To Affiliate-link or Not Affiliate-link - That is The Question

Last Update: December 15, 2013

I just don’t know where I stand on this one.

I would never recommend anybody buy something if I didn’t feel they would benefit from it. I take that back, I never recommend anybody buys anything. (That’s probably why I’m about to get the sack [lol]. Actually I’m not laughing about that because it’s got some pretty serious ramifications.)

I do recommend people take a look at something if I feel it would benefit them. I usually tell them why, but I always make sure they realise in the end they make their own decision. Warmly.

But, I have this ideal.

It’s that when we’re doing that ‘something’ that nourishes our destiny, or fulfils our potential we’re also bringing our unique brand of value to the world. And when we honour our value, our value honours us by returning. Affiliate marketing and other cyberspace activities fit well into this paradigm.

But I also get that this is open to abuse, sometimes through the frailty of human character, sometimes through desperation, sometimes other circumstances.

So what’s the answer?

Maureen shared a picture in Joan’s blog of Thomas Jefferson’s ‘academical college’ and this just oozed integrity and authentic learning and sharing. I just love that. Oh that money was unnecessary [lol])!

On the other hand, not very long ago I was in a (fairly heated [lol]) discussion with a senior pharmaceutical rep. She was basically saying that if alternative treatments are so effective and don’t cost billions to test etc, why don’t we do them for free? Silly bl**dy woman!

This argument is bizarre. If didn’t receive as well as give, how the devil would I pay for the roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in my belly. Or maybe good people should be in sack-cloth to prove their worth? Grrrr ....

I'm sorry, I digress - just let me retract the horns and dissipate the red mist.

If we have a no-affiliate-links policy in WA (and by the way I don’t think I ever have used an affiliate link in here), would that mean there would be less sharing of information? Because whether you recommend a resource via affiliate link or non-affiliate link, the program or resource would still have to be paid for.

And if I buy something and get value out of it, nothing makes me happier than knowing the recommender received their value in the transaction.

But yes [sigh], it is open to abuse.

This is a very complex question which involves subjective perspectives, beliefs, values, personal responsibilities, definitions and boundaries of business, and probably a whole lot more.

I’m very pro Jefferson integrity. Anybody who knows me knows that, especially in the non-cyerworld. But I’m also anti the idea that people must be protected from themselves and their circumstances. I guess this is a bit of another red flag for me because I grew up being ‘protected’.

But with the best of intentions and without realising it, that protector disempowered me, made me think I couldn’t do anything and that everybody who had money was out to make more money out of me! It's taken me a long time to undo all that, and it took even longer to realise it needed undoing [lol]!

Where does this leave me regarding affiliate links in WA?

Oh dear – still on the fence [lol].

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View578 Premium
I don’t know why there would be any such issue with links to products online being included in the training program. Doesn’t this pertain to the very reason we signed up in the first place? Seeing direct examples of Internet Marketing in the very training program that promises to inform us about Internet Marketing doesn’t seem to be an annoyance, or something “bad” at all to me. If anything, is showing us examples of kinds of things WE could be doing along with giving us some more possible help along the way. Why shouldn’t they benefit from any possible extra measures? If we’re serious enough about trying to make a living with this, we’re probably more likely to be focused on things that are important in regards to helping us go about doing so rather than using our time discussing: “Was that a bad thing to do”, “is it impolite to do this?”, “was that exploitation”, “was that fair”, “was that piece or writing in line perfectly with our so-called moral beliefs” and questions of that kind of nature. If you’re so moral than show it in your lifestyle rather than “lecturing” to other people about what you think is “good” and what you think is “bad”. Well, there’s my put. Have a nice day lol.
Louise M. Premium
Interesting post Paula! I personaly don't see what's the problem with affiliate links as long as there is transparency and that we share stuff that are of high quality and take the time to bring value along with the recommendation of a product. I think we can very well auto regulate ourselves. A few days ago, a member posted a blog post on his WA blog, there was like 3 sentences and a link. (Like "Check this Out", "It's awesome", "You'll love it". lol). And I commented on it just telling the guy that the link was indeed interesting but that he should tell clearly that it's an affiliate link. And Jay commented as well to tell him that it would have been great if he had written a post about what the link is about, to bring value to the community instead of a link-stuffed post. So I believe there's no real danger. I trust our community. Relevancy, quality and value will always prevail. I'm not worried.
jatdebeaune Premium
I just read Maureen's post and how Dusan handles his affiliate links. I think that is great. Dusan offers so much support. Why wouldn't someone purchase through his link, especially when he has helped them. I do not believe in dis-empowering myself or anyone else. I am not my brother's keeper. I like to know about programs and software as much as the next guy. Don't mind affiliate links. I find too much self promotion, and buy this, buy that stressful. I think it just makes it difficult for new people to focus. It's been rough on me.
jatdebeaune Premium
Paula, to my mind, there's nothing wrong with offering a service and making a profit. That's business and as it should be. Your associate said something very antagonistic when she suggested that alternative health care practitioners should offer their services for free. There is great science, great training, knowledge, and insight behind alternative health care and the non-drug solutions to disease. Again, to my mind, it is a far more intelligent way to heal an illness, to first look at the reasons a person is suffering, and treating the cause of illness rather than the symptoms. According to Chinese health care, the doctor is paid if the patient stays well, assuming it is the doctor's job to keep the patient free of disease. In our society, it's the opposite. Many of our medicinal remedies complicate the problem, and result in even more severe illness. My doctor doesn't like me very much. I like to challenge her. I believe there is a place and use for everything, even medicine. Given the choice, I choose alternative care because I want to stay healthy by achieving balance. Medicines often create imbalance. Forgive the digression. Had to address that foolish associate. As far as WA is concerned, if I am teaching anything, I want my students to follow my lead. Of course they are free to study whatever they want on their own, but I am their leader in this case. I imagine they are depending on me to deliver. If I give piano lessons and start my students with Clementi, I don't want them bringing in Rachmaninoff yet. I'm the teacher and they're not ready to handle Rachmaninoff. If they're paying me to teach them, then let me do my job. If I fail to launch my student, get them playing the piano, then they should go to another teacher. If the student knows better than the teacher, and brings in all kinds of composers that are too difficult for them, they're going to fail. Sure, we are all free to make decisions and should be free to do whatever we want. You succeed, you own it. If you screw up through arrogance or ignorance, then you own that too. I think it's important to chart a course for newbies. If it's too free form, then you'll end up with no success and total frustration. I don't feel awful about affiliate links. I just think WA is a place where I want to learn a method that will help me launch my goals. I don't need unnecessary distraction. I don't need to be aggravated by a marketer who uses slick ploys to pressure me into buying a product. Now THAT is what should not be allowed in an academic venue. Just my humble opinion.
maureenhannan Premium
Enjoyed your thoughtful, intelligent post, Paula. I really liked the way Dusan shared links with me when I was picking his marketing brain like mad. Each time he shared an affiliate link, he would say, essentially, I know you're smart enough to go around my affiliate link and of course I invite you to do that if you feel that's best. But if you got something of value out of this back-and-forth we've just had, I would certainly appreciate your using my link.

Now how disarming is that?! And of course he HAS taken time away from his own projects to engage in dialogue with me and try to steer me away from making common newbie errors. In so doing, he has saved me time and taken away from his own. So, when I do (after researching) decide to buy some new tool or tutorial, I feel happy about going through his link.

And I don't mean to make it sound as though my "academical village" education experience was perfect. It wasn't. (Should have required me to take a business class or two.)

But you might be interested to know that my oldest daughter is entering her senior year there. Also an English major like me. And, in fact, the favorite teacher/advisor that I had while a student is now teaching/advising my daughter. Once more, without even a smidge of self-promotion. (Google "Joseph Kett," and you'll see lots and lots of books.)