How I Review Products and Services – Advice for Bloggers on Affiliate Links & Reviews
Go on any recommended financial or stock research website, even those listed here for the youthful investor and you will find a slew of premium subscription services available. These are advertised to help you beat the market with certain portfolio recommendations and picks of illusive small cap and penny stocks poised to make exceptional gains and make you rich. Are these really for the youthful investor?
Are the Expenses Worth it?
Yes and no. The youthful investor is often categorized as being on a strict budget and any fees incurred are just less profit made, especially with small investments. However, a premium service can be worth trying, not only for the profit making abilities. Consider it an investment in your investing education. The more you can learn at an early age can have a profound impact on your future returns.
The widely successful Million Dollar Portfolio, also the name of a wonderful book by the Gardner brothers is closed now due to overwhelming success. However its return as of writing is -10% against the S&P as a bench mark. Similarly how can we trust the other services returns, all of which look impressive?
TheStreet.com also offers a slew of stock picking premium subscription services. What can be taken from these with such uncertainty? Take advantage of the FREE trial versions of these services. They are usually 14 days, 1 month, or one report. Read the content, how rich is the analysis? Why would you pay for the information? Do you have enough time or resources to make these picks yourself? If they have a free trial program, you have nothing to lose, but regret for not trying.
How I write product Reviews
In the following weeks I will analyze each of these popular services and some of the less known services to help you and I discover which ones are the best for the youthful investor. I want to know which ones contain the most valuable information so that I am not just getting stock picks, but that I am learning how to better invest and understand the market. I also want to know which ones are the most reliable. Can I trust the sources I am getting the information from? What about the cost? Free trial versions look great but what should I spend on these services. These are all questions I will tackle as I analyze each companies group of services.
The idea here is to mix and match from the well known products and services down to the brand new or unknown services like the broker Motif Investing. Also do not limit yourself to only reviews that have affiliate programs. This will look shady to begin with. Instead mix and match, using affiliate links when possible.
A trend that is occurring in the blogging world is to cloak or hide affiliate links in product reviews. Bloggers argue that this is a great way to improve click through rates as well as give the reader the impression that they are still on the blog they are reading. I disaggregated and feel it is a dishonest tactic. Perhaps more important, it is against Google’s Terms of Service policy and could see a website get de-indexed.
Transparency When Writing Reviews or Using Affiliates
You will see at the bottom of my page, each and every article has a affiliate links disclosure. This lets my readers know that I have an interest in making money off of a link featured. But it also states that they in no way are affected, pay more or receive any discounts as a result of their purchase. Essentially, you are letting them know you get a cut and that that cut in no way affects what they pay for the product or service.
As internet marketing, blogging and revenue online moves forward it is likely we will see more strict rules for disclosing affiliate links. A great example is in the UK where most websites now have the reader sign a waiver or check to agree to the terms of the website before affiliate links or cookies are enabled.
Being Honest with Affiliate Reviews Good or Bad
The reality is, for all of the products and services available to an investor, a lot of them are going to be junk. And an even greater number are going to be irrelevant to the reader. It is important not to sacrifice the integrity of your blog by writing positive reviews of everything, assuming you’ll make a quick buck.
Interestingly enough, one of my most successful affiliate programs is one in which I write a VERY negative review of the company. I wrote a detailed take on the company Uinvest which provides cash payments for investments in companies that are paid out almost the same each and every month. I identified the many fishy things with this program and warned users of the potential for fraud. Nevertheless, many still click through and invest with Uinvest.
The point is, whatever you write should be your opinion. Whatever the reader decides to do is up to them. If you gave them the proper due diligence and warning that is all you should do.
If you are too curious to wait go a head and take a look at some of the premium services that are advertised on each page of this website. You are bound to find some great deals and opportunities. Perhaps you can show me something.
Tagged Action Alerts Plus, Action Alerts Plus Review, affiliate links, Blogging, Fool, fraud, Premium Services, reviews, scams, The Million Dollar Portfolio, TheStreet, Uinvest