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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Affiliate Links Kinda (Mostly) Suck

Every morning, you get into work, you sit down at your desk, sip your coffee while your computer turns on, and go on to check your favorite blog.  What is she wearing today? you wonder, excitedly.  Wow I would never have thought to put that chambray with those neon accessories and Rockstuds.  Awesome!

The one thing she's wearing that you can afford, a tank top from J. Crew, is listed below the picture.  You click, hoping that wearing the same thing as her will make you suddenly as fashionable at she is.

You arrive (in a new window) at the J. Crew home page.  

Well that wasn't very helpful. 

No, no it wasn't.



Three days later you get an email that it's the last day for 40% off sale items at J. Crew and even though you know they're going to start literally the same exact sale tomorrow, you check it out to hoard some basics.  You can never have enough Vintage Tanks, truly.

You spend the mandatory $150 to get free shipping, adding socks and cute notepads to give you that last $10 you need.  You just did all that work by yourself - looking through page upon page of sale items, dealing with getting excited that your favorite sweater is there only to find it's only available in XXS and XL, seeing that they have smalls and mediums in your other favorite sweater but clicking to find it's only in that weird jade green that looks awful on you.  You worked for it, no one else did!

But somehow, that blogger still gets a commission.

She didn't even do anything except link you to the website, which surely you could have done on your own (I hope) but still, she gets a commission because you have cookies enabled and you clicked her link at some point in the last week.

I am only bothered by the principle of this: someone gets paid for work they didn't actually do.  You aren't losing any money so it's not a big deal, but why should someone else get money for the searching you did?

Certainly I can't propose that shoppers (particularly bargain hunters) get a commission off everything they buy because they're the ones doing the hard work of searching through racks and online clearance sections, but it would seem to make more sense at the very least.

I tried doing these affiliate links a while ago because I thought the cool kids did it so I should too.  What I found: 
  1. It's significantly easier to just put a link to what I'm talking about on my own without having the generate the affiliate link
  2. You're generating more money for the company you use than you are for yourself (which is generally 5 cents per click and commission if someone buys the thing, but they rarely do)
  3. It's stupid.
A main issue I had is that I would never recommend someone buy something full price, yet there I was limited to linking to sites that are affiliates of my affiliate that are more expensive than the same product is elsewhere.

It makes me wonder how other bloggers do it - do they buy clothes so frequently that they can successfully link to everything they're wearing and have it be available online?  I'm wearing some cute ass Lafayette 148 pants today and I'd love for you guys to buy them for as little as I did (eBay duh) but they're 2 years old and naturally don't exist online anymore.  

Oh, oh, another complaint: you can't hover!!!  I hate when they say "shirt here pants here", essentially forcing you to click if you want to know what they're wearing, and then when you hover over it to try and get one up on them the link just says bit.ly or rStyle.me or whatever else and offers no information whatsoever.  Not a fan.

I do have to give it to them for the amount of work they put into their blogs though.  I am discovering that it's incredibly difficult to get pictures of your outfit where you don't look like a slob every day when you have an actual job to go to and when you get home your pants are all wrinkled because you sat at a desk typing all day rather than frollicking in a meadow and picking up flowers from the corner store so you can take a picture of them in your Celine bag.

No shade.

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