Blogging’s Dirty Little Secrets – Affiliate links

November 12, 2013 by
Filed under: News, Shopping 

Bloggers have a dirty little secret that some don’t want you to know about: they make money off their websites with something called affiliate links.

Are you surprised?  I hope not because we’ve mentioned it more than a few times here on Green Bay Consumer.

When I first started using the internet in my quest to find the best deals around, I followed a lot of different blogs and websites.  Then I figured out that some were actually making money doing it.  It made sense that if they had ads on their site they were making money.   However, I didn’t completely understand how.

If you look at almost ANY website, profit or non-profit, there will be a Disclosure policy.  There’s one here on Green Bay Consumer, too and has been since the beginning.  It simply states that the owners of the site and Kristin and I may or may not be compensated for certain posts.  We also have ads on the right hand side of the site that help generate money.  We’ve always tried to be upfront about that.

If the owners of the site and Kristin and I really wanted to, we could monetize the snot out of this site and do a bunch of different things to make more money.    However, it’s not the main reason we do this.

The hours we put in every week to bring the readers of Northeastern Wisconsin the best deals we can find are a form of stewardship and Paying it Forward. For years  I wondered how I could use my gifts and talents as a way to help others.  My gifts are being The Bargain Sleuth and being a writer.  Stumbling into this “blogging thing” almost four years ago was a watershed moment for me.

I can honestly say that much of the time when Kristin and I write about something, we are not receiving any sort of direct payment.  I love places like School House,  Hansen’s Dairy or any of the area grocery stores, and will mention a great sale, but I don’t get any form of payment to do it.

Some of the companies that do offer Green Bay Consumer compensation if you purchase through the links include:

All of these companies are ones we used before we started writing about deals.  Then we found out we could earn a little money by becoming an affiliate.   So we decided that if we got a little money for the hours we dedicate to help the people of Northeastern Wisconsin, that would be nice.  But not our highest priority. Most of the time we just post the great deals we find, regardless of affiliate compensation.

Do we mention every daily deal that is posted? Heck no, quite frankly, many of them bore me.   I mean, how many Swedish massages does one need? But I will tell you about the daily deals that I truly think are cool.  Same thing with deals on or any other site.

Every single website that has a coupon database is making money off of you printing the coupons, whether it is Copps or Festival Foods or Swagbucks or MyPoints. Every single website that has Google ads is making money if you click the links, whether you make a purchase or not.

If you read the deal blogs long enough, you can figure out which sites are purely in it to make money.  That’s not to say what they are doing is wrong, it’s certainly their prerogative.  But as I learned a long time ago in all my journalism classes, when given information, find out the source and the agenda of the source.

For example, there’s one online store in particular that has a very high compensation rate yet has crummy sales (10 or maybe 20% off, to me that’s not much of a sale).  Yet I frequently see those crummy sales mentioned on those for-profit blogs.  Which is why we rarely rely upon blogs to get my information anymore.  But that’s a story for another installment of Blogging’s Dirty Little Secrets.

If you ever do click the ads or links on Green Bay Consumer, thank you.  If you don’t, that’s fine, too.  Either way, Kristin and I are still gonna do what we’ve been doing for almost four years now.  Helping the people of Northeastern Wisconsin stretch their dollars.

More of Blogging’s Dirty Little Secrets tomorrow!

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