Affiliate Marketing: Another Ethical Dilemma?

If you publish an e-zine like I do (my Direct Response Letter), and your subscriber list is fairly large (mine is 55,000), you will be inundated with e-mail correspondence from e-book publishers — and other online marketers — asking you to promote their product to your list on an ?affiliate basis.?

In the affiliate arrangement, you ? the e-zine owner — get a commission on every sale generated by the promotion to your list, typically ranging from 25% to 50% of the product price.

The product can be promoted in a solo e-mail marketing message to the e-zine subscriber list or an online ad in the e-zine itself ? or both.

My question is this: is the e-zine publisher obligated to disclose to the reader that he is an affiliate for the product and will receive a cut of the sale? (I should mention that the overwhelming majority of affiliate promotions I receive as a consumer make no mention of this.)

Share

137 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing: Another Ethical Dilemma?

  • Among my many professions, I design and manufacture fine jewelry. I’ve been in the retail business for over 40 years and it always amazes me when people, while pricing one of my pieces, says, “So, where did you get this?” or, “So, how much did this cost you?”
    You may call me old-fashioned, but I believe it’s none of their g–damn business. No one should question how much you are making on an item.
    The art of selling goes back thousands of years. Many cultures bicker back and forth over price. Many times the arena where the item is being traded influences negotiation (a flee market, for example). With an e-zine, there is no chance for negotiation. If you like the item and you believe it to be a fair price, you buy it-that’s it. How much the seller made, or in this case, how much commission he receives, is private and should not figure into the negotiation, or be a factor in whether you buy the item, or not.
    We live in a litigious era where everything is out in the open – everyone’s wash is on the line. Big brother is watching and you’d better fess up. Tell us what you’re making. Tell us where you got it. Sorry, not me. That’s between me, my maker and my tax man. That’s it. I am a firm believer that what goes on in my house is private, and my business is MY business.
    Gerard Bianco
    http://www.porte4.com

  • If you wish to suggest a product that you really like, without being asked, I don’t think that telling that you might get money for a sale is needed. However, if you are solicited to advertise, I’d create an ad thingie within the email so that everyone knows that it’s an ad and that you are getting something for it.

    Joel

  • Bob,
    After reading your books, newsletters and articles, I can’t believe I’m giving YOU advice. The Internet’s a wonderful thing. My philosophy will be the following when I launch my own sites. I will only recommend products that I’ve purchased myself, have used and can wholeheartedly recommend. On that basis, I agree with Gerard, “it’s none of their g–damn business.” Dale

  • It’s all about credibility. Over time if you consistently provide valuable information, readers trust you and look forward to your recommendations. I don’t think most of them really care if you receive a commission and some will be glad you do. For example, Larry Chase recommended this blog. I don’t know Larry from Adam–on a personal level, that is–but I’ve come to trust his advice because he separates the wheat from the chaff better than any other ezine/newsletter publisher I’ve read. If he recommends a product for which he is an affiliate, I want to click on his affiliate link in order to thank him for all the free advice he has given.

  • A year ago, I was subscribed to about 40 ezines. I kept getting the exact same prewritten promo’s every time a guru released the latest “killer” product and got so sick of it I began unsubscribing.

    I only get about half a dozen now, from people who say they’ve at least read an ebook or reviewed a product before promoting it.

    The publishers usually disclost their affiliation, meaning they’ll make money off every sale resulting from their ezine. I respect them for that and think it builds trust and character.

    *How much* they make per sale is none of my business.

  • I believe it’s possible to provide an honest recommendation of a product, despite the presence of an affiliate link. But some people don’t see it that way. They smell bias and, to them, it stinks.

    Traditional direct marketing has a somewhat similar issue. Some people hate “junk mail” and trash it. So DMers don’t even try to sell to these scorners. They focus, instead, on reaching those who DO respond to direct mail offers. (Or, at least, are likely to.)

    The same can be said for ezine and website owners who have signed up for affiliate programs. They’re not trying to convert the skeptics. Why bother? Their target market are those who already trust their recommendations and have no problem clicking on a link to learn more.

  • I agree. Disclosing affiliate revenue isn’t necessary. The odds are, if people are coming to your site, they trust your recommendations. You are providing them with a service (the recommendation) for free, so the affiliate money can be seen as a donation for your services!

  • No, you don’t need to disclose it’s an affiliate link. Your reader either 1.) doesn’t have a clue what an affiliate link is or 2.) notices that it is one and is happy to give you the revenue share because of the value of your blog or ezine. Just my two cents…

  • When I read an Ezine or Blog the I do not care if the writer is an affiliate and makes a commission as long as he has provided me goiod advice in the past. Credability is more important to me.

  • When Paul Harvey starts telling me how much he enjoys his Welch’s grape juice, I believe him. But I’m under no illusion he is giving Welch’s a free promotion. I think such arrangements are generally understood. In fact it seems so common, when recommendations are made without compensation, the phrase, “. . . and I’m not getting paid to say this . . . ” adds extra punch.

  • If Joe blow is recommending a product to me, do I want to know if he’s making a commission? Yes, because I have no basis for trusting him about the quality of the product, and I want to know there’s a bias.

    If Bob Bly, trusted author and teacher, recommends a product to me, I trust he likes it and thinks it’s worth the price, and I’m thankful for that recommendation–in that case I WANT Bob to make a “referral fee” for pointing me to a valuable product.

    And since it’s usually obvious anyway that there is a joint venture in place, why not admit it? Candor makes for great credibility.

    In contrast it is a huge credibility buster when the message is written as if it comes directly from the ezine personality and seems to be a heartfelt recommendation “in their own words” and which I then get from 18 other ezine owners.

    Bottomline, honesty is the best policy.

  • There is nothing wrong with affiliate marketing. It promotes competitive business bringing lower prices to consumers.

  • Pingback: pussy bitches
  • Pingback: Anonymous
  • I have been browsing on-line greater than three hours these days, but I by no means discovered any fascinating article like yours. It is beautiful price sufficient for me. Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made excellent content as you did, the net might be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  • Whats Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & help different customers like its helped me. Good job.

  • I simply could not leave your web site prior to suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information an individual provide in your guests? Is going to be again incessantly to investigate cross-check new posts

  • whoah this weblog is excellent i really like reading your articles. Keep up the good work! You already know, a lot of persons are looking round for this information, you could help them greatly.

  • It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this excellent blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this website with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  • Wow, you are the most reliable in the world at presenting a description of just precisely how this operates. This is truly a life saver for me.Thanks!!!

  • Sorry for those massive evaluation, although So i am truly nurturing the modern Zune, and also wish this kind of, in addition to excellent assessments some other people have authored, may help you detect whether it is the right choice for you.

  • Rrt is going to lower expenses to however check out eye-catching. You won’t even have to identify many people the place where you made the clothe in addition to what kind of it actually was.

  • The guidelines you discussed here are extremely priceless. Rrt had been such a pleasurable surprise to have that waiting for me once i woke up now. They are generally to the point and simple to grasp. Thanks for your time for the thoughtful ideas you’ve got shared right here.

  • In accordance with my research, after a foreclosed home is offered at a sale, it is common for any borrower to still have some sort ofthat remaining balance on the mortgage loan. There are many loan companies who aim to have all fees and liens repaid by the subsequent buyer. However, depending on particular programs, restrictions, and state legislation there may be several loans which aren’t easily settled through the shift of financial products. Therefore, the obligation still falls on the debtor that has acquired his or her property in foreclosure. Many thanks sharing your ideas on this web site.

  • naturally like your web-site but you have to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very troublesome to inform the reality however I’ll certainly come back again.

  • naturally like your web-site but you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very troublesome to inform the reality however I will definitely come back again.

  • Hi , how are you? This really is fairly great info. I make extra income marketing info products, and also have been doing so far for about two years now. But I am no professional. So discovering sites like this; which are willing to share some info on the subject is greatly valued.

  • A lot of thanks for each of your hard work on this web page. My mom take interest in conducting investigations and it’s easy to understand why. I notice all relating to the compelling way you offer good solutions through this website and therefore inspire response from visitors on the concept then my princess is without a doubt being taught a lot of things. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. You are always doing a powerful job.

  • I enjoy you because of all of your work on this blog. My mom really loves getting into internet research and it’s really simple to grasp why. Most of us learn all of the dynamic way you make advantageous techniques by means of the web blog and as well as encourage response from visitors on this situation then our daughter is without a doubt studying a great deal. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. You’re the one conducting a remarkable job.

  • An impressive share, I recently given this onto a colleague who was performing just a little analysis with this. And that he in reality bought me breakfast merely because I located it for him.. smile. So well then, i’ll reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending enough time to talk about this, I’m strongly concerning it and adore reading concerning this subject. If at all achievable, as you develop experience, can you mind updating your web site with an increase of specifics? It genuinely is incredibly a fantastic alternative for me. Massive thumb up in this text!

  • Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any helpful hints for inexperienced blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.|Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appearance. I must say you’ve done a amazing job with this. Also, the blog loads very quick for me on Opera. Excellent Blog!|Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site? My website is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would certainly benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Regards!|Hi there would you mind letting me know which web host you’re utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most. Can you recommend a good hosting provider at a reasonable price? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!|Wonderful website you have here but I was curious if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks!|Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects? Many thanks!|Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; many of us have created some nice methods and we are looking to swap techniques with others, be sure to shoot me an email if interested.

  • Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

  • Thanks a ton for being my own lecturer on this theme. I enjoyed your article a lot and most of all enjoyed reading how you really handled the aspect I regarded as being controversial. You happen to be always rather kind to readers really like me and assist me in my everyday living. Thank you.

  • Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I to find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others such as you aided me.

  • Hello there, I believe your website could be having browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, excellent site!

  • Fort Position » Boston+1895-1900+vol I was optional this internet locate by my cousin. I’m unclear whether this accept is printed by him as no self else make out such full on the subject of my difficulty. You’re fantastic! Thanks! your article about Fortification Level » Boston+1895-1900+volBest Regards Nick

  • You could have established that you’ll be able to produce with this matter. The facts that you just speak about and the expertise as well as comprehension of this stuff definitely demonstrate that you’ve got a wide range of expertise.

  • You have verified that you’re capable to publish on this subject matter. The facts that you just mention along with the know-how and also understanding of these matters certainly reveal that you then have a lot of practical knowledge.

  • very informative and thorough ways to generate new leads for us! that is a pretty massive lead generation list.. must close browser window now.

  • I site typically and i also seriously thank you for your posts. This information has definitely peaked this desire. I am about to save your blog site and make looking at for first time details about weekly. My spouse and i enrolled in ones Feed too.

  • I believe it is up to publishing site to disclose that information. Posting a piece of content that has value whether you get an affiliate commission for it or not is useful for both parties, you as a publisher getting rewarded and the reader getting information that they can use or solves a problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *