Why I don’t use affiliate links on my blog

30th July 2015

Why I don't use affiliate links

Have you ever read a post about making money online? I bet you have. Even if it wasn’t intentional. Pinterest has a bad habit of roping us into read posts like that.

One method of earning money online through your blog, with minimal effort required, is affiliate links.

What are affiliate links?

Essentially, they are links placed on your website that link visitors to a website where they can make a purchase. Because that link is tailored to you, if the visitor clicks that link and then makes a purchase, you will receive a percentage of the sale.

One of the most common affiliate links platform is Amazon Associates. In fact, I have an Amazon Associate account. Basically, I saw that I could make money don’t nothing, so I signed up.

But, and it’s kind of important you know this, I no longer use affiliate links on my blog. They’ve all been removed.

Why did I remove and stop using affiliate links?

Okay, so I didn’t make any money off Amazon Affiliates. This wasn’t the reason why I stopped, but it certainly made me think “What’s the point?”.

Then I thought long and hard about the concept of affiliate links, and whether or not it was something I liked and wanted to be apart of my blog.

I don’t buy through affiliate links myself

I have never made a purchase through an affiliate link because that’s just not how I shop. I rarely ever make impulse purchases, which means if I did click on an affiliate link I wouldn’t make a purchase there and then.

I never think “X recommends this mascara. I must buy it right now.” and then click the “Add to basket” button. Never.

Say for instance I did like that mascara after thinking long and hard about it, and finally decided to make a purchase, I’m 99.9% certain I wouldn’t return to the website with the affiliate link just to click the link.

This isn’t because I’m mean and think that they don’t deserve my money. I don’t purchase through the affiliate link because:

  1. I always shop around to find the cheapest price, so I’ll probably purchase the product elsewhere.
  2. I rarely buy online. I prefer going to a physical shop. It’s gets me out of the house and saves me paying delivery.
  3. I just wouldn’t think about returning to the websites where the affiliate link is just to make a purchase. My brain doesn’t work like that.

What I’m saying is, why should I expect people to buy through my affiliate links if I don’t buy through affiliate links myself?

The use of affiliate links has a bad reputation

I’m not sure if you will have seen or heard anything about this, but a lot of people hate affiliate links, and actually get deterred from visiting websites that use them.

It is possible to spot an affiliate link in the wild. Simply hover over the link and look for the word “affiliate” somewhere in the URL.

However, there are some people out there who cover this up. They use link shortens like Bitly to hide the fact they are using affiliate links. Sure, you will see it in the URL once the link is opened, but I still think it’s very deceitful.

Also, I HATE (with a passion) when people have a link to their “shop” on their blog, but in fact their “shop” is nothing just a page of affiliate links. And I know I’m not the only one who hates these page because I once tweeted about it and a lot of people agreed with me.

You are probably thinking “But you have a link to your shop in your navigation.”. Yep, and it’s actually my shop where I sell my hand decorates shoes. So yes, I do make money from those, but that’s different!

I suppose it is because I own and run a shop that is linked to my website that I get so annoyed with these affiliate link shops. I bet there are people who have avoided clicking on my shop button because they thought it might be an affiliate link shop.

Another issue I have is when bloggers use affiliate links to link to brands/companies that they wouldn’t buy from themselves.

For instance, I once saw a a blogger using affiliate links to a hosting website. The problem with this? Her blog was not self-hosted. It run on Blogger. So I thought to myself “How can you endorse a company you’ve never even bought from?”. This blogger even admitted in the post she didn’t need hosting.

If you do use affiliate links you should believe in that company enough to want to share them with your readers. If not it can be very misleading.

It’s now how I want to earn money

Sometimes, things just don’t feel right. For some reason, I felt guilty when I had affiliate links in my posts, even though I was completely transparent with my readers. I felt like I was being sneaky.

This is quite hard for me to explain, but it’s just my gut feeling, and I know not every one will feel this way.

***

In summary, you won’t be seeing any more affiliate links around here, and don’t expect to make any money from me clicking on yours, because that’s just not how I make purchases.

I am not condemning anyone who chooses to use affiliate links. When used in the correct way, affiliate links can make you quite a bit of money. If you can make money using affiliate links and you are happy with using them, then why should anyone stop you.

I know we will all have different thoughts and opinions on this, so I invite you to leave your thoughts in the comments section. I am really interested in what you guys have to say on the matter.

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  1. I don’t have links or adds on my blog as it would be too much hassle. I prefer affiliate links instead of lots of adds, as a reader. But it would be strange to read about a great company that offers a great service that the blogger never tried before promoting :))

    • Holly

      I have a little ad in my sidebar (which I don’t think is too intrusive) but I am yet to have any pay out from it.

  2. Why have an affiliate link to a product you don’t support — very true! Sure, I have links to sites like DreamHost, but that’s because I USE THEM. Like you said, why recommend something you’ve never tried? It makes no sense at all!

  3. Cat

    I actually don’t mind affiliate links, but I agree that people should really be using ones to stores that they would use themselves.

    I normally see affiliate links work well when people know that they can help someone else with it. My friend runs a fashion forum, and it got so much traffic, she was forced to buy a dedicated server plan. The members knew she was paying out of pocket, so they did all of their shopping through her affiliate links, and it paid for the hosting!

    When I used to do Japanese artbook reviews, I’d use an affiliate link to where I bought the artbook, and I earned a bit from that as well. I think affiliate links work well when they’re in context, and it’s the actual place the person bought from. I agree that I often don’t buy immediately if I see an affiliate link, but it’s kind of like giving commission to an in-store assistant. If someone really introduced me to a product I want, I’m more likely to seek the link out again just as a thank you.

    • Holly

      That’s a good idea. I have been considering selling advertising on my blog to help pay for the cost of my hosting and domain (especially as I have no income right now).

  4. I hate those posts about making money from your blog. They look really skeezy and spammy to me!

    I have Skimlinks installed on my blog, not going to lie, but nothing has come from it and I don’t expect it ever will. I did think seriously about trying to make money off my blog, but I prefer to just write for fun than to worry about whether my post will get enough views/clicks/whatever to generate revenue. Too stressful.

    I’ve never bought through affiliate links either! I’d prefer to go directly to the site – so like if I see something on a blog, I’ll Google it or something.

    • Holly

      Those posts are always the same too. Very generic.

      Same here! It would be nice to make enough to pay for my domain and hosting, but I’m happy earning a little bit of money from my Etsy store.

  5. This is very true, I’ve never used affiliate links on my blog and from memory have never clicked and bought something through them. It’s weird I wonder how well they actually do overall as a general thing.
    Tegan xx

    • Holly

      I once read a post by a blogger that made over $2,000 from affiliate links to a hosting website, which is crazy!

  6. When I was very naive I was desperate for money so I tried to disguise affiliate links, until a friend told me that what I was doing was wrong. I think that using the links is okay if you have experience with purchasing from the linked site, or honestly would recommend them. I do that for the jewellery boxes I review but I also give very honest reviews and don’t try to hide the link or make people click on it.

    I also shop around and would not return to the site I found the link on, haha. Unless I knew that it was a discount code or link, I wouldn’t go looking. XD

  7. […] There would be no affiliate link “shop”, because you know I’m not a big fan of them! […]