I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
I was working with one of my new clients who set up her site on WordPress.com, which severely limited what I could do for her, so I recommended she signup for Bluehost. Bluehost offers ssh access and is only $4.95 / month, and I hear about a lot of affiliates who use it for their own sites. Awesome – that was my recommendation in my email.
Of course, if I’m recommending a hosting provider, I want my cut of the deal. So after logging into CJ, I got my Bluehost affiliate link and tested it out (I always test my links before sending them). Imagine my surprise when the price went from $4.95 / month (without an affiliate cookie set) to $6.99 / month with the cookie set!
Big surprise there! As affiliates, we explain to shoppers that buying through affiliate links doesn’t cost them any more than if they bought directly from the merchant. But, this isn’t the first time this has happened, either (FTD – affiliate links cost more – thanks Tricia for the tip).
This is where I excel as a human, and fail as a businessman. I didn’t use my affiliate link when referring my client to Bluehost. I’d rather them save a couple of bucks, than me make a $90 commission. What’s also interesting is that going Incognito in Chome and making sure cookies were cleared still showed me the higher rate, and this…
Disclosure on Merchant Site
Another thing that surprised me was a statement on the Bluehost website when I (the shopper) was tagged as an affiliate-referred visitor:
Since you landed on this page of our site, we want to let you know you visited one of our paid endorsers while researching your purchase.
We’ve talked about Affiliates needing to disclose their relationships, and we’ve talked about OPMs needing to enforce it, but this is the first time I’ve seen a merchant disclosing the relationship.
So bravo to Bluehost for disclosing the relationship with your affiliate, but shame on you for charging more when affiliate links are used![fmtcpod pod=”f9d2b73e482fd540beb85113a34a52d4″ sid=”ericnagel”]