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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I just don't understand!

I'm in need of a little rant. There are very few things that I don't like/love about our book blogging community....but there is one thing that is starting to annoy me greatly. Unfortunately, that thing is a "great" thing called Affiliates. Now those of you who may be reading this who have or are affiliates I am not trying to bad mouth you or say that the idea is a bad one, it's so very NOT a bad idea. I've just got to get my frustrations off of my chest ASAP! I guess I just don't understand the process....If someone could please explain it to me I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be near as annoyed and frustrated when I see a post pertaining to "affiliates." Also, what is the "official" definition of affiliate in the book blogging community? What exactly does an affiliate do? What does it mean to be an affiliate?

Here are my reasons for being annoyed with the whole affiliates craze:

1. I feel it's become a popularity contest.
- I've noticed that a lot of the blogs that have affiliates have 100+ followers.
- I've noticed that there are some (not all) blogs that make having at least 100 followers a
1. I guess my main complaint with this "requirement" is that just because a blog doesn't
have 100 followers doesn't mean they don't have a loyal following that will happily
spread information to their blogs followers as well.
-I may be totally off here but isn't that the point of affiliates....To spread the "love?"
2. There's an application process?!
- Need I say more on why this is a frustration for me?
1. I thought blogging about our hobby was supposed to be fun....NOT a job.
3. Your blog itself has "requirements."
- Genre requirements
1. Personally, I have considered getting in on the "affiliates" craze but then I see
that a lot of the blogs that have affiliates also have genre requirements. I have VERY
ecclectic reading tastes and it would totally hurt my feelings to be rejected because I
didn't have enough of a certain genre on my blog or too much of another genre.
- Not heavy on the Meme's.....This one I get and don't have a problem with.
Now I totally get why you'd want to have affiliates and get the news out about what's going on on your blog and other bloggers blogs. I really do. Who doesn't want to hear about a great contest that's going on or read a review of a book that you've been thinking about reading? I just don't understand why the process to become one of the "cool kids" has to be so hard?



Book Crazy Jenn said...

Good points - I have affiliates, but I did not have a process to gain them, just asked if anyone wanted to be associated with me - LOL.

I have affiliates that have less than 100 followers, and that's not my main concern at all. Though I know with other's it is - same with the whole be blogging for at least 4+ months - I can sorta understand, if someone's not been blogging for a while, you wonder - will they just "stop" or disappear. Same with joining blog tours - but then I hear you it's totally about having fun.

So I choose my affiliates based on who wanted to join me, and whose blog I visit most, whose intresting with there reviews and posts - I think I included everyone who asked - I think -

As for your tastes, I love your posts LOL - so I love your tastes! :) I TRY not to look at it like a popularity contest - I have a few "big" names as affiliates - then again I have a few "little names" both matter and are super important to me...

Does that help or is that totally conveluted (OMG I just really butchered that word)

Hannah said...

Would it be totally silly of me to admit that I'm not even sure what affiliates ARE? I've seen many, many post about them, but no explanation of what they are. Are they the links on the sidebars to online stores and such? Help? :-D

The Book Junkie's Bookshelf said...

@Book Crazy Jenn
No it totally helps. I love how you have the "big" names and the "little man" for affiliates. This has been bothering/confusing me for awhile now and now that I am learning about other people's process it's not such a problem.

p.s. I butcher words all the time....it's a sign of "character"

ParaJunkee said...

It does seem to be the "HOT" thing now doesn't it. I can see how it is frustrating to see requirements and such on affiliate program, but what you are looking at is really an ingenious internal marketing program.

You might think of book blogging as a hobby, but some are very serious about it and think of it as a business. They are using it as a platform to maybe one day get published themselves, or hope to become freelance reviewers...which does happen. There have been bloggers that have been picked up by magazines, and bloggers that through their agent/PR contacts have gotten published. And how do they make these contacts...exposure.

Its really not about popularity it is about consistent marketing. They are putting follower requirements on there to get maximum exposure. Genre requirements on there, because of target audiences and they might get residual readers from a blog about romance novels, if they themselves write about romance novels.

Marketing these blogs is hard, it takes work work and more work. The biggest way to get those followers up is networking, and the affiliate program has become one more way to network your blog.

Don't get frustrated hun 100+ followers are right around the corner. And if you really want to affiliate...don't mess with the "big girls". Pair up with people on your readership level, and with your eclectic tastes. Or ignore it, I'm sure another fad will be right around the corner. Maybe we can come up with our own fad??? LOL.

XO - Parajunkee

Sherry @ Flipping Pages for All Ages said...

I have four affiliates and its just the four people that i'm closest with online. I support their blog and they support mine. I didn't have an application and/or any requirements I just said "hey you guys wanna be my affiliates?" and then we were. The whole point of having an affiliate is to showcase what that person did the previous week on their blog in case others missed it, and your affiliate does the same for you. They help you promote contests you're having or author chats/interviews, blog tours and other such things. I never even thought of it as a popularity contest before, and I guess for some it is but it certainly isn't for me. I talk with my four affiliates outside of blogging practically everyday so that's why we are affiliates. One of my affiliates doesn't even have 100 followers yet and I could care less, I love her blog and I enjoy talking with her in the blogging world and outside of it. If I did have any requirements it would be that we have the same taste for the most part in books, obviously you spend more time on a blog if you like what the other person is reading, it wouldn't make sense for me to be an affiliate with someone who only reads historical romance or something because I never read that. I hope that clears some things up *please don't dislie us all* :)

Lily Child said...

I understand what you are saying. I agree with Parajunkee's comment...it makes the most the sense to me. I just blog for myself and friend and watch blogs that genuinely interest me (such as yours). :P The only thing I am looking to get out of it is enjoyment and rec's from like-minded readers. I say, just keep on doing what you're doing! I certainly love visiting your blog! :)

~Jennifer~ said...

I watched as the affiliate craze developed. It started with one blogger and then many more got on the bandwagon.

If you are trying to be professional, yes it's a marketing tool. If it's a hobby, yeah, it seems like a popularity contest. Either way, I've stayed far away from the trend.

The way I see it, if your content is quality, people will promote you without you having to affiliate with them. Affiliating with someone means that you have to promote their content even if it isn't what you consider good. It's a form of selling out for exposure and compromises your credibility. Having requirements helps align you with those you may mesh with better, but still it's a tit-for-tat that is based in the affiliates desire for exposure, not showcasing quality content that you've found.

If I link to you, it's because I want to share something I've found that you wrote that I think deserves more exposure. Whether you link back to me or not is of no concern.

I get why people are doing it and don't fault them for it. It's just not my style and not something I want to be a part of.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Parajunkee's response was awesome and on the nose.

I think it's just a way for bloggers to get their word out.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I just haven't decided if the extra work is worth the benefits ;)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I feel ya on the genre thing. I have very eclectic taste as well! Its one of my favorite things about your blog.

GMR said...

Well I'm glad someone finally asked the question...seriously, I wasn't certain on the definition of this particular status in the blogging world either.

Now that I've been informed, I don't know that it's a bad thing? I mean think about...in a way we are all affiliated with someone else or another site. When you see a tweet from a good blog or Twitter friend, do you not retweet it? When you hear about a great contest, do you not enter and promote the message? I guess some folks are just making it in a more offical way. Can't say that I'll have any soon, but I'm not opposed to it either. This is a VERY BIG community with loads of great folks....I'm sure we will all continue to help each other out..

Yep...there's my two cents.... =0)

Book Junkie said...

I for one love your blog, I am too confused about the "affiliate" thing. I do it because I love, love, love to read. And I had been asked by publishers or marketing teams to read authors books and do promo's on my blog before I reached 100 + followers, but I do know that some of the larger ones won't touch a blog unless it has a couple hundred readers.
I have met some of the greated authors and often self published plus I like some of the smaller e-book only publisher's and authors. I think it best to continue what you are doing, stay true to yourself and don't compromise who you are or the integrity of your blog.
And as far as I can see you are doing a kick a$$ job of that already. Keep up the good work!


Monica said...

i don't understand it either, the requirements and such, but parajunkees comment helped me a bit to understand.

That and I applied for some of these affiliates thing and I wasn't picked...so Im jaded ;)

StephTheBookworm said...

I hear ya!

Kathy Martin said...

I have been seeing all this stuff about affiliates too and wondering about it. Like you, I read an eclectic mix of books.

I haven't really looked into having or being "affiliated". I don't want the responsibility of having to do a weekly post spotlighting my affiliates. I would rather post book reviews or some of the memes I like.

I blog for fun and don't want to review books for anyone but me. I buy 99% of the books I read and am so far behind on reading that I don't want anyone else adding to the pile. I am not interested in marketing my blog widely or being published.

When I meet with authors, I tell them that I am a consumer, not a producer. I don't want to be a producer.

Catie S (Book Bound) said...

I don't them posted on my blog, but I am an affiliate. Of my friends blog.
Several of my friends have blogs. I post weekly on one of them. This is not what I would consider a traditional affiliation.

However, I think affiliates (in the traditional sense) are for bigger things than a person's blog. Like Late Bloomer, Twilight Moms, Mundie Moms & Eve's Fan Garden. Those are all fandom type blogs run by more than one person.

That is how I think affiliation should work.

(Hopefully I made some sense.)

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I definitely understand your points here. I started writing a long comment, but it got to be so long that I turned it into a post. I thought that you raised a lot of questions that people probably want the answers to!

If you're interested, you can view the post by clicking here!

Jan von Harz said...

Love the rant and the comments. As a fairly new blogger I love learning about new things and affiliates is something I have seen but did not understand.

It also got me to your blog and that is a good thing.

choco (In Which a Girl Reads) said...

Very interesting post!

I have mixed feelings about affiliates.
On one hand, some of my favorite blogs suddenly have a whole bunch of affiliates, and I'm happy for them since as parajunkee pointed out, it's a GREAT networking and marketing setup. On the other hand, I'm not sure about affiliation...as you said, it does reek of exclusiveness.

However, I think a lot of blogs are doing it for max exposure or to shore up blog friendships. I've been approached for affiliation before and I didn't turn it down because I really do love the blog of the blogger who asked me, plus I kind of see it as being extra bloggy friends. So in the sense that it's a support network and a good for building up relationships, I love the affiliates thing.

But I dunno, for some reason I'm still hesistant about it. I think my stance is pretty much that I don't mind if other blogs do it. And that I'll take on affiliates if asked, but I'm not going to go out of my way to get affiliates :)

Jenny said...

What an interesting post! I've seen the affiliate thing and I've felt both in awe and annoyed by it. Although I did tweet the other day asking what affiliates were and saying I wanted them, lol! I'm not sure how I feel about it. I don't know that I'd have an application process, though. I think I'd want to be affiliated with my best "book bloggy" friends. I have super eclectic taste too.

ParaJunkee said...

Um James...did you notice I think just from this post you went over 100...LMAO. CONGRATS! Does that happy blogger momentous dance. ♥Parajunkee

Lenore said...

I just recently noticed offical affiliates popping up with application processes. It's interesting to see how the book blogosphere is evolving - and because it's gotten so big, I can see why some bloggers like to band together to try to get more impact.

Wings said...

excellent points.

when the affiliates craze started i instantly thought, oh god...another popularity contest because honestly, if you're doing it to get publicity on other blogs...you're going to want them to have a big following, which at the time i didnt have so i wrote it off.

but the whole idea irks me a little...bloging for me is fun, its relaxing, granted its a little stressful at the moment because im trying to get so much done here and elsewhere, but i see that as an added responsibility that would in my case cause problems...

because i forget to keep up with my weekly memes as it is let alone trawling three or four websites and posting about everything that they're doing aswell.

good on the people who have affiliates...you're obviously not as lazy as i am...

but i dont get why we need them to be perfectly honest...hopefully it is just a craze

Cleverly Inked said...

Great topic...found your blog because of it

Corrine said...

I understand where you're coming from, but the ladies I affiliated with are some of my closest friends on here. I didn't have a process to picking who I affiliated with. I don't have 100+ followers, and I am a new blogger too. I never thought of affiliating with someone as a popularity contest, but rather as a great promotional tool. I am also willing to promote anyone's blog on mine, via sidebar, contest news, etc. (I'm still learning how to pretty up my blog, as it's pretty basic right now). Just my $0.02 worth. :)

Stacy said...

reading back through some old comments and found this thread - thank you so much for asking the hard questions - i was wondering also what an affiliate is...sounds as though there's a lot of strong feelings either way.

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

Great thoughts and I agree it fad thing thing but its another way to get your blog out there. I haven't decided to do it not.

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

oh goodness, I had the same questions! such a great post. I think it all boils down to how serious you take your blog: is it a promo tool OR a fun book blog?