Some of you may have seen the video & blog post I put up last night called Little Luxuries featuring the first in a 3-part Holiday Gift Guide on OLJ as part of my annual Holiday Prep Series. Since then there’s been a bit of grumbling in the comment section of the video about my new affiliate links and all of the coupon codes I have to share right now. I thought I would take a moment to clear up any misconceptions about my use of affiliate links and coupon codes in the hopes that it helps some of you understand why I am now using such things.
As most of you know, I am a YouTube partner, which means that I have the ability to monetize my videos with ads (using Google AdSense) and I receive compensation when those ads on my videos are watched or clicked on. Anybody can become a YouTube partner simply by following the steps to monetize videos on YouTube. All of my YouTube channels are monetized and I started to receive compensation through Google AdSense for those ads in the summer of 2012. I also joined the Sigma Affiliate program in August 2012. This was not something I pursued; rather they reached out to me and I thought it seemed like a good fit since I love Sigma makeup brushes so much. I figured the commission would help cover the costs of all of the giveaways I like to run throughout the year and it is a great way to get advance notice on special deals, coupon codes, and upcoming product launches. I have very much enjoyed being a Sigma Affiliate thus far for all of these reasons.
I launched OrganizedJen.com around this time last year and refrained from putting any ads on it at all until almost a whole year later. I did this, because I wanted to settle into blogging and make sure I wanted to stick with it before monetization. If you have a look around at your favorite blogs, I’d bet at least 90% of them have ads and use affiliate links. This is how people can make an income from all of the effort that goes into blogging. This has never personally bothered me about the blogs I enjoy following and it is a bit surprising that some people seem so offended that I am now beginning to monetize my blog.
Here’s the thing, guys, I never share things just because I might make a buck off it. The whole getting paid for being a YouTuber and a blogger deal is really just an added bonus for me. Ultimately, I would still post just what I do now even without compensation. I do what I do, because I truly enjoy it. I love sharing with you! It’s as simple as that. When I was putting together my Holiday Gift Guide video & post that went up last night I did not once think about possible compensation. I truly picked out items I personally like as gift ideas. In fact, I only became a Reward Style affiliate (which a majority of all of the affiliate links on that post are through) just yesterday, well after I had made my gift list and purchased the products. I actually purchased all of the items I showed in the video myself, with the exception of the purple set of Mae Movement bracelets, which were a gift from the company founders who happen to like my videos. Zazzle reached out to me a few weeks ago to see if I had an interest in becoming an affiliate. I have purchased and loved their customizable postage stamps for years, but never really looked at their other offerings. They sent me a $50 gift card to buy whatever I like from their site with no strings attached, and I spent more than that picking out those awesome customizable phone cases that I have been using and genuinely loving ever since. I decided to become a Zazzle associate, because, just like Sigma, I love the products they have to offer and am hoping my status will give me some perks like the coupon code I shared for the holiday season.
As for the comments about me not offering the items I shared in my gift guide as giveaway prizes, that is not true. I actually have a rather large giveaway planned for OLJ which will be announced later next week. I decided to give away many of the items I shared in the gift guide as part of Vlogaways on MHWL, in which I give away two prizes every day for twelve days in a row in conjunction with Vlogidays. The first giveaway starts today!
I hope you don’t think I am being “defensive” in putting up this post. I am just trying to explain my actions and decisions so that you might better understand where I am coming from. I have always tried to be extremely transparent about these sorts of things. It’s very important to me that you know I am only sharing things I truly, genuinely love myself, and not just because I might happen to make some money if you love them, too, and use my links. Monetizing my blog is not some attempt to go “commercial” or rob you of your hard earned money. I don’t think it’s a crime to try to earn a living off of my YouTuber and blogging efforts, especially if I stay true to myself, and am honest and transparent with you.
As for the gift guide I posted last night, I was surprised that so many of the items I picked out were usable with my new Reward Style affiliate link and I thought it was a nice bonus. I wouldn’t have altered the list if I couldn’t have used those links. Like I said, I actually put together the whole thing well before I even had the ability to use those affiliate links. The Zazzle and Sigma coupon codes were extended to me through my affiliate status. The coupon codes for Mae Movement, LycheeKiss, & Mesa Dreams were extended by the shop owners simply because I asked if they wanted to participate after I decided I was going to share their products. I do not receive any commission from those sales. Whenever I reach out like that I am very clear that my opinions are never influenced by discounts offered or free products and that I will share products even if the companies chose not to extend a discount. I’ve only been in communication with a handful of retailers like this so far, but in my experience, most all of them are more than happy to extend a discount I can share with you.
I hope this explanation helps to clarify my position on monetization, compensation, and affiliate statuses. I also hope you know that I am not in this for the money. I wouldn’t be doing any of this if I didn’t genuinely enjoy sharing. Getting paid to do what I love is very nice, but ultimately my purpose is to share my genuine thoughts, opinions, and experiences with you and money will not change that.
I want to thank all of you for your support as both blog readers and YouTube viewers. It is your words of kindness, encouragement, and enthusiasm for what I do that makes this experience worth the time and effort for me. Those things are priceless.