Ashamed of Affiliate Marketing
Building and then maintaining a positive relationship with visitors to your website is a crucial part of succeeding in affiliate marketing. It's kind of ironic, then, that affiliate marketing itself can sometimes be a source of strife in this most important relationship. But so it is.
Some visitors to your website, that is, will object to the fact that you make money from being an affiliate. These visitors may be offended, turned-off, irritated, they may discount your website entirely simply because you are making money through affiliate marketing.
How should you, as an affiliate, handle this rather communist attitude?
Option One: Spell It Out for Them
One technique we are seeing more frequently these days is for affiliates to outright state, right there on the page, that they will make money if you click on this link and buy something.
This approach generally goes something to the effect of:
"I only recommend products that I use and have complete confidence in, and it is in this spirit that I humbly recommend that you give XYZ Hosting a try. I will make a small commission if you buy through my link, but this helps me keep this website alive to help the world."
Talk about too much information! It's as if these webmasters are ashamed of making money through affiliate marketing. And perhaps they are--but only because they are made to feel so.
Still, disclaiming that you're an affiliate can be a good idea in certain situations. It really depends on your audience and how upset they would be if they knew you made money through affiliate links.
If you're dealing with a crowd that has highly communist tendencies, it can be smart to spell it out for people, so as to avoid offending anyone but still have a chance to make a couple dollars.
Option Two: Cloak Yourself In Secrecy
Option two is the opposite of option one, but an attempt to deal with the same phenomenon of people objecting to other people making money through affiliate marketing.
The technology is readily available, for instance, to cloak affiliate links and make them look like any other link, while using server side software to still make the connection between your link and your commission.
Link cloaking originally became popular because a vanguard of communist-minded individuals so objected to affiliate marketers making money that they would actually remove the affiliate's ID before buying a product, thus denying the affiliate their legitimate commission.
Of late, though, link cloaking has widened its appeal and is now a technique that many affiliates use to not just for a specific reason (thieves), but as a general practice intended to hide or at least downplay their affiliate marketing activities.
Again, this seems a bit like being ashamed of being an affiliate, but just like with option one, there is a reason why option two exists and that's because there is a time and a place for it.
However you choose to manage your relationship with your visitors, whether you're up front or deliberately "subtle," the point is that you should think about this dynamic and try deal with it somehow. Communists buy stuff, too, so you don't want to unnecessarily lose customers.