Affiliate links, lessons learned

Affiliate links no moreHello my lovely readers,

Today I want to share some blogging lessons with you, it’s unrelated to Microsoft Project or PPM. So if you are looking for info on that you might want to head back to the homepage and find another post (like Never delete a task for instance).

This post is about my experience with Affiliate links. And I wanted to share the info with you because there have been some changes to TPC based on the knowledge I have now.

So, Affiliate links… what?

Affiliate links, in my definition, are links specially created to support the affiliate. If, for instance, I want to refer you to a book on Amazon I would create a affiliate link to send you to Amazons page for that book.

The best thing about these affiliate links is, that when I refer a person to that Amazon page and there is a purchase, I would get a commission. This will always be done without extra costs to the customer.

A more official definition, as well as a background on affiliate marketing can be read here.

Affiliate links in The Project Corner Blog

From the very beginning of TPC I wanted to have a personal domain (achieved)  and see if I could make a little money on the side (partly achieved). Not as a main income stream, but just to see if I could generate something extra purely by sharing my own knowledge with you.

To generate income online the easiest way that I could think of, was using affiliate links. And I already knew that I intended to do the book reviews. So I decided to hit two birds with one stone.

Every book I read related to Project, Project Server or Project management would get a review and I would search the book on Amazon to create a affiliate link to include it in the post.

The fun thing about the affiliate links is that I could easily track how people liked the book reviews that I’ve written in the extensive dashboard generated by Amazon. Here are the two graphs I could generate from 2016 and 2017 up till May.

2016-Amazon.com Associates Central

2017-Amazon.com Associates Central

So as you can see, I was able to generate a little extra income just by sharing my thoughts about the books I read. It was a nice experiment, but then this happened:

Warning affiliate link

Amazon Affiliation drama

This account is closed and will not generate further referral fees. Ai, but… why? Like the notice said I did receive a mail, in it there was also a mention of “you will not receive the accumulated fees that are currently on your balance” or something in that area. There was no preliminary mail stating that I was doing something wrong and I needed to change, there was just this 1 mail that said “thanks for the shares, you will not get any money for it”.

I contacted the Amazon help desk and even though they are helpful in telling me what went wrong. There wan’t a chance for me to get back on track and see my earned commissions anymore.

The thing is, I used certain code on my blog that would track visitor movement across the site. And to some extent that movement tracking was in violation of the company policy. What code/app/service I used that was in violation they were unable to tell me. My guess is that it was Bit.ly (a link shortener service) but then the policy got changed and I wasn’t aware of it because I’ve been using Bit.ly from the start.

Final notes

In the end I figured out that all the effort for a very limited return wasn’t going to work for me anymore.

I still like the idea of generating an online income based on referral for good products (that I use or read myself!). But books aren’t going to make any real money if they are only on a 6% commission with only about 10 sales a quarter.

So I’ve stopped using Affiliate links for the book reviews, I still link to Amazon (because of their good service and availability of products). But they aren’t affiliate links anymore.

Currently the only remaining affiliate link is to the training courses from Tumble road. There’s a much better affiliation program, and I highly recommend the courses and have done several of them myself. If you are looking for training on Power BI in combination with Project Online, let me be so bold and share my affiliate link with you so we can both profit from it, you the knowledge, I the commission.

Thanks for reading, hope you liked the post. If you want more Project related goodness keep coming back or sign up for my newsletter.

Kind regards,

Erik

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