Posted by William Charles on October 1, 2014
Site News cc affiliate links

Published on October 1st, 2014 | by William Charles

38

We’re Removing All Credit Card Affiliate Links – Here’s Why

Credit card affiliate links have been getting a lot of attention lately. I’ve been tossing up what to do, on one hand having these links has the ability to make me a lot of money in a short period of time on the other hand there are a lot of potential negatives to having these types of links. Despite the larger credit card issuers getting in touch with me regarding advertising, I’ve made the decision that effective immediately all credit card affiliate links will be removed from this website. Below are some of the reasons as to why I made this decision, they are in no real order.

  • When you agree to have these links on your website, you also agree not to post certain information. In the past, this actually hasn’t really been enforced and I’ve never removed content or not published content because of this – although it was made apparent that the larger card issuers would require this. To me, this totally defeats the purpose of having this blog – I like to post work arounds and tips that the bank would prefer that you don’t know about. The banks want to pad their bottom line and I want to pad your bottom line. They’ll even cut you if you post parody material.
  • Although not officially discussed, most of the larger programs require you to make a minimum number of sales otherwise you will have your links removed. I don’t want to create content on this site purely to make a quota, I want to post information that I personally find useful.
  • There is a risk that my moral compass would be swayed by the large amount of cash on offer. Credit card sales is a massive business, I think some people don’t realize how big of a business it is. To give you some perspective, here are some stats that you might find interesting:
  • Even though my moral compass wasn’t swayed (and I don’t believe it ever would be due to myself earning a nice living in the banking sector) my readers perception of my motives could change. I’ve been accused of promoting certain offers because I have affiliate links for those offers, when that simply is not the case. I’d rather my readers know that I’m promoting things with the right intention.

I personally don’t judge other bloggers that do have credit card affiliate links on their websites, I think it’s entirely possible to do it with integrity and without creating content for the sole purpose of selling cards and I think there are some that do this extremely well. For myself, the cons far outweigh the pros.

Card issuers have been forced to tighten who has access to these links, so you’re now seeing less and less bloggers without them. This is largely because a number of websites weren’t complying with federal and state laws and then the affiliate networks and the card issuers themselves were being held accountable.

It looks like the card issuers have already found a loophole for this, instead of running through an affiliate link network they are instead doing it internally and marketing it as a refer a friend bonus. It’ll be interesting to see what the FTC & CFPB have to say in the future, my guess is they are going to get in trouble and this smoke screen won’t fool anybody.

If you want to support this site, read it and then share it with whoever you think will find it helpful. Writing this blog is a hobby for me, I am very lucky in that I have a real job that pays me an excellent salary and I get to travel the world while doing so. I don’t need credit card affiliate cash to survive and I certainly don’t want to sell my integrity for money.

I’d also like to use this post to remind my readers of two extremely important things:

  • If you carry a balance on your credit card and pay interest, the bank wins and you lose. Credit card interest rates are insanely high and that’s even before taking into account the ridiculous fees they often tack on. If you’re struggling, there is almost always a better option out there other than paying credit card interest. Explore your options, credit unions typically have much better rates on personal loans than banks. You should be living below your means and building an emergency fund.
  • Be mindful of who’s affiliate links your using, as mentioned previously when your approved using these links the bloggers get a big pay day. Support bloggers who do the right things (e.g properly disclose when they get paid, tell you about links which are superior to their own and provide useful content).

 

 

 



38 Responses to We’re Removing All Credit Card Affiliate Links – Here’s Why

  1. Grant says:

    I share some of the same worries/concerns with affiliates. When I first started my blog, I wrote some great posts about maximizing value from various credit cards. Apparently the banks/affiliate network did not like what I wrote and told me to take it down. Catch 22: how can you “sell” credit cards without talking about them? Anyway, there is very little creative freedom when the banks/affiliate control what you say. I hope your decision works out and I wish all you the best.

  2. DL says:

    Commendable! I wish more bloggers followed your lead!

  3. Konorth says:

    My momma always said just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it right. You are following your moral compass and it’s leading you on a path of integrity. You take the high road and don’t blast others for their choices. You have my respect and admiration!

  4. KJ says:

    Way to go. Truly unbelievable you guys. Other bloggers should take a cue from here.

  5. Ny says:

    I have never once felt you were pushing cards, but I can see why you’d remove your links.

  6. Kyle says:

    Great post! Very very high post on integrity and the price of information. Keep the internet free and the flow of information free. Glad you made this decision. Just love your blog.

  7. Glad to see other blogs following the same footsteps! I have never posted affiliate links to credit cards, nor will I ever start.

  8. jim says:

    Bravo!
    I salute you for this. Now mommy points, viewfromthewing, onemileatatime and millionmilessecrets should join you in removing their greedy referral links.

    UNlike you who would post good information of miles posts tips tricks, these other bloggers do nothing but post credit card referrals link every day every hour and telling people apply this apply that apply now. Many customers have already got their cards shut down and blacklisted as a result of their posts and bad advice.
    Thank you

  9. PhatMiles says:

    Really amazed and respect your thought. This is probably the 3rd time I visited your site and you are going in my feedly and subscribe list.

  10. VJ says:

    I’m relatively new to the MS game. I have found your website to be one of the friendliest and uncluttered ones out there. Great to hear that you won’t be pushing cards on us, thank you! I wish you luck.

  11. RL says:

    I like your post, well done
    I’ve been visiting your site for daily info

  12. Ramzi says:

    Thank you for staying the course!

  13. Debt Hater says:

    Always found your website to be extremely helpful whether you had affiliate links or not, you can usually tell when someone is biased or just trying to sell something! It’s important to get multiple perspectives and also list out the negatives to certain things. But good for you!

  14. Shannon says:

    While I think it’s totally fine for bloggers to make money off credit card links, I hate all the credit card ads on their sites just about daily. Your blog is helpful and I appreciate your honesty and integrity. Thanks for all the helpful info you post!

  15. FullMoon says:

    Thank you for not selling your integrity.

  16. Dia says:

    Kudos. As someone in sales I’ve been careful not to overstep my bounds in criticism, but the CC FF space has become just a cesspool. Smart move to rise above.

  17. purcitron says:

    @doctorofcredit
    i may not know much about reading, but im still pretty surprised to know that credit card banks use knives to keep bloggers in check!.. “They’ll even cut you if you post parody material”.

    but seriously… pretty impressed that this blog is a part time gig for you. for real.

  18. Trevor says:

    I really never got a biased vibe from any of the posts on here. However, given the financial sacrifice this involves for you, I think this speaks very highly of the entire blog!!

    I would like to suggest that you try to setup links that you can email those who ask. When I go out for my next card, I would love to be able to help you guys out. Maybe you could make these available on a webpage that is password protected and only provided upon request? Also, I know of some sites that have Amazon.com referral links. If you put one someone, again, perhaps on a separate page, I would happily use it, since I can’t use a portal. Thanks for all the great content!

    -T

  19. Rich says:

    I have loads of respect for you, DoC! Way to stay true to yourself.

  20. Greg says:

    Kids – key thing missing. Where is the promise to never pursue affiliate relationships?

    Or are you leaving that open?

    Making the answer to that answer crystal clear in the post above is key. Not hiding in the answer to this comment

    Either answer is fine, but if you want props you need to be clear about ruling out or not down the road. Million Mile Secrets went no affil for a while then…well we know that wasteland now.

  21. Ucipass says:

    WOW! How cool is that

  22. JAMES says:

    Good point Greg!!!

    Take a look at thepointsguy.com. He has some good posts, but many are heavily biased to encourage credit card apps and his resulting credit card affiliate revenues. A couple questions:

    1) How much are the average affiliate fee received per credit card approval?

    2) What other well-known websites have been corrupted by affiliate revenues?

    3) William Charles you have a great website. What is your response to Greg?

    • John says:

      Yeah – where is the response to Greg? I don’t trust a blog that uses a fake name and photo to spam comments on other blogs. Doctor of Credit alone is enough. Stealing some “William Charles” name and random dude’s photo is just fishy.

      • William Charles is a pen name, I can’t use my real name because of work. The photo is a photo of myself, so I’m not sure how it’s fake. In terms of the response to Greg, actions speak louder than words.

  23. Once again you have wow’ed your readership. Keep up the good work.

  24. JAMES says:

    You have an excellent blog William Charles and I hope you keep it that way.

    I found the follow info in

    http://www.wahm.com/articles/h

    “Some credit card companies pay as much as $300 to the affiliate responsible for new clients applying and receiving cards, although $25 to $75 is the norm. Some offer smaller payouts just for a filled-out credit card application, whether or not the applicant is accepted.”

    An educated guess would be that thepointsguy receives about $50 in affiliate fees per card application approval. The biggest issue I have with affiliate fees is the conflict of interest of what is and what is not allowed to be posted in thepointsguy.

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  26. welltravbrit says:

    I really appreciate the sentiment and information in this post. I’m also a blogger and my blog is entirely non-commercial. I guess the best way to think of it is a kind of digital commons, I put the info out there without looking to “monetize” it. This isn’t a criticism of those who are making money, it’s just that the focus on monetizing tend to change things as this post suggests.

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  29. Ian says:

    In 2010, Bankrate acquired creditcards.com for $145 million, bankaholic was acquired for another $14.9 million and LinkSpectrum another $42.1 million. Bankrate dominates this space, but Credit Karma…
    Very interesting! No wonder there’s few(er) comments at bankoholic nowadays and it looks like a farm site. Other “big” names in the pfblog space who sold their sites for millions $ years ago are bargaineering.com (j.wang?) and consumerismcommentary.com (luke.landes).

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  32. Bruce says:

    You are one of my two daily must-read miles/points sites (along with milenerd.com) — both of which are run with integrity and professionalism. Thanks for selecting a hobby which helps others and for your transparency.

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