Monday, May 12, 2008

OK...it has ben brought to my attention that people make money on the internet!


I want to know what people would think about me actually making money off stuff that I recommend?

All the stuff I've recommended here like Lyle's McDonald's books and Dan John's DVD's etc I've bought myself....and there is stuff like EliteFTS's Bench Press and Squat DVD's that I think are great and taught me a lot...along with all the other stuff that I've also bought that I think is great...as well as the stuff I've bought that was absolute garbage...which I will tell you about as well.

Then there is the stuff that friends and or colleagues have produced that I just think is a rip off and I wouldn't recommend...are you following me?

What I'm getting at is that there is stuff that I'd recommended that if you saw here and you liked and decided you wanted as well that I'd get a cut of basically.

Now the thing is I've got a few different thoughts on the subject:

1. Does it make me a total sell out...is it a step towards the dark side of the force from which I'd never return?

2. Would it annoy people if I said 'I bought this and I think it is good...if you want it as well click this link and I'll get a piece of the action'?

3. Personally I'm wondering what will happen when I recommend some stuff that people have produced and not other products...will I get hate mail from them or will the 'Federation of Internet Fitness Entrepreneurs' put a hit out on me?

4. The people who's stuff I've already recommended are people who I would like to see do well because I think their stuff is quality and I have no problem with the idea that they are making sales because someone saw a reference to it here. I'm worried that people will think...this guy is just pimping this stuff to get his cut.

I'm actually not sure whether I want to do it myself and figure there are people reading this blog that have a lot more experience with this sort of thing as consumers...and I know there a industry people who are reading this as well who understand and take part in 'affiliate' programs...and might be able to give me their impressions and opinions on what they think I should do? That's what the 'anonymous' option is for on the comment's section.

So...what is the general feeling?

Whichever way it goes...I won't do anything without letting anyone who is reading this know what is going on so you can make your own decisions. At the moment I have recommended stuff because I bought it and I think it is good and because I often get asked about this sort of stuff. What I'm talking about is that in the future would it be OK if I did the same thing but got a kick back for doing so...or would that just blow?

17 comments:

ian said...

Hi Will,

I have some thoughts on this, not negative, but I just wanted to make the following point...

...In your strength and training career you have probably recommended lots of products, or resources, to a wide variety of athletes, friends and acquaintances, and maybe a lot of them can actually see what products you use while coaching...and while talking with these people you probably didn't ask for anything in return, or rarely ask them to tell the supplier to let them know it was you that recommended them...so why should it be any different now you are running a blog? Is it because it is easy just to stick in an affliate link within the blog post?

Will Heffernan said...

Ian,
This is my point exactly.

If I say that I like something it is because I bought it and got what I wanted out of it. I have been openly critical of lots of industry peoples products or the way they market them and most of these people are friends...if I think something is crap then I say it...but if I think it is good then I figure I should say it as well.

Like I've pointed out...I don't get free stuff...although I hope I do soon...I would love to get on the 'free stuff' gravy train by all means...I pay for it and recommend it if it is good with no thought of what I might get in return....mainly because none of these tight bastards have ever given me anything....well except Dan John....bit only because last time he saw me I was so unwashed and unkempt that I think he thought I was out of work and homeless...and Lyle McDonald has hooked me up with free stuff but that is mainly because I think he feels sorry for me and he conveniently offered me free stuff AFTER I'd already bought it...coincidence...I think not....and Eric Cressey has given me copies of his work but that is only because that rosy cheeked little tyke wants to be just like me when he grows up....everything else I've bought and I've bought a lot of stuff.

I hadn't really ever thought about but have had people email me and tell me why I should think about it...none of whom are actually 'industry' people...I mean other people I coach or know.

I've talked to a couple of 'industry' people about it...because I did want to understand how it worked...but I'm still unsure exactly how I feel about it.

I'm not leaning either way at the moment...defintely want more feedback from those it would effect.

What about you personally?

If I said 'X book is great' here's a link to it and you bought it through me...would that be a bad thing? Compared to you going and 'googling' it and buying it elsewhere.

I'm just wondering about it because it is only now that I realise that stuff I've bought before was purchased via an 'affiliate' link without me ever realising...it hasn't made me less happy with the good products I got on recommendation?

ian said...

Hi Will,

I'll try and keep this short :)

I've bought quite a few products over the past 3-4 years...and it has always been direct from source rather than through an affliate link. This wasn't because I didn't want someone to miss out on their cut...that aspect genuinely hadn't occurred to me until I just thought about it...it was just the way I decided to buy the product and pretty much mirrors the way I buy anything in life.

Since one of the deciding factors on whether I buy a product is based upon any help I have had from a coach...either through free articles, eMail exchanges or forums...then I can see that buying through affiliate link is fine because I get to reward two coaches in one go. So affiliate links aren't, in themselves, bad.

The problem as I see it is that there are blogs out there in which the content seems to be mainly driven by how frequently affiliate links can be inserted. I have also lost trust in the recommendations made by some coaches because they are making recommendations to products...via affiliate links...that are of dubious quality - my opinion of course :)

Affiliates links are fine but once you start going down the hard sell road of "my good friend [insert guru name here] has just unleashed his 28 days to Easter leanness and you click here you'll get it for $77...but that price can't be guaranteed for long...blah blah blah"...then you'll start to lose me.

I could go on...but I'd only repeat what has been discussed at length over at Lyle's forum.

Cormac said...

Hi Will,

I have been reading your blog and enjoying the content and down-to-earth writing style. Given that I have only a passing familiarity with your expertise from Lyle's forum, I found this to be an intriguing blog as it gives excellent insight into what guys like you are doing with their athletes "in the trenches" so to speak - sans pimping of product.

I felt compelled to respond to your second question, in which you posited the following "Would it annoy people if I said 'I bought this and I think it is good...if you want it as well click this link and I'll get a piece of the action?"

In my own opinion, and I may very well not speak for the collective of your readership, the answer is definitely.

The truth is, though, it's your blog and you can do whatever you want. I'm still going to read it if the content quality stays high and if you continue being so prolific... I still wonder if you've been sitting on a pile of blog posts you were waiting to drop and couldn't contain it anymore!

Regards,
Cormac

Will Heffernan said...

Hi Will,

I'll try and keep this short :)

Why? Are we running out of space on the internet already?

I've bought quite a few products over the past 3-4 years...and it has always been direct from source rather than through an affliate link. This wasn't because I didn't want someone to miss out on their cut...that aspect genuinely hadn't occurred to me until I just thought about it...it was just the way I decided to buy the product and pretty much mirrors the way I buy anything in life.

Since one of the deciding factors on whether I buy a product is based upon any help I have had from a coach...either through free articles, eMail exchanges or forums...then I can see that buying through affiliate link is fine because I get to reward two coaches in one go. So affiliate links aren't, in themselves, bad.

That was what I was getting at...I've done it in the past and been too dumb too actually realise it was an affiliate link.

The problem as I see it is that there are blogs out there in which the content seems to be mainly driven by how frequently affiliate links can be inserted.

I agree 100%...most of them are garbage.

I have also lost trust in the recommendations made by some coaches because they are making recommendations to products...via affiliate links...that are of dubious quality - my opinion of course :)

You and me both...I've had some major falling's out with individuals over just this fact. As I'd say you'd probably know.

Affiliates links are fine but once you start going down the hard sell road of "my good friend [insert guru name here] has just unleashed his 28 days to Easter leanness and you click here you'll get it for $77...but that price can't be guaranteed for long...blah blah blah"...then you'll start to lose me.

I would shoot myself in the face before that ever happened.

I could go on...but I'd only repeat what has been discussed at length over at Lyle's forum.

gobbla said...

Will,

Ask yourself if you are a sellout, not if some misc person thinks you are. If you're recommending something because it's good, then that's good enough right? Just because you might get something out of it other than the satisfaction of helping other people find quality sources of information shouldn't be a deterrent. You know what your motivations are. All 5 people that read this thing know what your motivations are...don't worry about it.

Tony\asayers99\etc

Will Heffernan said...

Hi Will,

I have been reading your blog and enjoying the content and down-to-earth writing style.
Down to earth? Is that like when some one says 'they're just simple country folk?'...I'm glad you are enjoying it.

Given that I have only a passing familiarity with your expertise from Lyle's forum, I found this to be an intriguing blog as it gives excellent insight into what guys like you are doing with their athletes "in the trenches" so to speak - sans pimping of product.

I hate 'in the trenches' always makes me feel like I'm either I should be in the middle of WWI or some prison chain gang.

Whether I end up using affiliate links or not....I will definitely still be pimpin' because if I think something is good and I had to buy it everyone else should bloody have to.


I felt compelled to respond to your second question, in which you posited the following "Would it annoy people if I said 'I bought this and I think it is good...if you want it as well click this link and I'll get a piece of the action?"

In my own opinion, and I may very well not speak for the collective of your readership, the answer is definitely.

What bit about it? Me getting money or that you think I'd be printing all that marketing garbage?

You do realise I ride a Ducati and the last time I had it serviced and got a new back tire it cost me over €1000 or $1550...I can't believe you don't understand how much I need the money :)


The truth is, though, it's your blog and you can do whatever you want. I'm still going to read it if the content quality stays high and if you continue being so prolific... I still wonder if you've been sitting on a pile of blog posts you were waiting to drop and couldn't contain it anymore!

People keep on saying slow down or you'll run out of stuff to right about...I'm actually holding A LOT back...like I said...I've over 150+ athletes at the moment...they generate a lot of material...this blog is really only scratching the surface.

Will Heffernan said...

Will,

Ask yourself if you are a sellout,
Can I refuse to answer that on the grounds it may incriminate me?
not if some misc person thinks you are. If you're recommending something because it's good, then that's good enough right? Just because you might get something out of it other than the satisfaction of helping other people find quality sources of information shouldn't be a deterrent. You know what your motivations are. All 5 people that read this thing know what your motivations are...don't worry about it.

Tony\asayers99\etc

Tony...you are an a-hole...their are at least 13 people reading this....even if half of them are family.

Cormac said...

Will, like previous posters have mentioned I see nothing inherently wrong with the affiliate link stuff per se.

I just can't help but draw analogies between what you are proposing and all the other crap "insider" blogs out there in my mind. This is probably unfair, given that you have been among the most hard line collective of coaches on teh webberz speaking out against unsavory business practices.

I think that responsible product reviews can be done (Lyle does it on his blog) and if you can make some money doing product reviews in such a fashion then I have no real issue with that, and encourage that you do what's best for you.

Will Heffernan said...

Cormac,
I wasn't even thinking of doing a product review...I'm way to lazy for that...I was thinking of maybe having a box on the side.

'Stuff I like and if you buy I get money for' section (I was thinking of making that the exact title) so every month I can screw friends like Lyle out of a portion of their hard earned profits that they sweated and slaved away for while I kicked doing bugger all!

Will Heffernan said...

I don't actually think many people will want me as an affiliate in all honesty.

ian said...

Will,

I think you've hit on a good compromise...that being a box on the side with links.

Though given the content of your blog so far...and if you continue in this way...your target readership won't be as mainstream as say, a coach who has published books or has had articles featured in fitness magazines...so I think that much of the nonsense we see going on in other blogs won't apply to you as you're more likely to keep the appeal of the blog to a more focused group of people.

I think that if you continue to write about your coaching and your athletes...I can see how you might write about certain implements you use (e.g. bands), or if you've read or watched something somewhere (e.g. Dan John's DVD) and you're demonstrating within your blog just how you are using the ideas for real...then I don't have a problem with saying..."and if you're interested in any of this stuff then click here for more details or send an email and tell them Will sent ya and you'll be looked after"...it kind of comes across as if I was talking to you in person and you happen to mention your favourite suppliers.

Anyway, enough...and no the internet has plenty of room Will but then you're doing your best to choke it....I've already been barred by Google 3 times for accessing your blog because it thinks I'm a spammer due to accessing it too many times within a short space of time (though it could also be because I access only 2 other blogs)...I have to wait an hour or so before Google will let me back in!

Anonymous said...

Good coaches recommend good information. Do the same.

mimo said...

To keep this short:

Jesus, as long as you don't promote garbage, i think it's only fair that you get something out of you recommendations. After all, your doing part of the work, in sorting out what's worthwhile or pure waste of paper. IMO, you should be rewarded for saving alot of your readers' money by pointing them to the right products and avoiding spending money on filler.

Again, this is based on the assumption(e-knowing you, i think this will be the case) that you will only promote what you really like and find useful

Will Heffernan said...

Ian, Anonymous and Mimo,
Thanks for the feedback...I think I need to think about it some more. As I said...I don't think I'd appeal to most of the real 'fitness entrepreneurs' anyway so it would really be in house type stuff anyway.
I will think some more about it and get back to you all.

Ben said...

i dont really mind, i probably cant afford it anyway!
as long as it isnt the ad copy or generic testimonial as per jimmysmith alwayn or whoevers blog, i wouldnt have a problem with it and dont think it would cheapen this blog at all

Will Heffernan said...

It won't be that...you can trust me on that.