CJ – Affiliate Network Overview

Commission Junction, Santa Barbara, CA

Summary:  CJ was one of the initial affiliate networks, and is now one of the largest, and most well-known in the industry.  Over the years, CJ has grown in number and quality of merchants, and affiliates alike.

CJ seems to be a choice for many merchants who want to be associated with big-brand merchants, a quality network and many additional services available — without the “Exclusivity Clause” required with its main competitor, LinkShare.

CJ was a pioneer in the “Affiliate Network Specific” conference — when they launched CJU (Commission Junction University), a gathering of CJ Merchants and Affiliates, where business deals can be made, relationships established and strengthened — all around the CJ brand.

One notable concern that Affiliates and Affiliate Managers have had with CJ through the years, is the challenge with communication between Merchants and their Affiliate partners.  A key component of successful affiliate marketing is communication between the partners.  CJ’s stance has been to “protect the identity of the affiliates within their network, and protect their in-boxes from unwanted email”.  However, as their technology and strategy has developed, I understand that the communication barriers have been lifted somewhat, and affiliates and merchants now have more opportunities to directly communicate.

So, if your marketing budget allows for a sizable upfront setup fee, and / or for some of their additional services available, CJ is a good affiliate network to consider.

Quick View of Commission Junction:

Founded: 1998


Number of employees: 396


Status: A wholly owned subsidiary of ValueClick (VCLK – NASDAQ)


Number of Publishers: 66,000 revenue-generating publishers (generated a sale in last 6 months)

Number of Merchants: 2,800

Types of Merchants: Focus on retailers, travel, and finance

Big Brand Merchants: Newegg, Staples, Apple, Dell, HP, QVC, Best Buy


Exclusivity for Merchants: No

Pricing: Mid – High Setup Fees (depending on package), Monthly Minimum Fee and 20% – 30% of Affiliate Commissions.

Basic Marketing Policies:

Additional Services (paid and non-paid):

  • Program Management is a service for advertisers who want to leverage CJ’s expertise in managing the most effective tactical aspects of running an affiliate program.
  • Publisher Development delivers new publisher leads categorized by category, business model, or network rank.
  • Program Maintenance provides day-to-day help in managing very specific acceptance criteria for publishers and/or a large influx of publisher application.
  • Program Compliance is available if advertisers wish to have Commission Junction monitor and enforce their specific program policies above and beyond our standard network-wide compliance.
  • Creative Services are available to design effective creative elements that create a strong call to action to drive leads and sales.


Best Practices:

  • Keys to the CJ Marketplace:  a five-seminar program that provides comprehensive insight into effective usage of the CJ Account Manager interface, coupled with a tremendous amount of affiliate program management “best practices.”
  • Master Class series addresses topics that go beyond standard “best practices”, but are focused on creating a well-rounded, attractive affiliate program
  • Publisher 101:  basics of performance marketing for publishers

Technology Available:

  • Reporting tools, including lists sales, leads, bonuses and performance incentives including sale amounts, publisher commissions, publisher and Web site details, transaction summaries, performance reports, top-performing publisher reports,
  • Tracking Technology including support for both pixel tracking and batch order files
  • Web Services Platform provides APIs for partners to access to critical program data
  • International Program Support
  • Pay-Per-Call
  • Widgets
  • Network Quality team monitors the network for such non-compliant activity as objectionable content and keyword, trademark, and brand infringement among others.


Commissions and Schedules:

  • Pay on percent of sale, percentage of commission, flat rate (CPL, tiered rate cards,
  • Bonus, private offers, item-based compensation

Matchmaking Tools:

  • Annual CJU
  • Advisory Boards
  • Segmentation
  • Participation at industry events and conferences

Additional Resources (for merchants and publishers):

CJ Performer Program for top-performing publishers

  • Designated account manager
  • Expedited technical support
  • Custom transactional feeds
  • Segmented offer portal

CJ Vantage clients

  • Assigned account manager
  • 90-day launch strategy and guidance
  • Advanced product catalog support
  • Custom tracking technology
  • Performance incentives for publishers
  • Item-based commission structure
  • Unlimited sale and lead actions
  • Customizable service options

Publisher Channel Development Team: This team is responsible for growing CJ’s overall publisher footprint, whether it’s finding the next cutting edge publisher or the next big coupon publisher, and they focus on continually evolving what makes a successful publisher model in affiliate marketing.

Agency Team: Agencies that manage multiple advertisers’ programs have unique needs.  We have a team focused on meeting these needs.

CJ Search Team

  • Full-service solution designed to help drive maximum revenue, profit and growth through SEM, including SEO, paid search, paid inclusion and shopping feed optimization.
  • Coordinated efforts between search, affiliate and/or display efforts to maximize performance
  • Support for tracking, allowing for cross-channel optimization and proper attribution of conversion events

CJ Media Team: Bring clients short-term distribution opportunities outside of the traditional affiliate marketing space. Current distribution solutions include Email, Display, Lead Generation and Pay Per Call.
Social Media Outreach:

  • Twitter: @cjnetwork
  • Launched community site www.MyCJU.com for CJU 2008
  • Exploring blogging for 2009