Are affiliate links untrustworthy or unethical inherently?

I just posted a much longer discussion about affiliate links on GitHub so check that our if you’re interested. Basically what I’m wondering however, is are affiliate links inherently something that makes a site untrustworthy?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

So I’d like to hear your opinions on this. Would you stop trusting privacytools.io if our recommendations used affiliate links?

2 Likes

It’s one of those things that isn’t completely one way or the other.

I think it depends on when and where it is used, and in what context.

If privacytools.io had something like “buy a membership at EFF with this affiliate link to support us”, I wouldn’t mind.

But I’ve also seen people post affiliate links just all over the place, where it’s the sneakiness of it that gets me.

Ultimately, if I had to pick one side, it’s just a link at the end of the day…

I use them on a few links at ThinkPrivacy. I choose which ones by reading their privacy policy and seeing what info they collect on visitors.

It doesn’t generate a lot of money but it helps pay some small bills.

Seeing how dirty the VPN industry is with their affiliate programs and fake review sites, I would personally really dislike it if we were to dirty our hands with these things.

1 Like

PTIO - I don’t know.

In general - Do you transparently tell me about there being affiliate links or do you need me to notice them by myself? If you tell that there are affiliate links (and preferably also why), I am OK with them.

What maybe would work better for me is to have the option to use the affiliate link.
I do like supporting causes is stand behind, so I often don’t mind using a link which benefits the cause.
But making affiliate links easily identifiable and giving an alternative option to get to the same content would be nice.

2 Likes

I think the option to use an affiliate link is a nice one.

I would trust privacy.io affiliate links more than most, but on the whole, affiliate links and so on seem to be associated with people who aren’t fully aware of how incentive affects them (bloggers who go to advertiser-funded events, “Vine Voice” reviews, etc.).

I like raphty’s idea and it would make me more likely than usual to click on the affiliate link … then you might feel you were deliberately supporting a good cause rather than being herded somewhere …

1 Like

It’s worth underscoring this point. Affiliate links are essentially a form of bribe. They express that one can be bought and that the price for doing so is relatively cheap.

forgive the off-topic, the mention made me curious to what they were doing, sadly not much anymore:

Domain for Sale (minimum offer: $50,000)