Affiliate Disclaimers and Earnings Disclosures
How I Keep This Blog Afloat… and Free
Hey everyone, Bobby Davis here.
I feel strongly about transparency on the web, so I want you to know that I’ve listed certain guitar products on this site, and links to those products, that I will earn a small “affiliate commission” for if you ultimately decide to purchase them. You do not pay anything extra; the commission comes to me from the product manufacturer (or, in some cases, from Amazon.com).
However, I only earn that commission if you specifically purchase by clicking through the links on my site. So, if you’re not okay with this commission, simply do not click the link on my site and instead purchase the product as you normally would: by going directly to your favorite online/offline retailer.
This website has grown big enough now that it would be impossible for me to go back through every single page and denote every individual product that is an affiliate link. This is why you’ll instead see a blanket statement at or near the top of any pages that contain affiliate links. Here’s what it says:
“This post contains affiliate links, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. This is at no additional cost to you.”
That said, it would be best for you assume that any product hyperlinks within my articles are affiliate links–just to be safe. Non-product links that simply take you to other blog posts or pages on my site aren’t affiliate links. Those are just normal navigation links 😀
My mission with this website, first and foremost, is to help guitar owners learn to properly care for and maintain their guitar, so that it lasts to give them a lifetime of enjoyment. This includes me recommending the best products, accessories, etc. to help you do the job. So, my self-imposed compensation policy is this:
I will only recommend products that I actually use, have used in the past, or have thoroughly reviewed and tested with my own two hands, and then ONLY if the products have impressed me enough that I’d recommend them to my own friends and family. I will never recommend a guitar product or give a positive review for the sole purpose of earning a commission or other payment.
I will (and do) recommend products even if there is no affiliate commission in it for me, because my #1 priority is helping and serving guitar owners.
Recommending bad products—stuff that might even damage your guitar—just isn’t worth the small commissions I might make for those products. Bad products have no place on this website.
I do not accept free products as compensation or incentive for making a recommendation or giving a positive product review. Period.
Companies do occasionally send me free products (they’re usually unsolicited and unexpected). However, theses companies understand that I am under no obligation to promote that product in any way, or even mention it. I’m also free to write a negative review, but luckily that situation hasn’t come up yet.
Sometimes I’ll proactively reach out to companies and ask for a product sample or “demo unit,” but that’s so I can personally test the product (per my policy). It doesn’t constitute “payment” and I make it clear to the company that I’m under no obligation to recommend that product or write a positive review. Loaners like this get sent back to the company; I do not keep them.
If the company chooses not to send a sample, then I’ll sometimes go out and buy it with my own money… assuming I can afford it.
I’m not after free gear–I’m after accurate, first-hand information that I can pass on to my readers.
I don’t write sponsored posts or recommendations for companies. If this ever changes, I’ll update this section accordingly and notify everyone. I will also clearly disclose (per FTC guidelines) which posts and products are sponsored by a company.
However, even if I do one day start accepting sponsorships the same rules will still apply: I will not accept compensation to promote a product that I haven’t personally tested and, more importantly, know to be a great product. That will always be criteria #1.
I’m currently experimenting with the Google AdSense program. This is why some of my posts contain a single banner ad within the article text, usually near the top of the post somewhere. This is currently the only advertising of that type that I do. As mentioned above, I don’t accept payment from any other companies to promote their products via banner ads or similar advertising. That’s why this website isn’t plastered with flashy, blinky ads everywhere.
I’m considering halting this advertising, since it generates so little revenue and because I can’t control exactly what ads (or products) are shown.
You might wonder: why have affiliate links? Why earn money at all? Shouldn’t we guitarists all just want to help each other and freely exchange information?
Well, yes! That’s why my blog, my articles, and the advice I give each of you through email and over social media is free. You’re under no obligation to pay me anything or purchase any products. My #1 goal is to provide information that helps you in your journey of learning (and caring for) the coolest instrument on the planet.
However, the reality is: this blog costs money to run and maintain. At first, costs were low enough that I just paid out-of-pocket to create and run it. However, as my traffic (and popularity) increased, so did associated costs. Within 6 months of launching the website it was to the point that I needed financial help to keep it all going, so I started looking for subtle, non-intrusive ways to monetize.
If you have questions about any of this stuff, don’t hesitate to ask. Many readers already have my email address, but those of you who don’t can send me a message using the Contact Me form here on the website.
The Guitar Answer Guy
Bobby Davis is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.