What are Verticals?

In affiliate marketing, a vertical refers to a category of promoted goods. These can be anything from physical goods to digital products, services, or even mobile apps. Each vertical is categorized based on how strictly it follows the rules of advertising on the platform, with “white” verticals being the least risky and “black” verticals being completely prohibited.

“White” Verticals

White verticals are those that have a low risk of being banned on advertising platforms. These are typically physical goods, such as Chinese goods that are low-quality and cheap. They are sold on sites for $35-50 and have a return on investment (ROI) of up to 100%. This means that for every $100 invested in advertising, you can expect to earn $200 in return.

E-commerce stores such as Aliexpress, iHerb, Reebok, and FarFetch are great examples of white verticals. By promoting these stores, you can earn around 10% of the purchase amount of the client you bring in. That method of affiliate marketing also known as dropshipping.

Another way to make money in white verticals is by taking on client projects as a media buyer. You can charge anywhere between $550-$1200 for setup and then take a monthly subscription fee. Your expenses are paid by the client on top of your fee.

Mobile games and apps are also a great way to earn money in white verticals. You can advertise an app on your phone and get paid $1-2 for every install. This is much easier than convincing someone to make a big purchase, and the payout can add up quickly.

Finally, developing your own sites is another way to earn money in white verticals. By growing your following on various platforms like personal websites, Telegram and Instagram you can make money from your channel with referral links.

“Gray” Verticals

Gray verticals are those that have a higher risk of being banned on advertising platforms but can still be profitable. The ROI for gray verticals is around 150-300% on average, meaning that for every $100 invested in advertising, you can expect to earn $300 in return.

One common example of a gray vertical is products that promise magical cures, such as weight loss creams. These products often violate advertising rules, but with the right approach, they can be marketed successfully.

Gambling is another gray vertical that can be profitable. You can earn money by referring players to online casinos or slots. There are two models for earning money in gambling: CPA (Cost Per Action) and Revshare. With CPA, you earn a fixed amount of money for every player that deposits a certain amount, while with Revshare, you earn a percentage of the player's profits for as long as they continue to play.

Other gray verticals include dating offers, adult content, and cryptocurrency. These can be profitable, but they come with a higher risk of being banned on advertising platforms.

“Black” Verticals

The black vertical is a term used to describe a range of offers that are deemed too risky or inappropriate for mainstream advertising. These offers are often associated with adult content, pharmaceuticals, gambling, and other sensitive or controversial topics. While some of these offers may be legal, many are not, and advertising them can lead to bans, fines, or legal trouble.

One of the main challenges of the black vertical is getting through ad network moderation. Most mainstream advertising networks, such as Facebook and Google, have strict policies that prohibit certain types of content. This means that black vertical offers have to be promoted through alternative channels, such as native ads, pop-ups, or email marketing. While these channels may be effective, they also come with their own set of challenges, such as low-quality traffic, ad fatigue, or spam complaints.

The black vertical is a broad term that encompasses a variety of niches and offers. Here are some of the most common subcategories:

Black Merchandise

This subcategory includes products that are typically associated with adult or sexual content, such as penis enlargers, sex toys, or lingerie. These products are often sold through e-commerce platforms or affiliate networks, and require a certain level of creativity and stealth to promote. Because they are considered high-risk, black merchandise offers often come with high payouts and generous commissions. However, promoting them requires a delicate balance between appealing to the target audience and avoiding ad network policies.


This subcategory includes alternative drugs and supplements that claim to have the same effects as prescription drugs, without the high cost or legal restrictions. These offers are often associated with weight loss, muscle gain, or sexual performance, and require a certain level of expertise and networking to promote. Because they are highly sought after, pharmaceutical offers can have extremely high payouts, sometimes exceeding $100 per conversion.
Legally speaking, in most cases, working with black verticals won't land you in trouble with 100% chance. The maximum penalty is an administrative fine, which is rare. It's more a matter of personal ethics and morality.
Team of PST.NET always recommends carefully choosing the objects of advertising and avoiding any prohibited or illegal goods. We wish you good luck with finding a suitable niche for promotion, and you already know where to get trusted virtual cards for affiliate marketing and media buying :)

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