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I Am An Affiliate Marketer

By Yaro Starak
19 Comments

I’ve been thinking for a while how I feel about affiliate marketing and how I conduct promotions on this blog. It’s well know that many bloggers promote via affiliate programs to make commissions, which is one of the ways I monetize my traffic here at Entrepreneurs-Journey. At the moment affiliate income is the second best money earner for this blog, after direct ad sales.

Many people take issue with affiliate promotions arguing that bloggers should disclose all links that are embedded with affiliate tracking code. Some bloggers purposefully do things like include an (aff) note next to affiliate links to remain transparent with their audience regarding affiliation, believing it helps to ensure their credibility remains intact.

I’m all for transparency and previously made use of the (aff) notation on my affiliate links. I’ve also begun posts by explaining my affiliate relationship with the product mentioned in the article.

Recently news circulated about new laws that may impact how affiliates promote online.

I’ve read the opinion of other Internet marketing bloggers who see no reason to disclose affiliate links since that’s the business they are in – affiliate marketing.

Brian Clark mentioned that the (aff) is not good copy – and I agree.

In the past I’ve felt some heat as a result of promoting products on this blog, especially products from Internet marketers who use hype to sell their goods.

As you can see, there is a lot of data that goes into the decision of how to handle affiliate links on your blog, and I’ve decided to make a few changes.

My New Disclosure Policy

I am no longer going to use the (aff) notes next to affiliate links. I believe it is bad copy and hinders the flow of reading, and could also reduce click-throughs. Where I believe it necessary I will, within the article itself, explain my affiliate relationship to a product I am linking to. However I will not do so every time I include affiliate links in an article.

I have no desire to damage my reputation or, if a law comes in regarding affiliate disclosure, risk possible legal problems (although I’m not sure if new laws would affect Australians). I believe I am a credible blogger and not placing an (aff) next to affiliate links will not do any major damage to my reputation. If you disagree that is certainly your right and if you decide to discontinue reading my blog as a result, that’s also your right, but I think you will miss out on a lot of good content.

I want to remain transparent with you, which is why I’m going to flat out state right now that I am an affiliate marketer and you can expect to see affiliate links here on my blog. I receive a commission if you purchase a product after clicking through my affiliate link.

You will usually spot affiliate links on this blog based on the /yaro-recommends/ component of the URL, however not all affiliate links include it. If you ever have any concerns regarding affiliate promotions on this blog you can contact me. This information will be added to my terms of service and privacy policy, when I update them shortly.

I expect a lot of people are tired of affiliate link disclosure issue – I certainly am – and this is likely the last post I will make on the topic. I’m sorry if anyone feels mislead because I no longer use the (aff) next to my affiliate links or they feel I am misleading others who may not realize I am earning a commission.

As I’ve said many times before, I believe since the majority of content I produce on this blog gives plenty back to my readers, I earn the right to promote via affiliate programs now and then to earn some financial reward for my efforts. I will continue to work hard to produce valuable content and as always, it is up to you to decide what you purchase and whether you go through my affiliate link when you do so.

I thank every person who has ever bought via my affiliate links. You motivate me to blog more often and provide me with the financial freedom to devote time to blogging and helping others.

Yaro Starak
Affiliate Marketer

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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19 Comments

  • It’s a fair topic Yaro – I think one of the most important things no matter your point of view on affiliate marketing is transparency – and you’ve done that. I think everyone appreciates transparency on all levels.

  • I would agree with all you have said Yaro.
    As long as you are honest in any reviews about a product, I see no reason to make a distinction between a regular link and one with an affiliate code on it.

  • Yaro, I think that most readers of your blog realise that you have affiliate relationships with a lot of the products that you talk about on the blog. I think that, as James said, as long as you keep the reviews honest, your reputation will stay in tact.

  • I know I have given you grief about that in the past Yaro, but I have to say, in the past few months I have been doing some pretty intense affiliate marketing and I agree with your new policy.

    I think you have earned your reputation and not directly disclosing an affiliate link is your right.

  • Content speaks for itself. I’ve noticed in the past that some of your affiliate-pitching came off as a little lame, but that neither stopped me from coming back nor caused me to suddenly consider you a shill.

    Pro bloggers (and wannabes) aren’t generally in the business solely out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s unreasonable to expect them to be, and stupid to think they’re going to do any kind of unnecessary “disclosing” which would result in a dent to their bottom line.

    That said, you’ll never escape the affiliate link whining. Learn to love it. :D

  • Lan

    Hello Yaro. AMEN to that! I for one do not mind aff links at all. I think, in this business, it’s a bit naive to even expect blog owners to not have aff links.
    For me, as long as the blog offers value, I will keep on visiting it ;)

  • Generally speaking, that’s the view that I have had with affiliate marketing for a while now.

    Obviously this does not bother me in the least that this is the direction that you are deciding to go in.

  • Hey yaro,

    I am an affiliate marketer as well, and I saw you and Darren adding (aff) near your affiliate links.

    I was wondering if I should do that as well. I think you made a good choice.

    This will not hurt your blog credibility.

  • (aff)? Don’t even bother!

    As long as your affiliate offer is worth checking out & buying, I’ll go ahead & buy. I don’t mind if you get commission from me because you’ve added value by recommending something useful to me.

    I’m an affiliate marketer too, not only I don’t use (aff), I even add a bonus as an incentive for people to buy thru my affiliate link.

  • The crux comes down to whether it is WOMM or just an advertising link.

    A good idea is to make a static disclosure policy page of some kind on the site.

    My disclosure policy plugin might be a bit of an overkill unless you want to use it for adverts and stuff as well, but as an alternative I just created a feedburner feedflare that you can use to link through from your feed to a disclosure policy automatically.

    If a link to your disclosure policy is with the content, you are pretty much in the clear on the legal and ethical side.

    I certainly wouldn’t use (aff) next to a link on an affiliate marketing blog, it is like please steal my commissions.

  • Unless it becomes a law I would stay away from (aff) tag. Like others have pointed out, only recommending products that have value to your list will gain their trust and end up meaning more sales. I send affiliate email to my ebay list several times a week and I have never had anyone ask me or complain that the email was an affiliate email.

  • If you are selling to US customers, and it is WOMM, whilst I am not a lawyer, it is my belief it is law to have some form of disclosure.

    In addition to that, the Clickbank rules now require you to comply with FTC regulations on WOMM.

    (used link to point directly to info on Clickbank rules change)

  • Leslie

    Any comments on using affiliate links within the coach/client relationship, without disclosure? ie) coach recommends course/product via affiliate link to client without disclosure.

  • Leslie – it’s up to you, however if your relationship is good with your client I can’t see why you wouldn’t disclose to them that you are an affiliate but the price won’t be any different for them if they buy via you or directly, so if they want to in some way say thank you for your help, enhancing your relationship, they should be happy to buy via your link.

    Only you know what your relationship is like with your clients.

  • Leslie

    Yaro – thanks for the response. Actually, I’m the client in this case, working with a business coach. I’m all for affiliate links – I have a blog full of them. I knew these were aff links, but that she didn’t disclose seemed dishonest to me. I’m happy to support my coach, but disagreed with her decision not to inform me. Thanks again for your input.

  • Ahh, that’s a different story Leslie. I would be suspicious if someone deliberately didn’t tell you, however again it depends on the relationship. I know for clients not familiar with the web it might be more work to explain to them how affiliate marketing works, and if the coach assumed you were not computer literate then maybe she made the decision based on that.

    It all comes down to the person really. You can tell when someone is genuinely trying to deceive you or take advantage of assumed ignorance for money.

  • I will say the disclosure is fair enough. It is interesting how old posts still hold juice. I’ve gotten some interesting points to include in my disclosure policy. Cheers.

  • I’ve often been rather vexed by people who take issue with bloggers using affiliate links. After all, you’re doing readers a service (finding resources for readers), so what’s the problem with getting paid for it? Plus, a reader is going to pay the same price/fee/whatever no matter whether they found the resource through your affiliate link, or via another means. So it really shouldn’t make a difference.

    It also gets me that some people will go to great lengths to get around the affiliate code when purchasing a product. Thankfully, I’ve seen more and more advertisers lately that will cancel your affiliate account if you buy through your own affiliate code… I hope to see more of this, because it takes away quite a bit of the incentive to screw bloggers out of affiliate commissions.

  • Excluding twitter for the moment, why not use an existing paradigm to deal with affiliate links – semantically as microformats?. Something as simple as rel=”affiliate” might be sufficient. A more complex microformat might identify the advertiser or network (a la rel=”license” microformat”).

    This way, the small percentage of people who may be concerned can download the inevitable plugin if needed, management and links to privacy and disclosure pages automated, etc. Of course, the real drivers of this may need to the actual affiliate programs – if CJ for example put this in their auto code generation tool.

    As for Twitter, the major URL shorteners like BudURL could simply set up a complementary domain for affiliate/sponsored links and maintain the disclosure on their site via a link preview function. Again, it would help if Twitter then autotagged the URL.

    A modest proposal, at least. And requires no one else’s permission to start!

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