Monday, October 13, 2014
How do you feel about affiliate links?
No finished make today, sorry! I don't do this very often, but I wanted to have a discussion post about a steadily growing phenomenon - affiliate links.
In case you don't know, an affiliate link is a special link that keeps track of how many people buy something after clicking on it. The person who posts the link gets a small commission if someone buys the product after getting to the page from the affiliate link. Affiliate links usually have certain language/words in the URL [like the word 'affiliate']. Otherwise, they just look like a regular link. [Some people do use TinyURL or a similar service to get rid of that language in the link so that the affiliate part is less obvious.]
I've recently gotten a few offers from very small companies that have their own affiliate programs. One of them is for a sewing pattern, so it's something I post about all the time anyway. But people seem to have a lot of negative opinions about affiliate links, so I wanted to do a sort of informal poll about them.
Here's my opinion: As long as the link is something related to what the blogger usually posts about, and as long as it is something they are genuinely recommending [at least as far as I can tell], I don't have a problem with it. To me, it doesn't change the interaction. If someone provides a link to something, I will click on it if I am interested. It is then my choice to buy or not to buy. Whether or not someone is getting compensated for my my click doesn't bother me, because affiliate or non-affiliate, the conditions, actions and choices on my end are the exactly the same.
I also understand that there are a lot of factors that go into the way an affiliate link feels to a reader - level of disclosure, perceived deception, how off-topic it is. Again, I know the opinions are varied, and I'd love to hear what your thoughts are, whatever they are! Why do you hate them? Why do you love them? Why do you not care at all? Comment away!
ETA: Thank you everyone so much for commenting! I'm always interested to hear people's thoughts on things like this and I'm glad so many of you chimed in.