Over the last few years I have moved away from affiliate marketing.
I do still generate a few hundred dollars in affiliate commissions every month from previous reviews and through linking to shops such as Amazon from my YouTube channels; however, it is not something I devote a lot of time to anymore.
Yes, I still recognise how much money you can make from affiliate marketing. I have made a lot of money from it over the years and know that the potential to make money is there, but there is a negative side to affiliate marketing that many bloggers and website owners do not talk about.
I outlined many of these reasons in an article a few years ago entitled “Eleven Reasons Affiliate Marketing Sucks“.
Whether it be ridiculout payment thresholds, ridiculously low commission rates, non-payment, conversion manipulation, or the closure of an affiliate program without warning; affiliates shoulder a huge amount of risk when they decide to promote a service or product.
Will You Promote Our Product?
Affiliate marketing is a subject I have discussed many times in the past, however it is something that I continue to discuss every week with the businesses who email me.
Each week I get SEO companies who want to guest post, affiliate networks who want me to test them out, and product developers who want me to sign up to their affiliate program and review their product on my blog.
Affiliate networks are a difficult platform for me to review due to the time it takes to test them.
For example, I spoke with the TopOffers team recently about their network. It seems like a good service, but it is difficult for me to review a platform like that thoroughly without investing a huge amount of time. I would have to test the service myself over weeks and months by using their network; and that is before I have evern written any words for the review.
Product review requests are a little more straight forward.
I have always enjoyed testing out new products and solutions and giving my opinion on them. I still need to do a lot of testing and research, but it's generally not something that requires me to do tests over weeks and months. Normally you can test everything in a day or so.
The problem is that most businesses do not want to pay you for the inconvenience of testing their product. They want you to sign up to their affiliate program.
This is what usually happens:
- Company contacts me and asks me to review their product
- I point them to my review purchase page
- They ask me to join their affiliate program instead
- I decline
- They offer me a free copy of the product
- I say I do not have any need for the product
- They say that they do not have any budget for reviews (despite their product selling for hundreds of dollars)
To put it more simply, my policy is that I want to be paid upfront for spending hours reviewing a company's product.
With so many committments to websites I own and maintain, my YouTube channels, and more, I cannot justify spending hours reviewing a product in the hope I make a few commissions months later; especially when non-payment and affiliate program closures are so common.
Risk vs Reward
In the past, when a company approached me about reviewing their product, I spent hours or even days producing a detailed in-depth review. Sometimes these reviews paid off, others they did not.
Whether I made money or not, that business model placed all the risk on me.
I was the one working long hours to get a small percentage of a sale.
If I didn't generate any sales, the advertiser got a lot of exposure free of charge. Even when I did generate sales, there was always a high risk of me not being paid as I didn't meet their minimum payment threshold. Or they simply didn't pay me.
It sucks, but many companies just do not honour their side of the agreement.
Affiliate marketing can be profitable, but relying on commissions that vary every month is not something that I could continue doing. Especially when companies could take away my main sources of income at the drop of a hat.
Thanks for reading.