Linking to affiliate links

SEO Tutorials | July 14th, 2007 | Comments Off on Linking to affiliate links

You might have notice many times on webmaster sites when they link on a affiliate link they will disclose and mention that the links is in fact affiliate link (mainly this will happen on webmaster blogs or tech related blogs).

Let’s explain in few words what affiliate links are actually. Affiliate link is a link provided from a company that does run a affiliate program with a tracking code. Users can signup for the affiliate program and earn by leads if someone purchases a product from the company and has reach that companies website via the affiliate link. Usually affiliate links look like this companysite.com/affiliates/?ref=XXXX (where XXXX replaces the numbers) or there can be different methods how affiliate links are displayed, lets see how the domain name parking company NameDrive‘s (aff link) affiliate link looks like (http://www.namedrive.com/?ref=5456) while SEDO‘s (also a domain name parking and domain name sales company) looks like this (http://www.sedo.com/main.php3?language=us&partnerid=28007).

Why are affiliate links used from people.
If you are into website monetizing, apart Google AdSense or Yahoo YPN and link or post sales the other profitable way to make money online is from affiliate sales. You simply sign up with a company (of your website niche mainly, those affiliates convert better) that offers affiliate program on their website and you automatically receive your affiliate link that you can place in your website as link, banner or any other method. When visitors will see that link and click on it they will reach the companies landing page where they offer their services. If the visitor that has clicked your affiliate link purchases a product with that company you will receive a % (or flat rate, depends on companies affiliate program) for that sale.

Now to get back to the main reason why i started this post, today i heard a MP3 clip of a radio show with Jeremy Schoemaker aka Shoemoney and Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz. On this show (at the second part of the show) there was a argument treated in regard of affiliate links in blog posts. Jeremy’s idea was to present to readers when there is a affiliate link (see NameDrive’s link, it has a (aff link) after the link), while Rand Fishken would stand on that “I don’t need to tell people if it is a affiliate link or a normal link”.

This was not the only argument treated on this show, but it was the one that touched me mostly and made me think. I stand on Rand Fishken’s side, I don’t see anything wrong to not mention that the link is affiliate since i don’t think i am cheating my readers or anything similar. It is a link, and if the reader does find the link and does want to follow the link he freely can do that if it was a affiliate link or not. The fact is that from affiliate links (as explained above) we receive a percentage from the company that sells products, not from the readers so the reader has nothing to lose if purchases a product through the affiliate link, he would actually help the blog holder to earn some $$$ and maintain the blog fresh and informative. You can hear the show here or hear other shows of Shoemoney on Webmaster Radio FM.

Do you think it is important to let the readers know that a link is a affiliate link and why?

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