Amazon Associate Program
A friend of mine recently pointed out to me that my writing seems to say I'm against money; as if I don't appreciate profit or something. To be clear; I'm not against money. I love money. If left alone with money... well you get the idea
I just think the accumulation of it needs to be done responsibly and with the consumer in mind. Rarely does this happen and, to date, I haven't really wanted to try and monetize this blog. Then I lost my job and while I'm not poor or anything I do make all my money directly off of me and my work. Keep in mind, I don't have a day job and I'm not going to get one.
At the moment, I don't believe that advertising is a good fit for me or this blog. Personally, I always lose a little respect for an author when I've never heard of them and their site is littered with ads all over the place. Nope. There's no way I'm doing that right now. There are other ways to make a little, very, very, little scratch on a blog though. Every little bit helps. Right? Right?
Amazon Associates is one of the first online affiliate marketing programs and was launched in 1996. The Amazon Associates program has a more than 12 year track record of developing solutions to help website owners, Web developers, and Amazon sellers make money by advertising millions of new and used products from Amazon.com and Endless.com. When website owners and bloggers who are Associates create links and customers click through those links and buy products from Amazon.com or Endless.com, they earn referral fees. It’s free to join and easy to use.
There are quite a few options to start earning a commission on referrals but the only one that's personally appealing to me, insofar as a blog goes, are the text links. The text links work for me because they can be placed in posts when referencing relevant material. Basically, if I'm linking to Amazon anyway why not earn a commission? Obviously, it'd be a mistake to abuse this by placing links inappropriately but staying honest is easy
I especially don't approve of those widgets that are all over certain sites. I'm willing to bet you can think of a site that does that right now. The problem is that, frankly, they're ghastly and really take away from the experience. Nothing screams amateur desperation with suspect motives than a site with those little warts on it. Seriously, stay away from those boogers.
Amazon states that it's possible to make up to 15% on referrals if a transaction takes place. As always, it's a good idea to take a read through their Operating Agreement to get an idea of what you're really in for. If you do you'll see that it's not quite so black and white. Not to take away from the program or anything it's just that like everything it's all in the fine print.
I am encouraged by the recent "success" Stack Overflow has had with the program (with success meaning people clicked on the links):
But in the meantime, since we had our fancy-shmancy Amazon Affiliates account set up, we might as well put it to good use. Even way back in the original Stack Overflow beta, people were proposing that we convert any Amazon book links to Stack Overflow amazon affiliate book links. I was hesitant to do this at the time, but given our failure, I was licking my wounds. I was willing to give it a try. Particularly since the community seemed totally OK with the concept.
So, onward to plan B: we now auto-insert Stack Overflow affiliate info into any amazon book links posted on Stack Overflow. Oh yeah, and here’s the kicker. These silly little rewritten text links work 200%-300% better than our custom amazon book ads!
Obviously, I don't have anywhere near the penetration and exposure that Stack Overflow does; not what I'm saying. But I do think their success indicates 2 things; a higher acceptance of Amazon links compared to the run of the mill advertising and a more engaging intrusion to the experience among their, primarily, developer audience (which is my target audience).
I'm always happiest when I can make a buck and not compromise my integrity.