Difference Between Affiliate Marketing and Network Marketing
By Claire Miles - February 17, 2023

Although network and affiliate marketing are sometimes contrasted, some significant distinctions exist between the two industries. These enterprises offer advantages and disadvantages for those trying to get started. Still, it comes down to what the individual is comfortable with and what they believe has the most chance of success.

Chart Summary
  • There is no need for a sales team
There is a need for a sales team
  • Heavily digital-based
There is a need for physical business networking
High angle view of businessman giving presentation colleagues in board room at office

Getty images/ DigitalVision/Maskot


Affiliate marketing is a type of passive income that allows a marketer to advertise another person’s product or service and earn a commission when someone purchases through their link. When a person becomes an affiliate marketer, they sign up for an affiliate program and are given a unique affiliate link. The marketer may then share this link with your audience, and you will earn a sale every time someone clicks on it and makes a purchase.
Network marketing, often known as multi-level marketing (MLM), is a business concept in which you sell the products or services of another firm and receive a commission on each sale you make. Most network marketers make money by assembling a team of other salespeople who then go out and advertise the products or services themselves.

Affiliate Marketing vs. Network Marketing

Most affiliate companies have no start-up charges, and the marketer only needs a computer and an internet connection to get started (It sounds like one of those YouTube Ads). There is a need to generate material, but this can be done for free or for very little money using platforms such as WordPress and YouTube. On the other hand, most MLM members must purchase items from the firm they are advertising (which can be costly) and pay a monthly fee to participate in the direct sales business.

As a result, initial fees may be substantial, and there is no assurance that the marketer will make any money. In truth, most people who join MLM companies never make a dime. Network marketing has a high earning potential if the marketer knows how to attract individuals and establish a considerable team. Earning potential in affiliate marketing is determined mainly by the marketer’s labor rate. Affiliate Marketers have earned everything from a few hundred dollars per month to thousands of dollars per day or nothing at all.