Should Paid Membership Sites Have Affiliate Links

24 replies
Greetings,

Wanted to get a read on a burning question, is it appropriate to have affiliate links inside a paid membership area? The upside seems to be that you can provide more services. The other side is credibility and neutrality. Any thoughts?
#affiliate #links #membership #paid #sites
  • Profile picture of the author lotsofsnow
    It's a tricky subject.

    You would be on the safe side if you would not use affiliate links. It would build way more trust.

    Now some customers will tell you it does not matter but it actually does matter.

    I do recommend things to my customers and get paid affiliate commission
    but I am not charging for the recommendations.

    Some time ago I published a paid newsletter and I would never use affiliate links.

    You can actually make way more money from your membership site if
    you simply increase the member base.
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  • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
    Originally Posted by realdude View Post

    Greetings,

    Wanted to get a read on a burning question, is it appropriate to have affiliate links inside a paid membership area? The upside seems to be that you can provide more services. The other side is credibility and neutrality. Any thoughts?
    I think it depends. I am unsure how it is worse then having the membership owner send me 3 emails a day with the greatest new plug in that will make me $6,742.36 a day. As long as it is relevant to the course in question, I see no issue. It is one way in which you can package a course at $12, $49 or smaller dollar amounts.

    If it is a $2000 membership/info course I think I would be less forgiving. I also prefer to give value on those affiliate programs, a longer trial period or first month discount if I can. If they are getting value, I have less issues offering it.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheWillisWay
      [QUOTE=
      If it is a $2000 membership/info course I think I would be less forgiving. I also prefer to give value on those affiliate programs, a longer trial period or first month discount if I can. If they are getting value, I have less issues offering it.[/QUOTE]

      I didn't really take this into account in my last post on this thread. I agree that a one would need to be more cautious about it if you are charging a lot up front.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    is it appropriate to have affiliate links inside a paid membership area?
    Most low-end sites(traffic exchanges and the like) are full of them. I personally would never do it because you'd make more providing the products/services yourself and some people might feel they are paying to be advertised to.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheWillisWay
    I don't think there is any problem with that at all! I never pass up an opportunity to get an affiliate kick back whether a person has paid me up front or not.

    If you have provided quality content and have delivered on what you told your customers they would be paying for then by all means. You don't have to hide it either. On one of my sites where the solution to my customer problem is to use a proxy service I straight up say "here are 3 proxy companies that will work. The first one on the list I am an affiliate of so if you buy through them I get an month commission for your purchase ". And because what I am teaching them is a real solution to their problem most choose the first one even though it's a few dollars more expensive per month then the second one on the list.

    If you delivered a great value to your customers you and they are happy with what they paid for then most of them would rather go through your link to help you out.

    Now let's look at it from another angel.
    People are always trying to get something for nothing. One person will buy a membership or your ebook or guide or whatever and post it on the black hat forum. Or one guy will buy it and give access to 5 of his buddies. This allows you to make money on the back end even from the thief.

    I have this one site that I sell assess to then I profit on the back end. Some time ill run ads on craigslist that say:

    "hey I bought this guys course on XYZ and I love it. At first I was skeptical but in turns out it is totally legit. I figured I'd throw all my craigslist brothers and sisters a bone! Here is my log in details in-case any of you want to get access for free."

    It's amazing how many people will log in thinking they are getting something they shouldn't.

    One thing you don't want to do though is to try to convince your paying members that they need something if they really don't just so you get an affiliate kick back. So long as you are honest and transparent make money form every angle you can.
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  • Profile picture of the author davidtye
    For credibility it is best not to have affiliate links within your paid membership area.
    It's not good practice, however, it does depend on what niche you are in as some niches may not be as sensitive to affiliate links.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marco Moeschter
    I also would go without affiliate links. Or let's say I would go most of the time without ones but if I show them something I use myself and I have really good results with I would put one in. Maybe in one of ten cases.

    Of course if you have a membership site with just a monthly fee of $9.99 I would put some in to increase the income.
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  • Profile picture of the author realdude
    Thanks guys, great advice.

    "If you have provided quality content and have delivered on what you told your customers they would be paying for then by all means. You don't have to hide it either."

    Definitely agree transparency is very important.

    " If they are getting value, I have less issues offering it."

    Agreed.

    "You would be on the safe side if you would not use affiliate links. It would build way more trust."

    My thinking is to have very few affiliate links for us, clearly defined. I would like to work with others and give them the opportunity to market their service or product. But I don't want it to turn into a link circus and distract from the core offering. We can't be all things to all people so having "outside" consultants/ support would be very helpful to the clients. How do you restrict or maintain good value links? Do you review and accept or reject links? How to do that without making enemies?
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    • Profile picture of the author lotsofsnow
      Originally Posted by realdude View Post

      My thinking is to have very few affiliate links for us, clearly defined. I would like to work with others and give them the opportunity to market their service or product. But I don't want it to turn into a link circus and distract from the core offering. We can't be all things to all people so having "outside" consultants/ support would be very helpful to the clients. How do you restrict or maintain good value links? Do you review and accept or reject links? How to do that without making enemies?
      What you can do is to offer paid advertising. You clearly mark it as ads and then make sure that you only accept quality advertisers.

      Like here: http://www.warriorforum.com/war-room...e-discussions/
      It's a paid membership but you can buy banner ads and the ads are screened (at least to some extend).
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    I am not ashamed of using them at all in membership sites. Now I don't laden my pages with affiliate banners ect. I do sell ads though. I also include affiliate links in the resource sections of the websites.

    I had a person I am helping with a self hosted autoresponder and he asked which plan he should get ect with a hosting company and so forth. He then said he would purchase hostgator in turn I stated well write this in the coupon box when you buy and you will get your first month for 1 penny.

    I had no problem doing that and didn't blink an eye and he said glad to help you out Nick.

    And I earned 50 bucks for just telling him to use a coupon code.
    Congratulations! You have earned a new commission in the HostGator Affiliate Program.

    Date: 2014-03-10 16:55:12
    Domain Name:il.com almost left his domain name in that lol.
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  • Profile picture of the author realdude
    Thanks hpgoodboy and hustlinsmoke clearly marked ads should work. That solves my delema. Appreciate the help.

    Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author barbling
    I have no problem using affiliate links.

    I would hope my reputation is enough that within paid membership sites, folks realize I stand behind what I alert them to.

    If someone chooses to be offended, so be it.
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  • Profile picture of the author realdude
    Thanks. Based in part by the comments here we have decided to offer affiliate products in a separate marketplace so it's clearly understood what the intent is. We are also working on a points system that would let members use their points to buy outside products, including those offered as an affiliate. The goal is to strengthen and build long term relations with affiliate partners and also offer our members more options.

    Really appreciate all the help. This forum rocks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Tandan
    If your affiliate links point a product that could be of VALUE to the members, there is no problem. However I'd strongly suggest being 100% transparent and saying, right in the member's area, that those are indeed affiliate links. And give them the option to skip the link and buy the product direct if they so choose. That kind of candor earns respect, and you're only providing a service if you're linking to valuable info.
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  • Profile picture of the author jamescanz
    Originally Posted by realdude View Post

    Wanted to get a read on a burning question, is it appropriate to have affiliate links inside a paid membership area?
    Definitely.

    For example GetResponse offers money for both the person signing up & the affiliate.

    Makes it much more worth while to include an aff. link in that situation.

    Obviously not all aff. links work that way.

    Just some food for thought.
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  • Profile picture of the author realdude
    Appreciate the comments.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dani78
      Affiliate links shouldn't offend anyone,
      that's my opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author realdude
    Dani, I agree. But for me it needs to be clear what they are and the fact that the commission paid does not increase the cost. There are millions of commission based jobs out there, all equally legit and necessary for the economy.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by danits View Post

      Hi,

      Since every person has a different opinion, if you do decide to use affiliate links I would recommend adding 2 links: one non-affiliated and one affiliated (and let your members know which is which).

      Members who would want to reward you for your review and for providing them helpful information will click on the affiliated link instead of the non-affiliated one.

      Good luck!

      Danit
      Danit, there was a time long ago where one could use affiliate links in posts here in the main forum by following this protocol.

      That went by the wayside when some took it as a license to spam the forum with affiliate links to the point where the forum was almost unusable.

      It worked well when people respected both the readers and the community, and quit working when the usual suspects insisted on ruining things.

      My thought is that it would work equally well inside a membership site.

      Respecting members by being picky about what is linked and not hiding the fact that you offer affiliate links. One could even spin things, saying that the affiliate commissions help keep the cost of membership down. Of course, this is much harder to get over on a four- or five-figure coaching program than a $10-$20 per month content membership.
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  • Profile picture of the author realdude
    John, thank you for the thoughtful reply. If all your 11,849 replies are this well presented then many thanks for being such a great contributor. Your advice is spot on and much appreciated.

    Hope you had a great holiday,
    Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
    I run nothing but membership sites and we give them links to resources with affiliate links all the time, but we present them as sponsor links...

    so we would say something like while your waiting for your download to complete why not check out one of our sponsors and rotate the sponsor splash pages on the page where they clicked to get their download.

    Or as they login, a message that says thank you for logging in to day while your here why not check out one of our sponsors
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  • Profile picture of the author realdude
    Thanks Robert, good advice. Signed up for your course, it looks really thourough.

    Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author paulie123
    I always get a kick out of this question! Somehow people think it is morally wrong to place affiliate links. We forget "the business of America is business." There is nothing wrong with placing affiliate links. Many people who say not to do so...do so! If you go to the time and effort to get accepted by an affiliate program, than use it! The only moral or legal obligation you have is to follow the TOS of the affiliate program. If anyone ever takes the time to complain about it to you, they are consumed by something very petty. My two sense!
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