Affiliate Programs

July 22nd, 2008 · No Comments

If you don’t know what an affiliate program is, it’s a simple way for people to basically make a commission on traffic they refer to a seller. The most common example is Basically you sign up as an Amazon affiliate and you get a special code that you can put on your links to them. Then any time that someone clicks on that link and buys something there, you get a (small) percentage.

For various reasons a lot of people have negative attitudes about affiliate programs. Many people feel that you somehow invalidate your reviews or endorsements by getting paid for your link. We generally feel that’s a preposterous attitude. If we’re going to review a book, we’re going to put a link to it somewhere. If we’re going to put a link I might as well get a commission.

Affiliate programs have two great advantages for online businesses:

  • Affiliate programs do not require that the site be a known commodity. While very few people are going to buy advertising from a brand new site, they have nothing to lose with you as an affiliate.
  • Affiliate programs are not mutually exclusive with advertising, in fact they are often times complimentary. Whereas you can only have a few ads on your site before you start to look like a spam-site, affiliate links are generally placed in context and can provide another income stream in addition to advertising.

Downsides of affiliate programs include:

  • You don’t get paid if they don’t buy in a timely fashion. So if your reader likes your review and decides to buy the product, but buys it from a local retailer, you get nothing. Also there is usually a time limit, which can be fairly short, after which you don’t get paid for your referral.
  • Even if you generate a good deal of income it is often unpredictable and inconsistent.

At Protoscopic we will only give unbiased reviews and endorsements of products with which we have experience. Because of this we think affiliate programs are not only legitimate but a reasonable way for our readers to help us keep improving our blog. If you are interested in the products we endorse, we appreciate you using our affiliate links.

Categories: Main blog narrative · Theory

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