Etsy Affiliate Program Review (Surprisingly Disappointing)

I love Etsy. It gives many people around the world the opportunity to earn from their craft talents. It has become somewhat of an e-commerce staple carving out a sizeable niche for itself that not even the big boys – Amazon – can’t touch.

But when it comes to the Etsy Affiliate program, I have to say; it’s┬ásurprisingly disappointing.

Given their popularity and the huge amounts of unique products they carry, Etsy would be a great resource for affiliate marketers to make money but sadly, Etsy doesn’t think so.

I will tell you why I didn’t like this soon, but first, let’s go through the numbers real quick.

Etsy Affiliate program details:

  • Commission Rate: 4%
  • Cookie Lenght: 30-days
  • Average Order Size: (varied)

Let’s now dive a little bit deeper here to try and make sense of it all.

etsy affiliate program review

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Why Is The Etsy Affiliate Program Disappointing?

As you will see from this review, they make it purposefully hard to join & promote, and what’s even worse is that their commission structure is optimized to make sure you do not get paid much (even if you tried).

The Etsy Affiliate Commission Structure

When it comes to earning affiliate commissions off physical products such as the ones found on Etsy, I do not expect them to match the 40 to 50% commissions you get selling software and online tools.

However, Etsy is offering a meek 4% flat rate sounds a bit on the low end to me.

Yes, 4% can be quite a payout when you start making many sales (especially high-ticket items), but it’s still not enough to get me excited.

Amazon – most probably their biggest rival – pays affiliates 8%, which doesn’t sound like much either, but at least it’s double what you can make with the Etsy affiliate program.

(If you’re just getting started with affiliate marketing, I have a list of what I consider to be the 4 best affiliate programs for beginners. If you’re put off by Etsy – as you should – I suggest you give that one a look).

The Etsy Affiliate Program Has A Joining Fee!?

The one personal rule I have for affiliate programs is that you never need to pay to join – Etsy is the only “mainstream” affiliate program which has broken that rule in the 7+ years I’ve been doing affiliate marketing.

The fee is not much – $5, but I have to say it’s pretty weird to me.

I know $5 is not going to break anyone, but this is truly bizarre, especially for a company such as Etsy.

As I see it, if you need to pay to join, you are a customer and not an affiliate.

Here’s a review from another blogger who like me – was very disappointed with the Etsy affiliate program:

$5 application fee - etsy affiliate program

Is It Worth Paying The $5?

Let’s say that since Etsy is truly unique, it is somewhat justified that you pay a small fee to join (it isn’t, but whatever).

Well, that will not be your only obstacle.

There’s also some weird affiliate policy that claims that you cannot sell only Etsy products on your site.

This again is pretty weird and unheard of.

The whole thing about affiliate marketing is that you get to run your business as you please (within reason of course).

The Etsy affiliate program is starting to sound like a yes-man job to me.

You may be thinking I may be being a bit too harsh on Etsy this morning but that’s only because I’ve heard nothing good so far about it.

However, I am willing to try and find something that would justify the mediocre effort Etsy are doing with their affiliate program.

Let’s see if we can find some benefits…

2 Benefits Of The Etsy Affiliate Program

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A 30-Day Cookie

The way affiliate marketing works is by tracking a visitor through a unique affiliate link that is then stored in the visitor’s browser.

This is known as the “affiliate cookie”.

Now a 30-day cookie means that if you send a visitor to Etsy today, you have a 30-day time window for him or her to make a purchase.

If the customer you send makes a purchase on the 29th day, you still get the 4% commission off that product. This is actually pretty good.

There are even affiliate programs that offer a lifetime cookie but that’s more of the software side of things, where I already explained things work a little bit differently.

However, compared to the Amazon Associates program, (which only gives you a 24-hour cookie) Esty does give you a fighting chance at making a commission some time or the other.

A Lot Of Resources To Use

If you are happy with the 4% commission rate and the fact that you have to pay to become an affiliate, once you join, you are also going to find a lot of resources that you can use to promote Etsy.

They offer a wide variety of banners, link tracking and even an Etsy affiliate newsletter to keep you up-to-date with news and so forth.

etsy affiliate program review

Should You Join The Etsy Affiliate Program?

I wouldn’t.

Although it’s a pretty unique affiliate program and maybe they are right in making it difficult for new affiliates to join, I would not waste my time with it.

I also don’t think that the Etsy affiliate program is fully developed yet and truth be told:

I don’t think there are any plans to make it any better.

I may be wrong, but time will tell. If the situation changes, I will update this review.

16 Etsy Affiliate Program Alternatives

As an alternative to the Etsy affiliate program, the only place that comes to mind is the Amazon Associates network.

Amazon offers a slightly better commission rate (not much), but at least you have an incredible amount of resources to use and promote with.

If you’re looking for other affiliate programs that you can maybe use, here are some of the roundups I published in the past:

How To Promote The Etsy Affiliate Program

Luckily, Etsy does allow you to post affiliate links on your social media networks so that could be a great way to start testing out some links.

I believe Facebook and Twitter are allowed, but no such luck for Pinterest and Instagram (although there’s no harm in trying).

Social media would be a great way to give Etsy a test run and see if it’s worth promoting or not but if you want to go a bit deeper with it, then I suggest you start your website.

There are many products that you can sell on Etsy, so finding your niche and blog topic should be easy to do.

Having your own website is always the best option as you have total control over it and can do as you please.

UPDATE: Etsy just announced that they now require a URL for your site, so you can’t use only social media to start with. You are going to need a website. If you don’t have a website just yet, then you can get one from here >>>

How To Learn The Ropes of Affiliate Marketing

Whether you want to promote the Etsy affiliate program or not, that is entirely up to you but what I would strongly suggest is that you find yourself a roadmap to follow.

If you are doing this “affiliate marketing” thing just as a hobby, you may not need a proper strategy, but if you plan on making serious money with it, you will need to learn how to do it profitably.

I can’t stress how important it is to know what you are doing with this business – you do not want to work for a full six months only to find that you were doing it wrong – which would explain the $0 balance you always see looking back at you.

Final Thoughts

Sadly, there’s not much else to add to this Etsy affiliate program review. I am still of the idea that you should avoid it, but to each their own.

If you can find an alternative, I strongly suggest you stay away from Etsy as something is not quite right there.

If you absolutely have to join, then you can join by visiting this page here >>>