Web directories with an affiliate program

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OK. I have Webxperience! (Alexa Rank 21.717, Pagerank 5, 20 months old domain) and Webotopia (Alexa Rank 57.880, PageRank 6, 7 months old domain), which are two great directories, which were initially 100% free. Now they are both paid only.

I worked a lot on them, marketing them, spreading the word on forums, getting them on every directory list out there and so on.

As well as some of you other folks, I get a decent amount of submissions and the spam has cut a lot since I made them paid. (when Webxperience! was free, for example, we received anywhere from 400 to 600 new submissions per day, with more than 80% beeing spam, MFA’s or plain scraper websites).

But that’s not enough. Each and every one of you can try to monetize your web directory a lot better. Please forget about Google Adsense, Yahoo! Publisher Network, MSN adCenter, Kanoodle, Vibrant Media, Azoogle Ads and other contextual ads providers. Most of your directory’s users (webmasters and Internet-savvy users in general) are way to ad-blind and way to busy with other chores (like submitting a website and getting out fast), so if your CTR will be over 1% you must be a VERY happy webmaster. Contextual advertising simply doesn’t work (efficiently) on web directories (some will disagree, as always).

What WILL work on web directories, are affiliate programs from other web directories. Especially if your web directory is a paid one too. If one webmaster submits a website in your directory, and finishes the payment step, be sure that he will submit to the other web directories that you recommend or advertise in your directory, especially if you know how to feed the advertising so that the user gets the point.

So how do you get paid ? Most of the times, you have to put a banner or a text link, both having an affiliate id appended to the link’s URL, that leads to each particular web directory. Most directories have their own banners, but it’s always best to experiment and see how things go on the long run. Just let text links for two weeks, then switch to banners for two weeks, then make your own banners (that blend in with your website or that generate a higher click-through rate) for two weeks. Do the math and see what works best for you.

When you choose what directory affiliate program to integrate in your website, it’s important to watch a few pointers:

  1. The payout of each refferal you send. Now this is the most important thing to look after.
  2. How long does the affiliate cookie last ? (some directories maintain your affiliate ID for 12 months, meaning that if the user clicks on your banner and visits the website, but doesn’t pay for a submission, and comes back after 9 months, doing it them, you still get credited and earn some affiliate juice $$$).
  3. How well known is the directory ? If it’s a very new directory, then it’s best to leave it alone. Well known and older, established directories are much more successful at converting the visitors you send, thus getting money in your pocket.
  4. How easy it is to navigate trough the directory ? If it’s too crowded or presents the user with a LOT of information, it usually ends with an unsuccesful conversion. I myself, prefer simpler, strict to the point directories like BOTW.

Below youwill find a list of web directories (and other websites that sell text links or web directory related products), that have an affiliate program which pays you for every successfully converted visitor you send.

Directories with affiliate programs:

V7N Directory – $25 (affiliates page)
BOTW – 25% from $17.5 to $37.5 (affiliates page)
UncoverTheNet – $20 (affiliates page)
Aviva Directory – $20 per sale (affiliates page)
Link Lasso – $8 per sale + $10 for signing up (affiliates page)
Sun Steam – $13.5 (affiliates page)
Massivelinks – 25% from $5 to $15 (affiliates page)
Uquick Web Directory – $1.50 (affiliates page)
Allthewebmasters – 50% for personal sales and 5% for sub-affiliates (affiliates page)
Allestra – $10 (affiliates page)

Other directory related affiliate systems:

Text Link Ads – $25 (affiliates page)
Direct Link Ads – 10% (affiliates page)
Search Monster – $30 (affiliates page)
InfoWizards – 30% (affiliates page)
FocalMedia – from $7.25 to $99.75 (affiliates page)
Links Manager – $20 (affiliates page)
Article Trader – 20% up to $52 (affiliates page)

Some of the links above contain my affiliate ID. The directories above are what I could find by searching SERPs, forums, affiliate programs directories etc. If there are directory owners that have an affiliate program and would like to be listed above, please e-mail me. The list is not sorted in any particular way (like importance or priority).

Other great directory forums and blogs to visit and learn from :

  1. The Directory Blog
  2. KingBloom Directory Blog
  3. Directory-Owners Forum
  4. Info Vilesilencer Forum
  5. V7N Directories Forum
  6. Digitalpoint Directories Forum
  7. NicheSwitch: Making money with directories
  8. Z-Blackfox: Directory affiliates

If you have other websites where Directories are the main discussion subject, give me an e-mail.

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27 Comments so far

Hawaii SEO said:
October 4th, 2006

Great idea! I knew about the BOTW and Text Link Ads but not the others. Thanks for sharing!

uranus said:
October 4th, 2006

Nice article, I use exactseek for my directories.

October 4th, 2006

Good collection.

As for how I get it, if promoted the right way, one could make more from affiliate money than from own paid submissions…or at least a significant portion of them. Especially for the low-fee directories.

October 5th, 2006

Uranus, where is ExactSeek’s Affiliate program ? I remember that I searched their website too. Please give me the URL.

Niche: That’s exactly my point. Some directories have like $2-$5 submission prices, whilst a referall would pay even $50.

Chetan said:
October 8th, 2006

great ideas shared Christian.

Have to imply most in my new directory.

@ Uranus, u made a nice change. If i remember u had a totally different layout earlier!

Zap said:
October 12th, 2006

A realy great article, Cristian. Lots of good information without any bullshit. Thanks for sharing your experience. You’ve been Dugg.

October 12th, 2006

I’m glad you liked what I wrote Zap. Thank you.

John Scott said:
October 13th, 2006

As usual, good article.

And I agree 100% with you on the Adsense-on-Directories thing. It’s a crap idea. Devalues the listings, devalues the directory and doesn’t turn a profit.

October 16th, 2006

Wow, I sold ArticleTrader.com on DP a year back or so. Never knew they actually made something out of it!

And not to forget… Nice article Cristian!

October 17th, 2006

So that was yours Johan ? Bad move selling it :)

Richie said:
October 17th, 2006

Great article,thanks for sharing :)

Boon Leong said:
October 22nd, 2006

Ok, nice article.
But I myself never tried affiliate program. And adsense seems to work for me, probably because my directory is into product and services selling.

Perhaps it is directory dependent. If you are talking about general directories, yes, affiliates could work better.

October 22nd, 2006

How much are you making per month with Adsense from your directory ? I don’t think you make more then $20-$50 from the PR and Alexa rank ?

With an affiliate program you can make a lot more.

October 23rd, 2006


Thank you for adding Directory-Owners.com and The Directory Blog to your list!

Thank you


December 7th, 2006

Awesome article Christian, very informative and to the point. Keeping the BS goes along way to informing the masses.

joel said:
January 8th, 2007


Hey guys, I am new to affiliate programs, what affiliates are you into? Any proof that you are making money out of it?


February 1st, 2007

Thank you very much for that list. I was searching for one.

February 1st, 2007

If you find any other web directory affiliate programs, let me know Frank, and I will include them here.

maldives said:
March 24th, 2007

Great article. Thank you very much for sharing.

Robert said:
April 19th, 2007

Also want to say thank you for opening my eyes and showing us how we all should make real directory business. Thanks a lot.

April 19th, 2007

You’re welcome Robert. If you have any other questions, please come back here, and post them.

Robert said:
April 19th, 2007

Cristian, I am not sure I am suppose to ask you to help me, but maybe you are able to give me an advice about website inserted into your “Website – Spam me, and I’ll Spam you back 100 times” field. I want to add there something like tags (keywords) there, thus, every website submitted will be connected with list of these tags. So this will look a wee bit like directory. But the main problem is still there – how to mark out great websites and pour out spam.

seo_arun said:
May 19th, 2007

Thanks for sharing..
New stuff for me..
Thanks again…

wengchun said:
June 28th, 2007

Great Article, thank you for writing it. My directory is too small for me to even think about an affiliate program.

June 28th, 2007

Cristian what are your thoughts on the new AuctionAds service being on directories? If there is a listing that meets a submitters eye, do you not think they would click on the picture or link?

April 16th, 2008

The article is very intelligible. Thanks for the useful information.

Ad said:
April 27th, 2008

Nice work mate, thanks – just signed up for a handful of those, so should be sending some commission your way ;)

The sunsteam one operating through clickbank made me wonder how hard this would be to setup for my own directory.. slightly apprehensive of the potential headaches of it going wrong though!

You not been tempted with your directories, or is there a big setup cost?


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