Permitted Affiliate Links
As of the latest change to their policy (Nov 20, 2014), WordPress.com does allow bloggers to use affiliate links from “reputable merchants” under certain circumstances, e.g. reviewing a relevant book or product and linking to its Amazon page with your Affiliate code.
Affiliate links must be in the text of an article itself–links on images or videos are considered ads and fall under a different policy, and widget links, so far as I can tell, are still not allowed.
Here is WordPress’s latest policy on Affiliate Links, which mentions circumstances in which they can or cannot be used.
Here also is their Sponsored Post policy. If you’re given free products for the express purpose of reviewing them, then this is the policy for you. (The FTC requires that reviewers also disclose that such products were given in exchange for a review.)
And finally, we have the Types of Blogs that are permitted, which lists Affiliate Blogs as forbidden… but which states that book or product reviews and the like, or attempting to sell my own products, do not count as “affiliate blogs.” So product reviews are fine, articles on my travel photography with a link to the camera’s product page are fine, and travel site reviews are probably fine (don’t quote me on that; I’ll have to look to see if they allow affiliate links to sites like TripAdvisor)…. but pay-to-click referral systems and similar are not.
Ergo, it would seem that I am permitted to use a few affiliate links within any related posts, whether or not I was asked or even paid to write such a review, provided those links are text only (no images, no widgets), and provided the posts in question are either reviews of whichever product I am linking to at that point or in some way very definitely related, or a description of a product of my own that I wish to sell.
It also does not mean that I cannot have images on the post itself–a photo or video from the trip I’m writing about, for instance–only that the Affiliate link cannot be on the image.
Further, I do not recall if a particular number was given in any other forums, and I do not see it now in their policy, but I assume that I am expected to keep that number down.
I have been told that I should be all right with, say, 2 links on a given page–one for Amazon, one for a trip site. More on that in a bit. But I see no need for more.
And, of course, a list of my Affiliations… on my list of Affiliations. 😉
Now, given those requirements, I could not turn an embedded YouTube video into an affiliate link, but I can use those ads on YouTube itself, and…. I’m still looking into YouTube’s policy on whether I can include affiliate links in any descriptions.
List of Affiliations
Tamie’s Travels is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to product pages on amazon.com,
I am currently researching other sites, most notably TripAdvisor and similar travel sites, that provide affiliate memberships in the same way Amazon does–by earning a commission on purchases made through my links–but Amazon should reach a pretty broad customer base without the need for more links.
How Affiliate Links Work for You
First off, I do not actually sell anything through this site. Not yet.
Anything I do “sell” just now is via a link to an actual shopping site, most commonly an art or stock photography site containing photos I’ve uploaded, or via Affiliate links to such sites (again) by way of reviews of products I’ve tried for the purpose of my travels.
That being the case, shopping through any of these other sites may require those sites to place a “cookie” in your web browser, to track what purchases you have made, to recommend other products you might enjoy, and to determine which purchases qualify to earn me commissions when relevant.
These cookies also expire in a matter of days, as per the individual site’s policy; Amazon, for instance, expires within 24 hours. Sooner if your browser is set to delete all history when you close it down, in which case the cookie (and thus the commissions I earn from it), will only exist during the browsing session in which the link is clicked.
How Affiliate Links Work for Me
I will occasionally supply links related to what the post is actually about–a review about a motorcycle accessory, the camera or mount I’ve used, or eventually reviews on the trips themselves, etc.
You do not need to buy whatever item I’ve linked to for the link to work. I’ve linked to items I find of interest, products and services that I would like to recommend, but I am fully capable of providing a very short list across my entire site and earning from so much more.
All it takes is one affiliate link to the site in question–e.g. Amazon–and for you to purchase anything that qualifies during that session, and I will earn a commission on those qualifying purchases.
Of course, given my earlier remark about clearing out your browser’s history, how long that “session” is rather depends on your own internet shopping habits. 😉
You can join, too!
If you’d like to sign up with any of these services to earn money for yourself, you can visit Amazon Associates
TripAdvisor (I am not yet a member)
Other links to be provided as I discover other relevant programs.
If you would, instead, like to use the services themselves, there are many other options.
Amazon allows you to advertise your site and bring in more traffic by creating product ads through them. See Amazon Product Ads for details. And, of course, you have the option to sell just about anything you like.
There is of course the option to embed monetized videos from YouTube, though be warned, YouTube has changed their policy so that the ads won’t even show up (and thus you won’t begin earning revenue from your videos) until your channel has at least 10,000 views. (This does not affect any revenue you’ve earned prior to the policy change, though it does mean it’ll take quite a bit longer to reach the threshold to withdraw that revenue.)
Selling your photos as stock is an option as well–you’ll note that some of the better photos I display on this website are not uploaded directly, but rather embedded and linked from sites like deviantArt where I have them uploaded under the premium content platform.
And WordPress, finally, has their own advertising system–WordAds, which allows a blogger to earn a small income based almost entirely on how much traffic their blog receives. The trouble with WordAds, as I see it, is that it requires a blog with a custom domain, which means, among other things, paying for that blog… and I lack both the income to do so and the traffic to make it worth my while at this time. Some day soon, I hope, but not yet.
My other funds
In addition to affiliate links, I do have other ways to earn money.
I have books of my own that I’ve published via Amazon.com and Smashwords,
various items I’m trying to get rid of via eBay and de-clutter my living space, and those I’m similarly selling as an Amazon Secondary Seller,
and different Tip Jars for anyone who simply feels generous.
Please note that while I do offer items for sale, they can only currently be purchased via eBay or Amazon, the previously-listed stores.
I do not yet have a means to actually “sell” anything through the blog itself.
If you make a purchase through the other links and have a question or problem with the product, please contact the vendor via the site where the actual purchase was made.
Plans in Progress
Edit my older pages and posts on my main site Side Quest Publications, of course:
- to be sure that they comply with the changes to WordPress’s policy,
- to allow me to earn that small commission should anyone care to use the links….
- and to migrate any travel-relevant posts and pages over here for purposes of reorganization.