A reader emailed me a few months back telling me he had been using my Amazon affiliate link whenever he bought something from Amazon. That’s very nice of him. He would pay the same price but Amazon would pay me a commission ranging from 4-6.5%.
When I bought my refurbished Kindle, I first went to Oblivious Investor and clicked on a link to Mike’s book. That way Amazon would pay Mike a small % of my purchase. I did that as way of thanking Mike for his great work at his blog.
This is similar to how buying term life insurance works. If you use a local insurance agent, you are not paying any more than if you just go to the company directly. If you buy from a website that offers term life quotes, that website is an agent. If you go to the insurance company directly, you are only saving the insurance company some money. You might as well get some help from a local insurance agent.
As a consumer, we have tremendous power. For everything we buy from Amazon, we can save Amazon some money by going to Amazon directly, or we can tell Amazon to give a small % to someone we choose by clicking on their affiliate link first. Use that small amount to reward someone who helped you. Don’t squander it.
We have a tipping culture in this country. At restaurants we tip the waitstaff. At hotels if the bellhop touches our bags for even one minute, we are supposed to tip. If you read a helpful blog, why not tip the blogger with your purchases, especially when the tip money doesn’t even come out of your own pocket?
I say this after I met many bloggers at the Financial Blogger Conference recently. I was impressed by a group of hard working individuals. By sharing their thoughts and experiences, they are helping their readers and the general public in one way or another.
Affiliate commission is an import source of income for bloggers. If you are going to open a CD with Ally Bank, you can either go to Ally Bank directly and save them some money, or you can tell Ally to give a small amount to a blogger you like by using their affiliate link. You have that power as a consumer. Use it wisely.
I used to see affiliate links as selling out. Now I see them as a great way to reward hardworking bloggers. I used to have a tip jar and I did receive some tips from some generous readers. I deeply appreciated them. Giving money to a guy on the Internet is pretty much unheard of. I took the tip jar down. It’s not necessary to use your own money to tip a blogger when you can use affiliate links.
Of course I hope I’m chosen for the privilege when you are ready to buy something from Amazon or open a credit card or bank account but it doesn’t have to be me. Find whoever helps you the most and reward that blogger. Make a list and do round-robin if you’d like to spread it among several bloggers. The worst way to apply for a credit card or open a bank account would be going to the company directly. You are missing the opportunity to say thank you to someone who helps you if you go to the company directly.
Don’t try to help a blogger by intentionally clicking on their Google ads. Google has a clever way to figure out whether the clicks are genuine. If Google suspects something, it’s "shoot first ask questions later." Their ad account will be shutdown. You are hurting them if you intentionally click on a blogger’s Google ads.
If you are genuinely interested in the service behind a Google ad, it’s OK to click on it. Just don’t use Google ads as your tip to the blogger.
Social Networking Votes
If you are not buying from Amazon or opening a credit card or bank account yet, you can still help a blogger with your social networking votes. Google uses social networking signals among other factors to determine rankings in the search results. A higher ranking leads to more visits and more people being helped by the bloggers you like.
If you are on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, like, follow, or circle their blogs. Like, tweet, or +1 their posts. It doesn’t cost you any money, just a click to put your votes in. With your social networking votes, you are encouraging your bloggers to produce more helpful content. Make your voice heard.