Blogging Advice

Just Say No to Affiliate Links! My new advertising policy.

The Borrowed Abode is going ad-free and ditching affiliate links*.    I’ve only ever linked to products I use and love, but I’m getting rid of any affiliate linking to them because I’m tired of blog being overrun with affiliate links.

The Borrowed Abode Transparency Policy 2015

That’s the short version. Ready for the long one?

During my 6 years of blogging I’ve tried different revenue models, thinking it wouldn’t hurt to cover the costs of the site, and maybe have some money left over for projects.

I copied what I saw the bigger bloggers doing: sidebar ads, sponsored posts, paid guest posts, and affiliate links. Sidebar ads were a pain to manage, sponsored posts often felt awkward for me to write, and I quickly stopped accepting paid guest posts because they never felt authentic enough.

I always thought affiliate links were ok, though. I only included them when I mentioned products that I used and loved myself.

And I always made sure to disclose the advertising connection in accordance with the FTC guidelines.

Now, however, I feel like I can’t read a monetized blog without running into affiliate links and sponsorships. Affiliate links are taking over the blogosphere, often without proper disclosure, (ahem. . . RStyle links anyone?) and I’m just fed up. Remember the days when blogs were about sharing honest information on projects and inspiration?

There are some bloggers who I feel do a great job of balancing real, honest content with the occasional sponsored post or giveaway – Yellow Brick Home and iHeart Organizing, for example. But for the most part, the bigger design blogs are no longer in my RSS reader because I got tired of the many sponsored posts or the tons of affiliate links snuck in behind shortened URLs.

Over the next month we’ll be removing all affiliate links from old posts. I can’t remove sponsored posts, since part of the agreement is that they live for the life of the blog, but I won’t accept any more of them.


PS: You will see me promoting Janery products, but that’s because they’re my own!

*What are affiliate links? Most products you see linked to from blogs (especially any outfit or clothing) are linked using affiliate links. Let’s use Amazon to explain what this means. A blogger recommends a tool on Amazon, and links to it. You click the link to see more about it and you buy the product. The blogger gets a commission. OR, let’s say you click the link and don’t buy the product. But the next time you go to Amazon, you spend $800 on something else. Amazon remembers the last person whose affiliate link you clicked, and so that blogger gets a commission on your entire purchase – even if it has nothing to do with what they linked to.

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  • Reply Leigh at 1:38 pm

    thank you. I know they can work and i have seen them work, but usually they feel off.

    If you find yourself including an amazon link naturally consider doing an amazon smiles one that donates that affiliate payment to your choice of charity. My browser is set to benefit my local baby wearing group.

    • Reply Jane at 1:51 pm

      What a great idea! I didn’t know that was an option. I will look into it. Thank you so much for telling me!

      • Reply Funnelcloud Rachel at 8:53 am

        Love Amazon Smile and what a great idea to have blog “affiliate” links go to charity! I have my Amazon Smile set-up to benefit greyhound rescue, but there are tons of charities to choose from!

  • Reply Bonnie at 4:18 pm

    I am currently writing a post full of affiliate links, and I’m on the fence about it. I do get tired of a lot of the blogs that are soooo money-heavy. MPMK is the one that first comes to mind there. I’ve never noticed them on your site!

    • Reply Jane at 1:49 pm

      Bonnie – I think affiliate links can be a great way for a blogger to make a little side income. What turns me off is when I feel that honest posts about the writers’ passions have been replaced by posts written for the sole sake of including tons of links. I miss the days of blogs being about sharing your passions.

  • Reply KNatGU at 3:24 pm

    This has been on my mind recently, I even google “blue apron’s social media campaign” cause how many of those blogs posts can one read.

    • Reply Jane at 1:50 pm

      It didn’t even occur to me – is there an affiliate program for that? I just figured they were doing a lot of marketing via bloggers. Either way, I’m sick of reading about it too 🙂

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