Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Ugly Side of Affiliate Marketing

I came across this yesterday while browsing BUMPzee.com. The story was on Earners Blog.

Virtually everyone in our country knows about the horrific tragedy that took place at Virgina Tech on Monday, April 16th. A solitary gunman opened fire, killing 32 students and professors, before turning the gun on himself.

Someone started a blog that provided details and photos from the shootings. I won't weigh in on what I think about a site like that, other than to say that I believe the news reporting should be left to the major networks. Anything else seems like gossip and rumors. I also won't link to the blog, not because of the topic, but because of what else I found.

What REALLY caught my attention on this blog was a post that was nothing more than a plea for readers to send flowers to the families and loved ones of those lost on Monday.

You guessed it. The author was kind enough to provide affiliate links to several different online florists!

Since the story about this blog and its links has spread like a wildfire across the blogsphere, the author has removed the links and posted an explanation. His explanation is that all proceeds raised would be sent to the victims' fund.

What we're supposed to believe is that the author was asking readers to send flowers to the victims' families, and then he would take the money earned through these sales and send it to the victims' families. I don't buy it! Here's why...

The final sentence of the post asks readers how what he did is any different than the Chicago Tribune or any other news blog that has ads on its pages. The difference is that the other news blogs are just that... news blogs. Those ads he refers to are also there for reports on everything from the Super Bowl to child geniuses to national and local politics. They weren't created specifically to take advantage of a tragedy.

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