Affiliate Marketing vs MRR (Master Resell Rights): Which is the BETTER Business Model [2024]

affiliate marketing vs mrr master resell rights featured

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Ever found yourself at a crossroads, trying to decide the best path for your entrepreneurial journey? Two popular models you may be considering are affiliate marketing and master resell rights (MRR). In this article, we’ll compare the core aspects of affiliate marketing vs MRR and put them under the microscope.

Which Is Better Affiliate Marketing or MRR? (My Recommendation)

I make the majority of my income promoting products as an affiliate marketer, but I’ve recently started to sell MRR content as well, so I understand what it takes to be successful with both models.

If I were to recommend one model over another for a true beginner, I would pick affiliate marketing hands down.

The beauty of affiliate marketing lies in its simplicity. You choose niche products, drive your own campaigns, and make commissions directly proportional to your marketing efforts.

Given the low startup cost and the potential for passive income, it’s perfect for those who are new to online business or are not ready to make large initial investments.

It offers the flexibility to test different products and niches with lower financial risk.

But, if you’re confident in your sales abilities and have the resources to invest in quality products upfront, MRR could provide a faster route to significant earnings.

The reality is you really don’t have to pick one or the other. Like me, you can make money doing both simultaneously.


Download this FREE guide if you want to learn how you can make money online with a combination of affiliate marketing and MRR.

Which One Should You Pick to Make Money?

Choosing between affiliate marketing and master resell rights (MRR) boils down to your personal preferences, resources, and the effort you’re willing to put in. Each has its own set of benefits and challenges, and your decision should align with your long-term business goals.

When choosing a business model for earning income online, affiliate marketing stands out as an excellent choice.

The beauty of this model lies in its flexibility and limitless earning potential. Your earnings are directly proportional to your ability to market effectively.

For many, it’s a preferred method due to the low entry barrier and the high potential for passive income over time.

Master Resell Rights, on the other hand, could be your go-to if you’re interested in having more control over the products you sell. With MRR, you buy the rights to a product and sell it as your own, keeping 100% of the profits.

This model requires an upfront investment and a solid strategy to stand out in a crowded market. Yet, it offers a quicker path to earnings for those ready to tackle these challenges head-on.

Here are some considerations to weigh as you make your decision:

Pretty Table with Bold Factors
Factor Affiliate Marketing Master Resell Rights (MRR)
Skills Leans heavily on affiliate marketing skills. Demands more strategic planning and business knowledge.
Initial Investment Typically requires less upfront cost. Requires purchasing the rights to the products first, indicating a higher initial investment.
Earning Potential Provides a percentage of each sale. Offers 100% profit from direct sales, presenting significant earning potential through different means.
Control Limits you to promoting existing products, providing less control. Gives more control over the products, including pricing and marketing, thereby allowing for more strategic direction.

Remember, success in either model requires dedication, continuous learning, and adaptability.

Your choice should align with where you see the most potential for growth based on your skills, preferences, and financial goals.


While money can be made in both models, affiliate marketing offers major advantages for beginners and time-strapped solopreneurs. You can promote at your own pace with total ownership over scaling your income streams.

Are Either of Them Pyramid Schemes?

When diving into online business models like affiliate marketing and master resale rights (MRR), it’s crucial to differentiate them from pyramid schemes.

Understanding this distinction can save you from potential legal issues and ensure you’re investing your efforts into legitimate, sustainable business practices.

pyramid scheme

A pyramid scheme is a fraudulent business model that primarily makes money by recruiting new distributors rather than selling real products or services. The hallmarks of a pyramid scheme include:

  • Little to no focus on actual products – income relies heavily on bringing in new recruits
  • Paying commissions for enrolling others rather than product sales
  • Requiring large upfront buy-ins or investments to join
  • Promising exponential returns dependent on expanding the recruitment “downline”
  • Circulating money internally between invested participants rather than driving external sales.

In contrast, affiliate marketing is all about promoting products or services for a company and earning a commission on the sales you generate.

There’s no recruitment of additional affiliates required for you to earn. Your income stems from your marketing efforts, making it a straightforward and legitimate way to make money online.

Similarly, MRR offers a different approach from pyramid schemes. With MRR, you purchase the rights to sell a product as your own and keep 100% of the profits from your sales.

While it requires an upfront investment, the focus is on selling a tangible product, not on recruiting others. This model encourages entrepreneurship by allowing you to build a product portfolio without the need to create everything from scratch.


Both affiliate marketing and MRR are far removed from the structure of pyramid schemes. They offer genuine opportunities for income based on sales and marketing efforts rather than recruitment.

In my experience, search volume is typically a good indication of overall popularity.

However, popularity can fluctuate based on current economic trends, technological advancements, and shifts in consumer behavior.

Based on Google Trends data, it appears that affiliate marketing is the most searched of the two business models.

Below is a chart comparing the organic search popularity of affiliate marketing and MRR over the last 12 months.

affiliate marketing vs mrr google trends popularity

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a popular type of performance-based marketing that involves a business rewarding its affiliates for each customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

This marketing strategy is based on revenue sharing, where the affiliate is paid a commission for every sale or lead generated.

With affiliate marketing, the business and the affiliate benefit – the business gains more customers, while the affiliate earns money.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

In affiliate marketing, you, the affiliate, select products or services to promote.

When a customer makes a purchase through your unique affiliate link, you receive a commission.

This performance-based earning model is attractive because it allows you to generate income without the need to create products or manage inventory.

The amount of commission you can earn in affiliate marketing varies widely and depends on several factors, including the affiliate program you choose, the products or services you promote, the commission structure, your marketing strategies, and the size and engagement level of your audience.

Basics of Earning Commissions

The commission rate you receive varies depending on the program and the product.

Digital products often offer higher commission rates, typically ranging from 30% to as high as 50% or more.

Digital products include software, eBooks, online courses, and memberships. Because there is no physical product to manufacture or ship, vendors can afford to pay higher commissions.

Commission rates for physical products are generally lower, often ranging from 4% to 15%.

This is due to the costs associated with producing, storing, and shipping physical items.

Grasping the nuances of affiliate commissions extends beyond simply knowing the percentage you earn from each sale.

It’s critical to also familiarize yourself with the various commission structures available, as these can considerably impact your earnings and strategy in affiliate marketing.

  • Pay-per-sale: You earn a percentage of the sale price when someone buys through your link.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC): You earn a fee for each visitor you redirect to the merchant’s website, irrespective of a sale.
  • Pay-per-lead (PPL): You earn a commission when referred visitors provide their contact information on the merchant’s site.

Key Players in the Industry

Affiliate marketing has three primary players:

  1. Merchants: Also known as creators or sellers, they create products or services. They establish affiliate programs to incentivize promotion by affiliates.
  2. Affiliates: Individuals or companies that promote the merchant’s offerings. They use various channels like blogs, social media, or email marketing to reach potential customers.
  3. Customers: The end-users who purchase the merchant’s offerings through affiliate referrals.

Additionally, affiliate networks act as intermediaries between merchants and affiliates, providing a platform for both to connect and manage the affiliate relationship.

With 81% of brands having affiliate programs, there’s a vast array of products and services you can choose to promote.

Pros of Affiliate Marketing

Imagine earning money while you sleep, travel, or spend time with your loved ones.

That’s the allure of affiliate marketing – it offers incredible opportunities for passive income.

Engaging in affiliate marketing comes with several advantages:

  • Low Startup Costs: You don’t need to create a product. Your main focus is on promoting existing ones, saving you from the high costs associated with product development and inventory management.
  • Passive Income Potential: Once your promotional content is live and traffic starts flowing, you can earn commissions round the clock, even when you’re not actively working.
  • Flexibility: Affiliate marketing allows you to work from anywhere and set your own schedule. You can choose products that resonate with your audience and interests.

Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Even though it’s appealing, there are challenges you’ll face in affiliate marketing:

  • Competition: Affiliate marketing has become highly competitive. Standing out in a crowded market requires creativity and strategic planning.
  • Dependence on Merchants: Any changes in commission rates or discontinuation of products can affect your income.
  • Limited Control: As an affiliate, you have minimal control over the product, pricing, and how it’s marketed. You must adhere to the guidelines provided by the merchant.

What is MRR (Master Resell Rights)?

Master Resale Rights (MRR) are becoming an increasingly popular way to generate income online.

MRR applies to all digital goods – eBooks, software, video courses – that you can rebrand and market as your own.

How Does MRR Work?

If you’re venturing into the world of online sales, understanding MRR is crucial to maximizing your revenue potential.

The Concept of Selling Rights

Master Resell Rights is a license that allows you, the purchaser, not only to resell a product but also to pass on the rights for your customers to sell it as well.

This means that when you acquire a product with MRR, you have the capability to sell the product numerous times and keep 100% of the profits.

Unlike traditional retail or even digital sales where you sell the product and the transaction is complete, MRR adds another layer.

This layer allows your customers to become sellers themselves, turning your product into a potential income source for them as well.

It’s a significant advantage over other forms of online selling where you’re limited to profits from direct sales.

Potential for Profit

The potential for profit with Master Resale Rights is substantial. Since you pocket every sale, compared to affiliate marketing where you receive a commission, MRR can quickly become a lucrative business model.

Here’s a basic comparison:

Styled Earnings Comparison Table
Sales Model Earnings from a $50 Product
Affiliate Marketing (20% Commission) $10
Master Resale Rights (100% Profit) $50

By leveraging these assets, an MRR business gives you the flexibility to sell in-demand products, retain control over your online business, and open new income streams.

Pros of MRR

Opting for MRR comes with a number of advantages:

  • Full Profit Control: Since you retain 100% of the sales revenue, your income potential is significantly higher than in commission-based models.
  • Flexibility in Marketing: You have the liberty to set your own prices, package products together, and use them as leverage in various marketing strategies.
  • Quick to Market: With MRR, the products are already developed. You can start selling without the time and resources needed to create something from scratch.

Cons of MRR

But, it’s not all smooth sailing. There are some drawbacks to consider:

  • Initial Investment: Acquiring MRR licenses requires an upfront payment which might be a barrier for some, especially those just starting out.
  • Market Saturation: The availability of MRR products to multiple resellers can lead to market saturation, making it harder to sell without unique marketing strategies.
  • Quality Control: Since you’re not the product’s creator, it’s crucial to vet the quality beforehand to ensure it meets your standards and expectations.

Differences Between Affiliate Marketing and MRR

Diving deeper into the comparison between affiliate marketing and Master Resell Rights (MRR), it’s essential to understand some critical distinctions.

These differences can significantly impact your decision-making process, especially if you’re aiming to establish a new online business.

Startup Costs

When it comes to startup costs, affiliate marketing often appears more appealing due to its low entry barrier.

Typically, you don’t have to pay upfront to promote a product, making it an attractive option if you’re operating on a tight budget.

In contrast, MRR requires an initial investment to acquire the resell rights. This could range from a modest to a significant amount, depending on the product’s value and demand.

Customer Relationship

Customer relationship management varies significantly between the two business models.

With MRR, you’re responsible for customer support and building long-term relationships, as you’re the seller. This can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on your customer service skills and resources.

Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, allows you to sidestep the nitty-gritty of customer service, as the product owner handles all customer interactions.

Revenue Share

The revenue share structure is another critical difference.

In affiliate marketing, your earnings are a percentage of each sale, which varies by program and product.

But, with MRR, you keep 100% of the profits from your sales, offering potentially higher earnings per product sold.

Control Over Pricing

Control over pricing is a significant advantage of MRR over affiliate marketing.

With MRR, you have the freedom to set your prices, offering flexibility to carry out various pricing strategies that can attract more customers.

But, in affiliate marketing, the product owner sets the price, and you have little to no leverage unless you possess a substantial audience or negotiating power.

Risk Factors

The risk factors associated with each model can’t be overlooked.

While affiliate marketing offers a safer bet due to low upfront costs, your earnings are dependent on successful referrals, and competition can be fierce.

In contrast, investing in MRR has an inherent risk related to the initial outlay and the ongoing need to market the product effectively.

But, the potential for higher earnings might justify this risk for some entrepreneurs.

Affiliate Marketing vs MRR: Final Thoughts

Choosing between affiliate marketing and MRR is an important decision for any aspiring online entrepreneur.

But you don’t have to choose…

Investing in both affiliate marketing and MRR can be a winning move, offering both the flexibility of earning commissions and the potential for higher profits through direct sales.

Remember, success in online business isn’t just about choosing the right model but also about how well you execute it.

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