Each month I read hundreds of different blogs, some monetized and some not. It’s always interesting to me to look closely to see how different bloggers monetize their blogs and which ones are using affiliate marketing. I’ve attended blogging conferences (like Blog Indiana) and followed closely others through posts and tweets (like Blog World). Aside from ways to drive traffic, monetization is always one of the biggest topics. Ironically, affiliate marketing is usually not what everyone is talking about! When it is, it is often in a negative light and referred to as “MLM” or “scammy.”
Affiliate marketers are trying hard to get bloggers tuned into affiliate marketing. Affiliate Summit is even featuring a “Monetize Summit” in January as a part of the larger Affiliate Summit to draw attention to how bloggers can monetize their blogs with affiliate links.While the movement overall is growing, there is still a substantial segment of the blogger community that eschews affiliate marketing on principle.
The arguments that I hear from bloggers who are against affiliate marketing usually involve the feeling that they are somehow “selling out” when they are paid. And yet many of those same bloggers have no problem accepting merchandise from a company to blog about it. If the disclosure that you received the merchandise for free is enough to make you feel good about the blog post, why not just disclose that you are an affiliate marketer as well? If you are willing to run a banner ad for paid placement, how is that any different than running a banner ad for which you are paid on a cost per sale basis?
It’s not that I am begging for more competition in affiliate marketing; there is already quite a bit out there. But I can’t help but wonder if our industry would be even stronger if we had more voices like those of the bloggers. Bloggers are adept at building audiences and networking. They are the perfect people to have in our industry as we seek through initiatives like the PMA to unify ourselves.
Are you a blogger who embraces affiliate marketing? If not, why not? If you are, what are you doing to reach out to other bloggers?