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  1. #1
    Newbie Mike Hardaker's Avatar
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    Free gear, the FTC and Affiliate Blogs
    We have added the following call to action / disclosure to the top of EVERY gear review on our site (800+)


    The suggestion above came from UJ over at REI, she is rad!

    I have also added a SECOND disclosure about affiliate marketing at the bottom of the page above where readers can compare prices



    I wonder if this will be a turnoff for our readers? Personally I am all about honesty and being upfront in ALL aspects of my life. Why should affiliate marketing, blogging and writing be any different?

    Is anyone else doing this? I see it from time to time on popular blogs, normally not related to the outdoor space.

    Also keep in mind I am given gear directly from the outdoor companies, so that in itself needs to be clearly stated.. Plus I do make money off the clicks, so why not mention that too..

    Did I just shoot off my foot? Or get some solid body armor..
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  3. #2
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    I haven't heard of it affecting traffic negatively. When I was a travel writer, we also had to disclose that we'd received subsidized or free trips, and it didn't affect our sales to newspapers of those stories. But you are much more compliant by doing so, and given the increasing FTC scrutiny, that's a good thing! I know that merchants appreciate your disclosure for sure.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  4. #3
    Newbie Mike Hardaker's Avatar
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    Jeannine,

    Thank you for the comment, and the note about what merchants would feel about this. Normally I am so focused on the readers, and my needs that sometimes I forget there is a 3rd party also. So yeah if I was in the merchants shoes and had a rock star affiliate that was driving sales, qualified traffic and strong leads that was VERY OPEN and HONEST about what they were doing - I would want to do more business with them!!!


    Do you know if many affiliates are receiving free gear on-top of earning commissions?

  5. #4
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    Affiliates who are producing quality reviews are definitely more likely to receive free gear! You have to produce to earn the right, but it's not impossible. Disclosures like the ones you've shown protect both parties so much more. I have merchants who are happy to do both free gear and commissions, cause they've learned the great value in doing that with the right affiliates.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
    Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Affiliate Window
    US Programs | Canada Programs | UK Programs | Ireland Programs | Mainland Europe Programs

  6. #5
    Newbie Mike Hardaker's Avatar
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    We started out doing gear reviews, well actually shooting photos at snowboard contest and concerts. The whole affiliate world didn't come into play for another 3-4 years down the line. I actually had one of our largest merchant partners inquire about how to get gear "for another affiliate publisher" I was honored they would even ask..

    I told him long story short, they need to start writing, reviewing stuff they already owned. Get into the trade shows, start collecting business cards and then put it all together.

    In my world it's about who you know, clearly not what

  7. #6
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Do you know if many affiliates are receiving free gear on-top of earning commissions?
    Almost all of my merchants will give away samples or gear to a niche site for reviews. I have gone through the list of joined affiliates per program to find sites like that then offer them free gear. So if you can show that you have traffic and your site is niche then you have a great chance to get gear in exchange for reviews.

  8. #7
    Member Chubstr's Avatar
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    We're offered things on a pretty regular basis - more PR than affiliate, but as we've grown, we're seeing more of the affiliate programs offering product. The PR product started out all over the place, but as time has gone by, they're getting more focused and niche-appropriate. Just echoing what people are saying here, it's all about relevant content.

    To the original question, I think the disclosures look really good, and don't take away from the content.

  9. #8
    Newbie Mike Hardaker's Avatar
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    Thanks Chub,

    Our sales have dipped a bit since we put the notice up. I need to look at bounce rates, engagement and see whats up. I hope and think it's more seasonal transition then anything else. Now come on bike season... Gity Up

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  11. #9
    Member Chubstr's Avatar
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    Yeah, I think people skim that kind of thing, and generally don't pay a lot of attention. It's great that you have them placed like you do, but my totally unscientific opinion is that in the long run, those disclosures won't be a negative.

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