Affiliate Marketing vs Network Marketing Which One Wins!

Both affiliate marketing and network marketing are huge systems within the make money niche. In today’s article, I will be placing affiliate marketing and network marketing side by side to see which one comes out on top.

If both of these money making methods are new to you. You will need to read this brief explanation of both.

What Is Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is where you promote other peoples products and services

What Is Network Marketing

Network marketing is also known as multi-level marketing (MLM) as has been around for decades. The process does vary slightly across different businesses but the normal practice is as follows. You sign up as a rep for the company and can then sell their products directly to customers, you then build your business by recruiting other reps.

Affiliate Marketing vs Network Marketing The Facts

In this section, I am going to show you six areas of the business and give you the facts about these areas when using both business models.

Ready? Let’s do it!


burning your money Network marketing costs can vary but they normally consist of a signup fee which can be a few hundred dollars for some companies. There can be some ongoing monthly costs involved too which can be for stock or software. Always do your due diligence of the company before joining.

Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, can be started without any money invested. Although, I would recommend building a website for your business which can cost a few dollars. You can also add this once your commissions are rolling through.

Read here about starting your affiliate marketing business with no money.


With most network marketing companies, there will be products that you will need to purchase on a monthly basis plus you will make regular sales to, in order to reach SV (sales volume) targets. Not meeting these targets could result in less money.

Affiliate marketing is all about recommending other people’s products and services so you never have to buy any products yourself. This also means that you have an unlimited selection of products available to choose from.


recruiting network dayYou never have to recruit anybody into your affiliate marketing business as you will be working alone. Meaning whatever commissions you earn will be 100% yours.

Network marketing on the other is predominantly based around recruiting others. By building a team of active members is crucial to your success, the more you recruit the more you earn. Simple!

Stats have shown that on average people recruit only 2 and a half people into their business and many of these give up shortly afterward. This is probably one of the reasons why people fail with this business model.

Discover more here about the best network marketing companies to work for

Potential Earnings

counting your earningsLet’s talk about money, and how much you can possibly earn with both of these make money methods.

This is why I love affiliate marketing as you can earn unlimited amounts of commissions. If you look for products that have a monthly subscription then you can recommend it once and people will pay month after month sometimes for years for the product. You could also promote high ticket products there are many out there of which some pay into thousands of dollars per customer you refer to.

Read this article for my 10 top affiliate programs for this year.

Now I am not saying that you will not succeed if you go down the network marketing route but figures show that only a very small amount of reps earn more than a few hundred dollars a year in their business. This is what I found within several businesses that I have joined since 1999.

Adapting Your Business

Trying to adapt your network marketing business can be tricky unless your company adapts and moves into different areas or product ranges, but in my experience, this is normally very slow to happen, if at all. This could, in turn, mean you are forced into seeking a new partnership with another company and starting again.

Most MLM companies will state in their T’s and C’s that you can not promote another company while still a member so, this means the dilemma of staying or going. Tough call if your business is ticking over.

However, with affiliate marketing, you can adapt your business and carry on growing with it affecting your business. You can add more products from different niches, drop ones that are not performing. The choice is yours you are in full control and you can even promote businesses that are in direct competition.

Getting Paid

getting paidProbably the most important thing in either business model, after all, that’s what we are in business for in the first place. 🙂

The thing I have noticed is that because the multi-level marketing business model lends itself to some, shall we say not good business practices payment processors such as Paypal tend to keep their distance.

Let me know in the comments below if you know of any using Paypal it would be great to know.

Because of this companies have used e-wallets or even debit cards to pay you your money. I even had one company charge me for using the e-wallet, what is that all about!

Most companies and affiliate networks, however, use Paypal which is great others give you more options too, such as direct payment into your bank or a check in the mail. There’s is nothing more exciting than seeing checks from Clickbank and AWeber. Although now I do have them sent directly to my bank or PayPal.

My Conclusion

Having been involved with both business models over the years I must admit, and as this article has discovered that affiliate marketing is the better way to make money with.

Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of people trying to make money with affiliate marketing and not make a dime, but there is certainly a higher percentage making life-changing money.

So, with this in mind, I would truly recommend starting a business using affiliate marketing.

Like any business, there are always things to learn which is why I created my free 7 day Bootcamp series. This course will go through every step I took to create my affiliate business, there is nothing hidden it’s all there.

Check it out by signing up using the optin forms on this page.

Plus you could join me on the site I have used to build my business from scratch. There you can join as a starter member and access two training courses, keyword research tools, live chat support and even build a free website for your business.

If you grab your free account today I will personally invite you to connect with me and support you through the whole process of building your own business online.

I look forward to working with you.

Disclosure:- Affiliate links may be used within this post. This means that if you purchase through my site after clicking a link when I get a small commission, at NO extra charge to yourself. This helps me to continue giving great free content. Thanks

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18 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing vs Network Marketing Which One Wins!”

  1. Hi! Thank you for this post! I found this comparison very useful. I have been exposed to network marketing opportunities for years. And I have even joined some. I have failed with them. So now, recently I have started to hear about affiliate marketing and I had automatically turned a blind eye to it. But your post has made me realized they are completely different and there may be some potential in affiliate marketing.

    • Henry, Affiliate marketing is worth trying, you will not regret it 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing this awesome article with us I must tell for its a great deal as I am into affiliate marketing but was planning to go into network marketing too but I need to know the difference between the two of them and which is more profitable thanks once again for sharing this with us.

  3. Hi Martin,

    Very good article and breakdown on affiliate marketing vs network marketing. Reading through your overview I draw the same conclusion as you that affiliate marketing is by far the better option.

    For me it is a no brainer, one costs potentially a lot of money to being and there can be issues with regards to getting paid and the other (affiliate marketing) can be done for minimal costs and there is no limit as to how much you can earn.

    Affiliate marketing is the hands down winner for me!

  4. In my experience, affiliate marketing emerges to be a clear winner while comparing it with network marketing as I have tried network marketing before I finally chose affiliate marketing. 

    Although I come across many people claiming they are earning a great deal with network marketing I do find it hard to actually believe them from my past experience.

    Do you know of any known network marketing business that has been there for long and there are people who have stuck to it and achieved real success?



    • There are plenty of network marketing companies that have been around decades, but as regards to big earners I have only ever met a handful.

  5. You have presented to everyone what is Network Marketing and Affiliate Marketing. I do not have the necessary skills for Network Marketing, so it comes out of the discussion. For one year I have approached Affiliate Marketing, it seems interesting and suitable for me. Ask for much work, patience and discipline, but in the end I appreciate that it is worth it.

  6. Thanks so much for your article.

    I found it especially interesting, as I had the recent misfortune of dealing with a company that sold themselves as Affiliate Marketing, but in actual fact where a really expensive (for me anyway) MLM. 

    They offered good training, but the amount you had to pay bankrupted people before they could make a cent. I think they might have put many people off Affiliate marketing, because of their scam. 

    Ever since I’ve been on my present platform (Wealthy Affiliate) I’ve realized that you can actually start with almost nothing, and that most affiliate marketers are honest hard working folk who put in a lot of effort to make a living. It’s creative and rewarding. 

    Thanjs again 

  7. Thanks for describing the differences between making money with affiliate marketing and doing it with network marketing. From what I have read affiliate marketing is a method where you sell digital or physical products that help people while network marketing is about recruiting. I don’t feel I can recruit as well so I will be trying affiliate marketing

    • Thanks, Jon, Yes you have basically got it right but with affiliate marketing the products are owned by other companies.

  8. I learn lots of new things while reading your article. In my view both are awesome but the success ratio in affiliate marketing is good compared to network marketing. I don’t like the process of network marketing. Many of my friends have tried network marketing but don’t become successful.
    We have to put our full efforts in both to become successful. I found the success ratio in Affiliate marketing is awesome. I also become successful in affiliate marketing.

    • Thanks for dropping by and commenting and well done for succeeding with Affiliate Marketing

  9. Hey, I spent my lots of time in network marketing but not get perfect results. Maybe we haven’t put enough efforts as required. We try our best every time. Now I know Network marking success ration is low. Very few people become successful in network marking. 

    Recently I am working on Affiliate marketing and getting awesome results. I am putting less effort as compared to network marketing but results are awesome for me. That’s the reason I love affiliate marketing instead of network marketing.

    I like your guide very much. keep it up for everyone. 

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Parveen glad you finally found affiliate marketing


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