I wanted to write a little bit about my use of affiliate links. Basically, it’s a link that people can use to purchase a product. If someone clicks on the link and actually buys the product, I get some money. If that individual buys the product by independently finding it, without the link, I don’t get any money. The price of the product itself doesn’t vary.
Making a blog or a podcast into a source of income is a risky business. Back when I was stuck in my job with the Insane Commute, I listened to a ton of podcasts. There was one that I particularly loved. The hosts were smart, kind, and down-to-earth. I loved the topics that they discussed. Then, one day, I listened to a new episode. Here’s how it went down:
Of course they had ads. I didn’t really mind that they had ads, although I would rather have heard someone else (besides the hosts) actually speaking the ads on air. Anyway, I generally accepted that since the podcast was “free,” I’d pay for it by listening to ads for stuff that I would later have to resist buying.
2) Long discussion of podcast-branded “merch” that I had no interest in buying.
This is another podcast thing. T-shirts, coffee mugs, you name it, it’s out there. The money was going to go back to the hosts, so I thought that it was fine that they were selling things. But I really didn’t want to keep listening to them talk about exactly how the “merch” was designed, produced, etc. It wasn’t interesting to me, and I was trying hard to be frugal and not buy that stuff. Besides, I wanted the hosts to start talking politics — that was the whole reason I was listening to the podcast, dangit!
Ok, ok, more ads. Not too much of a problem there.
4) Paid conference
One of the podcast hosts started talking about this Forbes conference that she attended. She disclosed that she was paid to go, since she’s an “influencer.”
After that, I stopped listening to that episode and never listened to the podcast again. I could take the ads, I could take the “merch” talk, and I could take the glowing review of a conference put on by a highly problematic company. But I couldn’t take them all at once. It was advertisement overload.
I wanted to monetize this blog, as I think that having a boost in my income will really help me on my journey to Financial Independence. But I didn’t want to have an excessive number of ads. So I’m not putting up banner ads at this time, and I’m not doing any sponsored posts. The most I will do is put affiliate links in posts, and those will be with an honest review. I don’t think there are many things I can recommend wholeheartedly without reservations (though War and Peace would be one of those).
And just to round it out, here’s my required text from Amazon.com:
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.