiliate Internet Entrepreneur Course)
To recap, the four steps for making money as an affiliate marketer are:
1. Choose an interest
2. Build a website
3. Get rankings and visitors
4. and, Earn Revenue
There are other less sustainable models that people use to create digital publishing businesses, however, they incur much more startup costs and the costs are extended over the life of the business in order to maintain the traffic. For example, some people use ads (that cost for each click) as a way to get traffic. The ads are effective at getting traffic quickly, however, they also decrease the profit in a campaign because the expenses are higher.
When you follow the four steps outlined to make money with affiliate marketing, you’ll be able to create a business that’s sustainable and that has fairly low overhead costs. If you need more help creating a profitable affiliate marketing business, check out the ten FREE lessons in this video training HERE.
When do you get paid with CJ.com?
Terms of payment is pretty tricky with CJ because there are so many parts: the advertiser, the network, and the affiliate. When the affiliate gets credited with accomplishing a payable action for the advertiser, CJ will bill the advertiser. Some advertisers will 1.) Fail to fund their accounts, or 2.) Lock the commission in case of refunds or some other issue between them and the customer.
These circumstances of locked cash in case of refunds is another reason to strongly consider cost-per-lead opportunities over the cost-per-sale ones.
CJ pays out on the 20th of each month, but if you:
- Have cash locked by your advertiser
- Have an advertiser that hasn’t paid
- Have suspicious behavior on your account
- or, you haven’t met the minimum payment threshold..
You won’t be paid.
The Good & the Bad
PRO #1: There are alot of reputable advertisers on CJ.com
PRO #2: There’s lot of great publishers on CJ Affiliate
PRO #3: The tracking software enables tracking of links and phone calls
CON #1: Due to the various situations with advertisers, there may not be a consistent daily, weekly, monthly, or instant payment schedule
CON #2: You can be banned from CJ.com without much explanation or warning
CON#3: You may not be approved for affiliate programs you like until you reach certain milestones in your business
Who is Commission Junction For?
CJ.com is perfect for anyone who wants to do affiliate marketing to earn an income including:
- Side Hustlers
- Existing businesses
- Affiliate or Digital Publishing Businesses
- and all those who want to make money online with affiliate marketing
CJ.com Tools & Training
CJ.com provides the affiliate collaborations, but without more training and support, it’s very unlikely, you’d be successful online. Instead, you need to get training from a reputable affiliate marketing trainer. My #1 recommended affiliate marketing training offers:
- Weekly live training
- 1-on-1 coaching
- World-class training with thousands of success stories as proof
- and, a keyword research tool that enables you to inform your content strategy based on what’s in demand online
Here’s more details about what you can expect there:
CJ Affiliate offers live phone support and email support during 9-5 PST on business days. If you have questions or concerns about their programs, you can contact them directly.
What’s The BBB Saying About CJ.com?
If the BBB makes you feel that a company is more or less credible, then you’d be happy to hear that Commission Junction has an A+ rating by the BBB as you can see here…
CJ.com (aka Commission Junction) Price
Commission Junction is free for publishers to sign up, but has various products and services for advertisers. You’d have to give them a call, tell them what you’re looking to do, and they can give you a price.
My Final Opinion of CJ.com (aka Commission Junction)
CJ.com is a very good affiliate network to work with. You can work with many brands that are familiar with the general public, which makes it easier to sell.
I think you should diversify, and not solely depend on CJ Affiliate for your income (especially if you’re running a digital publishing business), and you’d also need to get trained on affiliate marketing, so you can make good decisions on your journey.
Want More Help Making Money with Affiliate Marketing?
If you found this article helpful and you’d like hours of in-depth training on how to make money with affiliate marketing, CREATE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT NOW. You’ll get access to:
- a community of 1.4+ million affiliate marketers
- 10 free training lessons
- 2 free websites
- and my 1-on-1 support (for 7 days or for premium members)
CJ Affiliate Aka. Commission Junction
- Reputable publishers
- Reputable advertisers
- Great tracking software
- You can be banned without explanation
- Payment terms can vary across advertisers: some hold money in case of refunds etc.
- You may not be approved for affiliate programs you like until you reach certain milestones in your business.