Sign in

Difference between Network Marketing and Affiliate Marketing


Network marketing and affiliate marketing are two popular business models that enable individuals to earn money by promoting products or services. Although both models share some similarities, there are some significant differences between them. In this article, we will explore the main differences between network marketing and affiliate marketing.


Network Marketing


Network marketing, also known as multi-level marketing (MLM), is a business model where individuals promote and sell products or services to others and earn a commission on their sales. However, network marketing is different from traditional sales in that it emphasizes building a network of people who will also sell and promote the products. This network is called a downline.

In network marketing, individuals are usually recruited to join the company as independent distributors. They are responsible for promoting the products and recruiting others to join the company. The distributors earn a commission on their own sales as well as the sales made by their downline.


Network marketing companies typically provide training and support to their distributors, including marketing materials, sales scripts, and product information. The distributors are also encouraged to attend company events and meetings to learn more about the products and the business.

One of the biggest advantages of network marketing is the potential for residual income. As the distributor's downline grows, they can earn money from the sales made by their team. This can create a passive income stream that can continue to generate income even if the distributor is no longer actively promoting the products.


However, network marketing has been the subject of controversy and criticism, mainly because of the pyramid-like structure of the business model. The success of the business depends on recruiting new members to join the company, which can lead to a saturation of the market and a lack of sustainability.


Affiliate Marketing


Affiliate marketing is a business model where individuals earn a commission by promoting other people's products or services. Unlike network marketing, there is no downline or recruitment involved in affiliate marketing.


In affiliate marketing, individuals sign up to become affiliates for a company or a product. They are then provided with a unique link or code that they can use to promote the product or service. When someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission on the sale.


Affiliate marketing is popular because it can be done from anywhere with an internet connection. Affiliates can promote products through their website, social media, email marketing, or any other online platform. They do not need to hold inventory or handle customer service, which makes it a low-risk business model.


One of the benefits of affiliate marketing is that it allows individuals to promote products or services they are passionate about. Affiliates can choose products that align with their interests or their audience's interests, which can make the marketing more authentic and effective.


However, one of the main challenges of affiliate marketing is standing out in a crowded market. There are many affiliates promoting the same products, which can make it difficult to attract customers and generate sales. Affiliates also need to have a good understanding of their audience and how to effectively market to them.


Key Differences between Network Marketing and Affiliate Marketing


·        Recruitment: Network marketing involves recruiting others to join the company, while affiliate marketing does not involve recruitment.

·        Downline: Network marketing has a downline structure, while affiliate marketing does not.

·        Products: In network marketing, distributors sell products provided by the company, while in affiliate marketing, affiliates promote products from different companies.

·        Compensation: In network marketing, distributors earn money from their own sales and the sales made by their downline. In affiliate marketing, affiliates earn a commission only on the sales they generate.




In summary, network marketing and affiliate marketing are two different business models that have their pros and cons. Network marketing can provide a potential for residual income but is often associated with pyramid schemes. Affiliate marketing is low-risk.

Zupyak is the world’s largest content marketing community, with over 400 000 members and 3 million articles. Explore and get your content discovered.
Read more