Bloggers and other creators of online content monetize their websites by posting advertising for affiliate networks. Once advertising is posted, they are called online publishers, and they earn money by leveraging the traffic to their own websites. They are paid by affiliate networks for sending Internet users from their own websites to advertisers’ websites. The affiliate networks often work with a large number of advertisers that would like their product or service promoted on the Internet.

There are hundreds of affiliate networks to choose from, but most publishers will work with a dozen or so that best suit their website and business. Leading networks include Commission Junction, LinkShare, Amazon and Google.

While business models vary, publishers are often only compensated if the potential customer performs a desired activity. Whichever the compensation method – usually cost per sale (CPS), sometimes paid for cost per action (CPA) and less common, cost per click (CPC) – payments are made up of a number of micropayments. Once the commissions accumulate to reach a pre-determined minimum, the contributor may request payment by a number of options. With most publishers working with about a dozen networks, the costs per payment add up. Choosing the right payment method – with low fees per payment – is critical. For example, a publisher who chooses the wrong method, who receives 10 payments for $ 100 each month may pay $ 10 in fees and commissions for each check, or 10% of his income.

Checks and wire transfers tend to be the slowest and most expensive way to get paid – for both the recipient and the payer. Direct deposit is by far the easiest and most cost effective method available but limited to publishers with a United States bank account.

Publishers are keeping more of their paychecks, and getting them faster with the introduction of new, online payment, and offer services for international publishers and US-based publishers who do not have bank accounts. These methods generally offer an online account or “wallet” where money can be deposited and spent. This is an excellent option for publishers who may have a lot of online expenses and generally spend their earnings with participating suppliers. However, cashing out payments from online wallets can complicated and can become as cumbersome as using the traditional payment methods.

Another option available to publishers with or without US bank accounts that offers easy cash-outs from ATMs is to get paid directly to co-branded prepaid debit cards such as MasterCard and Visa. The funds are transferred to the card accounts, and are accessible instantly online, at shops and restaurants or at ATMs. Furthermore, if issued by a US bank, the card accounts are FDIC insured and offer protections against unauthorized purchases.

Regardless of the payment method selected, affiliate networks offer publishers an effective way to monetize their websites and content.

Tomer Bar-Zeev is the VP Marketing for Payoneer, the online mass payout solution that pays directly to universally accepted Prepaid MasterCard cards. For more information on Payoneer visit http://www.payoneer.com
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