What Mommy Bloggers Think About Affiliate Programs

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What Mommy Bloggers Think About Affiliate Programs#asw10 Last week I ran a survey to ask some mom bloggers how they are using affiliate programs on their blogs. Here are some of the results of my survey. This is very helpful information for bloggers and affiliate companies alike.

I asked mom bloggers what kind of affiliate programs they use on their site, what they would like to see in the future, what kinds of problems they face, and what they would like affiliate managers to know about them and their blogs.

What Affiliate programs do you currently use on your site?

The majority, around 90% like using Amazon to refer people to and make money from. Amazon has an affiliate program. You sign up and then you can promote all kinds of products readers like. During the holidays I did well promoting free music on Amazon and magazine deals. I earned money when readers went to Amazon and purchased what I suggested or saw something that caught their eye and make a completely different purchase. As long as I sent them to Amazon I earned a commission whether they purchased the product I suggested or not.

Three other top affiliate programs for mom bloggers that ranked high on the list were Commission Junction, Logical Media, and My Savings. I will be writing an article about affiliate programs that work well for mom bloggers in the future and I will cover each program in depth.

Next on the list were Coupons/Brandcaster, Escalate Media, Juicebox Jungle, LinkShare.com, and ShareaSale.

The full list of affiliate programs that I listed along with others that were suggested by bloggers will be featured in my post on affiliate programs for mom bloggers.

Remember, this is just a list of affiliate programs by rank. That doesn't mean these programs work for mom blogger. If I were to do a more in depth survey asking what they like and don't like about each of these programs you would be surprised at some of the answers I think. The programs available versus the programs that work are two different topics.

What types of affiliate offers work on your site?

I also wanted to find out whether leads, sales, or impressions (CPA) worked the best for mom bloggers. An overwhelming majority said leads worked the best. And, as a follow-up question about what they would like more of, the overwhelming majority said leads once again.

A lead is a type of program or individual offer you promote on your site through either an ad or within a post that earns you a flat rate when the reader clicks and fills out a form on the destination website. I will be writing an in depth article on what all of these type of offers are and how you can use them on your mom blog so stay tuned for that.

What kind of products or companies would you like to promote on your blog?

Here is just a sampling of what some of the mom (and one Dad) bloggers told me. There were a wide range of answers for this question. I think the offers that each mom blogger wants depends on what works for either their target audience or what they write about. A mom blogger who writes about coupons and grocery store savings might not need fashion offers and vice versa.
  • Free samples
  • free e-books
  • coupons/discounts (mentioned multiple times)
  • free trials of services, contests/giveaways
  • Low-cost items that offer real value to readers
  • Educational
  • household
  • consumables
  • natural
  • planners
  • online shopping sites like Target.com
  • Food
  • health and wellness
  • weight loss - quality companies that don't seem "fly by night" or spammy
  • beauty
  • fashion
  • technology
  • contests and sponsors that are legit; nothing where the end user has to complete a bunch of offers to enter or participate
  • Children's clothing
  • educational
  • home management tools
  • photo deals
What specific problems do you have working with affiliate programs, if any?

Connie from Brain Foggles writes:

My biggest complaint is that pay limits are too high. For a blogger who focuses on writing and can only promote once in awhile without spamming my readers, I'd like to see smaller payout minimums like $25. I've dropped programs who won't pay until I reach $100. I'm not offered programs based on impressions or leads. That would inspire me even more (I am already working on this) to increase traffic to my blog if I was involved with programs like these.

Here are other random responses to this question.
  • Ad codes with flash that won't display within blog posts.
  • non-payment, too long of a wait, impressions being "off"
  • takes too long for them to pay!
  • They definitely take too long to pay out. Most affiliate programs are not consistent. They offer a lot of great things one month and nothing the next. Affiliates want bloggers to write about their products and then ask that no text links be used.
  • As a blogger, using flash ads just looks hokey. I'd love more ads geared toward our readers...which means no flashing neon lights!
Can you see a trend here? Some affiliate companies take too long to pay. I know of one who is notorious and I have all but dropped them. I was making about 20% of my affiliate income through them and because they take 90 days to pay and often have to be sent an email reminder they are wasting my time. I can bet you they don't accept that from the companies that advertise through them. Why are we expected to wait 90 days when you probably get paid sooner? We are the ones making money for them. And this company is one of the biggest mom blogger favorites out there. And, I work with many affiliate companies and my experience is almost all pay on time but a select few.

And why is this affiliate company a favorite? Because no other affiliate company is offering what they do. Are you listening affiliate companies? I see a niche marketing forming.

Another problem that plaques many of us is this:

They offer a lot of great things one month and nothing the next. Affiliates want bloggers to write about their products and then ask that no text links be used.

Christina from Northern Cheapskate

What affiliate offers do not work and why?

From Lori Loomis Moms by Heart

Moms are pretty savvy today - and our credibility as bloggers would be compromised if we promoted anything that was not in their best interest. For the most part, moms want to learn, improve themselves, save money and find shortcuts. If offers don't appeal to these needs, they won't work. So "as seen on TV", credit card/mortgage stuff, get rich quick stuff. Items with high shipping or full retail prices don't work for me either.

Here are other comments from bloggers.

"Ones that don't have a large selection of products or that don't offer enough products for my readers. Also programs that don't offer sales that I can promote."

"I have not had success working with affiliate programs outside of Amazon."

"Programs that look scammy to readers."

"Insurance, software downloads (toolbars), and dating offers."

"Anything that sounds remotely like a scam... i.e. Cash For Gold, Lose 30 Pounds in 2 weeks, get rich by working from home, etc."


When we (mom bloggers) offer something on our site, whether through content in a post or in an ad, we take responsibility, for that content. If the offer is not legitimate, is scammy, or does not provide value to the reader we definitely hear about it. If the reader clicks on something and they do not read the fine print; their credit card gets charge; or they start receiving tons of junk mail, we hear about it. Yes, it is not our fault but we feel responsible in some way. This is why we are so picky about what we are provide both through content and advertisements.

As you see from these results, mom (and Dad) bloggers are smart, savvy and understand that what they offer is a direct reflection on them and that the offers need to fit with their blog's overall intent. Affiliate companies need to pay attention to this huge group of bloggers who have growing power and influence. More quality offers need to be created around this demographic and if the current affiliate companies cannot provide this then new companies need to be formed.

As mom bloggers we pick from the pool that is available to us and at this point more mom-related affiliate companies need to come out of the woodworks to find us because in my opinion many programs are not even geared towards what we write about. However, I know I have limited knowledge of what is available and as I learn and find new programs I will share them to my fellow mom bloggers.

Other Bloggers who participated but were not directly quoted include:

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