There are thousands of affiliate programs to choose from, but like so many other things on the Web, locating the right program for you can be difficult. There are three ways to find affiliate programs: through search engines, directories, and your competitors' sites. None of these -- either alone or in combination -- will yield the entire list of all affiliate programs available. And more and more affiliate programs come online every day.

Search Engines
There are dozens of search engines that you can use to find independent affiliate programs, but you should start with the most popular ones: Yahoo!, Alta Vista, WebCrawler, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, and Hotbot. For a comprehensive listing of search engines, see Gary Price's Direct Search.

Start by listing the keywords that define your business, then expand to the words that describe businesses directly related to yours -- suppliers, partners, service companies, etc. Input your list of keywords in each search engine:

You can type "affiliate program" or "affiliate programs+keyword"

After you are done searching, bookmark the top 10 results for each search, and then evaluate each one to see if it will make an appropriate matchfor your site.

Affiliate Program Directories
There are various directories available to assist you in locating affiliate programs, both in the U.S. and abroad. The most popular directories include:

You can find additional ones by simply typing "affiliate program directories" into any search engine.

Another good way to learn about affiliate programs is at the Affiliate-l discussion list. This list, run by Internet expert Mark Welch, is a great forum for evaluating affiliate program offerings. Finally, if you have particular sites in mind that you hope to partner with, you can simply visit them to see if they offer such a program.

Competitors' Sites
Check out your competitors to see which affiliate programs they're using. Most affiliate programs are nonexclusive, so if you like what you see, you can join. Researching the affiliate programs on your competitors' sites can help suggest other types of products for your site that you might not have considered. And you might be able to find an affiliate that allows you to offer a similar product line to your competitor -- giving you an advantage.

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