Something I don’t have an opinion on

Affiliate links.

It seems like a lot of people have a lot of opinions about this, and I’m really not sure where I fall.

As a consumer and a frequent watcher of YouTube/reader of blogs, I think that the people who are lucky enough to have codes and affiliate links and whatever should disclose it when they’re discussing a brand. If someone is fangirling over a palette that they’re literally being paid to shill, I want to know that their perspective may be skewed so that I can seek other opinions before running right out and buying it.

On the other hand, if someone discloses the affiliate links and is otherwise trustworthy, what’s the problem with clicking the link if we want to buy the products? None of the affiliate links that I’ve had access to have offered massive payouts. It’s like 5% of each purchase, tops. On a $20 palette, they make $1. It seems like a pretty meager way to eke out a living unless it’s someone like Jaclyn Hill who has a gazillion followers and is basically a salesperson (for Morphe).

I’ve been thinking about this since I ventured into the comments of a not-so-recent episode of Beauty News. I love this channel, first and foremost. It was the first time they’d mentioned affiliate links and people seemed to be losing their shit for no reason. They actually said something to the effect of “Use the link or don’t use the link; we don’t care which, but we wanted to let you know that these are affiliate links.” That seems like the opposite of something people should be upset by, but maybe I’m missing something?

Do you have opinions about affiliate links? A lot of my audience is bloggers and Instagram influencers, and I’m interested to hear what you all think.

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11 Comments

  1. Karalee
    Permalink

    The only opinion I have is that if a link is affiliate I would like to know especially w/ bigger influencers since they’re paid to promote the product. Other than that use affiliate links!

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Melanie Jessica
    Permalink

    I definitely think affiliate links need to be disclosed somewhere on that person’s channel or blog and when they’re promoting an item. I tend to err on the side of caution when trusting influencers that get routinely paid to promote one brand. Jaclyn Hill shoving Morphe down my throat got old after a while! But for us smaller influencers, affiliate links are great for making a little more cash

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Teresa
      Permalink

      I feel like Morphe is the reason we can’t have nice things, ie use affiliate links without it making our audience extremely skeptical. I like some of their products well enough but the Jaclyn Hill level “Omg OBSESSED” love is insane. We’re talking 35 shades of brown folks. While good quality and versatile, it’s not exactly innovative.

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  3. Exploding_Nova
    Permalink

    I sit somewhere in the middle, like you. I don’t know how I would feel if I wasn’t in this community in some way, shape, or form, but even at the smallest level, people get offers to collab with a brand/s and therefore get links. A lot of times, the percentage is small, but there are other times it’s not. I would like to think that everyone is completely honest, and if they truly could care less about a product, they wouldn’t push it like crazy. But the fact of the matter is that every mention of that product equals new potential sales and therefore money in the pocket.
    With all of that pointlessness said, I DON’T feel like it’s something that should anger anyone. Before influencers (and still), your favorite celebrities and beautiful models were paid much more to sell you products that we know they dont even use. Were we angry then? Now… the general idea is that the difference in a celeb vs influencer is that an influencer is being honest…. only recommending/collabing/affiliating/peddling things they truly love and use themselves; the idea of transparency and honesty is what made influencers so popular. For the most part, they are. For the most part, the hook up with brands they love. Sure, sprinkled in there are ads that they might not care a whole lot about, but at the very least, 99% of the time, they’re not pushing products that THEY really dislike or hate.
    This is a lot of ramblyness. I just woke up and my brain is having trouble making my point. But look… it’s up to the consumer to make an informed decision, and not to trust everything a person says. As far as a “normal” person making money off being an affiliate, so what?! Any of us would take that offer, and unfortunately I think that’s where a lot of the issue lies: jealousy. Everyone is an influencer these days, and everyone wants to make bank.
    In the same vein as affiliation is also disclosure. It kind of sucks because, for example: if I got a product for free, and love the shit out of it, and want to tell everyone about it, the hashtags I am required by law to use make it LOOK like I’m getting paid and that my review is possibly financially motivated. For me, on my small scale, I only talk about what I truly enjoy, and if I don’t like something, you know it.
    Okay, I was already rambling and now I’m just going on random tangents. All in all, there’s nothing wrong with someone making a dime.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Teresa
      Permalink

      Preach πŸ™Œ

      But this brings up an interesting question that has only recently occurred to me… what if the influencer is honest about their sponsorships and affiliate links, but not about their lifestyle as it pertains to the products?

      I was watching a beauty/lifestyle channel a few days ago, and the chick was doing a q & a. In it she mentioned that she’s abstinent for religious reasons and made a snarky shitty comment about having sex outside of marriage resulting in burning for eternity. I unsubscribed immediately because I’m not about that shaming bullshit, but then I started thinking about her channel. She routinely does sponsored sex toy and lingerie hauls. As a religious abstinent person…?

      So she’s judging those of us who have premarital sex, but also has discount/affiliate codes for adult toy websites? She acts like she’s tried the products, even the new releases, so she’s lying somewhere. But where? No one knows because she won’t address it.

      In beauty terms it would be like someone scorning the use of cosmetics but still talking about them like they have some knowledge and pushing us to buy them. That’s not cool either.

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      • Teresa
        Permalink

        Yeah, no idea. Maybe the brands don’t do their research? They just see that she has x number of followers and give her money. That’s the only logical explanation.

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  4. englishwithkirsty
    Permalink

    I use affiliate links and I disclose that I use them, A. because not doing so is against the rules and B. because I want to be honest with my readers. My readers have never had an issue with it. Maybe it’s because I’m a smaller blogger. Maybe too it’s because that I’ve invariably bought the things that I’m talking about, and it would take a lot of affiliate purchases to give me back what I paid, so I am unlikely to be stuffing my content with affiliate links just to earn money! I like to think it’s because I try to be honest though. There are things that I love, and things that I hate. I try to stay objective, but if something doesn’t suit me, or I don’t think something is good value, I’ll say so.
    This becomes more important as blogs get bigger and do more work with brands – a blogger needs to keep their integrity, and this won’t happen if they say everything they’ve been sent is amaaazing. Then it just becomes one big advertisement, and people are right to question whether this is genuine. Ultimately I’d say that whether you see blogging as a hobby or a source of income, it takes time and effort. There’s nothing wrong with getting something back for that, as long as you’re honest about your use of affiliate links and don’t exchange your integrity for a few sponsored posts. A good reputation takes time to build, but can be gone in no time if readers feel lied to, or that a blogger is just trying to use readers as potential customers for whatever brand is being promoted.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Teresa
      Permalink

      You’re so right. We do this presumably because we enjoy it but it still takes work. If we have the ability to get paid why not take it?

      Integrity. For sure. Something that too many people utterly lack.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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