Affiliate Links, Ads, Sponsorships


Conservative office outfit with a pop of color.

Dress: Target

Cardigan: Charlotte Russe

Belt/Necklace: Forever21

Earrings: NY & Co.

Shoes: Sam and Libby, via DSW

Like the outfit? See more details here!


My recent outfit posts have been dealing with ways that retailers partner with bloggers, and today’s post discusses paid posts and revenue opportunities for bloggers.

Some bloggers use affiliate links in their posts, with a pay-per-click method for receiving revenue from a retailer. They may not go directly through a retailer for this service, as Google, Bing, and other third-party platforms allow you to sign up for affiliate links with their partners. Thus, any time you mention an item from that retailer, a link is added*. When readers click to the retailers website, the blogger makes money for that referral, just like real-life referrals often come with some type of incentive (ie: reduced rent for referring a new tenant, a giftcard for sending a friend to doctor’s office, etc.)

Just like hard copy magazines, some bloggers offer paid advertising space on their site. The payments can be negotiated on a per month, per page view, or per click basis. You see this with independent or boutique brands quite frequently, as they don’t have the budget or wide-spread appeal to support huge ad campaigns. Again, this is a win for the blogger as well, since they can support their blog with steady revenue from advertisements. Many bloggers are protective of the ad space, allowing only retailers whom they personally frequent to advertise on the blog. This is a great strategy on the part of the bloggers, as it solidifies their credibility and the view that they are a neutral observer, a friend offering their favorite items to other friends on the site.

Sponsorships are another great way for retailers to partner with bloggers. They may pay a fee for a mention in a post, or they may send over a product for a review. The tone of the review is up to the blogger, but the retailer has specifically paid for a dedicated post. Sponsorships don’t always include a product review, and some bloggers give the option to by a link or a mention on posts for a specified amount of time. This helps increase brand awareness for the retailer, and allows the blogger to post on whatever they want while making a little money.

Each of these methods creates a win for the retailer and the blogger, as retailers get a guaranteed mention by an influential blogger, and the blogger makes a little money from their side project. While partnerships are becoming commonplace in the blogosphere, they’re not without controversy. Next week’s post will take a look at how these partnerships are viewed among the web community. Like the outfit? See more details here!

*Update: Angeline mentioned in the comments that most bloggers still have to choose where the links appear, etc. instead of appearing on their own. My mention above was in relation to forums where I’ve seen a commenter mention a retailer, and a link posts in the comment, without the author including a link. However, usually the blogger must sign up through some kind of platform that provides affiliate links.

3 thoughts on “Affiliate Links, Ads, Sponsorships

  1. Great rundown! I often mix up (and overlap) ads and sponsorships (in my mind and on my blog). The terminology gets thrown around so often and I think that a lot of bloggers prefer to say “sponsor” when they simply mean “advertiser” because advertising has a bad connotation to some.

    Just a clarification on the affiliate links…for the affiliate programs I’ve used (Google and Shopsense), products don’t turn into links on their own. Bloggers generally have to pick and choose what links appear where and to what and intentionally add affiliate links. There are some services, like Skimlinks, that turn any link into a potential affiliate link (if the retailer is in their database), which is more automatic, but generally affiliate links are placed intentionally and with special links (not just links to the product).

    Definitely a hot topic lately!


  2. Hey Angeline, thanks for the clarification. I think I was unclear on how I worded that. I’ve seen some sites that will make a link out of the retailer’s name (ie: in the comments, you mention the retailer, and it posts with a link, even though the commenter didn’t put one in themselves). I’ll mention that note on the links in the post.


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