I am banning forum members for using affiliate links. Read the rules!

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JohnLM

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I am glad on asked the "dumb" question in my earlier post because it helped to add clarification and other factoids to link delima, plus, I do always select/copy/paste up to the "?" mark when I am sharing a link or I am using a link (from amazon) so that I get a shorter and cleaner link for when I collect links into my database.
 

JohnLM

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Long story short, I just placed an order through one of Will's affiliate links, but the amazon page only gave me the option "from these sellers" only. And when I selected a seller from the window that popped up, all the additional URL code shortened down to the original link plus a few chars.

Battery Monitors - https://www.mobile-solarpower.com/battery-monitors.html

I ordered the "Hall Effect Sensor Capacity Meter/Battery Tester"

Does Will get the credit or not?
 

offgriddle

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The first rule of this forum forbids using affiliate links. Today I had to delete 4 members and all of their past posts for this reason. And a senior member is going through his past posts right now and removing them.

If you see someone using an affiliate link, be sure to use the report feature of a post to let me know. It helps a lot!

I would love for members to post affiliate links, but it is a bad idea. I have considered the idea, and I would love for members to get paid with affiliate links... but as I have seen on other forums, it usually does not work out nicely for these reasons:
  • If an affiliate program operating agreement is breached by posting on forums/ social media, the account can be terminated. This is true with amazon associates.
  • Each affiliate link needs to be labeled to FTC guidelines. Check out my youtube description to see what I mean. I have a disclosure statement and each link states "sponsored link" next to it. If you do not do this, you can run into legal trouble.
  • If we were allowed to post affiliate links, we would have more traffic from marketers trying to push cheap products. I am tired of the shill sales people in the solar energy market. I would rather not contribute to this problem.
  • Google search "solar forum" and have a look around. They are filled to the rim with ads and shills. I do not want this forum to ever turn into this.
Some folks may say "Wait! People are posting your affiliate links here on the forum to support you Will! Is that allowed?": The affiliate link posting rules applies to me as well. And when people post my links, I ensure that this website is NOT listed under my associate account. So I will not get a commission. I really do appreciate people willing to support the forum, but I would prefer taking a pay cut so that I am on level ground with everyone here. I know of another forum where the only person allowed to post affiliate links is the owner. And I dislike that.

I want this forum to be for educational use only. Not a billboard for shills and goofy youtubers trying to milk their audience. I think it is fair for me to post my links on my website and on my videos, but not here. How I support this forum is with the single link "diy solar blueprints". If even a few people trickle in and purchase a couple products, this website is fully funded. So it is not an issue. The link does not get clicked very often, and the website is filled with free information, so I think that it is fair.

I also included the amazon associates disclosure to our forum just in case someone posted a link, and I was not aware. It is best to comply to FTC laws when possible.

I also think that it is fine and dandy to post self-promotion and advertisements to the corporate section. Post away! If you want me to expand on this section with new forum categories, let me know.

What do you guys think? If you disagree, let me know why.
Will sir, you know me I'm all about compliance but would you please define, "affiliate link"? For example, is posting a product description from ebay or cheapo depot or what have you so that people know precisely what product I am talking about, considered an affiliate link violation?
 

tictag

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would you please define, "affiliate link"?
A link to a product is just a link to the product
A link to a product, together with additional information attached to the link, is an affiliate link

For example,

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SH9DH65

...is just a product link, but something like:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SH9DH65/?ref=xyz&affiliate=123

...would be an affiliate link.

You have to sign-up to an affiliate programme e.g. Amazon, in order to be assigned an affiliate link, though you can copy/paste other people's affiliate links e.g. if you shared one of Will's affiliate links with your friends, Will would get a commission from their purchases too.


Some rather more unscrupulous people intentionally hide their affiliate links behind 'short link' services like bitly.com so the above affiliate link could look something innocuous like:

https://bit.ly/23X6FB1

...and you'll never know that you've actually clicked on an affiliate link.
 

offgriddle

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A link to a product is just a link to the product
A link to a product, together with additional information attached to the link, is an affiliate link

For example,

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SH9DH65

...is just a product link, but something like:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SH9DH65/?ref=xyz&affiliate=123

...would be an affiliate link.

You have to sign-up to an affiliate programme e.g. Amazon, in order to be assigned an affiliate link, though you can copy/paste other people's affiliate links e.g. if you shared one of Will's affiliate links with your friends, Will would get a commission from their purchases too.


Some rather more unscrupulous people intentionally hide their affiliate links behind 'short link' services like bitly.com so the above affiliate link could look something innocuous like:

https://bit.ly/23X6FB1

...and you'll never know that you've actually clicked on an affiliate link.
Ok Tic Tag, thanks for the helpful information regarding a feature of the Wild World Web that I was completely unaware of. Hopefully I do not stumble into a violation. ☮️
 

mapguy525

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A link to a product is just a link to the product
A link to a product, together with additional information attached to the link, is an affiliate link

For example,

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SH9DH65

...is just a product link, but something like:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SH9DH65/?ref=xyz&affiliate=123

...would be an affiliate link.

You have to sign-up to an affiliate programme e.g. Amazon, in order to be assigned an affiliate link, though you can copy/paste other people's affiliate links e.g. if you shared one of Will's affiliate links with your friends, Will would get a commission from their purchases too.


Some rather more unscrupulous people intentionally hide their affiliate links behind 'short link' services like bitly.com so the above affiliate link could look something innocuous like:

https://bit.ly/23X6FB1

...and you'll never know that you've actually clicked on an affiliate link.
this is why you have to be somewhat selective about where you source(copy) a link from.
 

tictag

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this is why you have to be somewhat selective about where you source(copy) a link from.
Clicking on an affiliate link doesn't cost you anything, and the affiliate only gets a 'cut' if you actually buy something. Affiliate links are not in and of themselves a bad thing ... it's what that affiliate link implies that is the problem. Why? Because the person with the affiliate link has a vested interest in promoting whatever product the affiliate link is connected to. This can lead to bias, conscious or otherwise.

For example, if I get 1% of Growatt inverter sales through an affiliate link, and Giandel inverters are just as good in every way but I don't have an affiliate agreement with Giandel, would I preferentially promote Growatt?

Will has always been open and honest about the affiliate programmes he is a member of and, I personally believe, is trustworthy enough to avoid any bias in his recommendations (in fact, I think he mentioned once that he has an affiliate arrangement with some product as he was slating it!!). But not everybody is as open, nor transparent.

Will has taken the decision to eliminate this potential problem by banning affiliate links on his forum. This has the potential to impact him financially as he makes product recommendations to a lot of people i.e. he has taken this decision for the benefit of forum members, and at his own expense.
 

tictag

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Another, rather more surreptitious example might be a member that offers advice by regularly linking to a YouTube channel that he has some vested interest in, for example, affiliate product links contained within the video's description. This is just product marketing disguised as help; a wolf in sheep's clothing, if you will.

I would suggest that these attempts should also be called out for what they are.
 

mapguy525

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Clicking on an affiliate link doesn't cost you anything, and the affiliate only gets a 'cut' if you actually buy something. Affiliate links are not in and of themselves a bad thing ... it's what that affiliate link implies that is the problem. Why? Because the person with the affiliate link has a vested interest in promoting whatever product the affiliate link is connected to. This can lead to bias, conscious or otherwise.

For example, if I get 1% of Growatt inverter sales through an affiliate link, and Giandel inverters are just as good in every way but I don't have an affiliate agreement with Giandel, would I preferentially promote Growatt?

Will has always been open and honest about the affiliate programmes he is a member of and, I personally believe, is trustworthy enough to avoid any bias in his recommendations (in fact, I think he mentioned once that he has an affiliate arrangement with some product as he was slating it!!). But not everybody is as open, nor transparent.

Will has taken the decision to eliminate this potential problem by banning affiliate links on his forum. This has the potential to impact him financially as he makes product recommendations to a lot of people i.e. he has taken this decision for the benefit of forum members, and at his own expense.
Understand the commissioning payments system-just a point about avoiding entanglement with the rules here.

Agree, Will has taken steps to maintain the longer term health of the forum with the transparency and being uniform in application.

Also, agree that the youtube video situation can be easily abused, too.
 
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tictag

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@mapguy525, sorry, probably shouldn't have quoted you on that post, it was more of a general comment on the thread rather than a critique on your post specifically. Apologies.
 

dirt diggler

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You sir, are a man of integrity.
I came here via YT because over the months and years i had gotten the impession that Will was a fair and honest youtuber, now i know i was correct, thank you Will, not for the forum or the great vids or the information i gleened from them but for confirming there are honest people out there even on the web !
Oh and for giving me the hope that maybe just maybe i can spot an honest youtuber by just watching and taking in what they say and how they say it :)
 
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