A couple of weeks back I asked readers to respond to a Poll with the question – ‘Do You Disclose Affiliate Links?‘
Over 800 readers responded. 19% said that they didn’t use affiliate links – but of those that do use them the break down was as follows:
It’s a fairly even breakdown isn’t it?
The discussion on the post was fascinating also with a real range of opinion shared.
Below I’ve included a few quotes that highlight some of the threads of conversation, diverse opinions and practices. My hope in sharing them is that the conversation will continue to develop.
What do you think?
Those that Don’t Disclose:
“I mask them using a php redirect. I find it’s better to hide the URL, because people who don’t want to give me the affiliate sale could just mouse over the link and see the actual domain and go straight there on their own. If it’s hidden, they’re almost always forced to click.” – Chris Jacobson
“I don’t for the simple fact that I think that people assume that they are anyways. And just because I have an affiliate link to the place doesn’t mean my opinion is biased…. I do php redirects, but not for the reason of masking, but for the ease of changing those links that it affords.” – thatedeguy
“I don’t hide affiliate links. I also don’t publicly broadcast them either. In all honestly most people don’t realize they’re affiliate links (or don’t care) and I can’t be bothered with the effort to hide them.” – Staphane Grenier
“When you go to a bookstore, employees don’t run around to all the customers, “I should let you know that we’re going to make a profit if you buy that magazine.”” – Dave C
Those that Do Disclose:
“All my aff links are clearly marked. If your neighbor suggested you buy a certain type of insurance and you later found out that he received a commission for suggesting it, how would you feel? Deceived? Used?” – Michael
“I have a disclosure policy that I link to from within every article, but in general I don’t disclose each individual link. I am more inclined to disclose whether I purchased the product or received a free sample, which I think makes more of a difference, or even whether I am writing about something I haven’t purchased.” – Andy Beard
“People who try to hide affiliate links are scum, IMO. It is absolutely unethical to go around accepting money and trying to hide that fact. As far as disclosure goes – I think it is a bit foolish to not inform your readers you’re getting paid (a simple “this post contains affiliate links” is enough for me) – but it isn’t as bad as purposely hiding them.” – Jeremy Steele
“I disclose affiliate links, but I only really think this is an issue if you are recommending the product being linked to. The reason is twofold. One, if I’ve said anything positive about the product, I feel like I am ethically obliged to disclose this to readers, because the disclosure gives them the opportunity to decide for themselves whether they feel their was any sense of bias. Second reason – to me, it almost makes me more inclined to buy if I see that the affiliate link has been disclosed, because it makes me feel that the recommender is so comfortable with the integrity of his advice that disclosing his economic interest would not negatively dissuade me from buying. It’s a weird bit of reverse psychology, but it actually works for me, at least as a consumer.” – Jonathan Fields
Those that Sometimes Do and Sometimes Don’t:
“I don’t always explicitly label affiliate links as such at the actual link, but I don’t go out of my way to hide that they are affiliate links either and I try to make clear on my sites that I do have affiliate or referral links….. I suppose a real internet newbie might be surprised to find out that when I link to a book on Amazon, I get a nickel if they buy it, but I think most people recognize an Amazon affiliate ad by now and most readers are more than happy to use one when they want to buy something at Amazon.” – Tom Hanna
“Yes, if I write a review of a program, product or service and it’s obvious that I am promoting it. Then I mention that the links are affiliate links. No, if I just write an article about a topic of internet marketing or blogging; then I include affiliate links to products and don’t mention them.” - Tomaz Mencinger