image by mamnaimie
Don't ask me why, but I've always felt a little strange about making money.
Why can't the cash just appear in my account and automatically replenish itself? Oh yeah, that's why we work.
Back in March, I asked you all how essential twitter was to your blog… and mentioned I had been doing some experimenting with affiliate links in twitter. At the time, I didn't really think much about whether it was ethical to use affiliate links, because I only tweeted things that I really loved. In the end, the experiment got sidetracked as the IFB relaunch came closer, I was lucky to tweet that I was still breathing, on occasion.
I didn't think about the ethics until I read some recent articles about an affiliate backlash in twitter, some have figured out how to script automatic affiliate tweets, others reprimanded for recommending products they personally own with affiliate links (that's rather extreme…but it happened).
Because of the conversational nature of twitter, the people who really love twitter want to keep the conversation authentic, leaving the business out. Using twitter as a marketing tool only devalues the network making the users wary of spam and distrustful of the network in general. I know I've been inundated with spammy tweeps so much so, it makes me dread going through my new twitter followers, because it takes so much time figuring out whether to follow or not. And the abundance of spammy tweets makes it more difficult to find the tweets from the people I want to hear from. So indeed, there is a point where money and marketing devalues a network.
However, twitter gained the popularity, mostly because it's usefulness as a marketing tool. For some, it may be a personal thing, not for everyone. I'm sure Oprah isn't tweeting for personal reason, I'm not even sure it's really her. Personally, only a small percentage of my followers are personal friends, as much as I love you all, the truth is, we know each other through the blog. Though I do make a great personal investment, my twitter presence isn't necessarily personal, it's more professional… though some of you may wonder about my professionalism after seeing tweet about the doggie washing machine.
A mountain out of a molehill?
Honestly, I find doing the affiliates in twitter difficult, tweets are searchable, but most people just click on the most recent tweets. Where posts might be searched, tweets are more ‘present' meaning, no one that I know of, keeps a selection of tweets they always go back to for reference. Do you? Maybe I'm missing something here, but I always thought of twitter as sticking your hand in the river, you only experience the stream as it is at that one period of time.
Back to my experiment.. for a while I did an eBay vintage pick of the day. I wear vintage clothing in some respect every day, or most days, and I love vintage. I used to run an ad on my blog with my daily pics, and it got quite a bit of traffic. So when I moved it to twitter, it got a pretty good response. Did it make the kind of money the ad made? No.. not really, a little, but not much. But people enjoyed my daily eBay picks, as far as I knew anyway.
Honestly, I don't have too much of a problem with affiliates in twitter. But like affiliates in blogs, as much as people say that it doesn't affect the editorial weight of their content, I have a hard time believing that. On the other hand, I want to support other bloggers through affiliates. Just yesterday, I made a purchase through a blogger affiliate link, it made be feel good to support her. The thing with affiliate links, it, if it sucks, no one's going to buy it, no matter how it's delivered.
So, now you know I'm on the fence about this… what do you think about affiliate links on Twitter?