Cost-Per-Action affiliate marketing, otherwise known as CPA, has its own culture that's different from regular affiliate marketing. It's primarily meant for affiliate marketers who are already experienced and already make a substantial amount of money.
First, let me explain what it is. Cost-per-action affiliate marketing means you earn a commission when someone performs an action. That action can be anything: purchasing a product, putting in some details into a form -- name, email, address or even zip code -- anything.
CPA affilate marketing is very popular with newbies and more adventurous affiliates, the go-getter types, because you can make money by simply introducing a lead to someone else's website.
Remember hearing about how the money is in the list? Well, big companies see the value of a list, too.
The only difference is that big companies are far too busy running the operations of their business, so they need someone else to handle the marketing.
Traditionally, they would hire a marketing team and provide a multi-million dollar budget for advertising. It costs money to grab people's attention. Nowadays, people are on the internet Facebooking, watching You Tube and wondering which celebrity got into trouble that weekend.
Therefore, why would a company need a marketing team when it's simply cheaper to advertise on the internet?
To make it easier, companies join a CPA network who has access to a whole bunch of hot-to-trot affiliates willing to spend their own advertising money as long as they get to share in a portion of the profits. CPA network earns. Company earns. Affiliate earns and does most of the work. Everybody wins.
It's the CPA networks' responsibility to manage the affiliates as well as the needs of these companies. Companies are simply going to take priority because they have the money. So it's only wise that a CPA network chooses the best affiliates, someone with experience who knows what he's doing.
This is the reason why CPA networks are very selective. You might have tried to join a network before and got rejected but never understood the exact reason why. You were simply told to read the terms of service. It's also a prestige thing.
Rejecting mediocre affiliates and keeping the best affiliates allows a network to maintain an elite status.
Not only are CPA networks selective, they have their own language because the staff is primarily composed of people with marketing degrees.
Don't be surprised if you're asked what vertical (niche market) you want to work with. They'll also want your tracking pixel (tracking script for pay-per-click ads) to monitor your ad campaigns. If you don't know how media buys work, you're pretty much hosed.
Unless you know how to talk the talk, I'd back off of CPA marketing until you had consistent sales under your belt, like $600 a month or more.
CPA affiliate marketing is less flexible than you think. Because companies are strongly against spam, they will dictate how you are permitted to market their offers.
One company might only allow you to promote their offer via email marketing. Another company only wants you to advertise their product via paid advertisements, another by blogging, if your blog is worthy enough.
Most of the time, you'll be promoting with paid advertising. This can be through pay-per-click (PPC) methods like Google Adwords, media buys (buying ad impressions on someone's blog), Facebook Ads, etc.
Bottom Line: If you're planning to do CPA affiliate marketing, be prepared to spend $500 to $1000 a month in advertising.
If you still find this sort of marketing intriguing and want to get into it, I do recommend a program that does a decent job covering the basics of CPA Affiliate marketing.