Here's why those Amazon 'deal' articles are tricky

Let me let you in on a program that's going on right now that puts an important twist on every 'deal' article you've ever read. There's a reason why so many blogs write articles about new "deals" on Amazon and with Amazon products – they get cash to do so. If you've never heard of the program called "Amazon Associates," now's the time for a crash course.


BE AWARE of two things here, before you go any further. First, there are facts here about the Amazon Affiliates program, and there are opinions. The program does indeed exist – that's a fact. The positivity or negativity of the use of this program is entirely the author's opinion.

ALSO be aware that I'm not suggesting that you, the reader, are necessarily blissfully unaware of the idea that affiliate programs exist. Quite a few people know what's up. Some people don't. I just saw more than a few affiliate articles pop up in the 'news' today so I wanted to publish a companion post for those few consumers that hadn't gotten the proverbial memo.

What's going on here?

So! Wow, the Blog X title says, the most popular product you've never heard of is still on sale, get it while you can! They link to a product on Amazon. Shocker, the item is "still" available. How could the retailer have made this mistake! What an amazing deal you've found, and it's all thanks to Blog X.

That's what's happened to me, that's what's happened to quite a few people who browse the internet daily.

What's an affiliate post?

An affiliate post is an article which has the ability to attain the publication some form of reward or income from the sale of products that've been linked to by said publication. These articles are generally disguised as news posts, sometimes they're more up-front about how they're aimed at providing a sort of "buyer's guide" angle to the reader.

They're not all bad. They're mostly just OK. Some blogs are opting to use affiliate content to make ends meet. Today we're living in a world where the world of internet-based publishing is changing extremely fast – and many publications are doing whatever they can to stay afloat.

Sometimes – a lot of times – affiliate posts do not actually cross the line into trickery or dishonesty. A lot of times, it just so happens that the blog has tested the products at hand, and just so happens to find Amazon the most convenient way to provide a path for the reader to obtain said product.

But it's not always evident that they're benefitting from the transaction – not as evident as it should be, really.

How would you ever know?

It's rare that any blog or any sort of online publication will ever link directly to a store – especially Amazon – without some sort of affiliate link benefit. If a source is honest, they'll include a line in their article about how they benefit from purchases you, the reader, might make. Seek out the words "affiliate" or "compensation" and you'll see.

I'm not suggesting that you never purchase anything from Amazon ever again. I don't think the biggest affiliate program in the world should be shut down. I just want you, the intelligent consumer, to be aware of how this system works – if you weren't very, very much aware already.