I don’t remember where I read that and really wish I did because it resonated enough to write a post about it. The author was saying that bloggers making money online were only making money selling their books about making money online, or getting a share on the sale of blogging tools, not really selling anything that would make the other person better or fill a need. So is blogging a MLM scam?
If you are in it for the sole purpose of making money, and your blog is only a sales pitch for your or others’ products that provides little value otherwise. You are selling online courses and books on how to make money online, telling wannabe bloggers they just have to sell your book for a commission and other products themselves. It can be assimilated to people telling you you can make a lot of money from home, then selling you a starter kit with products to sell, and in 99% of the time, you will find yourself unable to sell products you don’t need to people who don’t want them either. 1% of the time, you will find your own gullible people to buy from you and make money with them.
Now blogging is a bit different because you are selling products to show people that money can be made online, and it sure can, with a great deal of effort. So you can blame it on the aspiring blogger that they did not follow your advice to a T and did not put enough energy into their online endeavor.
And well, to start blogging, you need a website. If you haven’t figured that out on your own, and have needed someone to flaunt an affiliate link for web hosting at you, maybe starting blogging is not such a good idea. If you know the steps to get started, know enough about affiliate marketing to realize that it won’t cost you more to go through a blogger’s link, and do it as a (free to you) way to thank them for all the advice provided, by all means.
Regarding buying and selling by-products and how-to guides by obscure bloggers, you will probably learn more from top bloggers who share 99% of their content for free than with any third tier paying product. Problogger or Smart Passive Income are great places to start. I give all my content for free because I don’t think I have such valuable information that people should pay for it and I prefer advertisers rather than readers to cover the costs of operation of my websites.
NOT SO TRUE
While you started to blog as a hobby and started making a little money, you now want to equip the whole blogging world with keyword research softwares and any kind of product that offers an affiliate program. No matter whether you use it or not, or if the product loosely fits your theme, there will be a review on your site. Technically, if you don’t do it, someone else will, and it should better be you. Your readers are adult people doted of reason, or at least they have to if they want to be able to sign up for the new credit card you promoted or buy the trading software you said no one should live without.
You have described the product to the best of your knowledge, which is limited since you do not use it, and made the review just a little more glowing than it really needed in hopes of improving your conversion rate.
When you started blogging out of pure pleasure, a small community happened to form around you and to like what they read. Later on, that readership has grown to a level that makes advertisers notice you. Not for the quality of your blog, they couldn’t care less about your content, but they saw in your metrics, in the keywords you used (on purpose or coincidentally) something that could be of use for their campaign. They offer you to review their products, and you gladly accept, because you think you would like them, and some of your readers may too. Your mommy blog is now reviewing diapers and baby clothes. Your recipe blog scored you a neat set of brand new kitchenware. Your travel blog pays for your trip to Switzerland. And your readers keep considering it a helpful source of information.
You put a few banners on the side to related products you have used or would genuinely consider using if you needed them.
As long as your writing and products featured benefit your writers, there is nothing wrong in getting financial compensation for all the hours you have spent writing great posts, coding, or to offset the costs involved in running a website. Thanks to the opportunity to make money online, there is a great deal of free, quality content on many sites that helps millions of readers every day.
In conclusion, I think whatever you need to know, up to a certain level, you don’t need to pay for. Check out the biggest source of information in the niche you are interested in, and you should already learn a lot. Lots of bloggers have realized that better than selling an e-course or e-book, they should rather give it away and hope to finance it with affiliate links. As long as you NEED the product you buy, it is a fair way to pay the blogger back for all the information and help provided.
So thank you to everyone who has helped support this site, and helped me provide free content to more readers!