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1.The problem I have with regnow is the release of commissions to affiliates. It takes about more than 2 months for them to release the commissions.
2.With clickbank on the other hand, also with the commissions. the amount of commissions to be maintained so that an affiliate can receive it via wire transfer plus the "easy" way to get a refund. There is just no protection for affiliates/vendors when it comes to this issue with clickbank. The moment CB sees the words "I want a refund" in an e-mail coming from a customer they give the refund instantly.
3. Is there an affiliate program that has a good reputation in selling physical products? Is there an affiliate program centered on physical products?
My understanding is that ClickBank and RegNow are focused primarily on "downloadable" or non-tangible products, and as you note, the return rates are high, and the merchant's ability to dispute is quite lacking.
The two "biggest" affiliate networks, Commission Junction and LinkShare, provide NO meaningful support to affiliates, and are actually quite hostile to affiliates in some key ways. I have grown to despise both companies, and recently turned down prospective consulting clients because they used CJ as their affiliate solution. (To its credit, CJ did pay me on time every month.)
The two "biggest" affiliate networks, Commission Junction and LinkShare, provide NO meaningful support to affiliates, and are actually quite hostile to affiliates in some key ways.
I can't say I've had the same experience. I have used both CJ and Linkshare for years and while many affiliate managers are lazy about doing their jobs -- I've never had a problem receiving payments from CJ or Linkshare.
When I send them emails, they respond 9 out of 10 times.
But it sounds like your experience may have been a lot different.
Most merchants prohibit bidding on their company name or domain name, and some impose some very bizarre restrictions. A few say that they "allow PPC bidding but affiliates may not display our domain name in the ad," which means that they actually prohibit "direct-to-merchant PPC" entirely.
I am running some PPC campaigns promoting several different merchants; some of these pass to landing pages at one of my sites, but most are "direct-to-merchant." In some cases, I've tested both strategies and I've found that for some merchants and products, "direct-to-merchant" works better, while for other merchants and products, I get better performance with a landing page at my site.
(Note that Google prohibits the use of landing pages that are merely "affiliate bridge pages," so your landing page must not merely direct the user to "click here to go to merchant site.")
You can make money at any of them. Commission Junction, Shareasale, Performics, Linkshare etc. Finding good merchants is the key, ones that convert for you.