Cheap Weekend Breaks is an entirely independent website. It is free for users, so how does it make any money?
Traditional models include paid subscriptions (defeating the purpose of a blog on saving money), adverts and affiliate links. An affiliate link works in the same way as commission – if you end up buying something through a link on my site then Cheap Weekend Breaks gets a slice of that money.
Is this wrong?
I don’t think so. Why shouldn’t writers, researchers and photographers get paid for their work? However, I do believe in full disclosure. If you read something online or offline – particularly when it comes to opinions and recommendations – then you should know whether or not someone gets any financial return for expressing that opinion. Then you can make your own decision.
I’ll also mark affiliate links with an asterisk in the text – a technique used by the popular and respected Martin’s Money Saving Expert.
Do most sites do this?
Many sites use affiliate links and paid reviews. Not all that many are upfront about it.
From time to time I get asked to review products or services. Sometimes I get money off for doing this, sometimes someone offers to pay me, sometimes I get nothing at all. Sometimes I review things without being asked to.
Here’s my approach: if it’s something I think I’ll like, might be useful to you and relates to Cheap Weekend Breaks then I’ll do it! Why on earth wouldn’t I?
If, however, it’s got nothing to do with the the blog or I’m not allowed to write bad things about it, then I won’t get involved (for what I hope are obvious reasons.)
A review is only any good if I can be honest – and only worth doing if it’s about something I think is useful.
What about free gifts, press trips and, I don’t know, brown envelope jobs?
No hidden nastiness. I’ll stick to my ethical guidelines and declare any money or freebies I get upfront.
Fair enough? If you disagree, let me know.