Last edited by Clinton; May 11th, 2010 at 4:37 AM. Reason: To split thread
Well, it's your decision, Luke. I suppose it was worth a shot to see if the affiliate link makes enough to compensate for the credibility leak.
Whatever others may think about that being perfectly acceptable it would make me feel more than a little bit dirty. In fact, it's a Yucks to me Sticking an affiliate link on a banner ad is one thing, putting that link with my personal recommendation within the content of an article is another.
It's an interesting topic for discussion and probably worth it's own thread. There's a community called the Third Tribe that describes the difference between Internet Marketers and those who "feel dirty" using affiliate links and tries to propose a middle ground.
There's nothing wrong with using affiliate links so as long as you're not bombarding people with them every time you turn around and write something in an e-mail, blog post, or even a forum post. In the case of email, I ahve seen affiliate links being used to excess. It seams that many marketers just give you an affiliate link without giving any real content in the message.
As an Internet marketer myself, I strongly believe in giving a solid message that isn't filled with a bunch of links inside an email message. I leave all of the links till last. That way, the subscriber can get all the information that they need right away without having to wade through affiliate link after affiliate link just to get to the main body of the message. You can easily recognize an affiliate link by all of the strange letters and code that is associated with it. Most of the time, these links are very long and they look ugly not to say the least.
There is a right and a wrong way to use these types of links, and the right way is to add them at the bottom of your email message, add them inside an e-book, special report, or at the bottom of an article. Never ever sprinkle them throughout the body of the message. That's just not good business practice.
TheodoreK (June 2nd, 2012)
I have been involved in Internet marketing thoroughly since 2007. I do ghost writing for people, plus I run and manage an online program for the blind and visually impaired called the Blind Online Success System, which is a comprehensive mentorship and coaching program to teach those who are blind and visually impaired the ropes of Internet marketing. The Blind Online Success System can be seen here: blindonlinesuccesssystem.com
As far as my ghost writing goes, I mainly write on Internet marketing topics. I help other marketers to create e-books, reports and articles for their businesses. My ghost writing page is here teachmeinfomarketing.com/ghostwriting
I absolutely love helping other people, and I am always within reach unlike some other marketers who love to hide behind their huge staff. I believe in being totally up front and honest in my business, and I am never involved in scamming other people. I also have a blog which can be viewed here below.
I gave these links above just in case someone might be interested, but my main focus here will be to deliver high-quality content to everyone. As an Internet marketer, it is my duty to make sure that people get what they want and need from me. I enjoy marketing online as well as writing for others. Writing is my passion. I can write much better than I can give a speech. I am really not all that good at speaking. That's just not my thing.
I enjoy talking but when it comes to speaking, I am just not too good at that sort of thing. Writing is much better for me and since it is my passion I might as well enjoy doing it.
Now when it comes to generalized conversation, sure, I am good at that sort of thing. I can help people all day long on the phone, and I have done it many times for those involved in my Blind Online Success System program. I don't mind helping people here on this forum because I love communicating with others and helping them out with their Internet marketing needs.
I don't claim to know everything, but the things that I do know, I am willing to share with others. There's no greater satisfaction than knowing that you had helped someone with their business or helped someone to do something that they had never done before. You know, it is the simple things that really count. Believe it or not, there are tons and tons of people who don't even know how to create a PayPal button for their site.
I remember when I was one of those people. I used to sit there and wonder how on Earth did those marketers connect PayPal to their web site. It was a skill that I despratly wanted to learn because I knew that if I learned that skill, then I could be in business.
You see, more advanced marketers seam to forget where they came from because at one time, they too didn't have that skill. They needed someone to show them how that worked.
I made a promise to myself, as well as to my Fiance that if I ever reach the point in my business where I am making boatloads of cash, that I would never ever treat others like dirt. I will always be willing to lend a helping hand no matter how much money that I have. I will still give free advice and free help to those who need it. That's the way that an Internet marketer should be. They shouldn't always direct people to purchase their courses and training programs because not everybody can afford them. I was one of those people.
I couldn't afford those high-ticket programs, seminars and such that they were offering. All that I wanted was a little help to get started, not drain my wallet and bank account dry just to get that help. Whatever happened to just being kind, considerate and passionate towards others in this industry? It seams that everywhere you turn, it is all about making money.
You'll make more money by being kind, considerate and passionate about others because in doing that, you will develop a huge following. People want to be treated the right way. They don't always want to be sold to. So if any of you here on this forum need my assistance, I can be reached easily through any of my sites listed above or right here on this forum.
Last edited by Clinton; June 14th, 2012 at 1:40 PM. Reason: removed links. user hasn't returned - this maybe simply a link drop. Shall reinstate if I see him posting
Thanks for the suggestion, Luke, I've split the thread. And thanks for the link to the Third Tribe. I had a read. To my cynical eye it looks like that whole "middle way" between scammy marketing and non-profit is just ...a marketing ploy in itself but it was cool to see how they tried to distinguish themselves and then charge money for what looks like old JAM material (Just Another Marketing).
What do others think? And where do you draw the line between scammy, middle ground and "pure community spirit"? Am I way wrong in my views on the Third Tribe?
I'm hoping the veterans around here who lurk more than post - you know who you are - will join and make this a very interesting thread i.e show the community spirit
I admire your resolve and I've come to believe you are one of the most honorable and credible people I've come in contact with. Would I think any less of you if you recommended something and offered an affiliate link? No.
I don't think getting paid for your time and effort makes you less honorable. There are some people for whom this is not true, but you are not one of them in my book.
As for affiliate marketing in general, consider someone who has a product for sale. For simplicity's sake, lets say an ebook.
The ebook is worth $20. For me, a 50% profit is reasonable and that is what I base my advertising on. If I offer my ebook in a ppc ad, I don't want to spend more than $10 to get the sale. What possible difference is it to me if I spend $10 in advertising or give $10 to an affiliate who sold the product for me?
Granted that scenario scoots across all those folks with no conscience at all who will market anything for a buck. Again, that is human nature and I won't buy anything from people like that if I can help it.
Anyway that's the way I see it.
That's very kind, thanks Andy. But here's the rub: part of the reason why you believe I'm "honorable and credible" is possibly because I've never tried to sell you anything. Once I taint our relationship by trying to make money out of you, I start eroding that trust. Not immediately, but it will happen over time. And what about people who don't already know and trust me? At least some of them would suspect that the recommendation is not completely with their best interests at heart.
When you know someone has expertise in a subject you can trust their knowledge but it should not automatically follow that you trust their honesty. There are plenty of "experts" around, IMHO, who've built a reputation for expertise in a subject and who make money from smooth talking naive masses into confusing expertise and integrity: "I'm the expert, you know you can trust me, click this link, pay the $37 and it will reveal secrets/make you rich/get you laid"
No. I disagree. You are honest because you are honest. Otherwise I'd have to believe you are basically corrupt and only your stubborn resistance to offering anything via an affiliate link keeps you honest. :-)
If I may offer an outlandish example: an alcoholic is an alcoholic whether s/he drinks or not. Drinking does not change the nature of the person.
On the other hand I understand your point.
Most people seen to believe in "shades" of honesty. They don't lie, they "fudge" the truth. I recently had a disagreement with a psychiatrist who maintains lying is a "social skill".
To this end I take all endorsements with a grain of salt. Yes, I do grant more credibility to any endorsement offered without an affiliate link. But the judgment of the person is on the line either way.
If the product does not perform as the person who recommended it says it does and s/he made money from the recommendation, then this does taint my view of that person's integrity.
On the other hand there seems to be a growing mood that suggests anyone who "sells" anything is "slimy". Or "profit" is a dirty four-letter word.
Again, I'll grant you, too many people will say anything to make a sale. And too many other people are swayed by salespeople like that. But rather than use this as an excuse to use some sort of "literary license" in sales materials, I contend this is the very reason marketers need to be totally above board in their efforts.
I think there is still room in this world for honest people to offer honest value for an honest profit. I think there is still honor in honest salesmanship.
While I really wish I could read a sales letter, believe what it says and make a decision based on whether the product or service offered meets my reasonable expectations, this is often not the case at all. Often I am left relying on what someone else says about it for my decision. As such I look for people who have built a reputation as a straight shooter. I don't ask for perfect judgment just a knowledgeable opinion. A decent person will share that knowledge whether or not they get paid to do so.