Around since 1996, Amazon’s affiliate program was one of the first online affiliate programs to help other businesses make money on the internet. Historically, it’s definitely one of the most successful affiliate marketing programs as well.
As someone who mentions books quite a bit on this blog, I’ve recently been toying with the idea of linking the books to Amazon. (Sometimes I’ve done this anyway while helping readers to find the books.)
If I sign up for the Amazon Associates program, I’d actually be paid if blog readers purchased the book (or anything else after browsing via my link.)
Why Did I Turn This Into an Existential Question?
Some of you may wonder why I waited so long and whether I’m overthinking this. Other people support themselves this way, the books I recommend are mostly fantastic (my opinion), and monetizing a blog is nothing new.
All this being said, I write about creative small business endeavors, and Amazon definitely doesn’t represent the small businesses I support.
Making a Decision Using the Experiences of Others
While thinking this over, I listened to a great podcast about it where a guest called in to ask if Amazon’s Affiliate program is worth it.
The podcaster (Chris Guillebeau) certainly sold me on its simplicity and the idea that people can buy other items through the link. With the other book vendors, if someone doesn’t want the specific book I link to, chances are they won’t buy anything else. Also, I was a little concerned with the efficiency of setting it up while checking out this thread:
Maria Popova? An Example?
A lot of you know that I love Maria Popova’s blog and enjoy learning about her experiences blogging about interesting information and history.
In one interview I listened to, she was asked about using Amazon Affiliates. She basically referenced how Amazon was first an online book seller. Then she spouted out some interesting statistics about how Amazon helps get books around the world and anything that gets people to read is a good thing. She didn’t feel the need to get into other ethical concerns about Amazon.
However, here’s an example of how much people attack her about monetizing her blog with such a big company.
As someone in need of efficiency and only wanting to balance one affiliate program for now, Amazon would make sense. Chances are I won’t be making much from it anyway (notice my blog image today was a man picking up a penny).
After reading this post? I figure why even bother.
Either way, to monetize this blog, I would be going back through all of my posts that mention books to rework them and link them to an affiliate program. I thought I’d include you as a reader while making this decision. I like to let you in on my thought-process, and I’d love to know if you have any strong opinions about it. Maybe Patreon or Kickstarter really is my best bet while raising money for an album?