When it comes to affiliating links and journalism, it’s hard. People like to accuse you of bias purely for including a link to a product, even when there is none, and to be honest, you don’t make much from affiliating your links to begin with.
TechRaptor has been affiliating its links automatically with a service called VigLink (referral link) since March of 2013 when we started, because any links we made on-page were automatically monetized without us having to put in additional work – bringing in small amounts of revenue that we could use to grow the site. Eventually, we partnered with Amazon, Green Man Gaming, GOG, NoScope, (all affiliate links) and more, in an effort to diversify who we partnered with so that we could both put more money back into the site and pay our writers more.
When the FTC changed their guidelines, requiring disclosure on-page, we disclosed on-page. When they updated the guidelines further to be more strict, we disclosed in a more clear fashion (see below) and included a portion in our Ethics Policy. We’re an outlet that’s focused on transparency and honesty with our readers, which is why this post is being penned (or typed, as you will).
As of last night we’ve completely changed our processes on how we’re doing affiliate links. We’ve removed all affiliate links from every article site-wide, with the exception of a few (but the links there are marked as such next to them), and will be changing how we go about doing more in the future, as well as greatly limiting their use.
While this may change in the future, as things always do, here’s what our new plan is: You will no longer see affiliate links in reviews, and on rare occasions we may place them inside other pieces, as long as we feel they don’t affect the piece, are clearly identified and are something that we believe is a quality product. The only place that we can for-sure say that affiliate links will be used are TechRaptor-specific pages such as our Support Us page and any future deal articles you’ll find on the site (GOG Sales, Black Friday, etc). We may post a few here and there as well, but they’ll clearly be marked within the articles.
Why is TechRaptor making this change? Two reasons. First, we feel that although we don’t allow affiliate linking to create a bias, it can sometimes create the appearance of one. There are websites that do take advantage of the affiliate linking setup to give more positive reviews in order to influence buying habits and we want to be 100% clear that is not who we are. Second, we’re working to get into Google News, and after putting in a lot of work to prepare our site for the application, we felt that a clean slate with affiliate linking would be best so that we can control the articles that we exclude from Google News in a much cleaner fashion.
While making money is important to helping us grow, purchase new tools, and pay our staff, we feel that quality content and focusing on initiatives that push our outlet forward are more important. Now is probably the perfect time to direct you to our Patreon Page, but instead, I’ll direct you to our Support Us page, which outlines the best ways to help us grow one of the best tech and gaming communities (in our opinion) on the Internet.
Much love and Happy New Year to the Raptor Pack,
Rutledge Daugette, Founder