Affiliate marketing is an easy way to earn some extra money each month and I’ll be honest I do have a few links to DreamHost on my blog.
But, nothing bothers me more than when I stumble upon a site with three affiliate links in every paragraph – that is incredibly annoying!
What is Affiliate Marketing?
A simple infographic might do the trick for starters:
Why is it so screwed up?
Admit it. It’s true the system is screwed up by people who abuse the policies and use it as a get-rich-quick scheme. They don’t even use the product half of the time and just right a glowing review about a product that would otherwise be worthless.
The system is easily most broken when it comes to web hosting. I spent a few weeks looking up hosts to find the right one. I would see people literally bowing down to certain hosts and some people that wouldn’t let their worst enemy use it.
If you are ever looking for an honest web host review use a service like Who Is Hosting This to find out who is hosting the reviewer’s website because I personally have more trust in a person who is using a web host that s/he recommends.
I did some research and noticed a trend that the higher the affiliate payout, the more “reviews” I found. Below is a list of my findings for the Google search query “(host name) reviews”:
- Dreamhost – $97/referral – 1.3 million results
- iPage – $105/referral – 1.3 million results
- JustHost – $60/referral – 1.0 million results
- WPEngine – $150/referral – 450 thousand results
I will say, WP Engine isn’t like the others because it isn’t your average “shared” host and focused on only WordPress.
For the sake of variety I also added in some WordPress theme shops too. It is the same Google query template as before – “(theme shop)” reviews. I would like to point out that affiliate marketing is less prevalent in theme shops than in web hosting.
- Elegant Themes – 50% per sale – 12.6 million results
- My Theme Shop – 60% per sale – 681 thousand results
- WPMU – 50% per sale – 543 thousand results
Better safe than sorry
When searching for a web host be sure to find reviews from a blogger you trust and then some.
I found at least five reviews per host just to be safe.
Fix the system: Allow only customers access to the affiliate program
This might make a few people mad that rely on affiliates, but nevertheless I think most people will think that this is a good idea. Only allow people who actually use the service to be in the affiliate program. This way, the reviews will only be coming from legitimate customers.
Every affiliate user and program runner should abide by these two very simple rules…
- Only customers who use the service are allowed to use the program.
- Affiliate links should be placed only once or twice every 500 words.
If everybody involved in affiliate marketing followed these two rules, imagine how much money would be saved because people saw honest reviews about a service.
What do you think? Would you follow these rules as an affiliate program manager?