The value of an affiliate link

In Affiliate Marketing Undervalues the Link at A VC, the question is raised as to the value of an affiliate link. I’ve been an Amazon affiliate since the beginning of time on this blog, and have shared these same thoughts expressed in this post many times. The post is about the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

. . . in two days, that blog post generated 535 views of the Amazon page and 40 purchases. The affiliate fees associated with those 40 purchases add up to $6.50.

But those 535 views are pretty valuable. Those 535 clicks translated into a total of 118 orders in the past two days, including a Kindle. The total affiliate fees associated with those 535 clicks were $25.20.

But even including all the commerce that was generated from that link, that $25.20 is a cost per click of roughly 5 cents. I think that’s low for a bunch of reasons.

I’ve reviewed a lot of books here. I know people read the reviews, and I know they click through to Amazon to read more about the books. But they don’t always buy during that particular session. Maybe they do later, but that purchased doesn’t get tracked as being influenced by me.

I don’t write the reviews to sell books or earn big bucks as an Amazon affiliate. I’m writing the reviews to help people who want to teach or learn about various web development topics. If I wanted to make a lot of money as an Amazon affiliate, I certainly wouldn’t be devoting my time to this blog, with its tiny niche in the big world of information.

Nevertheless, it would be nice to have a few dollars of affiliate money now and then to help pay for hosting the site. Months can go by before I reach the $10 minimum on Amazon to receive any money from the program. If the program paid for clicks or for views rather than purchases, I think that sum would be greater and a better reflection of the business I actually generate for Amazon. Here’s how A VC said it.

The point is that my blog post drove a lot of value to Amazon that is not totally captured by the 40 purchases of Gretchen’s book or even the 118 transactions that were done by those visitors in the past two days. The value of that link, in my opinion, is significantly greater than $25.20 and as a result bloggers and other users of affiliate services are getting under compensated for the value they are providing.

Are you using affiliate marketing? What’s your opinion on the pay rate?

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