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What's the Difference Between an Affiliate Link and a Regular Link

Updated on April 15, 2013

Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers

After reading a great article last week on why people don't click on bloggers affiliate links I had to write about the difference between an affiliate link and a regular link. According to the article by MommaKnows a reader said she purposely avoided affiliate links so that the blogger wouldn't make money off of her. I think this comes from a misunderstanding of what affiliate marketing is.

Affiliate marketing is a partnership between a business and an individual or company.

It’s like when you recommend a good restaurant to a friend and to thank you the owner of the restaurant gives you 10% off your next bill.

For bloggers, affiliate marketing can be a partnership with an author or a company. In exchange for recommending the product or service the company gives the blogger a commission if a purchase is made using the referral link.This can be anywhere between 3% all the way up to 50% or more.

Percentages vary depending on the product or service. For instance, you’ll get a higher commission on electronic products like eBooks, audio and video where as on physical products like those on your percentage is less.

What happens when you click on an Affiliate Link?

First you are taken to the company site or sales page where you can go shopping.Next,cookies are placed on your computer so that if you do make a purchase the person who recommended you gets the commission. These Cookies can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Cookies are not harmful – in fact just about every website you visit will leave a cookie on your computer.

What happens when you make a Purchase?

The referrer will get credited for the referral.

Example 1:

I refer someone to a product on That person makes a purchase which nets me $1.16 commission. However, I don’t get this right away because companies have rules about ‘Payment thresholds’. These are minimum pay outs.

Amazon has a minimum payout of $10 if you want to receive payment in a gift card or via direct deposit otherwise it is $100 with a fee of $15 for check processing. They also have a 60 day delay meaning if you buy something in January then I won’t receive payment until March.

What about privacy? Does the affiliate get my financial and personal information?

The affiliate does not have access to your personal information nor do they have anything to do with the financial information – the company takes care of everything. The blogger is just the friend that said ‘hey check this out it’s a really cool pattern’.

Eventually the cookie will expire (in some programs they don’t). One thing to note though is that whether you click on the bloggers link or another affiliates link – or even Amazon’s link, a cookie will be placed on your computer.

The difference between the two links is that with the bloggers link you benefit someone financially by helping them support their family on a purchase you were going to make anyway or you benefit completely.

Example 2:

Let’s say you have a friend who sells plastic containers. You know she is a stay-at-home mom and is trying to supplement her husband’s income. When you need plastic containers you buy from her because you know she’ll earn a commission if you do so.

The only difference between your friend and the blogger who is an affiliate marketer is that she actually takes part in delivering the product to you. The blogger refers you, the blogger earns a commission, however instead of delivering the product to you the company delivers it.

What about the Company?

The company does not raise the price in order to pay its affiliates nor does the affiliate ‘take your money’ from the company. The company has the affiliate program in place to benefit itself and the blogger affiliate. In fact, the company welcomes the affiliate because it is cheap advertising.

They need help spreading the word about their service or product and believe it or not companies love paying their affiliates. It means that the company made sales but it also means that in a way the company is helping its marketers earn a living – everyone wins including you, the customer.

In fact, companies will work out a deal with bloggers often giving special discount codes to their readers. Buying from a blogger will probably save you more money than if you buy directly from the store.

Next time a blogging friend mentions a sale you can support her and the company she has partnered with by purchasing the product using the referral link. By the way, the site you are reading this article on shares it's referrals with it's writers. This means the ads on the site not only earn Hubpages money but they earn the writers money as well.

It is a partnership - you get great information, Hubpages gets great content on their monetized site, and the writers share their information and receive a share of the traffic which rewards them financially if you the reader decides to make a purchase or click on a sponsored ad.

Not, Those Cookies

A plate of cookies is not the same as a cookie on your computer.
A plate of cookies is not the same as a cookie on your computer. | Source

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About Sara Duggan

I'm a wife and Mom of 2. I enjoy writing and crochet. I've found a way to merge the two with article marketing and blogging. Interested in Affiliate Marketing for your Crochet Blog? I've put together a free 31 day eCourse to get your blog ready.


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    • Magdaleine profile image

      Magdaleine 4 years ago

      You explained it very well. great article! Love the humor about the cookies too :)

    • tinamariemiller profile image

      tinamariemiller 5 years ago from Peoria, AZ

      This has to be the most informative hub I have read on affiliates. Thank you! Voted up.

    • profile image

      PWalker281 5 years ago

      Just finding this one, Sara. Thanks for posting the link on your Crochet Business Bloggers FB page. Excellent information on what an affiliate link is and why they are important to bloggers. There's a lot of negative press out there about affiliate (and network marketing) programs. Glad to see you putting forth the effort to debunk the myths surrounding them. Voted up and shared.

    • SaraDuggan profile image

      Sara Duggan 5 years ago from California

      Same here @Jackie, it's like supporting wahm's - If they make something I need I'll choose to shop with them first. I think we do this because we understand affiliate marketing so know the benefits to all parties.

    • profile image

      Jackie 5 years ago

      wow... when I want something and don't see an affiliate link I go find someone I know who has one. :)It's a tough business blogging, and working online. I look to help people out whenever I can. I hope this post clears things up for people!