tl;dr I use affiliate links and get sponsorships sometimes. If people want to send me free stuff, I tend not to say no.
I’ve always loved lifestyle sites, but I hate when they become lists of things to buy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a bit of a hoarder and I love stuff. Trying new stuff is exhilarating. I recommend certain products that I’ve tested and are worth the money, and sometimes product round ups are fun- everyone loves a wishlist. However; I never want you to feel like I’m just here to sell you stuff.
That said, I do think I deserve to make some money for all the work I put into this blog. I’m a freelance writer and while I do think the effort of having SandySalierno.com as my portfolio is more than worth it, I also like to do things like pay rent and buy groceries. Also, I just don’t have the budget to do self-bought reviews five days a week. It’s not realistic. I want to support small businesses and so sometimes it’s nice when they make themselves known to me. I’m busy and if a company reaches out it’s nice to not have to search for the needle in the haystack.
An affiliate link is when a company offers to put a link on my site that basically gives your browser a cookie so when you buy something from that site I get a small kickback. The products aren’t any more expensive for you- cookie or not- and there are tonnes of affiliate links out there. Chances are you’ve clicked on one or two without even knowing it.
A referral link is a bit different. It’s more the kind of thing everyone gets to send to their friends. They’re the same idea but instead of money, you get stuff like a free month of the service or a coupon code.
Sponsorship is when a company approaches someone like me and says if you review or mention a product you’ll get a flat out cash payout. This is where it can get dicey as it’s up to the person being sponsored to fight for being able to review things honestly without consequence.
Products for editorial review a.k.a PR is when a company sends a free product with no strings hoping you’ll try it, love it, and share it.
I use all avenues available to me to try to build a business but my integrity is not for sale. I don’t take sponsorships that restrict what I can say, and I won’t gush over something just because it’s free. If it’s a product I don’t like and they kick me off their PR list for saying so I honestly don’t want to be associated with a company that acts like that.
Another thing to consider? Just because I don’t like something or something doesn’t work for me doesn’t make it bad. I’m just one person and it’s a big world out there.