Topic of Discussion: Are Affiliate and Blog Partnership Programs a Good Idea?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Running a blog is certainly a labor of love. As a blog author you take on many roles that other major websites delegate to different people. For example, picking a host, creating a layout, taking photographs, writing, and editing are all your responsibility. Even after you have all those ducks in a row so to speak how to do you inform people that you exist? I have always been of the school of thought that while there are little things you can do like posting on Flickr pools and leaving your link when you comment on other blogs having good content attracts the most people. 
Although I feel good content is the best approach for blog exposure it appears that  companies are capitalizing on this need by forming affiliate and blog partnership programs.  So, now the question is are these programs a good idea? Do the ends Justify the means? Well, here is what I have found. 
Affiliate Programs - Affiliate programs, like the one offered by Eshakti,usually require you to post a banner or advertisement of some kind for the company offering the program. On the ad or banner in many cases there is a coupon code for your readers use. The coupon then offers you a percentage (usually no more the 10%) of what your readers purchase using the code. So that you can gain more readers the company usually alerts their customers through some form of social media ( Twitter, Facebook, Etc) to visit your blog to get a coupon code. I have two problems with this.
1.)  Free Advertisement - I can’t help but feel like these companies are taking advantage of bloggers because they do not want to pay for advertisement space. Most of the ads these companies ask you to put up include pictures and take up quite a bit of room. We all know the bigger the ad, the higher price...a price these companies do not want to pay. I also feel like these same companies would not offer the same program to say the New York Magazine blog, so why do they feel like our standards should be lower? The fact of the matter is even if you are offered a 10% kick back from sales made using your coupon code your readers would have to purchase $1,000 worth of products for you to even see $100 for the advertisement space you are providing.  How do we ever expect companies to make legitimate advertising inquires if we give away ads for free?
2.)  There is Not a Lot of Exposure- I am not apart of any affiliate programs similar to the ones I described above, but I have never heard any blogger rave about the amount of traffic they have received from being apart of one these programs, so it appears the ends do not justify the means. 
Blog Partnership Programs - Some blog partner ship programs like the one run by the Skorch Magazine Blog require you to post a banner saying you are a Skorch blogger and in exchange you are added to their blog roll and they repost your blog content with a link to your blog. I have 3 problems with this. 
1.) Free Advertisement - Pretty much the same as what I mentioned above. A blog partnership banner is pretty much a free advertisement for that companies blog or website that you should be getting paid for.
2.)  There is not a lot of exposure-  Again I have not seen anyone raving about the amount of exposure they receive from being apart of a blog partnership program. I might be wrong though; please let me know if you do receive a significant amount of traffic from being in a partnership program.

3.) Your Content is Yours and Yours Alone - You have to purchase clothes, a camera, come up with ideas, and produce your blogs content. Why would you give all of your hard work away for free? I do write for Manik Magazine and Plus Model Magazine for free, but I believe in the direction of both magazines and they do not repost my blogs content. I usually am assigned an event to cover which I attend for free with a press badge to write a piece for the magazine which also helps generate content for my blog. For Example, I received free admission to Full Figure Fashion Week through Manik Magazine with a press badge. I wrote a piece or two for them and also did post for my own blog, so we both been benefited from the situation. 
Now someone is saying, “Aren’t you a Evans Clothing blog partner?” Yes, but it is a partnership I am rethinking because while my readers and I do benefit from 10% discounts and I am added to there blog roll I do feel like the ends are not justifying the means. In the pitch I was sent by Evans it was stated that I would receive clothing to review at some point. I have been a Evans blog partner for months and have not received any. Also, I have requested to guess post on the Evans blog via email and my inquires have yet to be answered.  Over all I love the clothing from Evans and hope that their blog partner program improves very soon! 
So, let me know what you think! Do you participate in any of these programs? Do you receive good exposure from them? Why wouldn’t you participate? Readers how do you feel when bloggers participate in these programs?

I have noticed people are commenting via google. I don't know how or why that is happening, but I can't see those comments. Please make sure you comment via Disqus! - Thanks, Tiff. 


Monkey said...

I absolutely agree. Surely the mere fact we are writing about the clothes we wear is advertisment enough. I know I've bought items purely off the back of Reading about them on someone else's blog.

I'm also an Evans blog partner, but until it adds me to it's blog roll & I see some more benefit other than the odd 10% (but only if you spend £40) no & then, I won't be adding it's badge to my blog.

Fat Nurse said...

I wouldn't put paid ads on my website or accept to be a paid affilliate. I have links to the stores I shop at and if people want to buy from them, fine. I'm partnered with Evans because it means my link is on their blog at little cost to myself. In the end, yes it may sound selfish to some but when you want to spread the word about your blog then you need to sell yourself as a business. I blog for pleasure and I love when people come back to me and comment, so naturally it's nice to have the possibility to get more readers as, as humans, we like praise and feel good knowing that others are entertained. But again, we all have different attitudes and some will go further or do different things for promotion than others.
I choose to have a badge on my site for Ann Summers as I'm a blog representitive for them but that's my choice, I made the badge myself and wasn't asked for a link or anything in particular etc. I'm proud that I'm a part of their company so I show it.
I suppose it depends what people want to see on their own blogs, it bothers me to see loads of ads on blogs so I try and keep that to a minimum on my own.