335 – Affiliate marketing is disingenuous

“Thinking the unthinkable (TTUT). Episode 335: Affiliate marketing is disingenuous” with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

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Welcome to the 12th episode of our ‘Thinking the Unthinkable’ series. Today we shall be squirming in our seats as we talk about whether  ‘Affiliate marketing is disingenuous’.

Affiliate marketing has never been our thing, but with making content there has to be some way to pay for the time. Certainly we have earned some commissions from it via our individual content.

I think it fair to say we have struggled with it and here we are questioning whether it is a necessary or unnecessary evil.

Talking points – History

When WordPress developers (at least those who saw themselves as part of the open source community) started tentatively putting out pro versions of their themes and plugins most were not business focussed.

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Often single authors were ‘scratching their own itch”, and looking for a way to finance their work (which due to the GPL licence would be available to all).

Many were businesses that came about by accident and there was no marketing budget to get support for these projects.

What better way could there be that a reward system for users who attracted others to the project?

Things are different now. We have people coming with investor money with the sole purpose of making money from WordPress. GPL is an inconvenience, developers are hired in. Entirely different but the same sort of scheme.

How do we get paid? Continual income? 1st click, last click?

It’s evil 

Is the quality of educational content is diminished by all this? It is all about sales. Everything is a game changer!

WordPress loses sight of its free and open software roots.

Reviews are bought. Affiliates promote the latest thing. Usually on promises of functionality not on reliability and trustworthiness.

It does not pay content makers to be honest about the issues they have as it will reduce their sales.

Marketing gets closer to this ad (I recently saw it on YouTube). The Gemini 2 trading app created by CEO Brandon Lewis (a multimillionaire) when working for Google

Everything is hired: the actors, car, office. Here the actor confirms he is not Brandon!

WordPress software can easily get cyclically pitched as a new revolution that changes everything. Allowing the affiliate to sell new stuff to the same suckers… erm… audience.

It’s necessary (or unavoidable

If not affiliates then we will still have product placement disguised as tutorials, I’m sure that you’ve seen this kind of content online?

Software companies affiliate market too. Sometimes hidden in the software, but sometimes obvious.

It can help developers and small start-up companies get started with marketing and instructions. 

It can build community (many affiliates run facebook help groups).

Affiliate marketing is governed by law, although probably not effectively so.

News channels within WordPress often have to be funded by it. If someone owns that, one body owns the media. Some say we are in the “post truth” era. What is true does not matter, just pick a side.

The Gemini ‘scam’ still (see above) runs 6 years after it was shown to be a scam. We can’t really do anything about people not choosing to use their critical thinking skills.

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Transcript (if available)

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[00:00:21] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the WP Builds podcast. You've reached episode number 335, entitled, affiliate marketing is disingenuous. It was published on Thursday, the 20th of July, 2023. My name's Nathan Wrigley, and I'll be joined in a few minutes by David Waumsley so that we can have that chat, but firstly, a few little bits of housekeeping.

The first thing to say is that we've got a couple of bits of content, which are coming up fairly soon. We have got a brand new webinar series. It actually started yesterday on the 19th of July, but it's with Patrick Posner who has a fabulous WordPress plugin called simply static. And over four episodes of this webinar series, he's going to explain how it is that you can set up a static website. What does that even mean? How can you use his plugin to do that on a whole host of other topics?

We're going to be covering, Github on how to deploy your static site. How forms can work with static sites. How you can do search, and also how you can do multi-lingual. So we're doing that in our live channel, but also it will be available on the WP Builds demos archive. You can find that by going to the WP Builds.com website, find the archives menu and then right at the bottom is the demos archive. We're going to be putting them all in there. So that's going to be happening live every Wednesday for the next few weeks. WP Builds.com forward slash live.

And we've also got our WP Builds, a UI UX show, which we do with Piccia Neri. We've got one coming up next month and we're looking for a few non-profit charity pet project sites that Piccia can have a look at. If you go to WP Builds.com forward slash you UI, you can find out more about that.

The other thing to say is we're looking for sponsor opportunities. If you would like to get your product or service out in front of the WP Builds audience. Well, we're keen to get you on board. Head to WP Builds.com forward slash sponsor. And there's a link there where you can have a chat with me. I'll get on a zoom call with you or something similar. And we'll talk through the options that we've got. So WP Builds.com forward slash sponsor.

I guess the last thing to say is if you like what we do head to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. And sign up there and we'd really appreciate it, if you feel that you get any value out of these episodes, go and share it on social media and possibly give us a rating on your podcast, player of choice. Join us in the comments on an episode, you know, why give everything away to social media when we've got a WordPress comment system, that would be really nice. A few of you have been doing that lately. And I really appreciate it.

The WP Builds podcast is brought to you today by GoDaddy Pro. GoDaddy Pro the home of managed WordPress hosting that includes free domain. SSL and 24 7 support. Bundle that with The Hub by GoDaddy Pro to unlock more free benefits to manage multiple sites in one place, invoice clients and get 30% off new purchases. You can find out more head to go.me forward slash WP Builds, once more go.me forward slash WP Builds, and sincere thanks to go daddy pro for their continuing ongoing support of the WP Builds podcast.

Right. What have we got for you today while we've got a chat with David and I. This episode is entitled affiliate marketing is disingenuous. This is in our thinking the unthinkable series. So we put these kind of click baity titles in there and, you know, chats through the whole thing. So what is affiliate marketing? How did it come about? What have we got in WordPress now? Is it a sleazy thing which marketers use to get you to buy products that they don't necessarily believe in, or is it a useful thing which WordPress product makers can use to reach a wider audience easily? Maybe it's both, maybe it's neither find out what we think on the podcast.

[00:04:16] David Waumsley: Welcome to the 12th episode of our Thinking The Unthinkable series. Today, we shall be squirming in our seats as we talk about whether affiliate marketing is disingenuous.

[00:04:29] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, this is gonna be easy. The answer's yes. Good night.

[00:04:34] David Waumsley: Look, I think it's fair to say that affiliate marketing has never really been our thing and that we struggled with it, but we've done some, haven't we,

[00:04:43] Nathan Wrigley: Oh, yeah, definitely. It's like leaving money on the table, isn't it? If you don't get into it, but yeah. Yeah let's open it up. You're gonna talk about the history of it, I think.

[00:04:54] David Waumsley: Yeah, exactly. Just sticking with that one, I think anybody has to flirt with the idea of really using affiliate marketing if they do any kind of content, because it takes up your time, doesn't it? So it's really easy to get into, but yeah, I think. The way to start this is really just to go back to WordPress history, because when I started with it, really, there wasn't much in a way of products.

The first ones were coming out, the first themes and pretty much everybody in that community, it was much more seen as an open source community where people wanted to expand on what was already a fairly simple system. So they could turn it into a website builder, which of course it's now is, but then I think.

Most people were just devs scratching their own itch, trying to find a way to perhaps make some extra money. They wanted to improve on a theme that they would have made for free and wanted to do a pro version. And at that time, I think most of them just thought as I think is the sense behind affiliate is that if they get their loyal users to spread the word, then they ought to share in those kinds of profits.

So I think it all came about, in a kind of natural way. But today it seems the very opposite. Now you can, you go into the business of being a WordPress affiliate where I don't think that would have been imaginable in the early

[00:06:21] Nathan Wrigley: yeah. I think you've hit the nail really nicely on the head there, in that you said something... I think you said loyal followers. And I think that's a really almost honorable approach to it in that let's say, for example, that you are, I don't know, an accountancy firm in a town, we'll take the example of my town and I am one of their customers and I'm really pleased with their service.

And so I endorse them amongst my friends, I've got a friend and they want to start a business and they happened to ask me about the accountant that I use and I'm quite happy to say yeah, They're great. They're really good. Here's a bunch of reasons why. And I'll introduce you to them.

And there's a kickback for that, it turns out, from my accountant. My accountant will give you a range of different things, including, access to cheaper services, or some cash, or like a hamper, that kind of thing. It, in that scenario it works really well because it's really honest. I'm not going to tell my friends, yeah I've got an accountant and they're really good, if I think they're hopeless because I don't want my friend to have a hopeless accountant.

The, I guess the crisis comes in when I suddenly realize, do you know what, I got a free hamper for that and I've got a load of friends and I can get a load of hampers. I'm going to go around telling all my friends that my rubbish accountant is really good because I want the cash. That's the sort of crux of it.

The see saw is, like the fulcrum is there, if you really like something, and you're a genuine loyal user, there just isn't a problem. But when it strays into... I don't have any, I'm completely ambivalent about this product or worse still, I know this product is trash, but I know that I'll get a ton of money if I get a load of people, but signing up for it.

So I'm going to do that because the cash is more important than the honesty.

[00:08:23] David Waumsley: you know what, you just made me think of something. Which I didn't put in the notes there, was the fact that when you started with this, you would have, when you recommend like that, generally it's, you're going to be recommended to people who are very similar to you, who might Like the service. So when I think maybe I'm not even sure if it had an affiliate scheme, but when I started with Genesis theme, one of the first ones, which was one of the commercial themes, I think there might be an affiliate.

There was, I'm sure affiliates with that, but it was only very likely to attract those type of people who wanted to keep close to the code, but wanted to do more with WordPress. You were only going to sell it. And I think that's. The big shift that we've seen with perhaps now, when you look at it, if you look at something like Elementor who comes in with investor money from the beginning with an aim to make a page builder, that's going to appeal to everybody, the developers, the people who are doing it themselves an affiliate scheme set up by them is open to all.

So you literally got a way to just make that your job. Promoting Elemental,

[00:09:27] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah,

[00:09:27] David Waumsley: I don't think you could have done out of Genesis partly because going back, there wasn't so many people, but also because of the fact it had a limited appeal.

[00:09:37] Nathan Wrigley: I guess the the interesting thing there is the size of the audience that you've got on the internet as opposed to the real world. So if we rewind the clock 30 years ago, I could have been doing my local accountancy. Fraud, if you like amongst my local environment the handful of people that I know in the real world.

But, there really isn't an, there really isn't a career to be made out of that, because I simply don't know enough people. But given... YouTube and blog posts and, the way that you can build an audience by putting out content, you can skew that because you can quickly gather a dozen, a hundred, a thousand, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands in some cases.

And, I know that there's out there, there are YouTubers who've got millions of followers. The. The incentive to put things out which are not which are disingenuous must be quite strong. I think you've got to be a fairly, you've got to have a bit of a moral backbone to be able to refuse the...

The cash that's being offered by doing the affiliate thing.

[00:10:49] David Waumsley: Yeah, should we just talk about the, because obviously affiliate schemes aren't all equal. Are they some have us with yearly subscriptions on a lot of products in WordPress, then some do offer a continual income. So if you've found somebody and they continue to be a loyal customer to that product, you, as the person who sent them, continue to earn from it.

[00:11:15] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. That's really an interesting position to take as a product owner. That's quite a, that's quite a decision, isn't it? Okay. I'm going to pay you every single time somebody resubscribes or, the subscription carries on. That's quite a sizable amount of money that you as the product owner are giving away, whether it's 10%, 50%, I don't know, but you've made a, quite an interesting commitment there.

And presumably. The thought process behind that is not only do I want to ensure that people renew, but I want to ensure that my successful affiliates realize that it's a good thing to just keep banging the gong about my product year after year, because they know that their bank balance is being swelled, even, even if they don't necessarily attract loads of new people.

[00:12:06] David Waumsley: Yeah, my first introduction to being an affiliate for something was with Beaver Builder and they did that and I thought, Oh, I never for one moment expected. I wondered if they regretted that decision, but they've always honored it. And but it's not, the case, I think with most, they just want that initial.

crowd, particularly with a new product, and then they may pull their affiliate scheme and there are some who just say they would never have an affiliate scheme,

[00:12:32] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah it's a finder's fee, isn't it? If it's just a one time deal, it's okay, we've had an introduction from you. And thanks for that. And that's it. We're done. But if you want more finders fees, go and find new people. I think that's the typical way of doing it. I think in that case, what you mentioned about Beaver Builder, that's pretty rare.


[00:12:50] David Waumsley: you think,

[00:12:51] Nathan Wrigley: think that there's too many that do it that way.

[00:12:53] David Waumsley: you reminded me just earlier about this whole thing about the first and last click who gets the affiliate,

[00:13:00] Nathan Wrigley: Hmm.

[00:13:01] David Waumsley: and do you have any views on which is the most honest of

[00:13:05] Nathan Wrigley: So let's just lay out what it is. So there's two approaches, so let's say, for example, that I'm in a vanilla browser. I've never visited a website before. And I click on an affiliate link. And there I am on the website and I've got a cookie now embedded. In my browser, which is able to tell the vendor, let's say PluginX, that it was me that sent you, and that cookie's there.

first click, because I was the person that got you there first. And it doesn't matter which other affiliates drive me to that website, it'll be the first one that counts. And obviously that requires cookies not to be cleared out. And there's usually some sort of cookie policy in terms of days, 30 days, 90 days, whatever.

And then there's last click, which is the person that drove the sale, the person who actually provided the click, which then turned out to be. The sale. And I guess it's difficult, isn't it? Because I can totally see why the first click is important. Obviously, if they've never been there one time, they needed to encourage encounter you first time.

And my understanding with all things on the internet is that. There's this notion of it takes seven, or I don't know if that's the right number, seven interactions before you trust a brand. So you have to see that brand in seven different scenarios. So in, on the internet, that would typically be seven visits to a site or something.

You've got to make your mind up. So in that case, the first clip was the thing that set all the dominoes falling. You began that journey, but equally. The one that actually drove the sail was the one that mattered. So I can see it from both sides. First click, last click. Yeah, and last click, I should explain, is exactly that.

It's the one that actually was the click which led to the sail on that given moment. Yeah.

[00:15:02] David Waumsley: That's a really well explained. And actually, while you were doing that, it made me think that I think last click seems fairest because first click will always benefit that initial search where those who are dominating in the market, on search anyway, as affiliates will probably get that one where.

Potentially it is the last one when you've gone through all stuff and it's that last person who's managed to convince you that might be right for you. Seems to me like the last click I favor, but I don't know.

[00:15:31] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, so let's take a scenario where there's a, I don't know, some famous YouTuber who has a giant audience and they are really good at spotting that there's new products out there and making content really quickly and turning it round. They will dominate that, won't they? Because they will get that massive audience of theirs clicking a link so they potentially could Hoover up, vacuum up, I should say all of the, all of those when really the content that they made around it was just quickly rushed out, potentially.

I'm not saying it is, but there is that potential that there are some tripwires there, which you need to be mindful of.

[00:16:13] David Waumsley: Um, But yeah I think it, because the last click is obviously somebody who's going to be slower to the party. Maybe it's spent a lot more time testing the product. Spent a lot more time on the content, working out who it might be before. And so yeah, I'm inclined to the last click anyway. I never had an opinion on this before, but now I do.

[00:16:31] Nathan Wrigley: yeah, that's interesting though, isn't it? Because it must be. It must be slightly frustrating if you are that person who creates, let's say a 10, 000 word blog post, which has taken you, a week of thought plus two days of execution. And you've decided that, you're going to put an affiliate link in there.

So you do only to discover that the article, which was written in five minutes, but had an affiliate link by somebody else is actually the person that's benefiting. From it. Yeah, that's interesting. So yeah. Okay. I think my mind made up on that as well. I think last click is. It's probably where we need to go, but the next subheading in your, the show notes that you've got here is just,

[00:17:18] David Waumsley: It's

[00:17:18] Nathan Wrigley: it's evil.

[00:17:20] David Waumsley: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:17:21] Nathan Wrigley: it evil?

[00:17:23] David Waumsley: This was just listening out the arguments, if you like, for why it might be evil. And I'm just refreshing myself on it before we go on to why we think it's probably necessary or unavoidable. So let's get let's dig into the nasty side of it. So I think, the dangers of it is that the quality of.

Educational content can be diminished really. It's all about the sales everything now is promoted as a game changer to get your attention and that quality content, which often we need educational quality content in WordPress or anything like that. This, it's the ones who sell in the game changer or selling stuff dominate.

So I know that's the evil side of it.

[00:18:04] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. And I guess it does encourage. So let's just start again, really, if if you've got a product, which you don't necessarily believe in, but is going to give you a very high return on potential licenses. Let's say the plugin is selling for 99 a year or something like that, but they're offering you 50% of that sale.

And let's imagine that they're offering that 50% every time that. License is renewed. That's quite a lot of money if you get a hundred affiliates converting on that. That's, getting into the thousands and thousands of dollars. It does... It does promote you to behave in a certain way, doesn't it?

And with the best will in the world, I think a lot of people would be conflicted by that. Okay, how do I phrase this so that I can encourage people to click that button? As opposed to, am I going to be entirely honest all the way? This thing is actually rubbish. It's pointless, don't buy it. It's not to be trusted.

There is that potential conflict. And I think the internet broadly knows it, don't they? Because... Because there's always this debate about, okay, is that an affiliate link? Have you got an affiliate link policy? Where in the email does it say this email could contain affiliate links? Where on your website does it say there are affiliate links on this website?

It's tricky.

[00:19:28] David Waumsley: Yeah, but I think so few people really even worry about that. You just see free content and I think you've touched on this, but it was one of the points there just to make it more clear it doesn't pay for the content makers to be honest about the issues that they see on something. And I think what happens as well, you're in a trap with this because the product, somebody who's creating a new product, and it may be fantastic, will feel that they need to.

Get that money in first. So they're going to look out for people who've got an audience and they're probably going to even do some kind of deal or let them know about the product earlier so they can get that first thing in. But within that, even if it's not explicitly said, there's a sort of expectation that you're going to say something very good about this product, which may not be there yet.

So I think, it really doesn't pay affiliate. Makers to, in fact, a lot of them admit to the fact that, and I've seen it myself, I do, I've done it myself when I'm talking about products, I've had some issues getting it to do the thing that I'm showing on the video, and I get it wrong a few times, and then I just skip over the thing that might make me go wrong, and just so I can show that the whole thing works to the Thank you.

The audience, but I'm actually not giving them the full information. I'm not giving them where actually it tripped me up. I'm just showing you how, if you do this and this, it will work. But, I don't mention don't do this because it won't.

[00:20:55] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah that's the temptation, isn't it? Is, are you going to skew your content? It may be that you're an entirely optimistic person and you always want to say nice things. That's, that is plausible. But equally, there may be a little bit which is, okay that didn't work. That doesn't work.

But let's just ignore that. We won't mention that dysfunctional piece because that's going to obviously have a negative impact on the potential for people watching this video to to buy it. But also, does it have the capacity to inflame the kind of language? So instead of it being a very nuanced, here's a plugin.

I'm going to explain it dispassionately. I'm going to show you what it does. And there we go. It's a tutorial. If you like, does it have the capacity because you have, there's a chance of making some money out of it. for you to go down that route of this is the game changer. Look at what this can do.

It's got unrivaled features. It's, it can do this, and this. And, you just get into that hype cycle, which must be effective because people do it. And if it wasn't effective, everybody would have stopped doing it years ago. But that a lot,

[00:22:11] David Waumsley: Yeah. And everybody's, you can't help but avoid it. And it's not just within WordPress. It's when you go to your YouTubes, everybody's got the same format, whether pulling an expression, pointing to something, this is a game changer, you'll not believe this. Everything's kind of clickbait.

And, recently I was telling you about this, I was. I had a YouTube advert came on and I just, it just made me smile so much. Because it was way over the top. It was this guy next to a big car in a suit there. He was a millionaire who's stopping people in the street saying, if I show you this app which is a trading app yeah, I can make you a kind of millionaire, you can make lots of money.

And it goes through this whole thing. I couldn't, obviously I didn't believe a word of it because I'm a cynical Brit and anybody who's made it big. Yeah, we want to pull them down when they make it big. U. S. people are not quite the same. But anyway, this was an American advert. Anyway, it took me two seconds.

I just had to look this up. And then I saw that this, six years ago, this CEO I've gone on YouTube. He wasn't a CEO. He was an actor. The car was hired. The office use was hired. Everybody was hired. It's a complete lie. He. This app didn't come from Google in the first place when he was working for them.

But, still six years on after, quite a lot of content out there. It still is running. It's still costing them to show it to me and obviously still must be doing people. So I think, yeah, what people are going to learn as we were talking about this post truth. Era where people are perhaps not bothered.

If it's the story they want to hear, they're going to go with it. And I think I think a lot of marketing in the WordPress area and anything to do with technology and that as has taken on board some of that stuff. So I think it has moved a lot closer to that. Yeah. Literally everything is a game changer these days, isn't it?

[00:24:01] Nathan Wrigley: It is amazing that you know that what's the expression if you know Fool me once such and such a thing fool me twice blah blah blah I don't I can't remember how it goes but you know that one and yet on the internet we seem to be able to be fooled a billion times over and That's fascinating.

Or, I wonder if it's more that the internet is just, growing and growing, and so you're just constantly looking for a new set of gullible people to get sucked into your inflamed content. Your over exaggerated, disingenuous content. I don't know, but it, okay, so this may stray into something a little bit weird.

There must be a subset of people who are acclimatized, no, not acclimatized, who are More, more gullible, if you like, and I don't mean it to sound that way, but who are, let's say, more likely to do these kind of things because of, I don't know, things like desperation, you've been kicked out of your job, you are scrabbling around, you're trying to find something, and this get rich quick thing comes across the internet, you click a video, and suddenly you're conflicted, oh, goodness, what do I do, should I go for this, am I going to leap, and I do wonder if there's some harm if we are actually causing people to go down rabbit holes that they really shouldn't be getting involved in, they wouldn't have found it were it not for the internet.

I'm probably exaggerating that a little bit, but do you understand what I'm saying?

[00:25:34] David Waumsley: I know exactly. And I think, we're aware of it, even as people who build websites for clients, when we're doing it we know that often I say to clients that people on the internet are looking to be better versions of themselves. Some think about those even early days when you might log on, hear all those lovely beeping sounds as you took up the phone line to go and explore this wonderful world of the internet.

And I think there's still a part of us where we're looking for this hidden kind of. Mystery on the internet, this thing that wasn't available before in our locations that is now in this global network. And I still think there's still an element where we still like that. And I think that's why you and I, and that get excited about, and that they've actually been quite good for us, but things that are, those AppSumo type deals that you see, often get excited about, wow, I could get something like this so cheap.

So I think it's in us all on the internet to keep searching for this kind of dream.

[00:26:30] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, and

[00:26:31] David Waumsley: Yeah. Yeah,

[00:26:31] Nathan Wrigley: thing is that there genuinely are, I think it's rare, but there genuinely are things which do come along which are game changers. For example, the... Elementor love it or hate it, that really did do incredibly well. A lot of people, I think, were able to create businesses and page builders in general, but Elementor was obviously the one that went into the lower earth atmosphere.

[00:26:59] David Waumsley: Yes.

[00:26:59] Nathan Wrigley: And that really was a game changer for a lot of people. So that was great, but most of the stuff that comes along isn't. A new plugin comes along and it does one thing well, but it does a dozen things not that well. It's a game changer! And there really aren't that many game changers, but there are enough of them to keep us believing.

At the minute, I feel like the game changer is AI. It's just like everything's gonna be AI, it's gonna be brilliant, our lives are gonna be infinitely better. Should we wait and see? I'm not entirely sure. But it does appear that, if you've got anything with AI in it, you're it's a game changer.

And if your product doesn't have AI in it, it's not, it's rubbish. This is last year, totally out of date. So that keeps us going. We're constantly in the cycle of the next thing is... Just over the hill. It could be coming down the pike. But yeah. It's the conflict of whether or not you're being honest in your content creation.

That's, I think, where the rub is.

[00:28:08] David Waumsley: My, my issue a little bit a lot of the there's two kinds of content creation. I think those that are maybe reviewing and those that are training. And I think when we were mentioning earlier that you might want to skirt over some issues that people might have with this software, I.

It should be there, I think, in reviews where it might not be, but if you were a proper trainer, you don't really want to confuse some of your training with stuff that they don't want to do. You want to just tell them what they want to do. So there'll be genuine reasons to skip over it. And I think, These are all like moral dilemmas, I think, for people who do decide to do affiliate marketing.

And there's going to be a range of different interpretations, of course, one, but when you're making lots of money out of it, you're going to obviously go with what works best. And that's generally going to be to not reveal problems that people might have. But also the other problem, I think, sorry, let me just carry on with the one thing.

What's always bugged me is that when something new is released as a game changer, it is new and what you can't provide for people, which is going to be key because there's so much dependency on it is its reliability in the future. And I think it. This kind of system does mean that those that have a lot of flashy goods that come up front, whether they're a little bit wobbly and whether they're not going to be looked after in the future is not revealed, where the people who might take it a little bit more seriously and add things very cautiously and slowly and make sure they work, they lose out in that system,

[00:29:39] Nathan Wrigley: Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. You mentioned earlier about being a cynical Brit. I'm sure that I fit into that category beautifully, but there is a certain prejudice that I bring when I watch content or read content on the internet, so YouTube or blog posts or whatever, and I am definitely drawn. I trust more when people are just talking in their own voice.

Because... There's no sort of heightened tone. There's no need to do the crazy flashy graphics. There's no need to exaggerate what things can do. I am absolutely drawn to the content creators who just explain things and do it in a very dispassionate way. And I can judge that not only have they highlighted things that are good, but when I see that they're highlighting things that are bad.

Bad and not as a little bit at the end. Oh, and here's a couple of things that it can't do, sprinkled throughout the content. Okay. I tried to do this. It didn't work. Maybe that's something that the developer is going to be working on. I'll find out and post an update. Those kind of calm folk they suck me in so much more, which is interesting because I imagine that the affiliate marketers, it, that is typically not successful, otherwise they would do it that way.

[00:31:08] David Waumsley: Yeah, I remember actually watching you, you don't really do this. You get other people to talk and but you did this one, a couple of videos, I think, earlier on just explaining a product on there and I having just not long before done the same kind of thing. I really admired what you did. Cause you did just talk in a straight voice where I found myself.

And it's not in my character going, hello,

[00:31:32] Nathan Wrigley: Yes

[00:31:33] David Waumsley: I

[00:31:33] Nathan Wrigley: yeah, yeah,

[00:31:35] David Waumsley: would assume, settled down, but because I couldn't keep it up, there's that habit to think what do you can't go on there and just go, hello, today

[00:31:45] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah!

[00:31:45] David Waumsley: be talking about, yes,

[00:31:47] Nathan Wrigley: But the thing is you can. And I think people are drawn to that. I watched a video, I'm gonna name drop and it was a David McCann video recently. And David McCann, he is so himself, isn't he? Have you ever watched some of his content? It's just so David. I imagine that David, if I met David in person, I would see the exact same person.

I confess, he doesn't actually go on the video, it's just his voice, so we have to assume what he's looking but I imagine that a conversation with David would sound exactly the same. As a conversation that I heard on his YouTube videos. Do you know what I mean? He seems, I don't mean seems I'm convinced that he's just the real deal.

He's just totally authentic in the same way that, Oh, you're going to hate me that you are,

[00:32:37] David Waumsley: Oh, God!

[00:32:38] Nathan Wrigley: but you are. And that's probably why I was drawn to doing this podcast with you. Cause I just think that's, there's obviously some sort of collision of the way we like things, if you know what I mean.

[00:32:49] David Waumsley: yeah. I'm pretty professional. So I guess like nothing, the real me slips out. Unfortunately, it makes me cringe. But David McCann is a perfect example. Honestly, with David McCann, because he talks slowly, it's almost he's almost monotonic. So it's boring. But actually, he does some of the best reviews out there because he just really gets to the facts in an unpassionate way.

So I agree. I really of pretty much all the people out there who do those reviews and those kinds of things, his is the one I'm most likely to listen. Yeah.

[00:33:22] Nathan Wrigley: that's fascinating, isn't it? Okay, we've decided that there are scenarios where it could be evil. We know what those scenarios are.

[00:33:31] David Waumsley: Yeah.

[00:33:32] Nathan Wrigley: But then the next subheading you've got here is, it's necessary. That's interesting.

[00:33:37] David Waumsley: Yeah or unavoidable. I think I'll go as far as that really with it. But yeah, where would we be if we didn't have the affiliates really? Would we, who's going to make that content

[00:33:49] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, you are basically, as a pro as a new product owner, I think there is a lot of shouting into the void. And so having the ability to, for people to earn, and obviously if you are picked up by a giant media outlet, and there's a few in the WordPress space who presumably have hundreds of thousands of views of their YouTube videos or their blog posts.

If you're picked up by one of those, that, that could revolutionize your life, literally. And I'm sure that's happened. It's a good thing in that sense, isn't it? You can become an overnight hit because somebody picked up on something that you were doing and they were willing to do it more so because there was some financial benefit to them.

They spend time doing their content. They want to be reimbursed for that time. Fair enough.

[00:34:48] David Waumsley: Yeah. Yeah. And even if, we've been thinking really largely about the people who decide to set up a YouTube channel and talk about products and then make money from it. That's the people we talk about, but actually it's the people making these products who are involved in it. There's nobody bigger than Awesome Motive for, because of WP beginner, they bring in all of the new people and it's selling all of their own products.

So even if there were no in. Dependent affiliate markers out, marketers out there, though, are going to be big companies like awesome motive who are doing the affiliate placement anyway, themselves.

[00:35:26] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. So it is a, it's a good route. To get your product built and having done this podcast for a length of time and, run various events and what have you, I can tell you that I've been reached out to multiple times, lots and lots of times by people who are just desperate to get their product seen.

[00:35:50] David Waumsley: Yeah.

[00:35:51] Nathan Wrigley: Somebody, and I'm not really the right person to do that because I think most cases a product is very effectively sold on a YouTube video, whereas unless there's a real obvious, I can explain the benefit of this, then a podcast maybe isn't the perfect place, but in, in some scenarios, yeah, I can totally get that.

We can talk about why this is a good thing. So they come on the podcast and hopefully in some cases it's. It's made, it's made a bit of a difference. So it's a, in that sense, it's a really good thing. I don't have a problem with it. And like you said, we've both used affiliate links.

There are affiliate links on the WP builds website. I guess that gets into the whole disclosure policy. Do we need that? Do we need to be saying, look, here's an affiliate link and right under it, here's a non affiliate link you pick, or is it okay to just bury affiliate links, not mention affiliate links?

What are we, what's the posture there?

[00:36:50] David Waumsley: Oh, I don't know that there are laws and I think that depends where you're geographically located. But even if you choose to you bury it in the small print, don't you? And that's really who reads the small print. So I don't know what's the, everybody's, most people who are doing it to make money are not going to overemphasize that this is an affiliate.

And do people who are beginners coming to WordPress, with which there are a lot, and that's where the markets opened up. Do they even know what an affiliate link is? You

[00:37:20] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah. No, I think it's quite likely that most members of my family wouldn't even know what an affiliate link was. Yeah. Okay. So sorry, you got, carry on.

[00:37:31] David Waumsley: Oh, yeah. I was just going to say, I actually, looking back, I always felt uncertain about affiliate marketing because I, and I was doing some with Beaver Boulder, but I actually feel okay about that. And that's why I think it's, it was necessary in a way when Beaver Boulder was out, I think I was doing most of my content was about how to use it, which they at that time wouldn't have had the time to make themselves.

[00:37:55] Nathan Wrigley: Oh, that's interesting. Yeah. Yeah. So you're actually. Helping their marketing efforts. Actually, that's interesting because I went to a, I went to a plugin website yesterday and discovered that a video of a third party that's not connected with that with that plugin, they've stocked their video onto their website.

So obviously they thought, Oh, look, this person has made an excellent piece of content. Let's just use that. Probably got their permission. I would have thought. But they've managed to do an explainer video much better than the plugin founder could have done. So that's a bit of a win.

[00:38:33] David Waumsley: Yeah, I see that a lot. In fact, you just sent me to a plugin today and that may be the case there. There was a video shown that wasn't the author's video, but somebody else's. That happens quite a lot. I think even one of my videos got shown on YouTube for a while on their, yeah, on the repository.

And because there's just somebody who made that content. For them. And I think, yeah, I that's where I think it becomes necessary. Obviously in the case of Beaver Builder, they employed somebody to go and make their own videos. Me being an affiliate for them wouldn't have made so much sense because they had good doc, they always had good documentation, just not videos, but they have it.

But I can see this is where it can be useful. You're working as a developer, you're small, you're getting started. You don't have the time to show people how to use it, your audience.

[00:39:20] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. So I'm going to stray into a subject which isn't even in the show notes, but it's just occurred to me and it's probably quite important. There seems to be a move at the moment amongst the population in general and therefore browser manufacturers to hobble. The ability of cookies to track you across the internet.

[00:39:44] David Waumsley: Yeah.

[00:39:45] Nathan Wrigley: Privacy concerns, the fact that social media networks can know so much about you because they've planted cookies and they can follow you around the internet and all this kind of stuff. I know that Apple on the iPhone has.

[00:40:00] David Waumsley: Yes.

[00:40:00] Nathan Wrigley: going to say third party plugins, sorry, third party cookies.

I'm not entirely sure what the ramifications of that are, but I know that it stifled Facebook's ability to generate ad revenue, but also in the most recent release of Firefox, they have now siloed cookies only to the website. That it's come from. So Facebook's cookies, they call it cookie jars, which is a cool way of thinking about it.

Facebook's cookies can only be can be only be accessed by Facebook. If you're on the Facebook website, the same would be true of Google. And the same would be true of everything. Now what that feels like, and I could be wrong about this. Does that stifle the ability of affiliate marketers in the future?

Does that put up a wall in the way that cookies. Have been able to behave. So let's say for example, that plugin X, I've got the cookie, sorry, I've got an affiliate system with them. I've somebody's clicked on the link that I created. They've gone through to that website. Does that mean that in the future, the enterprise of these browser manufacturers is that cannot follow through there can be no.

I don't know. I don't know how all that works.

[00:41:27] David Waumsley: That's really interesting. And do you know what I think, and I don't want to mention any names, but there is one particular WordPress affiliate marketer who does very well. And I think his direction has largely moved into working with. Other developers to produce and be the front face for that that product, which they're involved with as well.

So I think, but that's only going to be open to the successful people. So I think if you've got a skill for presenting stuff to people, you're going to end up not doing the affiliate with them, but you're going to end up going to the source and being effectively a part of their company,

[00:42:04] Nathan Wrigley: Are you supposing, yeah. Are you supposing from that then that the affiliate has the affiliate route has maybe dried up or is drying up. So they've decided to change the way that they do things. And they're going to go to this, the way of being employed by that company instead of trying to promote it through affiliates.

[00:42:23] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think that's the way it's moving. Certainly you've seen it with one and you see a lot of as well, companies who will employ somebody to do a review for them, they'll give them some money for that. So I think maybe the traditional, cookie based affiliate marketing is changing a little bit more too.

These people with a YouTube video and an ability to explain things to people. They will now be working effectively in some other capacity for that company. Either they're paying them to do a review or they will, be a part of their business and will officially do the reviews. But there's the problem again.

How much do you, it's about that transparency and how much you reveal of your involvement with the company that you're promoting. Again, that's a little sticky area.

[00:43:06] Nathan Wrigley: it's interesting. My understanding in the Apple case, my, I don't have an iPhone, so I'm just going to go from memory, is that when the version of iOS installed itself, and you then visited a particular property, let's say Facebook, I think that the pop up that came up was on, on iOS, So it was in the OS itself, and I think it said something along the lines of do you wish to be tracked by Facebook?

And the tenor of that question the wording of that question, the executives at Facebook must have been cringing when they read that, okay, it's gonna read like that, is it? Because my understanding was that given that was the question, Almost nobody said, yes, allow Facebook to track me. There must be a groundswell of discontent with this.

The typical person sees that as a bit of a violation.

[00:44:08] David Waumsley: Yes.

[00:44:09] Nathan Wrigley: We're not talking about affiliates here, which you brought a picture of being tracked across the entire internet by a giant multinational. I would imagine that if in the future you said, to a typical internet user, okay.

You've just clicked an affiliate link. Do you want this affiliate link to track you to the website? I think most people are going to click no. I think with

[00:44:32] David Waumsley: GDPR, and the revised cookie law that they still, I don't think have finished and completed get held back. There has been that talk about, it really should be up to the browsers to try and inform people what's going on rather than the individual site owners, and it does seem that way.

Eventually we'll go that way and it just seems sensible. So yeah the traditional affiliate marketing we're talking about, I can see dying

[00:45:04] Nathan Wrigley: yeah, that's interesting. Okay. So given that David, we need to, you need to rewrite all of your YouTube content. need to stop using affiliate links and just be less disingenuous. That's the problem.

[00:45:18] David Waumsley: Yeah. I think affiliates is over for both of us, isn't it? In terms of any kind of income. Yeah.

[00:45:23] Nathan Wrigley: certainly. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:45:25] David Waumsley: Yeah.

yeah. Shall we talk about what we're going to talk about next time?

[00:45:29] Nathan Wrigley: Yes. Let's

[00:45:30] David Waumsley: We don't even know, we just got a title, which is no code is a lie.

[00:45:33] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Uh, yeah. I think that's quite a nice topic. The idea that... You can build a website with absolutely no interaction with the code. Is that true?

[00:45:43] David Waumsley: have lied to you and

[00:45:44] Nathan Wrigley: right.

[00:45:44] David Waumsley: going to expose their lie.

[00:45:46] Nathan Wrigley: I've bought so many block systems. Oh, dear. Yeah. And it's been all unfounded. Yeah, so we'll be doing that in a two week's time.

In a fortnight's time. But yeah. Thanks for chatting to me today. I appreciate

[00:45:57] David Waumsley: yeah. I enjoyed it. Thanks a lot. Cheers.

[00:46:00] Nathan Wrigley: Well, I hope that you enjoyed that. Always a pleasure chatting to David Waumsley about these things. If you have any comments about it, feel free to share things on social media. You can find all of the bits and pieces of where we've got ourselves on social media at wpbuilds.com forward slash subscribe. Or better yet, why not go to the WP Builds.com website, search for episode number 335 and use the commenting system which WordPress has got. We're kind of pushing that a little bit the minute. It's very nice to actually get comments on a, on a website. You know, how it feels when that finally happens. It's an absolute pleasure. So yes, episode number 335. Really appreciate your commentary.

The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by GoDaddy Pro. GoDaddy Pro the home of managed WordPress hosting that includes free domain SSL and 24 7 support. Bundle that with The Hub by GoDaddy Pro to unlock more free benefits to manage multiple sites in one place, invoice clients, and get 30% off new purchases. You can find out more by heading to go.me forward slash WP Builds. And sincere thanks to GoDaddy Pro for their continuing support of the WP Builds\ podcast.

As we mentioned at the top of the show, you can find us this week. We'll be doing our live show on Monday, this week in WordPress, we will also be doing a show with Patrick Posner, all about making static sites. Both of those things can be found at WP Builds.com forward slash live. The calendar links on the homepage of our website. So be sure to link to those, put them in your calendar, and then you won't miss one of those episodes.

But that's really it for this week. I hope that you have a lovely week. I'm going to fade in some cheesy music and say, stay safe. Bye-bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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