Not having a Commission Junction review on this blog is unacceptable, considering that Commission Junction (or just CJ) is one of the oldest, largest affiliate networks out there today. According to Wikipedia:
Commission Junction is an online advertising company owned by ValueClick and operating in the affiliate marketing industry. The company is the largest affiliate network in North America and operates worldwide. Among the top 500 retailers using 3rd party affiliate marketing software, 62% are powered by Commission Junction.
I’ve been an affiliate with CJ since 2001, and have been witness to their tremendous growth in the affiliate marketing industry. Since then I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs with them, the lowest point was when my account was suddenly terminated in 2001/02 and my affiliate commissions disappeared.
I hope this Commission Junction review will shed some light on how CJ works, and what to expect as a CJ affiliate.
Commission Junction Review – Advantages
If you’re just getting started out with affiliate marketing, then Commission Junction would be a logical place to go to. Signing up as a publisher is free and instant, without any manual approvals. Here are some reasons why you may want to try CJ:
- Wide Selection of Offers – Besides having tons of merchants, CJ also offers different type of offers. Besides the typical Pay-Per-Sale deal, you can also find Pay-Per-Lead or Pay-Per-Call offers.
- Established Merchants – Most of the merchants in CJ tend to be of the more established, Fortune-500 type of companies. For affiliates, this means that.
- Transparent Performance Stats – CJ’s little green bar and 3 Month / 7 Day EPC (Earnings Per 1,000 Clicks) tells you exactly how individual merchants are doing within the CJ network. This is really useful as we only want to promote merchants who are doing justice to their affiliates.
- Tons of Affiliate Banners – Every merchant has tons of banners and marketing material, hosted by CJ. Each banner also displays the same.
- Individual Product Links – You can also link directly to individual products, although this is not true for all merchants. Linking directly to a product, as you may know, is the most effective way to make affiliate sales. performance stats so you can choose to use only the banners that are doing well.
- Centralized Affiliate Payments – All commissions are paid by CJ themselves, not the individual merchants. This means that your paychecks are predictable and secured.
Commission Junction Review – Disadvantages
Although CJ is a great affiliate network, it certainly has its share of disadvantages. Here are some of the most obvious ones:
- Advertiser Application Process – Unlike ClickBank where you’re free to promote any affiliate program you want, in CJ you have to manually apply to individual merchants and agree to individual terms of service.
- Temporary Advertiser Deactivation – Because of the billing process between CJ and its merchants, you constantly get “Advertiser Deactivated” notifications. It’s pretty annoying to know that once the advertiser has been temporarily deactivated, you no longer receive commissions for that merchant.
- Lack of Standardization – Each merchant has their own terms of service (TOS) and refund terms, which means that all your commissions are handled differently. What is ok with one merchant may not sit well with another, for example buying a product with your own affiliate link and using trademarks in your marketing. Keeping track of all these changing terms is a real headache.
- Old-School Conversion Tracking – CJ’s stats and reporting features are outdated to say the least. Their affiliate really deserve more conversion data than just commission date and TID tracking. Although they do provide an API for third-party reporting integration, it would be great if they can provide more details to the affiliates directly.
- Link Encryption and Protection – CJ offers the option to complete encrypt your link so that your affiliate ID is hidden and hijacking is impossible.
- No PayPal Payment Option – I don’t know about you, but I prefer to get my affiliate commissions directly in my PayPal account. Checks are so tedious to deal with and mess up your cash flow. Although CJ does offer an ACH (bank transfer) option, this is only for affiliates from a few countries.
- Reputation for Closing Accounts – CJ has a reputation for closing “inactive” affiliate accounts. In fact my account was closed a few years back even though I was making regular commissions from CJ, and they never responded to my emails as to why my account was closed.
Commission Junction Review – Negative Press
Here’s some not-so-flattering (sometimes downright scathing) reviews of Commission Junction. I believe most are exaggerated, though there may be some underlying truth. Also, some review are much older and may no longer be applicable.
- Commission Junction is a Joke and a Scam – A pissed off forum user complaining that he “only accumulated $38.70 from 8,000,000 page impressions and 8000+ clicks”. Several other forum member relate similar experiences.
- Commission Junction Deletes Accounts And Steals Commissions – An unofficial report about CJ closing accounts and vaporizing affiliate commissions. No official rebuttals to this report.
Although I personally don’t believe that CJ has any malicious intent towards affiliates, it does seem that their arbitrary actions and lack of communication has pissed off a lot of affiliates in the past. A pissed off affiliate tends to tell whoever will listen about CJ’s faults.
I think they need to either rebrand themselves with another name, or hire a really good PR firm to clear up their increasingly bad reputation.
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