This rant may ruffle some feathers, so I apologize in advance if I offend anyone. Sometimes I just need to get things out of my system. So come back next week, I’ll be a good gal, I promise!
Some of you who have been to Kauai are probably familiar with the island of Niihau. It was purchased 150 years ago from the kingdom of Hawaii and was privately owned ever since. It’s currently in possession of the Robinson family, the direct descendants of Eliza Sinclair, the original owner.
In Hawaii it’s also known as the “forbidden isle,” because basically, it’s off-limits to outside visitors. Sure, one boat company has an agreement with the family and can take tourists very close to the shore for some snorkeling. And if you pay $1,750 per person/per day, the Robinsons may let you have a safari on their little slice of paradise.
But one place and what visitors really want to see the most is the Hawaiian village, and it’s off-limits. Apparently, Hawaiian is the primary language and traditional ways are intact. According to Robinsons, they are keeping their 150-year old promise to preserve the true Hawaii of old.
Of course, things aren’t always what they appear. While mingling with some Kauai friends, I found out that a few have talked to the people who used to live on the island. What Hawaiian village resembles is a slave camp with very poor conditions. There are no paved roads, electricity or any stores. Conditions are rough and you better not get sick. It’s no paradise.
I think sometimes this hobby is sort of like this island of Niihau. A few want to keep visitors away so they can preserve the old ways. They cling to this utopian idea of what this hobby should be like. They want bloggers to work for free, putting in countless hours per day, so they don’t have to.
Affiliate links are like kryptonite to these folks. They only apply through bank’s site to make sure that no blogger (whom they regularly read and benefit from) gets paid a dime. I’m certain a few have fainted when I used the word “sales” while referring to commission. Friends, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…and you know the rest.
Oh, and bloggers better speak in code, so only the old timers can understand the information presented. And if the code is not to their specifications, they will spew foul language in the comments section and let you know what a bad girl/boy you are. After all, we don’t want any outsiders to come in and spoil our slice of paradise, do we?
To be clear, I’m not saying there aren’t any issues and that bloggers shouldn’t be held accountable. Readers have the right to know about deals, whether they pay us or not. Blogger should put readers first, period.
However, it’s not reasonable to expect us to write about every offer under the sun and search 24/7 for links that don’t pay us. Literally within minutes of when a better non-affiliate offer is found many start going nuts with indignation. Come on!
Speaking of, it’s unreasonable to dictate which monetization strategies we should or shouldn’t employ. Not all of us get hundreds of thousands of page views per month and a decent Adsense income as a result. Many don’t use ads on their blog which means they are almost entirely dependent on affiliate commission.
Some charge consulting or blog subscription fees and choose to forego credit card links altogether. Others like myself do it for free in hopes of gaining a long-term reader who will possibly apply through my site in the future.
My point is: This situation is much more complex than it’s presented at times. Blogging is a lot of work, and it’s unreasonable to demand that people do it for free. Don’t get me wrong, I admire those who do, and you are much more likely to get an unbiased advice from those folks.
But it needs to be a personal decision, period. No one should be bullied for their monetization choices. Judge bloggers by their content. If it becomes too spammy/self-serving, simply support someone else. Boom.
End of rant.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.