Last fall, Amazon abruptly ended its affiliate program in Missouri, and they didn’t pay any of their pending affiliate fees either, which was a nice touch. I wasn’t getting rich off affiliate links by any stretch of the imagination, but it at least covered the expenses of running the blog. I looked for replacements, and settled on Viglink. Viglink is nice because it honors all of your existing Amazon affiliate links. It pays at a lower rate, but at least the old links still work. And if Viglink finds the same product at a different affiliate that pays a better rate, it will convert the link for you.
Another advantage in my case is that Viglink will monetize links to a lot of brick and mortar retailers. So if I mention something that one of the big-box home improvement stores sell, I can link it. People can click on it, see what it is, go buy it that day, support their local economy, and I make a penny or two. It’s not much, but when you’re the lone page on the web explaining how to do a handful of things–which I am in a few cases–those pennies can stack up. And I was making $0 off them up until October.
A final nicety over a lot of other affiliate programs is that the payout amount is pretty low. Amazon didn’t pay anything until you made $10, and Google doesn’t pay anything until you make $100. Disclosing earnings is probably against Viglink’s terms of service, but my first payment wouldn’t have made Amazon’s minimum.
It’s a slow start, but once Viglink has seen your most popular pages with links that it can monetize, it picks up. Three months in, Viglink is probably accumulating 50-67% of what Amazon would have made.
The amounts are lower because Viglink signs up for the affiliate programs, I provide the content, and we split the revenue. But the upside to that is that Viglink lets me participate in affiliate programs I never was eligible for before because I didn’t meet the minimum requirements for traffic volume, or that I simply didn’t know about. So that gap could theoretically close.