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Thread: What is wrong with affiliate links?

  1. #1
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    What is wrong with affiliate links?

    Now before the mods jump on this as causing trouble, I'm not. I know many forums and even Google and Facebook all frown on affiliate links. And yet, Google promotes affiliate links themself. So do many forums such as WPW. I see affiliate links all the time on the forum.

    Is it that they (not just WPW) don't want competition for affiliate money?

    Facebook answered this with "most affiliate links are for get rich quick schemes ..." Really? I know Clickbank is famous for those programs and I can see banning them specifically (get rich quick with little or no work) but what if I'm selling Widgets for Acme Widget company? Is an affiliate link to them in my signature line really all that bad?

    On the other hand, I know we don't want trolls doing nothing but posting nonsense just to get their links shown. Thus a good rule about no signature links until X number of relevant posts are done is good.

    If it is all about the revenue, I can see that too. Sites have to support themself somehow and anything from Adsense to other affiliate links help do that. I know my blogs get swamped with crap links and I just delete them. Why should I let somebody else make money off of my blog?

    So what do other people think? Is it bad rep for affiliate links due to the get rich ones? Is it wanting no competition for the revenue? Or is it a prevention of trolls?

    Disclaimer : I am NOT trying to start a fight with WPW or get them to change their rules on this one. I have just found it interesting that affiliate links seem to be banished and yet used by the banishers (including Google, Facebook etc).

  2. #2
    Administrator rah's Avatar
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    Please report any affiliate links you come across on our forum.

    The reason we don't like them here is that it causes new members to only sign up to get extra links coming from us. They are only here for that one reason and not to help out others in the community. We are about helping each other, not helping yourself.

  3. #3
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    Rah

    First off, don't take this wrong at all. Like I said, I'm trying to just get some feel for why, in general, sites don't like affiliate links. You say it is because the site is here to help the community and not yourself. Really? So why can people have links in the signature to their own site which is obviously trying to drum up interest and probably business for them? Even the mods have them. It is okay by the rules. Of course debating the rule about no links inside the body that go outside WPW is another issue. It is a silly one. Just a quick for instance. Say I know where there is a great article discussing the issue at hand, I can't put a link to it according to the rules. But then I will probably break other rules and laws if I copy the article to WPW. Hmmmmmm. Anyway, that is a different issue altogether.

    Your one point of stopping trolls is one of the reasons I agree with.

    But now you want me to point out affiliate links on WPW? As I post, right above the box to submit a post is a big banner ad. That is an affiliate link. At the bottom of the page is another banner ad. An affiliate link.

    This is just something to think about. I fully agree in stopping trolls. I can also see the point of wanting to monetize the site and thus only the owner can put up affiliate links. (AdSense is affiliate links) So let's move beyond those 2 obvious answers and see if anybody can say why a ppc company like Google or Facebook would block affiliate links.

    Anybody have a clue why ppc companies would turn down revenue?

    Now as a side note. One very successful discussion board I once ran had a section called something like "The Troll Cave". We allowed people to post ANYTHING in there. BUT we limited the total number of posts in there to 100. So once a post reached 101 on the list it was gone forever. Turned out that the life expectancy of a post in there was about 2 minutes. At peak times you could post and before you could even go look at it, it was gone. But it gave those trolls the satisfaction of posting on our forum without clogging up the other areas.

  4. #4
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    ceejay, Too many affiliate links are a bad thing. Yes. You can go to sites that have so many affiliate links on them (banner ads, adsense, etc) that you can't find the useful content, if there is any. Some are intentionally set up that way such as adsense sites. They will look like an index of sites that match your search criteria and hope you will click on one of the links. These are stomped on by Google as fast as they can find them but they are still flourishing.

    What do you mean by "better known affiliate options"?

    Places you can advertise your affiliate product? There are free classified ads sites. There are many discussion boards that will allow you to put affiliate links in your sig line as long as you are an active participant in discussions and not just a troll. Some blogs will let you put an affiliate link in your sig line or even in the website address. Of course that doesn't give any info on the link since normally it is connected to your name but it is there. You can also do your own blog and then submit it to blog farms etc.

    And finally, PPC.

  5. #5
    Administrator rah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonOmite View Post
    First off, don't take this wrong at all. Like I said, I'm trying to just get some feel for why, in general, sites don't like affiliate links.
    I'm not, I understand where you are coming from.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonOmite View Post
    You say it is because the site is here to help the community and not yourself. Really? So why can people have links in the signature to their own site which is obviously trying to drum up interest and probably business for them? Even the mods have them. It is okay by the rules.
    I think we have two different definitions for affiliate links. Our banner ads and user signatures are not affiliate links. What we consider affiliate links are urls with some kind of identifier in the url for tracking/sales (example.com?id=username). Those are the ones we have problems with because they are usually only there for monetary gain.

    You can put 3 links in your signature to anything you'd like as long as there are no personal identifiers in it and they don't contain objectionable material (adult, gambling, etc.).

    Quote Originally Posted by DonOmite View Post
    Say I know where there is a great article discussing the issue at hand, I can't put a link to it according to the rules. But then I will probably break other rules and laws if I copy the article to WPW. Hmmmmmm. Anyway, that is a different issue altogether.
    Sure you can. If it's related to the thread you can link to it, and you can even quote parts of it. We don't discourage people for bringing in outside information as long as it's not plagiarized and it's on topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonOmite View Post
    Your one point of stopping trolls is one of the reasons I agree with.

    But now you want me to point out affiliate links on WPW? As I post, right above the box to submit a post is a big banner ad. That is an affiliate link. At the bottom of the page is another banner ad. An affiliate link.
    Those are our house ads. We have those on the site to be able to continue offering WebProWorld to the public at no charge. Without them, we aren't here.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rah View Post
    I'm not, I understand where you are coming from.
    I'm coming from the position that affiliate ads are not bad for the most part. But there must be reasons why sites don't want them. You came up with the answer for WPW with the "house ads". That is fully understandable. Affiliate ads only by the house to monitize the site. I think everyone can agree with that position.
    Quote Originally Posted by rah View Post
    I think we have two different definitions for affiliate links. Our banner ads and user signatures are not affiliate links. What we consider affiliate links are urls with some kind of identifier in the url for tracking/sales (example.com?id=username). Those are the ones we have problems with because they are usually only there for monetary gain.
    Now you see, those banner ads DO have identifiers in them. An affiliate link is any link that goes to a product or service that is not your own but from which you will get monetary compensation from sales. Simple as that. You are selling somebody elses' products for a piece of the action.

    You earlier said that part of it was that the site was for helping each other and not yourself. That is why I asked about signature links. Everybody who has a link to their own site in their signature, which is okay by the rules, is promoting themself. Just trying to clarify that here. I'm not saying they are affiliate links but they are not just there to help the community either.

    And just to review the rules with you:
    Advertisements or links to other forums/sites/products/services are subject to whim of admin. (In general, affiliate links; links to other forums; and linking to a client site or one's own web site (except in one's signature) are not acceptable. Exceptions include sites posted for Review.)
    Am I reading that wrong or are links to external sites frowned upon? (At the whim of the admin) Or are they okay? What if the article is on my site? Can I link to it in a post here? Just asking. If I have this question you know others do too.
    Quote Originally Posted by rah View Post
    You can put 3 links in your signature to anything you'd like as long as there are no personal identifiers in it and they don't contain objectionable material (adult, gambling, etc.).
    Now you are confusing me again. If I put a link to my site in my signature, it is identifiable. Most of my sites have DonOmite in the name.

    So I think the final part about house ads is the primary reason affiliate links are not allowed. But trolls is a good reason too. I can see that. No need to make up stuff about "helping the community" or whatever. Everyone understands you have to finance the site and you don't want trolls.

    BUT back to the next part. Why would PPC sites refuse certain affiliate links?

  7. #7
    Moderator mjtaylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonOmite View Post
    I'm coming from the position that affiliate ads are not bad for the most part. But there must be reasons why sites don't want them. You came up with the answer for WPW with the "house ads". That is fully understandable. Affiliate ads only by the house to monitize the site. I think everyone can agree with that position.

    Now you see, those banner ads DO have identifiers in them. An affiliate link is any link that goes to a product or service that is not your own but from which you will get monetary compensation from sales. Simple as that. You are selling somebody elses' products for a piece of the action.

    You earlier said that part of it was that the site was for helping each other and not yourself. That is why I asked about signature links. Everybody who has a link to their own site in their signature, which is okay by the rules, is promoting themself. Just trying to clarify that here. I'm not saying they are affiliate links but they are not just there to help the community either.

    And just to review the rules with you:

    Am I reading that wrong or are links to external sites frowned upon? (At the whim of the admin) Or are they okay? What if the article is on my site? Can I link to it in a post here? Just asking. If I have this question you know others do too.

    Now you are confusing me again. If I put a link to my site in my signature, it is identifiable. Most of my sites have DonOmite in the name.

    So I think the final part about house ads is the primary reason affiliate links are not allowed. But trolls is a good reason too. I can see that. No need to make up stuff about "helping the community" or whatever. Everyone understands you have to finance the site and you don't want trolls.

    BUT back to the next part. Why would PPC sites refuse certain affiliate links?
    Let me try and answer some of your questions.

    1. Affiliate Links: For the most part, affiliate links don't add anything. Chances are it's a cookie cutter site where you find the same content as on every other affiliate of the same program. Nothing new, no "value added." If a PPC site accepts affiliate links then chances are many terms are going to lead a user to the same content over and over, but for a different affiliate. Can you see how that might not be "user friendly" to the searcher, and Google, to take a PPC program for example, wants to serve users not advertisers.

    2. Links in posts on WPW. In general, we expect members to refrain from posting links to their own sites. There are times when that guideline is overlooked because the link really offers information that is useful in answering an OP's question. But this is a rare event. It is handled on a case to case basis, and it is handled at the discretion of the mods and admin. That's why the rule says you can't do it except in a Review. It is fine to link to a site that helps answer the OP that is not your own, as long as it is not another forum. For example, I might link to Google's webmaster section or to SearchEngineLand or SEOBook to help someone understand an issue.

    The point is that we ARE here to help one another. And signature links are the bonus we get for that. Members who are here just for the links are probably not going to get much ROI. I am sure I get some SEO benefit and targeted traffic from the sig links, but I get more value from the satisfaction I get from helping, and I do get work from it. I also wouldn't get the traffic if I didn't earn the respect of other members. I also get invited to make a guest blog post from time to time. Things like that. But the real pay off for me lies in the community and being part of something.

    I hope that clarifies some of your concerns.
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