Business, Favorites, Writing

New Policy: No More Affiliate Links

Rogue Priest is the first real blog I ever started. Considering that it’s gone pretty well. Swimmingly in fact, and I owe that to all you awesome readers, adventurers, and encouragers who keep coming back for more.

But it hasn’t been without its learning curve.

Like any smart blogger, I read about how to do a blog “right”—how to be profesh and really engage your audience. It was helpful. I know how to lay out an article with pictures, headlines and boldface to really grab your attention.

See What I Did There?

But there’s a downside to that same “profesh” blogging approach, and that’s the emphasis on marketing.

I’ve used this space to promote paid products including books, courses and membership sites. There are three things to note about these products:

  • I usually got a kickback
  • I usually said up front that I was getting a kickback
  • All the products are things I personally endorse, and swear by in my own work

There’s nothing wrong with this kind of affiliate marketing. An author likes a product, the author has a chance to make some money endorsing the product, and the author is transparent about the whole thing: okay. That’s the way capitalism should work; that’s capitalism at its moral best.

But an author can do more than “just” be ethical.

An author can also inspire, build, set things in motion—or fail.

My goal is build the greatest living philosophy I can discover. A philosophy of adventure, transformation and selfless action. If I treat that as a brand, as designer-label ad space, I’m putting my career ahead of the philosophy.

By using affiliate marketing links I introduced a conflict of interest with my core goal. As soon as I’m earning a commission there has to be a question of motives—is this link really good for my readers, or do I just want a pay check? That kind of doubt doesn’t build fellowship.

So here is my new policy.

I will not place affiliate links in any Rogue Priest posts.

Not for anyone—no matter how good the product is, or how relevant it may be to my readers.

I feel no remorse about my past affiliate links: those products are awesome. If you joined Location Rebel, I’m glad you took such a big step for yourself and I hope you’re making money with it like I am. If you bought one of the ebooks, I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did. I stand by all the products I’ve promoted, but I don’t want marketing to distract from my purpose.

Corollaries:

  • I’m still a professional author and still intend to sell my own work.
  • I may still promote products I think you’ll like. But I will turn down the chance to make money doing so.
  • I understand why other bloggers choose to use affiliate marketing, and wish them only the best.

This policy introduces a new level of risk for me. Five weeks from starting the Great Adventure, I scramble to afford quality gear and make final preparations. Relinquishing an income stream is not strictly in my best interest.

So what’s my plan?

My plan is to make money not as a salesman, but as the philosopher you want to support. I have a new book about the Heroic Life on its way, and this one will be available for Kindle. I’m still working on a premium subscription for dispatches from the road, and continue to accept donations toward the Great Adventure.

In other words, I want to provide you the very best and most intimate access to the Adventure that I can offer, in the belief that it’s something worthy of your support.

Will that work? The Heroic Life says live for your ideals. Here’s me trying it.

If you enjoy reading Rogue Priest, believe in my journey, or just love seeing a spirited adventurer on the road, please consider making a donation to the cause. Your gift will help fund professional-quality equipment for the Great Adventure. It’ll keep me safe and help every step of the way.

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15 thoughts on “New Policy: No More Affiliate Links

  1. Hey Drew – I’m always confused about the video ads on your posts. When I read your blog I can’t tell if they’re part of the blog or an ad (though I should have this figured out by now) it continues to throw me.

    I was curious as to your thoughts on the video/text ads that you’re serving? Are these products you endorse?

    • Actually I’m not sure what you mean – I’ve never agreed to put any video ads (or any other ads) on my site. Which leads me to two questions…

      1. Are you reading this post in your email? If so could you be thinking of a different site?

      2. If it’s definitely this site, could you snap a screen shot?

      I hope you can tell me more, because I’m a little worried if unauthorized ads are showing up somehow.

      • B says:

        I’m not at home, and so don’t have my adblocker on this machine- and I see an ad, directly below the end of your post ["It’ll keep me safe and help every step of the way."], and above the ‘tweets and stuff’ section.

        The ad is for a ‘your brain, just brighter’ thing. Luminosity or something, it’s called.

          • Melissa just sent me a screenshot. Apparently it only shows up if you’re not logged in, so I’ve never seen it. This is deeply upsetting to me – thanks for alerting me to it. I’m going to have to see if there’s a way to turn this off and, if not, consider migrating the blog away from WordPress.

            Wow.

  2. I didn’t know your sit had any ad’s. I am always surprised that there are still people who do not use adblock plus or something similar, I do. So I won’t make a great deal of difference to me.

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