“Join this program, and you could be making money right now!” If it looks too good to be true, it is, and as your Nerd Mama, I’m going to give you some advice that bad Affiliate Managers don’t want you to know. Affiliate marketing has a dark side.
Bad Affiliate Managers want you to do the work so they can cash in on your efforts and traffic. Through shady practices, manipulative practices, and pure lies, some affiliate managers are conmen taking advantage of nieve content creators hoping to earn a living.
Why use affiliate links?
Done right, with integrity affiliate links help content creators like myself to earn a living doing what they love to do. This is how we can keep Nerd Mama membership free and it's how I make money.
If you have a blogger you like, give them your love by clicking on the ads or using their links. This is how you support free blogging without it costing you anything. We earn a small commission at no cost to you because it is paid to us from the sellers.
So when I find a blog I like, I take the time to look around at other blog posts, click the links to see if I'm interested in what they are offering, and I comment on the post to let them know I was there. That's how we support each other.
Not All Affiliate Managers Are The Same
Before we jump into the darkness, let's talk about why I am choosing to expose the bad side of affiliate marketing.
Not all affiliate marketing is bad, and I don’t want to scare you away from that path once you learn what to look out for. I want to show you how to look out for yourself and how not to be taken advantage of by bad managers.
The reason I'm posting this is to expose some terrible manager types and practices that make affiliate marketing look bad.
In other posts, I will share some of the positive relationships I’ve enjoyed; however, this Mama is looking out for you and giving the evil eye to those shady ass managers who are trying to take advantage of people who don’t know better.
Bad Managers, I’m on to you!
5 Ugly Truths Bad Affiliate Managers Don't Want You To Know
Most Affiliate Managers have never had a successful blogging career.
Would you take career advice from someone who has never done the job? Or someone who pretends to know how to do the job, but has never put in the time and effort? No?
I’ve have had Affiliate managers who claimed to also be bloggers themselves, but they were shitty bloggers. Truly… shitty bloggers. I have gone to sites from managers who claimed to be “experts” to get some tips, only to find that either their blogs were closed, they lied about owning that blog, or the blogs they use in their bios were AWFUL. Their content was terrible and the was writing atrocious. ( I want to suggest Grammarly to them directly. And I hope they will purchase through my link so I a commission from showing them what terrible writers they are.) Seriously, don't give advice when you can't do the job.
Only one manager that I have and love has a blog that I questioned at first, but later learned was used as an educational tool for speaking engagements. The site is used to show what NOT to do. I can't say that about the other ones I've discovered.
If you have an affiliate manager who claims to have a blogging background, ask them for their blog and see what they actually know about being a successful blogger.
Check their social links. Do they have a Twitter account? How many followers do they have on Instagram? How often do they blog?
Affiliate Managers make money from your hard work.
A good affiliate manager will work with you to generate ideas that help you work together as a team. A bad one will push their agenda and has no idea who you are or your niche.
Their job is to push products or brands, they make money when YOU make the sale. This means that if you are writing content, driving traffic, pushing your social media funnels, and busting your ass to drive sales through affiliate linking, they make money from your effort.
And that’s not a terrible thing IF they are part of that success and effort. If they are there helping you to generate leads, come up with creative new blog content ideas, helping you to fall in love with a product or brand, so you are excited to work with them, then they deserve a reward.
I have a couple of managers that I adore, who not only comment on social media posts and help drive traffic but also share affiliate content. They HELP YOU drive traffic!
But if all they can do for you is to tell you how much harder YOU should be working, pushing YOU to generate more traffic to their links, and sitting back like a fat cat bragging about THEIR success, fire their ass!
Bad Affiliate Managers don’t want you to know that they don’t know crap about AUTHENTIC BLOGGING
If you knew, that they have no idea how you are getting traffic or that they have no clue how to do your job, would you keep using them? Some managers have no clue at all how to help you to be successful. And why should they? They don't care if you fail because they know they will scoop up another
victim affiliate and get them to include their links.
They want you to believe that writing content that you are passionate about, that readers will enjoy, and telling great stories will not make money. Why? Because they want you to be converting links for them, meaning pushing sales.
They want you to believe storytelling doesn’t pay the bills, and you should be “an affiliate, not a blogger” in order to monetize.
Guess what, that’s terrible advice! You need to be writing content that is engaging and of high quality. You don’t need to be “pre-selling” products in a link. That’s not why you started a blog!
If all of your content is “Pre-selling” marketing links, why would anyone choose to read your blog? They could just go to Amazon!
This gross advice is not only ruining your traffic but destroying your reputation as a writer. You won’t have return traffic if your readers think they are coming to your site to be conned into buying a product.
Successful career bloggers like Brandi Riley from Mama Knows It All taught me so much about monetizing without compromising. Her “Courage To Earn” blogging group on Facebook is amazing and great for all levels of content creators wanting to monetize.
Yes, honest to g*d, I’ve watched affiliate managers teach sessions at blogging conferences about their successful blogging careers with affiliate marketing and never mention that they failed and never got off the ground with it.
The entire session was spent prancing around talking about how amazing they were and how everyone loves them because they make money. When the truth is, they lied about everything.
People like that give hardworking bloggers a bad name.
Affiliate Managers don’t want you to know that it’s RARE to earn a livable wage with affiliate links.
If you are trying to make a business out of writing. You have to create original content. You also have to connect with your readers. If you are trying to earn real money, you can’t be selling crap and ignoring quality content. You need to solve a problem, tell an interesting story, or lead by example.
If you are only making an 8-15% commission from affiliate sales on products that are usually under $100. You are not going to make a livable wage, make the money to pay for your expenses, and cover the time you are spending trying to drive traffic.
Also, they will not cover the cost of boosted posts, that's on your bill, not theirs. Start adding up the costs of advertising, blog hosting, themes, plugins, graphic design, ect. Then ask yourself can you pay all of that and make a living from 8%?
The best money comes from sponsored posts and ad revenue, not affiliate marketing links.
You don’t have to purchase products to review them.
There is a myth being pushed by some affiliate teams that in order to give a “complete review” of a product, you need to use your own money to buy the product.
This is false, and let me tell you why. How many times have you read in a magazine something like “Top 10 Must-Have Beauty Products of 2019?” Do you honestly believe that the magazine went out and did a market analysis of the beauty products? Do you think they paid for those products? No way! Those products were sent to the magazine to check out and hopefully make it to the magazine.
When you grow your blog and your traffic with good content, SEO, and social media channels, you will have many opportunities to review products at no cost to you.
If you want to earn income, you need to work hard not give in to sleazy tactics.
If you need to make an income, you need to keep in mind that there are a lot of beginners struggles to overcome. Buying products at the request of an affiliate manager is not a required cost and shouldn't be on your list.
In fact, most affiliate managers are given lots of FREE samples or products they are supposed to be giving out to affiliates to try. But many of them choose to keep those products for themselves and tell the affiliates to purchase from their own links. Double-dipping- not only does the affiliate manager get the traffic and the commission from the sale, they also get you to advertise for free for them.
Take back your traffic, and take charge of your blogging income.
Don't hand the keys to your career to someone who doesn't have the knowledge or interest to make it grow for you. Do your homework and put yourself first. If your affiliate managers are giving you advice that is bad for your reputation and your readers, fire them. Walk away and don't look back.
Write amazing content and the money will come. Don't get sucked into writing cheesy ads for pennies.