6 excellent examples of affiliate websites: the big guys

Publication date
Imogen Beech
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7 minute read

Looking for some examples of successful affiliate marketing websites? You’ve come to the right place.

Perhaps you’re toying with the idea of taking the leap to become an affiliate marketer. Maybe you’re already a seasoned affiliate looking for ways to make more money with affiliate marketing. Or maybe you're a brand that wants to find affiliate marketers and create an affiliate program for your business. Either way, these excellent affiliate website examples are sure to provide you with the inspiration you need.

From comparison sites to product reviewers, these big affiliate marketing companies all started somewhere. But having made it big in the world of affiliate marketing, many now employ close to 100 people!

Looking for examples from the smaller guys? Check out our piece '6 excellent examples of affiliate websites: the bloggers'.

1. Wirecutter

Wirecutter homepage

Monthly visits: 10 million

Estimated revenue: $1.5 billion in 2016

Wirecutter is a journalistic-style affiliate website that lists the best gear and gadgets for people who want to save time figuring out what to buy. Founded in 2011, it was acquired by the New York Times in 2016 and features affiliate links to a range of websites, including Amazon, Home Depot, Nordstrom and Office Depot.

But with tons of affiliate marketing websites out there that do just that, why is Wirecutter so successful at what it does?

For one, the Wirecutter team are clearly experts in their fields. This mix of journalists, scientists and researchers deliver advice through a combination of rigorous reporting, interviewing and testing. This isn’t one of those sites that simply scours the web for recommendations to pass on. Instead, they test hundreds of products before recommending just a few. Check out Wirecutter’s piece about the best bath mats as an example.

Secondly, Wirecutter is transparent about its motives and the fact that it receives a commission from affiliate links. In fact, the declaration is right there, front and centre on their homepage! For Wirecutter, this focus on openness and honesty infiltrates everything they do. They even call themselves the reader’s ‘geeky friend with next-level research skills who tests everything they buy so you don’t have to’.

Most of their product selections include some higher-priced items which are likely to generate some large commissions. So, as well as receiving more than 10 million monthly visits, it stands to reason that this affiliate website now employs a team of 60 and generated an estimated revenue of $1.5 billion in 2016 (according to One Man’s Brand).

Consumer Search homepage

Monthly visits: 1.2 million

Estimated revenue: Acquired by About.com in May 2007 for $33 million and then sold to iAC in 2013 as part of a larger deal for $300 million

Consumer Search is a huge affiliate website that focuses on reviewing home products from lawnmowers to Bluetooth speakers and dishwashers. It’s been running since 1999 and although it’s not the most modern affiliate marketing website around, we just love its simplicity.

Consumer Search is doing what the majority of affiliates do when setting up niche affiliate marketing websites – targeting keywords related to the ‘best’ of each product type. The difference is that they’re doing it on a much larger scale to most other affiliates, and they’re getting great results – with 1.2 million monthly visitors.

We love Consumer Search’s reviews because rather than simply ranking items best to worst, they feature a range of options that are great in different ways. Take Consumer Search’s piece on home security cameras as an example. Yes, they have a ‘best overall’ pick, but they’ve also called out a product as ‘best value’ and another as ‘best night vision’ and so on, making it easy for consumers to find what they’re looking for.

Consumer Search is fairly unusual in that pretty much all of its affiliate links lead to Amazon products – in fact, we couldn’t find a single affiliate link leading to any other site. With a commission rate of up to 12%, Amazon certainly isn’t the highest-paying affiliate program there is. But as a big site, Consumer Search is likely attracted to the sheer volume of offers that Amazon gives them access to. In fact, Amazon affiliates get over 12 million offers to choose from (check out our piece on the best affiliate programs for more)!

Although we can’t be sure what their revenue is, Consumer Search was acquired by About.com in May 2007 for $33 million and then sold to iAC in 2013 as part of a larger deal for $300 million. So, we can safely assume this has been a very productive affiliate partnership for both Consumer Search and Amazon.

3. Money Saving Expert

Money Saving Expert homepage

Monthly visits: 16 million

Estimated revenue: Worth around £3 billion

Money Saving Expert is the UK’s biggest consumer website, dedicated to saving the average consumer money in all walks of life. The site provides journalistic research, handy money-saving tools and a large community forum.

So, what makes it so successful?

Unlike many review sites, Money Saving Expert is completely editorially independent. Companies can’t pay to appear on the site, and although it makes its money through affiliate marketing, financial considerations don’t impact the site’s recommendations.

The company writes its guides based on consumers’ best interests and only afterwards does a team search for affiliate links for the products that have been included. In fact, if the team can’t find an affiliate link to a product, it will still be included and Money Saving Expert simply won’t make any money off that recommendation.

Money Saving Expert is also unusual in that it tries to avoid building relationships with financial product providers themselves, in a bid to avoid any pressure from companies who want their products included. Instead, it mostly uses affiliate links provided by other affiliate websites, such as Tradedoubler, or by comparison sites, such as MoneySupermarket and uSwitch. Money Saving Expert then simply receives a share of the revenue.

You might think that this lack of financial motivation would inhibit the site’s success but instead, it’s cemented its position as a top 60 UK website. Since it was set up for just £100 in 2003, this affiliate marketing company has gained 16 million monthly users, almost 100 full-time staff, and an email distribution list of more than 13 million people.

4. This Is Why I’m Broke

This Is Why I'm Broke homepage

Monthly visits: 4.9 million

Estimated revenue: $70,000 per month

If you’re looking for the most random, pointless and unusual gifts, This Is Why I’m Broke is your go-to site. It may be crammed with products that you’d think nobody in their right minds would buy (check out this pimple popping toy to see what we mean!) but they still make thousands of pounds in commission, with most of their affiliate links leading through to Amazon.

So what exactly are they doing right?

It isn’t the most advanced or modern of affiliate marketing websites, but This Is Why I’m Broke is a master at tapping into consumer trends and people’s sense of fun. These are exactly the kinds of products you’d expect people to share with friends, link to on social media or purchase for a joke, and the site’s witty product descriptions certainly help! Plus, This Is Why I’m Broke lists quite a few high-value products, increasing the value of each sale.

But that’s not the only way this affiliate marketing website makes money. When people click on these Amazon affiliate links, a cookie is saved, meaning that even if that person goes on to buy a completely different product from Amazon, This Is Why I’m Broke still gets paid. Of course, with its ‘related products’ feature, Amazon is an experienced cross-seller, so the conversion rate is likely to be high!

5. Skyscanner

Skyscanner homepage

Monthly visits: 11 million

Estimated revenue: $2 million per month

Skyscanner could be seen as the Google of travel sites, allowing users to search for and discover the cheapest flights, hotels and rental cars available on a given date. Skyscanner’s algorithms list the options available in order of the cheapest deals first, but also include information such as reviews and key features to help consumers make the best choice for them.

The majority of Skyscanner’s 11 million monthly visits can be attributed to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), thanks to the affiliate website’s detailed travel guides and tourism-focused articles. It's a great example of how SEO and affiliate marketing can work together hand-in-hand as Skyscanner then earns commissions from the airlines, hotel partners and car rental companies that it recommends or lists on its price comparison tools.

Like Money Saving Expert, Skyscanner always lists the best deals for consumers, even if it doesn’t have an affiliate deal with the company being featured. This helps to build trust with consumers and means that visitors are likely to come back every time they have a holiday on the cards.

Not only is Skyscanner now a household name, but it also went from being founded by three university grads in 2001 to being acquired by Ctrip (the largest travel company in China) for approximately $1.8 billion in 2016. So, this affiliate marketing website is clearly doing something right!

6. Finder

Finder homepage

Monthly visits: 8 million

Estimated revenue: On track for $1 billion per year

Finder is the fastest-growing comparison site in the UK and a huge global affiliate marketing website. With a mission to make everyday decisions less of a chore, they help consumers find what they need from more than 300 brands across over 50 categories – from credit cards to mortgages, car insurance to hotels.

With so many niches covered, it’s no surprise that this site appeals to a large range of brands looking to promote their products and services. Plus, Finder’s client services team provides partners with advice and analytics to help improve their performance.

But what is Finder doing right on the consumer side?

Well, Finder offers much more than just straightforward product comparisons. It’s also jam-packed with useful content pieces, money-saving advice and handy tools. Take this alcohol savings calculator, for example, showing just how much money you could save by giving up alcohol. This demonstrates Finder’s focus on bringing value to consumers over selling products. By focusing on their consumers’ needs first and foremost, the revenue generates itself!

As these six examples of affiliate marketing websites show, successful affiliates come in many different forms – from famous comparison sites to niche review sites (and that's not to mention those that make money as an affiliate without a website!).

Plus, since all of these websites are making huge profits on commissions alone, just think how much value they must be bringing to their affiliate partners! At the end of the day, a successful partnership is a win-win for both the affiliate and advertising brand. Check out our beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing to find out more.

So, how do I become a successful affiliate marketer?

If you’re ready to get started, don’t forget to book a demo for Breezy. Whether you’re looking for affiliate products to promote or an affiliate to help you grow your business, it’s the quicker and easier way to find hundreds of potential affiliate partners who could help you achieve your goals - we can't wait to show you!

Imogen Beech

Imogen is a copywriter and content writer with over two years’ experience writing about the exciting world of strategic partnerships, as well as running her own business. She loves learning about new topics as she writes, and has enjoyed penning articles on industries ranging from mortgages to events, theatre to home improvements and everything in between.

View more by Imogen Beech
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