Viglink: Looking back after 16 months

As my longtime readers may know, back in the summer of 2013 Amazon cut off its affiliates program in Missouri. I’d been using the Amazon affiliates program for 12 or 13 years at the time. It didn’t make me rich, but it generally did a nice job of covering my day-to-day expenses of running the blog.

I’m going to do something most bloggers won’t do–I’m going to tell you what I make blogging. I don’t know what Amazon affiliates are and aren’t allowed to talk about, but Amazon has no control over me anymore, and Viglink doesn’t expressly prohibit such talk. So I’ll talk.

With Amazon, in a good month I made about 20 bucks. Some months I made less than $10. On a couple of occasions someone would see an Amazon link and decide to go on a shopping spree, so I made quite a bit more on those months.

Viglink hasn’t matched that, at least so far. It took a good couple of months for it to kick in and start generating more than pocket change. It’s not making me $10 a month yet, but it’s probably covering my expenses.

To an extent it makes sense. Viglink inserts affiliate links for me, but it’s Viglink’s affiliate links, so we’re splitting the revenue. An Amazon link probably makes me 1/3 what it used to. The nice thing is that Viglink automatically converted all of my existing links so they continued to work. And I’m no longer limited to Amazon–I can link to Newegg, or to retail stores, and Viglink will convert those to affiliate links. If Viglink knows of a better deal somewhere else, it changes that link to go there instead, which is nice for everybody.

The upside is that Viglink pays you every month, as long as your balance is above zero. Payment is two months after the fact, so two months after you make your first penny, you’ll see it in your Paypal account. With Amazon, I had to hit a threshold. My readership is very seasonal due to some of the topics I cover, so in the spring when my readership is lowest, I might go a few months with nothing coming in from Amazon. Viglink doesn’t make me wait for my springtime nickels.

There’s a downside to those affiliate links sometimes. On Sunday I posted about 4K monitors because it’s something I’ve written about before and the monitors suddenly (and temporarily) experienced a big price drop. That was fine, but Viglink went nuts and inserted tons of extra affiliate links in my rather short writeup. The result was probably the spammiest thing I’ve ever done–there was a link to one site or another in every line of the post at one point–and it prompted one of my college classmates to ask if I’d been hacked. So I need to be careful how I do things like that in the future. A lot of people clicked on the links, so clearly there were people interested in it, but if this place starts looking like a spammer took over, that’s not a good thing.

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