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Best Web Hosting Affiliate – Learned From 100 Sign Ups in 1 Weekend

This post is going to look at over 100 affiliate web hosting sales I generated to multiple hosting companies and answer the question of who has the best web hosting affiliate program.

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday web hosting promotion I ran gave me a unique opportunity to review multiple hosting affiliate programs at one time.

On Black Friday and cyber Monday this little blog was ranking #2 in Google for “Cyber Monday web hosting deals”  and generated over 100 web hosting affiliate sales. The rub is I am only being given credit for 2/3 of them!

This post is going to try and answer who is the best web hosting affiliate considering…

  1. Payout Amount
  2. % of sales to commissions
  3. Conversion Rate
  4. Affiliate Support – Response Time
  5. Affiliate Support – Resolution

What It Won’t Address – Host Quality

Because of my done for you private blog network services growth I have been adding many different quality shared hosting accounts. The Black Friday and cyber Monday posts were showcasing the best deals that I picked up on those days. I have not had time to review each host in detail yet(hopefully a useful post on that in the near future).

So… Who are the best and worst web hosting affiliate programs?

As I often do I geek out a bit with data and after a couple pivot tables, data mining and a weighted average decision matrix here is the best to worst web hosting affiliate programs…

AffiliateThe Best Web Host Affiliate Program

iPage– It has everything I look for in a hosting affiliate good conversions, high payout, high % of sales resulting in commissions and a responsive/helpful affiliate manager. Plus I can say the hosting is reasonable for an inexpensive shared hosting provider. I am still missing some sales from iPage but based on some recent communication I am hopeful to be credited for a portion of those sales.

FatCow–With a high payout and a near perfect sign up to payout ratio this web hosting affiliate is definitely a solid choice if you have used their hosting before. Responsiveness was quick when tested and was able to credit me for a missed payment.

The Worst Web Host Affiliate Program

WebHostingPad – 0 commissions after 20 sales generated by me!?!? Come on this is frustrating! After several emails and phone calls I have not received ANY communication back. Hopefully I can edit this post and say my account has been credited for the sales I generated!

HostGator (Direct is worse – through Commission Junction is ok) – This won’t be a popular choice but after 8 sales direct on Friday to HostGator and not receiving credit for any I switched links to CJ HostGator links and I received credit for those. Working with the HostGator affiliate support I received no credit for any of the sales and very little help in terms of supporting me to get credit for the sales I generated.

How Did I Rank Them? Weighted Average Decision Matrix

  1. Payout (30% weighting)
  2. % of sales to commissions (20% Weighting)
  3. Conversion Rate
  4. Affiliate Support – Responsiveness
  5. Affiliate Support – Problem Resolution/Helpfulness
  • Green Dot = Recommended
  • Yellow Dot = Not Recommended
  • Black Dot = Don’t Use

Payout (30% Weighting)

Obviously if we are promoting a hosting account the higher the payout the better. Shared hosting payouts are in the $10-$100 range with most non discounted sign ups in the $100 range.

WebHostingBuzz had high scores across the board but with such a small payout it really hurt them in their overall score.

Affiliate 2

% of sales to commissions (20% weighting)

This one is very important! I was shocked that with over 100 confirmed affiliate sign ups (confirmation emails sent to me) I only received about 2/3 the commissions! 1/3 of all sign ups I generated I received no credit!

So when recommending which hosting provider to be an affiliate for I have to consider the % of sign ups that convert into commissions to be paid to me.

FatCow, BlueHost, WebHostingBuzz and iPage were the best with WebHostingPad being by far the worst!

Affiliate 4

Conversion Rate (20% weighting)

Sending traffic that doesn’t convert well is almost as bad as making a sale and not getting paid for it. Tracking the number of clicks I sent I could easily see how the conversion rate for each host was for my given traffic.

Most were pretty steady at the 10-15% mark with a couple outliers in the 5% and the 30% mark. I can’t put a lot of faith in my click tracking numbers because I had to piece together the story from a couple different sources since I changed links on a few hosts throughout the weekend.

WebHostingBuzz, BlueHost and iPage had the highest conversions with myHosting and HostGator having the worst(of the ones with a meaningful number of clicks).

Affiliate 5

Affiliate Support Responsiveness (15% weighting)

When I saw the number of sales that I was not getting credit for (0%!!!) in some cases I attempted to contact affiliate support. Based on how quickly they got back to me I scored them from 1-5 with several getting back to me right away and others I have still heard nothing…even after phone calls (WebHostingPad).

Affiliate Support Help (15% weighting)

Contacting me back when I submit a help desk ticket or leave a voicemail is one thing but I care about how helpful they are. If I was contacted back and did not receive any help collecting the missing payouts then I did not give them a high score out of 5. If they said they would help and it hasn’t cleared yet I gave them a mid-scoring. HostGator had a reasonably fast response time but was not very helpful.

Direct Affiliate Arrangement with Hosting Company or Via CPA Network?

When signing up for a hosting account we have 2 options…

  1. Sign up direct with the hosting company
  2. Sign up via an affiliate network like the one I use commission junction

Based on the results my preferred option is always to sign up via a central clearing house. The reason for this is that there is one location to monitor, confidence in receiving payouts and no concern over a minimum payout.

So the bottom line for this article is the 2 best hosting affiliate programs are iPage and FatCow promoted using links from CJ.com.

Anyone have a similar experience or other techniques for going about making sure you get paid for the affiliate sales you generate?

About the Author Jon

I am a 33 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

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