Is this ethical, or is it black hat?

27 replies
Is it ethical to ask my friends via Facebook to buy their Amazon goods (or any other affiliate linkable goods) through my website link(s), after which I will give them a $5 coupon to a restaurant (or any other financial incentive) next time they do some online shopping? Or is this a google flag that will penalize me?

Any and all help you can give is greatly appreciated, and I thank you in advance for your replies.
#black #ethical #hat
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    Incentivized promotions of affiliate products is up to the vendor of the product. You need to read and understand the terms of service for each affiliate program you join

    al
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  • Profile picture of the author George Flm
    Read the affiliate agreement. Sometimes it shows what you're dealing with.

    Incentivized games don't play along too well with brands.

    On the other hand just do it and see what happens.
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    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      Originally Posted by George Flm View Post


      On the other hand just do it and see what happens.
      This is great advice if your plan is to get banned from affiliate programs, and lose any commissions you might have earned

      al
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      Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?
      ~Jack Handey~

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      • Profile picture of the author George Flm
        Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

        This is great advice if your plan is to get banned from affiliate programs, and lose any commissions you might have earned

        al
        I don't use Amazon. And I don't promote brands.

        Always check their TOS it helps to have a rough estimation of the grand scheme of things.
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  • Profile picture of the author luciesmazanska
    You can sell them whatever you feel its okay to sell them
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  • Profile picture of the author Trafficstorm
    Go through the policy of the vendor for whom you are doing the affiliate. If there is nothing against giving incentives to the customer. Then you are good to go.
    Here is nothing black or white hat or something like that in this process.
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  • Profile picture of the author myob
    Although not unethical, it is specifically prohibited by Amazon to monetarily incentivize sales. If caught, you could get your account closed without warning, lose all of your commissions, and there is no recourse.

    You can promote your affiliate link on Facebook, but it is against Facebook TOS to DM affiliate links. They will also close your account if caught violating their TOS.

    Many affiliate programs and social media sites have similar restrictions.
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  • Profile picture of the author pheonix44
    I think it's tricky and it would likely be something you'd have to be very low key about if you tried it. Offering an incentive would certainly give you an advantage, but not if it comes at a great risk. I also have to assume the coupon discount you'd be offering is something that doesn't cost you anything right?
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  • Profile picture of the author Ravi Talwar
    you can sell them with your own risks
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  • Profile picture of the author Irn7997
    I'd say its a grey area yes probably you'll get away with it but I'm 99% sure they would ban you if they found out.
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  • Profile picture of the author robdlion
    Do things right the first time and you won't have to 2nd guess where you went wrong when things fall apart.
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  • Profile picture of the author PolicyMaker
    I will suggest to play by their policies and rules...because a little mistake can crush your or your friends life time opportunity if get banned...
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  • Profile picture of the author Ravi Talwar
    convinced promotionals never help you , until you work hard properly
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  • Profile picture of the author White Pearl
    Actually that depends on vendor if he allow such promotions , some do , some dont. so better contact them or read TOS.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tmt Aba
    Yes, I agree with other users. You should go with the terms and agreement of the vendor. They would have specified what they are accepting or what is violating their norms.
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  • Profile picture of the author bob1313
    I would advise you to be careful.
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  • Originally Posted by boobooch5 View Post

    Is it ethical to ask my friends via Facebook to buy their Amazon goods (or any other affiliate linkable goods) through my website link(s), after which I will give them a $5 coupon to a restaurant (or any other financial incentive) next time they do some online shopping? Or is this a google flag that will penalize me?

    Any and all help you can give is greatly appreciated, and I thank you in advance for your replies.
    Definitely not unethical.

    In fact, it can be a good source of revenue doing so with the right affiliate programs.

    But, there's a catch:

    It depends on the specific affiliate program's terms of service.

    You'll need to read through their legal mumbo jumbo. And see what they say about it

    If you're specifically talking about Amazon, their terms of service seems to talk about not allowing it (though I'm not sure about right now, as their terms change all the time)...

    ... but I use various cashback sites to get some money back on my purchases.

    And I've gotten cashback on Amazon purchases several times.

    How come these guys don't get banned?

    When Amazon terms of service seems to say that it shouldn't be done?

    Well... there may be a loophole somewhere... where Amazon allows it...

    ... under certain conditions.

    Or maybe you just need to get in good standing with Mr. Bezos.

    By treating him to a dinner meal.

    But for now, you'll just have to research and see what those sites are doing that allow them to stay in line with Amazon's terms of service...

    ... while making and breaking money as they please...
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    @xxxx[{::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::> IM COUPONS <::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::}]xxxx@
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  • Profile picture of the author himmatrathore
    Hi boobooch5,
    You will not get a penalty because the mentioned strategy does not pull PageRank.
    Many people try it every day but no success but it is not a black hat method.
    If your purpose is not to rank pulling then, of course, you can use this method but it is against affiliate TOC.
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  • Profile picture of the author freeabs
    Frankly if they don't but thru your affiliate link, they might be buying from someone else's... so why not that someone be you? It's win win...
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    Hmmm ... it seems to me as if the OP also asked about how Google would feel about this and nobody addressed that specific question.

    Google couldn't care less. They WOULD have a problem if you were soliciting incentives for backlinks but giving people discounts or free stuff for buying something really isn't something Google cares about at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author virtualprincipal
    True Story: Several years ago, my mother bought a Christmas present through one of my Amazon Affiliate Sites and the next day when I logged in to my Amazon account...you guessed it...my account was banned. Lost several hundred dollars also.

    Do NOT try to game the system, it is just not worth it. I learned the hard way...VP
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Originally Posted by virtualprincipal View Post

      True Story: Several years ago, my mother bought a Christmas present through one of my Amazon Affiliate Sites and the next day when I logged in to my Amazon account...you guessed it...my account was banned. Lost several hundred dollars also.

      Do NOT try to game the system, it is just not worth it. I learned the hard way...VP
      Yeah, in that case, it was Amazon that had a problem, not Google. Again, Google couldn't care less (literally). It's just a computer program that ranks websites based upon how well they match a searcher's query. Its function is not to determine how much websites sell things for and rank them accordingly.
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      StoreCoach.com- Learn How to Dropship the Right Way - Buy & Sell Websites - Partner with Coach
      My PROVEN ecommerce process, as seen on: Fox News, the NY Times & Flippa
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  • Profile picture of the author Medon
    I agree that checking your affiliate agreement is vital. Also, it is true incentivized games are not the best when dealing with brands. But look, what is your objective? To sell more and make more profit. So if you can do it cleverly without stepping on Google's toes, I don't care. What matters is the results you get.
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  • Profile picture of the author cearionmarie
    Read through the policy first, especially the fine prints so that you know what you are dealing with.
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    Cearion Uy - Marketing Advisor
    www.influencerauditor.com

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  • Profile picture of the author Huenelde
    Yes, a partnership agreement is really important. Do you really need this? You set yourself a goal that you can achieve. Read the contract without fail and the smallest lines as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author newxxx
    several people on YT give discount codes in their link description
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