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Asking viewers to click your affiliate links?

 4:09 pm on Apr 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

So I run a very sucessful site in a small niche. If everyone who viewed my site clicked on my affiliate links (where I then earn a %age of any sales) it would be a pretty healthy income.

My merchants are fairly specific and ones that I know a large proportion (50%ish) of my users use on a regular basis.

I've put a lot of work into making the site, and while it does return me some income at the moment, it's far from being a living.

A large number of people who use the site know of me personally, so I think the issue of "trust" is hopefully dealt with.

Question is, will I put people off of my site if I put blatant "please click on the affiliate links to help me earn money from this site, which in turn means I can make it a better place for you guys" or similar?

Any experience/studies/advice?



 4:22 pm on Apr 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

It would certainly not be helpful if you were to phrase it like that, since clicks alone would not help you earn more money, and an increase of clicks with no sales will lower your conversion rate. You say, however, that your visitors visit (and buy from) the merchant's website on a regular basis, so you might write something like this: "To support [your website], please use [this link] the next time you're buying from [the merchant]". In any case, you should probably confer with the affiliate manager to find out if this would be acceptable to them.


 4:24 pm on Apr 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

To give a clearer idea of my situation, suppose I run an avid book group of 5,000 regular site visitors. They chat about books and compare books, etc etc. At the top of the site is a banner for some big online book shop. The majority of my users go to aforementioned online book shop regularly to buy new books (though I don't actually promote any individual books on the site), so I want them to click on that link as often as possible, to ensure they get that 30-day aff cookie.

(it's not a website about books, obviously)

Or maybe I should just be cookie stuffing and assume that no-one will mind if they find out, since they all realise what a useful resource I've made for them. Haha ;) Jokes... honest!


 4:36 pm on Apr 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

If I were an advertiser and you were doing this I would stop advertising with you.

It is against the rules of most major ad centers for a good reason.

The money isn't free, it doesn't come from a magic ad tree, there are actual businesses paying for ads, they aren't interested in getting a page load from the ad, they are interested in selling something. You aren't saying, "hey buy from my advertisers", you are saying, "hey click this link so I get money".

Asking people to click a link to take money from the advertiser and put it in your pocket when they have ZERO intention being receptive to the offering never-mind considering buying something is something I don't agree with.

Put the shoe on the other foot, if you were spending $500 a month on ads and found that a good chunk of your ad budget was going to a site where the users had no interest in your products or offerings but only clicked to give the site owner your money what would you think of that?


 4:41 pm on Apr 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you want to profit from the goodwill of your regular visitors, you need to let them know that when they click on those ads and buy something, you'll get a percentage of sales, the earnings of which work toward the maintenance of the site (or a new car for you, or whatever). That way, the next time they intend on making a purchase at the merchant's website, they might remember that going there through your ads allows them to support your site.


 4:48 pm on Apr 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

"Put the shoe on the other foot, if you were spending $500 a month on ads and found that a good chunk of your ad budget was going to a site where the users had no interest in your products or offerings but only clicked to give the site owner your money what would you think of that?"

Well that isn't the case - I don't get paid per click, I get a percentage cut of anything they buy after they've clicked. If they don't buy anything, I don't get anything.

But - if they fully intended to use that site already - then yes, the click earns me some pocket change, with no benefit to the merchant (as they would have made the sale anyway).


 4:50 pm on Apr 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

robzilla - exactly. Does it work though? Or are people too meanspirited to click on something that doesn't DIRECTLY benefit them? Would I in fact end up with LESS clicks as people don't like to do something they've been (in essence) told to do?

[yes I know the wording it in my first message wasn't the best, obviously I'd come up with something better. Though if anyone here wants to chime in with suggestions... be my guest :)]


 7:11 pm on Apr 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Only testing will tell you whether or not it works (and with what phrasing). If appropriate, you could ask for feedback from your regulars. I would certainly avoid trying to tell them what to do; make it look like a friendly request, a plea (but no begging), and I doubt they'll be "too meanspirited to click" (that is, if they like your site).


 7:38 pm on Apr 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

And is this commonly allowed or not? I had a scan of the terms and conditions and couldn't see any mention on the topic at all. Compare to adsense for example where we all know you get shot instantly if you ask people to click on them! :)


 8:15 pm on Apr 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

And if you are, in fact, also running Adsense ads, I would not recommend doing this even if it were only for your pay-per-sale ads. Visitors might confuse the ads, and you would run the risk of being booted from the Adsense program.

If pay-per-sale is all you've got, I don't see any harm in it.


 3:51 pm on Apr 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

"I had a scan of the terms and conditions and couldn't see any mention on the topic at all."

most do address this, and forbid it.

what did you scan, the merchants t&c or the network's?


 4:04 pm on Apr 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Personally, I feel that doing it really downgrades your site- it sounds like a form of begging. No matter how you spin it, it's going to come across like "Please buy something from my partners to help me out" to some people. Some people will be turned off by that. And some people will probably change their clicking habits to help you out. The mix depends on the type of visitors you get.

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