What is it?
Peerfly is a CPA network. CPA stands for Cost Per Action. Basically, Peerfly handles the affiliates for several online merchants. They are an affiliate network. But don't confuse an with an affiliate program!
An affiliate program — like the Amazon affiliate program — pays commissions on sales. Whereas a CPA network is like a marketplace for many affiliate programs. Have you heard of Commission Junction, ShareaSale or Rakuten? They're quite similar, except that those are affiliate networks, and are a marketplace/portal for many affiliate programs.
The offers in CPA style affiliate programs are different as well. Many times (not always), they pay per lead instead of pay per sale. In addition to that, CPA networks are typically associated with spammy, low quality digital-only offers like “win a free iPad!” or “sign up for a Walmart Gift Card”. I'm sure you know what I mean now.
In contrast to that, affiliate programs can sell digital and real world products. Everything you can think of is sold through affiliate programs. If you've ever bought anything online, chances are you bought it through an affiliate.
There is a bit of crossover, but for most people they distinguish between the two saying that CPA pays per lead and affiliate programs pay per sale.
Peerfly is a great CPA network – the best I've seen. But from my short time there, I made the decision to not get involved in CPA. Yes, you can make money with Peerfly, but in my opinion there are much better ways to make money online.
Before You Join
There is no cost to join Peerfly's network. BUT. (and that's a big but) You will find it very difficult to make any money with Peerfly's offers without lots of experience and money-spending. CPA is often marketed as the easy way to earn money online, but I have found the opposite to be true.
What I liked
Honestly, there's a lot to like about Peerfly. They are the #1 CPA network and you can see why. Their website is much easier to use than other networks'. They have more offers to choose from and they have a forum for their member's. Is CPA not for you? Try these affiliate networks.
One of the great things about Peerfly is that they promote tracking. In any business, online or off, tracking your efforts is crucial to success. Peerfly not only promotes serious tracking, they offer you tools and information to help you.
The tools they offer are known as, tracking IDs. In the image below you can see the tool that lets you create them.
Tracking IDs allow you to create special links that are unique to you. That way you know which links are producing results (actions or sales), and which ones aren't so you can optimize conversions.
User Friendly Website
Like I said earlier, Peerfly's website is really easy to use. This might not sound important, but it is. An affiliate network's website has lots of moving parts.
There's offers to look through, important industry notifications, payment information and a lot more. You can look at other networks — like the one below — and see how much easier it is to find your way around at Peerfly.
It's important to note that this image is from MaxBounty.com, which is the #2 affiliate network. You can see there's a world of difference between the two. So that should tell you a little about some of the other networks' websites.
My experience with Peerfly has been great. I see folks in the forums complaining all the time about how they can't get accepted to this or that network or whatever CPA network problems they have. I got accepted within a few days, and continue to be in their program despite never even making a sale.
I get notified of updates to their websites, get frequent messages from my affiliate manager asking if I need assistance, and they have lots of resources to help out new marketers.
If I were to get into CPA, Peerfly is the network I would go with.
What I Didn't Like
Before we go any further I think it's important to say that Peerfly is a great CPA network. There's nothing wrong with them specifically, but the industry they serve is very competitive and it often deceptive.
Does this mean all CPA marketers are bad? No, of course not. But there are some things to consider before getting involved in CPA.
I will try to explain the most important ones below.
Not for Beginners
CPA marketing is not for anyone who is just getting started. I see lots of newcomers online, looking to make money with CPA because they think it's easier. In my opinion, it's much more difficult than most other methods of making money online.
Because many CPA offers pay for “leads”, instead of sales like traditional marketing, beginners think it's easier. That's what we are told over and over by the gurus trying to sell us internet marketing products.
Make money without a website!
Make money without selling anything!
Get paid to post links!
These are all code for “learn” to promote CPA offers.
In theory it makes sense:
it's easier to get someone to give you their name and email, than it is to get them to buy something.
In reality it doesn't always work that way.
People are more guarded with their personal information online these days. A few years ago you could've gotten 50% of the people who saw your ad to click on it and give you an email address. These days, most people don't even see the advertisement, because their eyes have been trained to avoid them.
Those that do see the ads, usually want nothing to do with them because people are wising up to crappy ‘free iPad' offers.
Getting people to pay attention to your ad and want it enough to actually submit their information is tough. It takes the ability to create an attractive ad and find a relevant audience, or enough money to pay someone to do it for you (and still turn a profit from these offers).
And because most folks don't have the proper training on how to do this, they now have to invest in courses that teach them. Or waste tons of money on PPC or PPV ads. Driving traffic to your ads is an issue. Without a website, you are going to need to pay for views, be it with PPC, PPV, media buys, or whatever. You then need to be able to analyze your data, make changes, and turn this campaign from fresh to profitable.
In my opinion, blogging is a lot more chill, and allows a lot more room for mistakes. You can spend $11/year and your own time ranking in search engines at your own pace. Build an authority site, and it's not going anywhere for years. But getting involved in CPA often requires a budget, and a good eye to see which campaigns to tweak, and which to trash.
*Guilty: I am really dumb when it comes to tracking and all the math involved. One of the main deterrents for me getting more involved was the fact that tracking is extremely intimidating for me. It took me forever to get involved with Bing Ads, and even longer to start Adwords. If you are more of left brain personality, you might actually enjoy the more analytical side of CPA tracking
CPA is Often Associated with Spammers
Now what do you think when you see that? I'll tell you what most people think.
They see that ad (usually somewhere intrusive, like popping up over an article they want to read) and for a brief second they consider what would happen if it's actually true. Then they close it.
Where do you usually see these types of ads? Pirated movie sites, porn sites, and local news sites that don't know any better.
Lets look at what happens when someone does click on it.
- They are taken instantly to a page that asks for some kind of personal info. Usually a name, an email address, or both.
- Then they are told they have been “enrolled” to win the prize. Now all they have to do ( for a better chance at winning) is fill out some more personal information. This info usually includes things like age, sex, race etc…
- Once they fill all that out, they are asked to try for another type of prize like an iPad, a gas card or something similar. Of course they have to give even more personal information. This time it's stuff like their city, state, maybe even their address.
- This cycle continues over and over. Often they are asked to fill out the same information again and again. This is because they are being sold to many merchants. Each time they fill something out, that information is sold.
The CPA marketers collects a dollar or two for the first initial bit of information. But they have just put this person through all kinds of hoops, for no real reason.
Does anyone ever actually win an iPad or free gift card? Your guess is as good as mine. I'm sure it happens, but I'd say it's a fairly rare occurrence.
There are some no-so-bad offers out there, but many of them are pure junk. I wanted to get into CPA for the same reasons you did – it sounded easier than affiliate marketing. All I needed was an email addresses and a name instead of making a sale!
But then I looked at my options. 90% of what's out there is stuff like auto insurance, free flash games, dating websites, and make money online scams. Here's a list of the featured offers when I logged in just 5 minutes ago:
I poked around at some of the newer offers and around the marketplace, and did find a few things that were mildly interesting. There was a lot of game stuff, some binary options, and cellphone related topics. Just about everything I was interested in – liquid sand nail art, swirlio ice cream maker – were paid per sale. I did find one pay per lead (verified trial offer) that sounded interesting though (The Dollar Diaper Club).
But then I read this:
With all those restrictions, am I not just going to be a website to promote this thing? At this point, I'm an affiliate marketer.
Which brings me to my main point concerning the junk offers. If you are going to be selling stuff online, why limit yourself to CPA offers when you could open up a whole new world with affiliate marketing? If you really love doing by-the-number PPC and media buys, you can do that with affiliate marketing too. There's nothing wrong with that, and you can get paid just the same by promoting affiliate offers.
Update 2018: I recently wrote a review of the Agoda affiliate program, which was at point listed on Peerfly, so there are some legit offers.
Update 2019: I recently added some Peerfly CPA offers to my website and made a bit of money from a $500 gift card style offer. The small payout and low conversion rate (my fault!) means that I didn't continue to promote the offer. However, I was surprised that at least some people are still signing up for that type of stuff.
CPA vs Affiliate Marketing (according to me)
People go on and on about how it's easier to capture a lead than it is to make a sale. I've already discussed above that I think that's not true, but let's look at it from another angle.
How much traffic do you need to get just a few verified leads? Probably a lot, considering that you're probably promoting a popup offer to a less-than-ready-to-buy audience. When you do make a sale, how much is it – a couple bucks?
10,000 visits converting at 1% is only 100 leads. At $1 per sale, that's $100
But 1000 visits converting at 10% is 100 sales. At $10 per sale, that's $1000
These examples are just to illustrate a point and it won't always play out exactly like this. But the point stands. Lower traffic + higher relevancy = more sales. Higher commissions + more sales = more money in your pocket.
Again, I just don't see the point of limiting yourself to CPA networks or CPA offers when the whole world of affiliate marketing is available to you. There are more niches, more products, and more training/support available to you. It allows you to be more creative, connect with an audience better, and in my opinion, have a more fulfilling business.
I can see Peerfly being a part of a your campaign, or if you find a good offer for your audience that you could promote the offer through more legitimate methods than I usually associate with CPA. Perhaps I've read one too many guru-guides and my view of cost-per-action offers is skewed. I'm curious to know what you guys think and if you've had any luck promoting legit offers.
There are plenty of ways to make money online, but I’ve always found affiliate marketing to be the easiest to understand, and the cheapest to get started in. An $11 domain is all you need to get started. You can learn how to do what I do here.
What do you think about CPA offers? Are there any ones worth pursuing?
What's been your experience with Peerfly?