Is Making Money Blogging Wrong?

YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!

YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!

Last week, I wrote about how I earned a free weekend getaway using credit card rewards.  And, for some reason, it rubbed a few people the wrong way.  But this time, it was different.  I wasn’t getting hate mail for using an expletive or insulting entire races of people, I was getting pushback because I openly admit that I make money blogging.  Because, according to some people, making money blogging is wrong.  Here is an anonymous email that I received:

If you’re really trying to help people, you shouldn’t be promoting credit cards AKA the devil.  It’s especially wrong because YOUR MAKING MONEY doing it.  Shame on you.

-Anonymous

Ummmmmmmmm………

I also had this Twitter exchange with another person who does not approve.  To protect his privacy, I will lovingly refer to him as Twitter Hater, or Twaitor.

  • @ClubThrifty: Looks more like a clever advertisement to open up credit cards
  • @Twaitor: Ummm……yeah. That’s certainly the goal.  I make my living online, remember?  Ever heard of affiliate links?
  • @ClubThrifty: Ironic, like an alcoholic counselor opening a liquor shop.

Weird.  And, now I’m totally confused. 

You see, since it’s my blog and all, I thought that I was supposed to be writing about the things that I do to save money.  Hmmmmm……

Are Affiliate Links Wrong?

So, I totally get it that someone thinks I shouldn’t write about using credit cards.  But, I also totally don’t care.  Even though I write a frugality blog, I’m an out-of-the closet credit card enthusiast.  I use credit cards for nearly 100% of my spending and I would probably put everything, including my mortgage, on a rewards card if I could.  However, I always pay my balance in full.  And, since I feel like I’m pretty clear about that, I don’t feel bad about sharing the same deals with my readers.

So, with that being said, is it wrong for me, as a blogger, to make money if someone clicks on any of my affiliate links and buys something?  I don’t think so.  In fact, most blogs, especially big ones, have some sort of affiliate links embedded somewhere in their site.  And, I personally don’t see anything inherently wrong with websites getting paid for promoting products.  Personally, I use a handful of affiliate links for products ranging from Allstate Auto Insurance to Netflix to the Barclaycard World Arrival MasterCard.  Oh, and even though I absolutely loathe Walmart, I use their affiliate links too.  Companies like FlexOffers make affiliate links available so that I, and other websites,  can sell their stuff.  And since I like earning money, I gladly take advantage of it.  Why?  Because it’s an easy way to make passive income.  That’s why.

What is Ethical Blogging?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with bloggers making money, regardless of which method they employ to do so.  That is, of course, as long as they’re not stealing anything, scamming anyone, or misleading anyone.  I also don’t think that it’s wrong for a frugality blog to sell credit cards.  And besides, anyone who sees me as a moral authority on anything needs to get their head checked.  I mean, do they actually read this blog?  Seriously.

What about you?  Do you think it’s wrong to make money blogging?  Do you think it’s wrong for frugality blogs to sell credit cards?

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About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. I’m not sure why people see the pursuit of income as evil, so yeah it’s ok to make money with your blog. I’ve been thinking about my approach towards affiliate links (which I’ve yet to really implement) and my personal take is that I’m happy to make money off anything that I personally use and benefit from. If it’s not something I believe in or it’s not something I know much about, I don’t personally feel comfortable selling it. But that’s just one opinion and there are plenty other reasonable ways to go about it.
    Matt Becker recently posted..Buying a Car: How to Negotiate With the DealersMy Profile

  2. For me it’s not wrong to make money blogging. People nowadays are engaged with computers, internet and social media. I think for me being wrong if you’re lying, scamming just to make money.
    Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way recently posted..Stock Picking: Buy the LeadersMy Profile

  3. What snarky comments! But what can you expect from Internet trolls ….

    I absolutely don’t find anything wrong with making money blogging. That is one of main points of getting involved with website development in the first place. IT’S A BUSINESS! Advertising is everywhere, even in the places you don’t think it is. The sooner the so-called purists get off their high-horse, the sooner they’d realize what opportunities they were holding themselves back from.
    My Money Design recently posted..Your Residual Income Formula for Creating An Online BusinessMy Profile

  4. The term “full disclosure” comes to mind here… I think with Google in the mix and so many folks coming directly to a specific post (without reading the whole blog) some folks feel like they aren’t being given the full context when they read something. I can understand that perspective.
    FI Pilgrim recently posted..Are DIY Projects Worth The Time?My Profile

    • That’s why it’s important to have a disclosure on your website somewhere. Mine is at the bottom….scroll down.

      • I think making money is great but ‘scroll down’ for my full disclosure? I think you can disclose within the post with ease.
        Matt from Saverocity recently posted..Should I pay off my debt or save?My Profile

        • Ummmm…..I did? Both in this post and in the credit card post in question.

          In this post:

          ” Personally, I use a handful of affiliate links for products ranging from Allstate Auto Insurance to Netflix to the Barclaycard World Arrival MasterCard. ”

          In the credit card post:

          “If you’re interested in earning $400 in travel credit from Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard, feel free to sign up using my affiliate link here. ”

          I use the blanket disclaimer at the bottom in case someone misses anything or I forget to mark anything.

  5. First off, I see most pf sites are really more so “lifestyle” blogs than frugality blogs. Yes, you do an awesome job of sharing frugal tips and tricks and whatnot, but in the end I see your site (and others) as sites that will help increase people’s overall quality of life. The fact is, if used correctly, credit cards can be used to gain rewards from money you would spend anyway. If I used my check card instead of Discover card I would have missed out on thousands of cash back rewards. I also think affiliate links and other monetization tactics for bloggers are essential otherwise the blog would fold because I don’t know about you but I’m not blogging for charity. Ironically I have a big post about the benefits of the Discover it card tomorrow and I think it totally makes sense to post stuff like that because there ARE benefits to having the card. Some people will never be happy with this explanation, though, and you just have to kind of let it go and accept it.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..Thinking about Going Back to School? 5 Things to ConsiderMy Profile

  6. I don’t think there’s necessarily something wrong with affiliate links, and you’ve been pretty clear that you use credit cards as a tool not a crutch, so I don’t have a problem with affiliate links.
    What I do think is a little weird is when people embed affiliate links in bad reviews. Really? You think someone’s going to click through and sign up for something you just slammed?
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..$150 In Write Offs, And Happier For ItMy Profile

  7. There’s definitely not anything wrong with it. And what, just because you’re a PF/frugality blogger you have to love and hate the same things all the other bloggers do? Whatever. People are weird. I’m all for affiliate links because honestly, if I had the opportunity to use them to make some extra income I totally would! :)
    Christine recently posted..Blogtember: A Life UpdateMy Profile

  8. There is NOTHING wrong with making money blogging. I’ve actually had readers ask me to do more reviews and make more affiliate related posts so that they know what’s a good value.

    Being a personal finance blogger does not mean that you have to think that credit cards are the devil. Why can’t people use them to their advantage?
    Michelle recently posted..Self-Employment and $5,382 in Extra IncomeMy Profile

  9. You go Holly! I don’t get what it is about the internet that makes people think they can just go off and make snarky comments like that. First off, it’s your blog and secondly you’re not scamming anyone – which are really the two big things in my opinion. Not only that, but you give disclaimers that if people can’t/won’t pay off their cards then they shouldn’t do it. In terms of a “frugality” blog selling credit cards – I say go for it. There’s nothing that says because you’re frugal you can’t sell/use credit cards. I think the argument could be made to use them more in that case (assuming you pay them off in full) as you can make free money. What frugal person doesn’t like free money? If they don’t, then maybe they should. ;)
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..How Many Miles of Toilet Paper Do You Use Every Year?My Profile

    • I think I should just be more clear about the fact that people should pay their off in full. I thought I’ve been clear about it but maybe I haven’t.

  10. People like to hate. There is nothing wrong with making money off of your blog. You’re the one busting your ass to write and promote your blog. Are you supposed to spend all your time building up your blog for no financial return. I don’t think so.

    I have come to realize it doesn’t matter what you do. When someone decides that they don’t like you they will find a way to put you down. It doesn’t bother me too much anymore. It’s your blog do what you want with it.
    Alexa recently posted..Laser Focus: How to Make Your Side Business Grow FasterMy Profile

    • I know that some people don’t monetize their websites and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think it would be a fun hobby even if there wasn’t any money in it.

  11. I agree with Matt that many people often see the pursuit of money as evil, and although I see where some of these people are coming from (i.e. writing to people about frugality and then promoting cc use) it’s ultimately their responsibility to use cc’s wisely – not yours to ensure they use cc’s wisely. It’s called personal responsibility. I generally try not to read your churning articles, because, honestly, they tempt me to use credit cards, and I’m not sure that I’ve got myself fully under control in that area. But that is NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. IT”S MINE. You have every right to share what works for you financially and to make money at it as well. You are being up front and honest all the way around, so I just don’t see the problem. It’s a similar fight to the one about banning Big Gulps. People have got to learn how to control themselves. You go, girl!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..Hidden Tips for Saving Money at Home: Part 2My Profile

  12. There’s nothing wrong with making money blogging! You’re putting tons of work into your blog, does someone really think that you don’t deserve to be compensated? THEY don’t have to pay for it, so I’m not sure why they’re complaining. I would never do affiliate links for cigarettes (and I’d have to seriously consider fast food), but if it’s not damaging, go for it.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted..Is Groupon a Good Deal?My Profile

    • Cigarettes, ha!

      I actually have an affiliate link for an electronic cigarette but I haven’t used it yet. But, it’s the kind that helps you wean yourself off real cigarettes so it’s a good thing.

  13. This is just a classic case of pure jealousy. People get upset when they see you making money on a blog. Apparently, making money blogging it taboo, so many people just don’t think it is even possible. I wouldn’t have responded to these idiots.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..The 4 Bookkeeping Mistakes That Can Kill Your Small BusinessMy Profile

  14. Is making money from your blog wrong? No.

    Ex: my Romanian blog is doing pretty well traffic wise. I have a nice community and have posted over 2k articles in the past 6 years. What do I make off it? Almost nothing. What does this mean? It means I have started putting more effort into my English blog (the one that my name links to), since here is a bigger market. Instead of wasting time to post articles on my blog that doesn’t bring me anything, I’ll focus on developing a site that’s clearly gotten more chances to make some money. My time COSTS money, I’d love to entertain my readers for many years to come but, if I get nothing from my time/money invested, I’ll look for other more lucrative ways to waste my time.

    2. Make money by promoting only the things that go well with your ideas

    I have refused a VERY lucrative paid article on my other blog. I had to promote a Christmas related loan, which goes against my ‘no credits unless it’s really something VERY serious’ and it would have made my readers angry. I preach about saving and not going into debt and then, for a big chunk of money, I’d say to my readers ‘it’s OK to get a stupid loan to overspend on Christmas’.

    So, make money, but always make sure you promote things that don’t contradict your main ideas and views. Your readers wouldn’t forgive you
    dojo recently posted..Athens: A City Fast Forwarded to ModernityMy Profile

    • Yeah, I wouldn’t write about loans for Christmas either. That wouldn’t go over well!

      • I have the same set of guidelines. I think payday loans prey on the most vulnerable people and dig people into an even deeper debt hole, so I wouldn’t accept advertising for them or any other examples that don’t align with my values.

        My blog isn’t that active anymore, but when I had more traffic, my general rule of thumb was I’d accept advertising/links if it was a product I would/could use myself. I used credit cards, so I’d be okay hocking a credit card offer. Just because I don’t have any credit card debt doesn’t mean I’m anti-credit card.

        That being said, it is getting harder and harder to find honest reviews of products that aren’t ‘sponsored”. It even inspired my latest post. My main beef is that I want to find information that’s truly an opinion of the consumer, not a finely crafted message written and paid for by the company someone is reviewing.
        First Gen American recently posted..An unsponsored list of my favorite productsMy Profile

  15. I view the complaints as trying to blame someone else for your issues. I openly admit that I’ve used credit cards incorrectly in the past, and paid a hefty price in having done so. And therefore, I currently don’t have a credit card. But I don’t blame others for educating people on how to use them responsibly to their advantage. If anything, I think what you do is a great service to others. It’s my responsibility to determine whether or not I am capable of following your strategy. I don’t blame credit card issuers for advertising their products. Being a financially responsible adult means acknowledging your own challenges and shortcomings. I don’t feel that everyone should suffer because of the issues of a few. An alcoholic can’t demand that Budweiser stop advertising, just because they tend to overindulge. Nor can an over-spender demand that all the malls be torn down. The sooner people learn to take responsibility for their own actions and weaknesses, the better!
    Cindy @ GrowingHerWorth recently posted..I’m Not Giving a Dime!My Profile

  16. There is nothing wrong with making money from blogging and I feel like a lot of that hate comes from jealousy. I think it is fine to use affiliate links to promote something, especially if it’s something you agree with/use personally.
    Connie @ Savvy With Saving recently posted..Why I’m A SaverMy Profile

  17. I hope Twaitor doesn’t read any travel and points blogs! I think whatever you do there is some element to that. I have patients tell me sometimes that I am recommending something because I want to sell it and make money, which I do, but it’s ultimately your choice how you use that information. I also would not recommend something that I did not believe in or think would be beneficial to someone. Unless you are a nun and never make money from anything, there will always be someone saying you’re wrong.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Can You Be Happy If You Have Credit Card Debt?My Profile

  18. Well I certainly can’t say anything because I make money online. I think as long as you are showing HOW you use your credit cards to your advantage, and that you are no way promoting something to someone who is in debt or can’t handle credit cards, it’s alright. I mean just because people have drinking problems, should there be no advertising for beer?
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..Seattle/Portland HighlightsMy Profile

  19. I second what everyone else said. Blogging and freelancing are your career obviously you need to make money! In terma of generalizing, no I have zero issue with bloggera getting financially rewarded for the hard work they put into the their craft. You can please everyone so they can all piss off if they don’t want to read!
    Catherine recently posted..My Day From Hell, Saved By Emergency FundMy Profile

  20. Is making money blogging wrong? NO!!! I love your unapologetic stance Holly! Hate mail use to bother me but I quickly grew a thick skin. It’s my life and my blog. I will write as a I please as you are doing as well :) P.S. Trying being a debt blogger and talking about CC haha
    Girl Meets Debt recently posted..Britney Spears’s Personal Finance Message: “Work Work”My Profile

  21. Fawk I hate typing on my phone
    Sorry for typos. I mean *can’t please everyone.
    Catherine recently posted..My Day From Hell, Saved By Emergency FundMy Profile

  22. Would agree with the comments so far. It’s not like you’re preaching something that you don’t actually use to further your financial goals. Haters are gonna hate!
    Kyle | Rather-Be-Shopping.com recently posted..14 Celebs Who Clip Coupons…Who Knew?My Profile

  23. I have no problem with you earning passive income from blogging. I also never had an issue with credit cards since I pay them off each billing cycle.

  24. Nope, Holly. I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s not like you’re selling drugs to kids. You are blogging to adults and they should have the wherewithal and self-control to not use credit cards if they can’t handle them.
    Tammy R recently posted..Knowing What to Accept in Your RelationshipMy Profile

  25. Ha!!! This illustrates the epitome of shirking personal responsibility. Of all the ads I see daily, I act on none of them. It’s all on me how I spend and what I spend on and what I drink. You handled it well, Holly!! Have an easy and profitable one!!!!
    cj recently posted..Knowing What to Accept in Your RelationshipMy Profile

  26. I don’t think it’s wrong and I think most people know what affiliate links are. I just don’t click on them if I am not interested. I think it comes down to what the money is worth, time, and your values. It’s your blog, do what you want. These aren’t THEIR values, so they see something wrong with it.
    Dear Debt recently posted..Class and PrivilegeMy Profile

  27. I am of mixed opinions on this. On one hand, it’s fine to make money off blogging. It’s a nice reward for the effort expended.

    On the other hand, if I turn my blog into a platform to shill for products, what value am I really adding to the world? Does the internet need yet another Personal Capital review? Or a sponsored book review? Or sponsored credit card review?

    I don’t even read product reviews on blogs anymore because they’re a joke. While the product itself may be good or bad, every review is glowing. The reviews have to be positive because that’s how bloggers get paid. No one is going to click on a link if a blogger says that the product is not worth their time. No clicks, no pay. But when every review is positive, can you trust any of them?

    As for affiliate links? Much like most of the other advertising on the internet, my only clicks have been accidental.
    My Financial Independence Journey recently posted..Harris Corp (HRS) Dividend Stock AnalysisMy Profile

  28. I don’t think it’s wrong to have affiliate links. I personally wouldn’t put a link or have advertisements to things that I wouldn’t approve of myself. For example, pay day loans and expensive investment products. I think that may be treading on immoral. But I think there’s nothing wrong with getting credit card bonuses. Contrary to what Twaitor says, credit cards are not evil…it is just a tool. It maybe a bad thing for those who are irresponsible with it. It might not be moral to put it on a blog that focuses on credit debt counseling and those issues but that’s not the case here. You can be Thrifty and use credit cards all the time…I do.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted..Sunday Update and RoundupMy Profile

  29. Like I said before, as long as you disclose that the post is a paid post, it’s fine. When you don’t, then it’s ethically (and legally, but as we noted before, not enforced) wrong. Positive reviews especially need to have payment disclosed.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Prepayment discountsMy Profile

    • I don’t necessarily agree. For instance, I have affiliate links for Walmart all over my website. I’m not endorsing them. In fact, I’ve written entire posts about how I hate shopping there. I don’t feel the need to disclose each individual affiliate link that I use. Instead, I just use a blanket disclosure at the bottom of each page.

      But, I don’t write a lot of reviews, good or bad. I wouldn’t write a good review for something unless I actually liked the product.

  30. Maybe they have blogging envy. I someday hope to do the same (make money blogging).

    Seriously, some people just need to complain no matter what.

    keep up the good work!

  31. I don’t see anything wrong with making money blogging. Good for you! You put hard work in, why not get a little benefit out of it? I have to admit though that when I first started reading personal finance blogs written by people who used to be in debt, I was surprised to find credit card ads & promotions on these blogs. Personally, I probably wouldn’t promote a credit card, although I agree if used correctly it is a powerful tool and can actually EARN you money. There is no right or wrong, I think it’s a personal choice, there will always be people who agree and disagree.
    Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies recently posted..Sunday Special: My Week in Review #6My Profile

  32. Great article, Holly. I don’t understand why people think that blogging should be done for free. Do they expect to do their work and not get paid for it? I have no problem with affiliate links as long as it’s not a scam or hidden. If bloggers are open about getting a commission, then I don’t see a problem with it.
    Jake @ Ca$h Funny recently posted..Why I am so Passionate about Personal FinanceMy Profile

  33. I have no problem with people earning money from their blogs. I’ll admit sites with so many ads that you can barely find the content are a bit of a turn off, but even then, I figure that’s their choice. And I most certainly do not consider credit cards to be bad. Like you, we charge almost everything and pay our bill in full every month. We use them wisely and to our advantage. And that’s the point. Some people don’t and that’s their choice too. I actually like people I respect and trust recommending products and I don’t care if they get a small commission. The only time I would care is if they were promoting products they don’t like or use.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..How To Build a Strong Financial Foundation for Your FamilyMy Profile

  34. LOL at the alcoholic liquor shop comparison.

    People who are good with money, after budgeting accordingly, are able to get stuff for free via credit cards. Folks who are good with money but don’t use credit card rewards are dumb as they’re leaving free money on the table.

    Unless you’re terrible with credit cards or you’re a person trying to live off the grid in your solar powered cabin with a self-composting toilet, if you aren’t using credit cards, you’re doing it wrong.
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted..Imma be outta here, and a weekly roundup!My Profile

  35. Hell, I actually got my Starwood card from your link, and that’s paying for our hotels on a future international vacation. So, um, thanks!

    I view credit card links as a win win: presumably the consumer believes it’s a good deal for them, and they throw a little income to the blogger who informed them of the product.
    Done by Forty recently posted..Football, Losing, & Bad BehaviorMy Profile

  36. I see no problem with it. I just make sure I write somewhere in the article that if someone uses the link I may be compensated. That way everyone knows and there is no question about it. I’m sure you do the same though.
    Lance @ Money Life and More recently posted..WARNING! Returning To Work From Disability Can Be Difficult!My Profile

  37. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Your blog is probably not great for those who carry credit card debt, because it’s tempting to spend when there are so many benefits. I am finally at the point where I pay mine off monthly, and I have really learned a lot from you! I was able to fly home and visit a sick parent with an airline sign up bonus. I never used to think of credit cards as tools to do anything but over-spend. If you review something and I happen to sign up because it’s a good deal for ME, then kudos to you if you get a cut.

  38. People are absolutely crazy! It’s your website, you have a right to do whatever you want with it, and they in turn have the right to not read it and let the rest of us enjoy it.

    I think there is a line that some site owners cross where they just start hawking things that are ridiculous or you know they would never use just for the sake of money, but it’s usually easy to tell when that happens. And you can vote with your mouse and choose not to ever come back!

    I’ve never seen you do any of these things and your articles are fun and interesting, so I hope you make as much money as possible!

    You
    Brad @ RichmondSavers.com recently posted..Southwest Airlines Visa New 50,000 Bonus Point OfferMy Profile

  39. Of course the people are being ridiculous. Plenty of bloggers write about credit card rewards. I think as long as it’s a product you would use yourself, I don’t see a problem with it. I do think it’s a little weird when bloggers have ads or whatever for payday loans. That strikes me as pretty much exactly the kind of thing frugality bloggers should be shunning. But that’s their choice because, uh, it’s their site. Sheesh.
    Abigail recently posted..Paying for my disorganizationMy Profile

  40. Best solution is to make even MORE blogging! Whoo hoo!

    Also, you’re better than one fella who was a Debt Blogger who was an enthusiastic writer on a credit card site! Gotta love it!

    Sam
    Sam recently posted..How To Build Passive Income For Financial IndependenceMy Profile

  41. I think if you were going around saying don’t use credit cards or credit and saying you would never use them yourself it would be hypocritical to have Credit Card Advertising on your blog however promotion of responsible use and talking about using them while having the ads on the site is different or even not talking about them at all.

    If people choose to click thats their choice. It’s kind of like expecting An addictions counselor not to have any bad habits or enjoy a drink once in a while because they work with people who are addicted to certain things.What works for one person does not work for another.

  42. I can’t believe you make money in such an unethical way. You should be “Pepsi” ashamed about the way you “Wheaties” promote products on here, and should give all your money “All State” back to the readers. STOP SCAMMING US ALL!*

    * This message was brought to you, in part, by Luvs diapers.
    Jacob | iHeartBudgets recently posted..What’s Your Percentage?My Profile

  43. Nothing wrong with credit card advertisements as you actually use it and pay them off. No one should know the rates on their cards if you are paying it off every month.
    If you feel bad you may send any affiliate checks my way. It will definitely make me feel better.
    charles@gettingarichlife recently posted..Solar Update And Spreading The Aloha Links #2My Profile

  44. I wonder how they would feel about charging a fee for advice. I wonder if they are opposed to commercial companies making a profit for goods and services too. The blogosphere seems to attract a different kind of consumer. So much is free and worth nothing. They have a choice to read or not.
    krantcents recently posted..What Have You Accomplished this Week/Month/Year?My Profile

  45. There is nothing wrong with making money doing something you enjoy–as long as it is legal. Blogging is perfectly acceptable form of making money and being judge-y about it is not the smartest thing in the world.
    kelly @stayingonbudget recently posted..Shopping At CostCo: Blowing This Month’s Grocery BudgetMy Profile

  46. I think the only thing that matters is honesty. If you are upfront about the fact that you stand to gain money AND your reviews and recommendations are honest, you are not doing anything wrong.
    Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa recently posted..The Real Value of a College Degree: Is it Worth the Money?My Profile

  47. I don’t think it’s wrong at all. You’re not responsible for people signing up for them, you’re just offering them the option. It’s completely their choice to sign up for a credit card. I think you’ve explained that you churn and pay off your balances in full (otherwise there would be no point in churning) pretty clearly. People are going to do what they want and blame someone when something goes wrong. It’s your blog and you have the right to review products and offer affiliate links. If I was inclined to buy something and a blogger provided a lot of great information for me to make an educated buy, I would thank them by purchasing through the affiliate link. Simple concept!
    E.M. recently posted..Favorite Free Activity: Going to the ParkMy Profile

  48. I agree that there’s nothing wrong with trying to make money with your blog. I am sure that most of us would like to make a living out of blogging and that might mean selling the “devil” sometimes.

    One thing that I have learned during my online presence in the past few years was that you can’t keep everybody happy. So as long as you provide great content for your readership and you make money, there’s nothing wrong with that as long as your goal is not to scam people or have them lose money. You can’t keep everyone happy, and your goal should be to keep yourself happy.
    C. the Romanian recently posted..Cash vs Credit: Which Is the Best Choice for YouMy Profile

  49. I’m a big fan of credit cards myself. I’m iffy on bloggers who promote payday loans, though.
    eemusings recently posted..Why you should travel when you’re youngMy Profile

  50. Ignore the lazy haters. It is just jealousy!

  51. For me, it is absolutely not as long as you don’t lying and cheat your visitor. I believe you’ve spent a lot of time to write articles, promote the blog and you deserve financial return.

  52. My own personal standard has been to only pitch things that I use, enjoy, and can vouch for myself.

    Also, I often link to things that meet those three standards that I’m not an affiliate for (i.e., I don’t only pitch affiliate products).

    I enjoy the fact that I can buy products I might already buy anyway from blogs like yours and pass back some money that supports good writing! Don’t mind the haters.
    Mike recently posted..The Work Brigade: Kids and ChoresMy Profile

  53. I agree with you. As long as you are upfront and explain how you can use and benefit from credit cards responsibly I do not think it is wrong or a conflict of interest. I admire you ability to make passive income only
    Blair@LifeDollarsandSense recently posted..Holy HiatusMy Profile

  54. Wow that’s a lot of comments, I didn’t take the time to read them all, but here are my two cents and I apologize in advance if I’m echoing anyone else.
    We covered this topic at the Canadian Personal Finance Conference this weekend in Toronto. I guess, when it comes to advertising, the name of the game is clear and conspicuous disclosure that there are paid links or affiliate links in the post. So for an affiliate link, it’s best to put right next to it (<–affiliate link) and for paid links, it's important to disclose in the post before the link that there are paid links.

    That said, no, making money off of blogging isn't bad! Everyone needs to earn a living. The fine line is touting products as a good deal, because then you are putting your stamp on them as a trusted member of the blogging community. I think that's where people get a little miffed, like they feel like they are being advertised to without their permission or something. In reality, advertising is everywhere, and readers should be prepared for that.
    Jordann @ My Alternate Life recently posted..Life Vs. Debt: How to Adjust Financial GoalsMy Profile

  55. Hey Holly. The way I see it – and any blog really – it’s your blog, you have he right to put whatever you want on it!! And it is my right to click on an affiliate link or not. End of story. If your monetizing your blog allows you to keep writing great content – for us readers to read and enjoy for FREE – then more power to ya!

    Take care and all the best.

    Lyle
    lyle @ the Joy of Simple recently posted..Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues!!My Profile

  56. In my opinion, you provide a ton of information and entertainment. Similarly, magazines that people read do too and they are filled with advertisements. They are on every single page, so why shouldn’t we be able to make money from advertisements as well, especially because ours are way more muted than full page makeup ads.

  57. What an odd notion. That’s like saying that you shouldn’t make money from your business.
    SuburbanFInance recently posted..How Much Would You Pay For A Masterpiece?My Profile

  58. i get the criticism. I have been in a place before where making the payments on debt dictated what I could and couldn’t do in my life. I wondered every day how to pay bills.. It is a terrible place to be. I’m guessing that the email was written by someone who has been in a similar position. It changes you and your view toward debt. It is easy to think that you have debt payment under control until the bottom falls out of your life thru divorce, job loss, too little income …..
    If you have never had the experience, then credit cards are just a tool. They are about as threatening as a pencil. If you have had the experiece, it is like watching a baby play with a gun.
    ~ Christie

    • I foolishly racked up credit card debt in my twenties, thinking I’d be able to pay it off, as I always had. And then my sister defaulted on the loan I’d co-signed on, my credit score dropped, the credit bubble burst, and I found myself in a terrible position. So, yeah, I get where you’re coming from. It felt like the end of the world, and I’m still paying for that mistake. It will haunt me for the rest of my life.

      That being said, I have to accept my own role in what happened, and acknowledge my own limitations. I’m not going to say that no one else should use credit cards, or talk about the responsible use of credit cards, because I had issues. If anything, I learn where I went wrong by reading about what others are doing right. And not every financial “tool” is correct for everyone. As adults, we have to access our own risk levels, self control, and priorities, and choose accordingly. I can learn from what Holly is doing, access it, and then admit that it isn’t right for me.

      I also struggle to control my consumption of cake (among other things). And sure, if you ate nothing but excessive amounts of cake, you’d be very unhealthy, and would probably die at a much younger age. But I’m not going to say that cake is evil, and kills people, and therefore no one should eat cake, or sell cake, or publish recipes for yummy cake. Because, lets face it, lots of people can responsibly eat cake without it leading to death, or other drastic outcomes. It’s the same for credit cards. Sharing how to use them responsibly, and benefit from them, will be really helpful to those who can use them correctly.
      Cindy @ Growing Her Worth recently posted..Making Good ChoicesMy Profile

  59. Let not the weak determine the best path for the strong.

    If someone hates credit cards, they can go to Dave Ramsey. As for me, I’m completely in control of my spending and want my readers to be too, so I believe that you talking about your use of credit cards and making sure you explain that you pay it off each month can help people understand that there is a better way. You’re not an alcoholic counselor opening up a liquor store. You’re a PF blogger showing people how to use financial tools the right way.
    Ben @ The Wealth Gospel recently posted..When Crappy Becomes AwesomeMy Profile

  60. You’re right, there’s nothing wrong, ethically or otherwise, with making money from a money-focused website, (as long as you’re congruent with your message) and affiliate marketing provides the perfect way to do this. I have the same arrangement on my website, and it’s a coincidence that I read your post as I’m writing a post on a similar subject at the moment.

    Personally, I don’t see credit, debt and loans in black and white, whereas some people might, which is the reason for the backlash, I think.
    If someone has struggled with debt, either due to bad spending habits and a lack of money management, they may take the stance that all credit and borrowing is wrong because of their experience with it. Whereas for others, credit and borrowing can be used as leverage when you’re organised enough to stay on top of it.

    What some people need to understand is that’s there’s nothing inherently wrong with any financial products, such as credit cards – it’s down to how they’re used.
    Leonard recently posted..We’ve started the Yakezie ChallengeMy Profile

  61. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come
    across a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

    The problem is something too few people are speaking intelligently about.

    I am very happy I found this in my hunt for
    something regarding this.
    garcinia cambogia recently posted..garcinia cambogiaMy Profile

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