3 Unusual Ways to Find Affiliate Programs

A big question that often arises with newbie bloggers is where to find affiliate programs. Sometimes, the conventional channels just don't fit with your business model. When this happens you can use these 3 unusal ways to find affiliate programs.

3 Unsual Ways to Find Affiliate Programs

What Is an Affiliate Program?

Before we get into the 3 usual ways to find affiliate programs, let's first define what affiliate programs are. Simply they are companies or vendors who reward people for referring paying customers.

The concept is easy to understand. Suppose you find products from the super store Target. You reach out to the company (or to the affiliate networks the company participates in) and you sign up for their affiliate program. The company (again the networks) supply you with banners and links that are encoded with your affiliate link.

When a visitor to your website clicks on one of the links and makes a purchase, Target (or whichever vendors you are working with) will pay you a commission. The amount of the commission varies from program to program. But the good news is you are not obligated to sell if you feel the commissions are too low. 

Of course, if you are able to make up for low commissions with high volumes of sales, then that could make up for the low commission amounts. At the end of the day, though, it's your choice.

Sometimes You Can't Find Affiliate Programs

The above scenario sounds rather simple, but the caveat is that not every vendor or service provider supports affiliate programs. Or if they do, they don't make it obvious. You don't want to use affiliate programs that are unrelated to your niche. That is a sure way to confuse your visitors and will lead them to believe you don't know what you are doing.

The affiliate programs should make sense for the website you are targeting. But again, that can be a challenge. That's why I wrote this article for you.

Conventional Ways to Find Affiliate Programs

Before we get into the unusual ways, let's discuss the convential ways or methods of finding affiliate programs. These are the easiest by far. The first is to join affiliate networks such as:

This list is by no means exhaustive. Also, I am not going to cover whether these networks are right for your business or even whether they are good or not. This is included as a point of reference only.

Next up on the conventional methods is to look at the footer section of a web page. As obvious as this sounds, you'd be surprised how many people don't do this, at least initially in their affiliate program search. Seasoned affiliates head right to the bottom of a page. NOTE: most programs will use the word 'Affiliate' as a footer menu option. Sometimes, though, it can be referred to "Partners" or "Referrers" or "Referral Program"

Some vendors will place the option to sign up as an affiliate as part of the main menu. Seasoned affiliates know to look everywhere on the page. Amazon calls its affiliate program "Associates".

The third conventional method is to use your favorite search engine. In most cases, the topic followed by the word "affiliate" will help most people find an appropriate affiliate program for their niche. 

Suppose your niche is investing. You could try the following:

investing +affiliate
investing +"affiliate"
investing +"affiliate program"
investing affiliate programs

and so on. You can also use terms such as referral programs, associate programs, partner programs, etc.

Unusual Way #1 for Finding Affiliate Programs

Want to know an untapped method for finding affiliate programs? Reach out to the company and ask if they would be willing to start an affiliate program. Be prepared to explain what it means. Most vendors would be receptive to creating a program.

The toughest part for these vendors is the management software involved for implementing the program. This management software keeps track of affiliate ids, sales by affiliates, etc. The good news is there are plenty of options for vendors to implement a program.

You'll have more leverage if you prepare an information sheet (like a cheat sheet). The less actions a vendor has to take, the more receptive they will likely be to your proposal.

Unusual Way #2 for Finding Affiliate Programs

Search for blog posts of your competitors. In many cases, these competitors are already participating in affiliate programs. By analyzing the pages and posts of your competitors, the affiliate programs they associate with most likely will be within your niche. You're letting your competitors do all the legwork for you. 

You need to get used to the conventions to know if your competitors are participating in affiliate program (not all will). The first is to recognize the type of content that affiliates often use. These include top list (like Top 10 Computers), or it could use the word Best (10 Best Computers) and so on. Reviews of products is also a dead giveaway for affiliate offers. This is because why would someone spend time reviewing a product unless they receive some kind of compensation for doing so? It's not absolute, but you'll find this more often than not.

When you find a page that is a candidate for a possible affiliate page, hover over the links and the banners. The first feature to look for is when the link points to another page on the competitor's website but when you click on it, you are brought to a different website altogether. This website is usually a product or service sales page. If this happens, it's a concept known as forwarding. Website owners use this technique to hide the fact that it is an affiliate link and to track the links themselves.

If the competitor does not use forwarding then you'll see something like:



It will depend on the affiliate tracking program, but in these two examples ?aff and ?ref refer to the affiliate id, in this case X12351 (fictitious!)

Unusual Way #3 for Finding Affiliate Programs

Use footprints. Web footprints are phrases that are commonly found on several websites sharing some common attribute (like it's a WordPress site, or it's a comment, etc). When coupled with Google's operator inurl: you'll have a powerful too available to find almost any affiliate program.

But what footprints do you use? Instead of giving you specific footprints to use, I'm going to show you how to find them yourself. Suppose you are looking for affiliate programs for financial services. Try the following to uncover footprints for this type of search:

financial services affiliate program search footprint

You won't always pull up fruitful results with this technique, but it will work often. One suggestion is to capture any relevant footprints for future reference. 

I mentioned before about Google's inurl:operator. Here is how you could use it:

financial services inurl:affilite program

The footprint in this case would be the word affiliate. But it's important to realize that using inurl: is not what defines a footprint. A footprint is something that helps searchers find information because many web platforms share phrases that are embedded into the web design solution.

For instance, you could use the words "powered by" to learn what technologies are being used on a website. Many web platforms will use this phrase. For instance, you could look for WordPress websites by using the phrase "powered by WordPress". You can also add in your niche to find WordPress sites within your niche, etc. Finally add in the word affiliate to help you pinpoint affiliate programs.

You may need to do a bit of fishing when you search for footprints. But once you find them, they don't change that often and it can help you find similar websites meeting a certain criteria (WordPress, Wix, etc).


Hi, my name is Jim. I am here to help you learn how to create your own online business. Never before has it been as easy as it is to do so. I will give you access to the necessary training to make it all happen. Just follow the training and perform the tasks as the come up and at the end of the training you will have a fully working framework with which to start earning money from your online business.

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