Affiliate Product Alternatives And Substitutes

Are you tired of limitations when it comes to choosing affiliate products to promote? Look no further! In this article, we will explore the world of alternative and substitute products that can help you diversify your affiliate marketing efforts. Whether you want to expand your product selection or cater to a specific audience, we have you covered. Discover new opportunities and open doors to greater affiliate success with our comprehensive guide to finding the perfect alternative products for your niche.

Table of Contents

Affiliate Network Platforms

Affiliate network platforms provide a centralized system for connecting affiliates with merchants. There are different types of affiliate network platforms available in the market, catering to diverse needs and preferences. These platforms act as intermediaries, handling the tracking, reporting, and payment processes, making it easier for both affiliates and merchants to manage their partnership.

Different types of affiliate network platforms

  1. Traditional Affiliate Networks: These platforms bring together a wide range of merchants and affiliates, offering various products and services. They often have a large affiliate base, making it easier for affiliates to find suitable programs to join.

  2. Niche Affiliate Networks: These platforms are focused on specific industries or niches, catering to affiliates and merchants in those areas. This specialization allows for targeted marketing and helps affiliates connect with relevant merchants.

Popular affiliate network platforms

  1. Amazon Associates: As one of the largest affiliate networks, Amazon Associates provides a vast selection of products to promote. With its well-known brand and user-friendly interface, it attracts many affiliates looking to earn commissions through product referrals.

  2. CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction): CJ Affiliate offers an extensive network of merchants across various niches. It provides advanced tracking and reporting capabilities, as well as a reliable payment system, making it popular among both affiliates and merchants.

Pros and cons of affiliate network platforms


  • Wide selection of products and services to promote.
  • Established tracking, reporting, and payment systems.
  • Ease of finding and joining affiliate programs.
  • Support and guidance from the network platform.


  • Higher competition due to the large number of affiliates.
  • Commission rates may vary and be lower compared to other alternatives.
  • Limited control over the affiliate program’s structure and rules.

Direct Affiliate Programs

Direct affiliate programs allow affiliates to partner directly with individual merchants. These programs offer certain benefits and can be an attractive alternative to affiliate network platforms.

Benefits of direct affiliate programs

  1. Higher Commission Rates: Direct programs often offer higher commission rates compared to affiliate networks. Merchants have more control over their commission structure and can provide better incentives to affiliates.

  2. Personalized Relationships: Working directly with merchants allows for more personalized relationships. Affiliates can collaborate closely with the merchants, gaining insights, and marketing support tailored to their specific needs.

How to find and join direct affiliate programs

  1. Research: Start by researching the industry or niche you are interested in. Look for relevant products or services and identify potential merchants who offer affiliate programs.

  2. Reach out to Merchants: Contact the merchants directly through their website or by reaching out via email or phone. Express your interest in promoting their products or services as an affiliate and inquire about their affiliate program.

Comparison of direct affiliate programs with network platforms

Direct affiliate programs offer more flexibility and potentially higher commission rates, as you are working directly with the merchants. However, they may require more effort in terms of finding and building relationships with individual merchants. Network platforms, on the other hand, provide a wider range of products and streamline the administrative aspects of affiliate marketing.

In-House Affiliate Programs

In-house affiliate programs are self-hosted programs managed by the merchants themselves. While they require more effort to set up and manage, they offer certain advantages compared to network platforms or direct programs.

Advantages of in-house affiliate programs

  1. Increased Control: Merchants have complete control over program rules, commission rates, and offerings. This level of control allows for customization and tailored program structures to align with the merchants’ specific objectives.

  2. Brand Alignment: In-house programs enable merchants to have closer collaboration with affiliates, ensuring the marketing efforts align with the brand’s values and messaging.

Setting up and managing an in-house affiliate program

  1. Define Program Objectives: Start by clearly defining the goals and objectives of your affiliate program. Decide on commission structures, tracking mechanisms, and program rules.

  2. Choose Affiliate Tracking Software: Invest in affiliate tracking software that can handle the tracking, reporting, and payment processes for your program.

Considerations before starting an in-house affiliate program

  1. Resource Allocation: In-house programs require dedicated resources, including personnel, budget, and time, to set up and manage. Consider whether you have the necessary resources to effectively run such a program.

  2. Legal and Compliance: Familiarize yourself with the legal and regulatory requirements associated with running an affiliate program, such as disclosing affiliate relationships and adhering to relevant advertising guidelines.


Dropshipping is a business model where merchants do not maintain inventory but instead rely on suppliers to fulfill customer orders. This model can also be used as an affiliate alternative, allowing affiliates to earn commissions by promoting and referring customers to dropshipping suppliers.

Understanding dropshipping

In dropshipping, affiliates promote products from dropshipping suppliers. When a customer makes a purchase through an affiliate’s referral, the supplier handles the order fulfillment process, including shipping the products directly to the customer.

Pros and cons of dropshipping as an affiliate alternative


  • No inventory management: As an affiliate, you don’t need to worry about inventory, shipping, or order fulfillment. This allows you to focus solely on promoting and marketing the products.
  • Scalability: Dropshipping eliminates the need for upfront inventory investment, making it easier to scale the business without significant financial risks.


  • Lower profit margins: Since dropshipping suppliers handle the inventory and shipping, they often charge higher wholesale prices, reducing the affiliate’s profit margins.
  • Limited control over product quality and fulfillment: Affiliates must rely on the dropshipping suppliers for product quality and timely delivery, which may occasionally lead to customer dissatisfaction.

Finding reliable dropshipping suppliers

Research and due diligence are crucial when selecting dropshipping suppliers. Look for suppliers with a proven track record, positive customer feedback, and competitive pricing. Popular dropshipping platforms like Oberlo, Spocket, and AliDropship can provide access to a wide range of reliable suppliers. Additionally, industry-specific trade shows and supplier directories can be valuable resources for finding trustworthy suppliers.

White Label Products

White label products, also known as private label products, are manufactured by one company and rebranded and sold by another company. Affiliates can take advantage of white label products by promoting them under their own brand, earning commissions for each sale made.

What are white label products

White label products are generic products that are produced and marketed by a manufacturer but sold under different brands. These products are often customizable, allowing affiliƩs to add their unique branding and packaging, creating a cohesive product line.

Benefits of selling white label products

  1. Branding Opportunities: Selling white label products allows for brand building and recognition. Affiliates can establish their brand identity and cultivate customer loyalty.

  2. Flexibility in Pricing: Affiliates have more control over pricing white label products, allowing them to maximize profit margins and offer competitive prices.

Finding white label product opportunities

Research potential manufacturers and suppliers that offer white label products in your desired niche or industry. Online directories, industry trade shows, and networking within the industry can help connect you with potential partners. It’s essential to assess the manufacturer’s reliability, quality standards, and customization capabilities before finalizing any agreements.

Print on Demand

Print on demand (POD) is a business model whereby products are created only in response to customer demand. As an affiliate, you can tap into the print on demand industry by promoting customized products and earning commissions on each sale.

How print on demand works

In a print on demand model, when a customer places an order for a customized product, it is only then manufactured and shipped. This eliminates the need for inventory storage and reduces upfront costs for both affiliates and merchants.

Advantages of print on demand as an affiliate alternative

  1. Wide Product Range: Print on demand platforms offer numerous customizable products, including apparel, home decor, accessories, and more. This variety allows affiliates to target various niche markets.

  2. Customization Potential: The ability to offer personalized products provides a unique selling point for affiliates. Customers appreciate the opportunity to create customized, one-of-a-kind items.

Finding print on demand platforms

Many print on demand platforms are available, such as Printful, Printify, and Teespring. Research and evaluate different platforms based on factors like product range, quality, pricing, shipping options, and integration possibilities with your affiliate marketing strategies. Additionally, seek reviews and recommendations from other affiliates to find reliable and reputable platforms.

Digital Products

Digital products refer to any intangible goods that can be downloaded or accessed online. As an affiliate, promoting digital products offers unique advantages, such as high commission rates and minimal delivery overhead.

Overview of digital products

Digital products encompass a wide range of offerings, including e-books, online courses, software, music, videos, and more. These products are delivered electronically, eliminating the need for physical production or shipping.

Types of digital products to promote as an affiliate

  1. E-books and Online Courses: Affiliates can promote educational materials, e-books, or online courses in various subjects, earning a commission for each sale made through their referral.

  2. Software and Applications: By promoting popular software or applications, affiliates can earn high commission rates and target specific industries or niches.

Key considerations when selling digital products

  1. Quality and Reputation: Ensure the digital products you choose to promote have a solid reputation and positive customer reviews. High-quality offerings will boost your credibility as an affiliate.

  2. Conversion Funnel Optimization: Digital products often require a well-optimized sales funnel to convert leads. Consider offering additional incentives, such as limited-time discounts or bonuses, to entice potential customers.

Subscription Services

Subscription services offer recurring payments in exchange for access to specific products or services. Promoting subscription services as an affiliate can provide a steady stream of income and recurring commissions.

Understanding subscription services

Subscription services encompass a wide range of offerings, including streaming platforms, subscription boxes, software subscriptions, and membership-based websites. Affiliates earn commissions based on either a one-time payment or a recurring subscription fee.

Advantages of promoting subscription services

  1. Recurring Commissions: By promoting subscription services, affiliates can earn recurring commissions for the duration of the customer’s subscription. This consistent income stream can be highly beneficial.

  2. Customer Retention: Subscription models often focus on retaining customers over an extended period. This can lead to higher customer loyalty and lifetime value, resulting in more substantial commissions for affiliates.

Finding profitable subscription services to promote

Research subscription services within your chosen niche or industry. Consider factors such as the service’s reputation, customer reviews, subscription pricing, and affiliate commission rates. Look for programs that offer attractive incentives for affiliates and have a proven track record of customer satisfaction and retention.

Ecommerce Platforms

Ecommerce platforms provide merchants with the tools and infrastructure needed to set up and manage online stores. Affiliates can leverage these platforms by promoting specific products or entire online stores, earning commissions on each sale made through their referrals.

Different types of ecommerce platforms

  1. Hosted Ecommerce Platforms: These platforms, such as Shopify and BigCommerce, offer a complete solution, including website hosting, store design, payment processing, and inventory management. Affiliates can promote stores built on these platforms and earn commissions on sales.

  2. Plugin-based Ecommerce Platforms: Platforms like WooCommerce and Magento provide plugins that integrate with existing websites, enabling businesses to add e-commerce functionality. Affiliates can promote these plugins or recommend stores using them.

Pros and cons of using ecommerce platforms for affiliate marketing


  • Wide range of products to promote from various merchants within the platform.
  • Robust infrastructure and tools for managing and tracking sales.
  • Potential for higher commissions on high-value products.


  • Affiliates might face heavy competition due to the large number of affiliates promoting products within the platform.
  • Commission rates can vary significantly between different merchants and product categories.

Examples of popular ecommerce platforms

  1. Shopify: Shopify is one of the most popular hosted ecommerce platforms, offering a user-friendly interface, extensive app integration options, and reliable customer support.

  2. WooCommerce: As a plugin-based platform for WordPress, WooCommerce provides flexibility and customization options. It is widely used and offers a wide range of themes and plugins.

Service-based Affiliation

Service-based affiliate programs allow affiliates to earn commissions by promoting services offered by companies or individuals. This form of affiliation can be a lucrative option for affiliates, especially in industries such as web hosting, marketing, or consulting.

Exploring service-based affiliate programs

Service-based affiliate programs offer opportunities to earn commissions by referring customers to service providers. Affiliates can help connect potential customers with relevant services and earn commissions for successful conversions.

Benefits of promoting services as an affiliate

  1. Higher Commission Rates: Service-based affiliate programs often offer higher commission rates compared to physical products. Services can have higher price points, resulting in more significant commissions for affiliates.

  2. Targeted Marketing: By promoting services within a specific industry or niche, affiliates can target a relevant audience and tailor their marketing efforts accordingly.

Finding service-based affiliate opportunities

Research service providers within your chosen industry or niche. Look for reputable companies or individuals offering affiliate programs. Explore their commission structures, tracking methods, and marketing support. Reach out directly to service providers or search for service directories that list affiliate programs in your industry. Be sure to assess the provider’s reputation, customer reviews, and the quality of services before joining any affiliate programs.

In conclusion, as an affiliate, you have a multitude of options beyond affiliate network platforms. Whether it’s tapping into direct affiliate programs, exploring dropshipping or print on demand, promoting digital products, investing in white label products, partnering with subscription services, leveraging ecommerce platforms, or diving into service-based affiliation, each alternative offers its unique advantages and considerations. Take the time to research and evaluate the options that align with your interests, target audience, and financial goals to make an informed decision and embark on a successful affiliate marketing journey.