Are Two Tier Affiliate Programs Worth Promoting?

I’m frequently asked questions about two tier affiliate program models:

  • Are they legit?
  • Is it a sustainable affiliate model?
  • Do multi-tier models track accurately?
  • Do I need to disclose my two tier relationship?
  • Are there any negatives about the two tier affiliate model?
  • Can you make any real money just recruiting new affiliates?
two tier affiliate programs and networks image

What Are Two Tier Affiliate Programs?

Two tier affiliate programs allow you to make commissions not only on your own front-end sales, but the sales from others (your sub-affiliates) that you bring into the program as an affiliate.

A typical two tier structure would look something like this:

  • First Tier = You earn 30% commissions on all direct sales generated from your direct customer referrals
  • Second Tier = You earn an additional 10% commissions on your sub-affiliate referral sales

Most multi-tier programs go two levels deep but there are some that go to the third tier and beyond where you’re making commissions on your sub-affiliate referrals too.

I’ve seen affiliate tiers go as deep as five levels but deeper is not always better.

In fact, I would avoid any program that goes deeper than three tiers.

Why? Because anything deeper than 3 tiers is usually a cleverly disguised MLM scheme.

What Two Tiered Affiliate Programs Are Not:

Multi-tier affiliate programs are not, and I repeat ARE NOT, the same thing as multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes. As you probably know I am not a fan of MLM programs. I do not promote them and I highly recommend that you don’t either.

The Reality Of Promoting Two Tier Affiliate Programs

When new affiliate marketers learn about two tier affiliate programs they usually get very excited.  After all, it sounds like all you have to do is find a good tiered affiliate program to promote to a small army of other affiliates and then sit back on the beach while they pad your bank account with sub-affiliate commissions every day.

Awesome right! Well… not exactly.

Here’s the problem: The fact is that 90% and probably more of your sub-affiliates will never earn a dime of commissions.


Because the majority of the second tier affiliates that you recruit will be thinking about the beach scenario I just explained and will focus only on signing up their own sub-affiliates who continue to sign up more and more people.

 Since everyone is simply recruiting instead of selling, nobody earns any money. two tier affiliate programs empty wallet image

There has to be product sales somewhere along the line to get everyone paid. Without sales you’re getting a percentage of nothing. Everyone in hierarchy is chasing their tail.

Reality Check:

So how do you make any money with two tier affiliate program? With the exception of snagging a rare super-affiliate to sell underneath you the very best way to make money on the 2nd tier is to simply do the work yourself:

Always Promote The Affiliate Product, Not The Program.

Spend the majority of your time and effort selling the affiliate products yourself and treat any second tier commissions as a nice bonus. Further, make sure you encourage all of your sub-affiliates to do the same. You WILL eventually start raking in some effortless 2nd tier bucks.

Another idea, one that I don’t use* but works extremely well, is to help your sub-affiliates get started and train them how to effectively promote your affiliated products. The more successful you make them the more money you in turn will make.

*Not because I don’t care but due to a simple lack of time. 

Two Tier Affiliate Program Tips:

  • As stated above – Rule #1 is to promote to product first, not the program.
  • Choose good quality products and services that convert well. I know… duh. But it had to be said.
  • Read the fine print carefully to determine if the second-tier compensation is calculated as a straight percentage (% of revenue generated by sub-affiliates, or a percentage of a percentage of earnings generated by your sub-affiliates). A lot of two-tier affiliate programs suck so make sure you know what you’re promoting and how they’re paying you. If in doubt, reach out to their affiliate manager and ask.
  • Make sure you tell your potential sub-affiliates that your cut of their earnings is paid by the vendor – not by them. This is crucial. Once they understand this fact, they’ll have no reason to circumvent your two tier affiliate link to join the program.
  • When sales start rolling in, track who is doing the selling for you. It’s likely just a few affiliates who are actually producing. Reach out to them and thank them for the collaboration and offer to help them along. It’s a win-win and everybody likes to feel appreciated.
What Are The Best Two Tier Affiliate Programs & Networks to promote?
Two Tier Affiliate Programs

Best Two Tier Affiliate Programs:

Here are a few two tier affiliate programs that I personally make money with:

Finministry: Finministry is a reputable advertising network for online investment related products, services and instruments. You’ll earn up to $400 CPA plus an additional 5% for your second tier affiliate referrals. 

XCoins: XCoins is a bitcoin exchange that allows purchases by credit card payments – which nobody else does. As an affiliate, you’ll earn up to 50% of transaction fees plus another 3% on all 2nd tier sales. 

WPEngine: WPEngine is a high end hosting platform. They pay you $200 for each new customer or 100% or the their first monthly payment (whichever is higher). Earn 2nd tier commissions of $50 for every customer your sub-affiliates refers.

Organic Naturals: Organic Naturals is in the red-hot CBD niche. This is a really well organized 3 tier affiliate program. Earn 25% for direct sales, 5% on the 2nd tier and 2% on the 3rd tier.

Fiverr – Fiverr® is the world’s largest marketplace for digital services. Receive flat-rate CPA commissions for every first-time buyer. Commissions (1st & 2nd tier) vary by offer.

BuilderallBuilderall has a set of state-of-the-art website and marketing tools that are definitely high end. Earn $29.90 per sale + recurring revenue.  

Two Tier Affiliate Networks

Best Two Tier Affiliate Networks:

Here are a few of the two tier affiliate networks that I have made the most income with:

ShareASaleOne of the best affiliate networks where you’ll find a ton of products and services to promote. They’re extremely reliable and their reporting is robust. 

FlexOffers: A true premiere affiliate marketing network that offers tiers and more than 10,000 products to sell in dozens of industries.

SellHealth: A tiered program for anti-aging and sexual health products. These are hot selling products and SellHealth always pays.

If you’ve had success with two tier affiliate programs please share your experiences below including any programs that you would recommend.

Click here for my complete list of two tier affiliate program and networks

Would You Like To Personally Partner With Me?
Click Here to learn how to personally partner with me and have access to an award-winning sales funnel that will make you $1000+ per sale. If you join me, I will help you along and teach you everything I know about making high paying commissions.

The truth is that in affiliate marketing it takes the same amount of time & energy to promote a product or service that pays you $500.00 than it does to promote a product that only pays you $29.00. Doesn’t it make sense to get paid more money for doing the same amount of work? Let me teach you how to sell the high ticket products and services.

Affiliate Disclosure
Disclosure: The operator of this website is a 3rd party marketer with a material connection to product/service providers appearing on this site in that we are compensated for sales made through our affiliate links.

If you have any questions please contact me:


  1. John Baile has a True 2 Tier White Label Affiliate Partner Program. This allows the Master Agent to make revenue on their Sub Affiliates. This is the way most 2 tiered programs should work.

    • bill

      Thanks John. I’ll take a look at it. Sincerely – Bill

  2. Oduokpe

    Hello Bill, I use PPC to promote affiliated products I get about 40 to 50 clicks a day but I don’t make any sale. As an Experienced Affiliate marketer, how many clicks do I need in order to get a sale for Non-CPA products. and how many clicks do I need to get an Action (like free Sign Up, download, etc)

    • bill

      It depends upon the quality of traffic your getting and the conversion rate of the offer. If you’re paying for clicks your might want to consider directing that traffic to a squeeze page to start collecting names and email addresses so you have multiple sales opps for each customer. Sincerely – Bill

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  4. Harunur

    Great post.Many times i though earn by affiliate program but can’t find i think find an idea.i think affiliate program is better than adsence or others earning