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Do You Disclose Affiliate Links?

It’s time for another ProBlogger Poll. This week’s question is:

Do you Disclose Affiliate Links?

It is a question that I’m sure many of you will have strong opinions on and which others of you are probably grappling with on a regular basis (I know I do).

Vote here or in the sidebar:

Do you Disclose Affiliate Links?
Total Votes: 932 Started: 10/17/2007 Back to Vote Screen


I’d also be interested to hear your reasons why you answer as you do in comments below.

I’ll post the results of last week’s poll in the next 24 hours.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. User3820 says:

    Interesting comments. I’m not blogger but have been looking at ways to earn some money on the internet.

    As an outsider looking in, I tend to agree with the reasoning used toward not making a big deal about affiliate links (ie, masking them is ok). If it’s a product – I really don’t care. I do hate being redirected to another site without being informed as such. Normal links read something like this:

    * Visit {link} for more info
    * Read me about the product at {domainName.com} (domainName = affiliateLink)
    * To order the product, {click here}
    * {Product Name} (opens in new window/tab)

    Affiliate link or not – it’s not a big deal. The direction I’m heading is pretty clear and it’s this kind of honest linking that’s important.

    What I’m seeing an awful lot of – which really bugs me – are multiple domains owned by the same person or organization promoting products, services, etc… under the pretense of being objective. So I’ll see mulitple “objective” review sites touting the greatness of domainX.com.

    In alot of cases, these sites are owned by the same person. Deeper research eventually reveals that domainX.com is a scam, shoddy site with little support, bad products, etc…

    These sites are often associated with how marketing works on the internet and it doesn’t take an awful lot for people to associate one type of marketing (direct affiliate links) to what so many dishonest get-rich quick schemers are also doing on the internet.

    These are the sites that are giving advertising a bad name with dishonest self-serving claims, redirection to another site without warning, metafresh tags to redirect somewhere else, false testimonials, etc…

    When I visit a site like ProBlogger, I know what the site is about and note that it isn’t using deceptive business practices. This is what it really comes down to.

  2. Michael D says:

    There is an incredible disconnect between the way 1/2 the bloggers in these comments think of undisclosed affiliate links and the way the general internet user does. I don’t want to earn any money from people who don’t know I’m earning money from them. It’s that simple.

  3. mcangeli says:

    I have a site wide disclosure page, I also disclose in the post if whoever I’m linking to asks me to. Otherwise, I don’t.

    I don’t make it any secret that I receive compensation for some of my posts. If I like a product and I think others will, I write about it. Otherwise I don’t.

  4. dan says:

    I read many times that it’s better to hide your affiliate links, because you loose commissions.

    If a product is promoted for it’s value, we should not have to hide the links.

    I will try with the same link – open and hidden over a period of one month.

  5. Greetings all,
    I hide most links with a simple redirect through my own domains, I find the click through rate much higher this way over say using tiny url or similar.

    Have a B L O G G I N G good day!

  6. Carleenp says:

    I don’t hide/redirect my affiliate links, but I generally don’t mention that they are such either. Sometimes I make a mention of it because I am announcing a promotion or something. I also use the shopzilla publisher program, which I think is pretty clear to anyone who uses it that it is an affiliate program. In the area that I blog (beauty blogging and shopping sites), it is pretty much the norm to use affiliate links and I think the readers pretty much expect it. Many of them are looking for shopping information to begin with when they visit the sites.

  7. Netvalar says:

    On my blog I have actually only used a couple of affiliate links inside my posts. At the time they were relevant to the article and I joined the affiliate program as a bonus in case of any conversion. Now where I have used affiliate links elsewhere yes I disclose that it is an affiliate link. So in essence if it is part of an article then no if the article is written for the affiliate then yes.

  8. If it’s a sidebar link, I don’t label it as “affiliate link.”

    If I personally give you the link and suggest the service to you I absolutely disclose that it is an affiliate link and that I make a buck or two because I want them to know I am referring the service because I believe in the service not because of the money.

    In a post or comment, I fluctuate between disclosure and not disclosing depending on the circumstances. Basically I never want my integrity questioned over a buck.

  9. For me it’s sometimes, and sometimes not. Often I’m too lazy to set up an intermediate page that redirects to affiliate site. Btw, isn’t mentioning ‘nofollow’ tag to ads necessary to avoid SEs’ ires?

  10. Frank C says:

    I used PHP redirects for a while on some blogs and mini-sites, particularly where I could change the PHP file and change the destination. More recently I’ve just used the links ‘as is’ since I didn’t notice any conversion difference between doing it and not doing it.

    Of course, if you’re talking about a “reel them in” landing page a whole different set of considerations apply.

  11. Other than providing a link to my disclosure in the footer of every page on my sites, I rarely state that a link is an affiliate link unless I’m incentivizing the offer.

    It should be obvious to the reader (especially Internet and affiliate marketers visiting a business blog) that a link within or at the end of a product review is probably an affiliate link. That fact is confirmed when they cursor over the link anyway, because I seldom cloak the links or use redirects.

    If an affiliate link influences their buying decision, then so be it – I figure that what goes around comes around in that case. :-)

  12. Rich Owings says:

    I don’t disclose them every time I use them. Instead, I disclose them in a post titled “About our reviews” that I link to from every review. So I said yes, I disclose.

  13. Brad V. says:

    Yes, I always disclose affiliate links (back when I used Amazon). It’s just one more way to make my blog more transparent and it shows I really have nothing to hide.

    On the other hand, sometimes I will also go out of my way to make sure the reader understands that a product or service I’m writing about is in no way compensating me for the blog post.

    The internet has lots of issues with credibility, and by giving full disclosure we can at least give blogs a better name!

  14. Blogadeur says:

    on my blog I do show the affiliate links. I guess I’m too transparent, if the visitors wanted to click the link and buy – good for me. If not, that’s fine. I’m not earning that much but I am one of the milllions of bloggers that’s waiting for some extra bucks for their blogs.

    But if someone here who have some time to look at my blog and advice me how to optimize my affiliate links to the next level….. WOW! That would be fantastic.

    Thank God I subscribe to Darren’s blog. The best ever.

  15. Mark Levison says:

    When I do use affiliate l make mention of them in the text of the blog post. With respect to books I will make explicit recommendations – but with more expensive stuff like camera gear I avoid it.

  16. Michelle says:

    Still working on my website (bestbuys4business.com), but I do indend to disclose them in my documents and on my site simply because I think that is honest.

    Looking at it from a customer point of view; is the seller recommending the product because it is good or because they have an affiliate relationship. If I know up front this may still not be clear but atleast I know they have some sort of relationship.

    Plus, and more importantly I think, is the ebook author losing sales from affiliate links placed inside the book because they have not clearly identified it is an affiliate link. Let me explain, say you print the book out and underline all the follow up tasks you intend to do. One link in the book asks you to go to a specified url to do whatever (ie. sign up to problogger.net) – this text ‘problogger.net’ for the url does not show the reader there is an affiliate relationship. Of course you could go back to the electronic version but not many of us would actually do that. I just go to the web and type in the link the author recommended.

    Are you losing commission on sales because your product hasn’t clearly stated it is an affiliate link?

    Michelle