Share: do you mind bloggers earning cash out of you?

I don’t know if this is apparent to all of you but many bloggers make money out of their blogs. Well, I do. There are many ways beauty bloggers can make money and most of the sources of our income revolves around you. Yes, you! At the simplest level, we are able to generate some blog revenue via banner advertisements owing to your visits that contribute to our traffic numbers. And at a more interactive level, we can also generate income when you make purchases via some of our affiliate links.

Rewards program
An example is one of my recent posts about iHerb, where I had put up a promo code. Interestingly, I noticed that many of you actually used the promo code even though I had declared that I would benefit if you use it since it’s part of a rewards program. So it seems to me that many of you do not mind me making money out of you?

Affiliate relationships
While I try to be as transparent as I can, I don’t always declare affiliate relationships in every post because I already have a disclosure policy on this blog. But if it’s something like an MLM structure, I’ll always make mention so that you’ll know.

Other than direct monetization through your purchases, I sometimes write advertorials. I always declare them within the post but I just wanted you to know that the only reason I’m able to charge a fee for them is because you contribute to my readership numbers.

Blogging isn’t free
Okay, I’m not going indepth on how I generate income from my blog but blogging isn’t a free for all. Apart from the time spent in crafting a post, I have to pay a 3-digit figure hosting fee each month just so that the blog is always up and never down. So personally and obviously, I don’t mind that a blog I’m reading is generating income.

Over to you
But being a blogger and in the know about how things operate, my views aren’t a great representation of the readers out there. So I’m keen to know how my readers feel about this topic. Do you mind that I make a buck out of you reading my blog? Or that I generate some reward points that translate into cash? Would you buy products from a blogger and would you support a blogger that promotes a brand just because she’s paid to do their social media marketing? And if you’re a blogger, I’m keen to know your views on this topic too!

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  1. says

    Interesting topic. Honestly, I don’t mind reading your blog and you made a buck as you really did a good job. I really enjoyed what you share in this blog. I also wouldn’t mind if bloggers promote the product, BUT I would mind if the products aren’t that great as they said and lie about it.

    • Sesame says

      Thanks Hayley for your encouraging comments and definitely agree about being ethical and not lying.

  2. says

    I blog, too, so my perception might not be as impartial. But even before I started my own self-hosted blog, I never really cared how the blogger earns as long as it’s through ethical means (like not selling my e-mail or personal info, etc..). If I liked a magazine, I would go and buy it. If I really, really liked it, I’d probably even subscribe monthly. Of course a blog isn’t something I can collect and display on the shelf but if its quality can match that of a magazine I read and PAY for, why should I mind if the blogger tries to earn honest money from her own blog which I benefit from regardless of whether I pay or not?
    Eco Beauty last post is: Do you believe in Collagen Supplements and Drinks? Do I?

    • Sesame says

      Subcription is an interesting area of monetization too…it wasn’t something on my radar till you mentioned it. But I think it’s hard for blogs to use the method. I think it’s even hard to ask for donations/contributions from readers although I know some do (not beauty related bloggers though).

      • says

        haha, I actually by magazines to flip through the advertisements! I really do.
        Jyoan last post is: FOTD: The Grey That Wasn’t Meant To Be ft. Laneige Love in Bloom

  3. N. says

    I don’t mind that you get income out of me. I would buy products from a blogger. Although I understand the whole promoting a sponsored product, but if like I’ve seen around, the entire blog is practically sponsored… or you see that whatever sponsored product is being well talked without any honest opinions then I do not support it and I find it distasteful.

    • Sesame says

      Oh having the whole blog sponsored…haha…I think there are some out there that only blogs sponsored posts and it’s pretty annoying when you see them.

      • says

        Yes, the whole blog sponsored is like errr, am I reading a web form of a TV channel? Or are you really putting in effort and writing something that has value. Ads don’t have much value to add (into the brain).
        Jyoan last post is: FOTD: The Grey That Wasn’t Meant To Be ft. Laneige Love in Bloom

        • Sesame says

          Yeah, unfortunately there are bloggers who do that…though they mark the posts but I find it too much too like posts after posts.

  4. says

    Dear Sesame,

    I guess you’ve set a benchmark for all bloggers in Singapore in terms of monetizing. As a reader, I don’t mind. As long as the content is original
    and it’s keeping me informed about something or offering a solution to a problem I’m having. Being transparent (which you are) is the best policy. Thanks for that.

    Keep writing.. and do what you do best.. You are such an inspiration..

    Poovan last post is: World Vegan Day heats up #PETA #UK

  5. Shefali says

    I love what you write and I really do not mind if you earn out of me reading your blog because its highly informative and for me its like a bible for skincare.I get answers to so many queries which I usually do not get else where.I would also not mind buying through your links and you earning from it.You are doing a good job Sesame 😊 please keep it up!!

  6. says

    I suppose as a blogger, I too know the costs that go into running a blog so I do not begrudge a blogger earning something out of it. Over doing advertorials and sponsored posts is however one way to be sure I don’t return but the odd one is fine by me, as are passive ads and affiliate links. Its only fair – nothing comes free in this world :)
    Paris B last post is: The One Bio-Oil to rule them all : Does it work for me?

    • Sesame says

      I think too many bloggers are also shortchanging by posting everything for free, which I think is kind of “spoiling the market”.

  7. Leila says

    We do not mind if you make money out of us as you are providing an honest service for free and paying (in whatever way) is completely voluntary, so we have full choice whether we want to reward you or not.

    If I was going to buy something from a website where you receive commission from that link, so long as you are upfront about it, I’m happy to, since I trust your blog. Besides, it doesn’t cost me anything extra, so why would I be stingy and go to that site from a different link?

    I’m happy that bloggers I like will get some sort of reward from a small act from me, after all, running a blog takes a lot of time and effort and this sort of action will be a small payback from me.

    It is only when we are being exploited and misled that makes us resent any blogger making money out of us. As with any other areas in life really. The key is transparency and respecting your readers, just like when you disclose if a product has been sent to you of if you are writing a sponsored post.

    That being said, overdoing sponsored posts and only talking about the positives of a product because of affiliation or it was sent for free is why I will be turned off a blog, so the key is balance.

    You’ve certainly got it right Sesame and I enjoy reading your blog. Keep it up!

    • Sesame says

      Thank you Leila and I definitely agree about keeping a balance. Even doing too many product reviews, whether or not the products are purchased or sponsored, is considered much for me. I do declare whenever I receive products on a complimentary basis but for affiliate links, I sometimes don’t for the reason I disclose it within my disclosure policy.

  8. annie says

    no i don’t mind because i already ‘suspect’ it. i quoted suspect because i dont want it to mean negatively but at the same time i don’t really know and can only ‘suspect’… blogging takes time and dedication, especially the well crafted and consistent ones like yours. for all the time a blogger spend working on his/her blog, it’s only fair for them to get compensated (imo). And I have used a blogger’s or a youtuber’s link in the past because well, what’s the harm? if that blogger/youtuber is straightforward with it. i get to read all this wonderful things for free so sometime using the affiliate link make me feel im giving back in some way. thats just my 2 cents :)

  9. says

    To me, it is all about transparency. The only time it really bothers me is when I see a rave review with affiliate links and it’s not disclosed. To me, that can be misleading to the reader. Sometimes blogs that are full of posts about deals with affiliate links can get obnoxious if there is too little content, but there is nothing ethically wrong with that if everything is disclosed.
    As long as it is clearly stated when there is some type of relationship with the company, the reader can take that into consideration when evaluating a blogger’s opinion. Obviously this isn’t necessary for ads and such because it is apparent that the advertisers pay for space on the site.
    MARY last post is: Real Purity Health Glow Foundation Review + Natural Joy Beauty DISCOUNT CODE!

    • Sesame says

      Hmm…I see your point about affiliate links. I don’t declare it all the time because of my site wide disclosure policy. And the reason why I don’t declare every affiliate link is because as a reader of other blogs that do that, I find that the blogger over qualifies too much and it turns me off a little.

      But I do make it a point to declare if I am writing a review and including an affiliate link cos I know chances of readers buying are high. Well, I guess I gotta learn to strike a good balance and be as transparent as possible.

      • says

        If you have a site wide thing that definitely works too. I’m talking about people who don’t do that or have a disclosure within the post, so there is no indication at all.

        And surprisingly, I have seen some very well respected bloggers do that.
        MARY last post is: Silk Naturals Bronzers

        • Sesame says

          Many bloggers have the disclosure but maybe the disclosure policy isn’t that prominent. I am more incline to review within the post if my review happens to be positive or a rave. Otherwise, if it’s a mention, I usually don’t bother. But in any case, I don’t use affiliate links that much.

  10. Chenyze says

    It really depends on trust, and among the blogs out there, I definitely trust that you’re not going to promote any item that you personally dislike! And since Vivawoman is such a wealth of information (we all know how much effort you put into researching and typing up ingredients etc) I’m more than happy to ‘contribute back’ by using your promo codes. (=

    • Sesame says

      Thanks for your support! And yes, that you can trust me to promote only what I would use cos I’ve turned down good money to stuff I would not want to be associated with. 😉

  11. fwy says

    I don’t purchase things online & I don’t notice those advertisement much on your blog. I believed I only contribute to your readership numbers.

    • Sesame says

      Either way, I appreciate your support and value your visits! Even if I don’t make money out of the traffic, the traffic number keeps me happy. :)

  12. Scott says

    I don’t mind in the slightest…very good articles and well organized web page for the would be wrong if you didn’t get something out of it!
    (transferred comment by sesame)

  13. says

    Dear Sesame, this is a very open post and I admire you for sharing. How many people are so open on such infor. I have a blog for some time ..though its in hibernation mode now, and got a lot of emails asking for advert etc., which I have never agreed. It was started for a different reasons and I found no reason for the cash…..though at times when I wanted to share an article, I actually spent a lot of money for that. Maybe…not so smart heh haha? However, that’s personal and my opinion on my blog. If this works for you, I think it’s great. Why not? For me, coming here, I am just happy to discover so many things I am still learning as I am getting into this organic skincare thing-y, so I am just happy that you have those great post. I have wanted forever to order from iherb….soon maybe, so I say thanks for sharing. Here’s wishing you have millions of readers..maybe u do have :)

    • Sesame says

      It’s always a personal preference…just keep doing what you like if you’re comfortable with it. No point forcing yourself to a mold and be unhappy right? 😉

  14. says

    I am fine with anything as long as it’s transparent. I’ve always liked the way Xiaxue does advertorials. She tells you straight up in the first line that it is one. I read and contribute to her statistics because the way she tells the story about the product is interesting. But I have never bought anything ever that she has promoted (except Hada Labo which I bought way way before her ad).

    I do buy using promo codes given by Youtubers or bloggers. I do not mind allowing the affiliate to earn as long as it’s not hard sell. I do really want to buy the product, and I do want a discount, so as a consumer, I don’t care who gives that code.

    And yes, I have bought quite a lot of products that beauty youtubers make in their name (mostly makeup, such as Lauren Luke brushes, Real Techniques, Sigma Paris palette). I really do not mind as they live up to the hype. But I guess, I would feel cheated and hard-sold if the quality ain’t there.

    Specific to Viva Woman, I am in full knowledge that many products come somewhat or somehow sponsored/compensated. However, I feel that it’s precisely because of your associations that Viva Woman can have regular and big giveaways, which I think readers like, so I don’t think people mind.

    Sesame, I can assure you that I first read and followed your blog because of the knowledge, variety, and insights, of course also aesthetics like structure, language and photos. And till now, I still read every post because of those same attributes, so contributing to your numbers doesn’t bother me.
    Jyoan last post is: FOTD: The Grey That Wasn’t Meant To Be ft. Laneige Love in Bloom

    • Sesame says

      Thanks Jyoan for your support through these years. :)

      For aesthetic reasons, I don’t like highlighting it the way XX do. I used to put “advertorial” in the title and then changed my mind about it cos it limits the length of the title since I like to keep to one liners. So now I have an image that says “advertorial” but it’s below. Hmm…maybe I’ll put a “adv” in the opening to mark the difference next time.

  15. says

    As long as you made it clear that it is advetorial or that you are being paid to write/ get some financial benefit from writing the review (which you already do so far), I don’t mind reading your blog.

    What annoys me if when people don’t write that it’s advetorial but didn’t write a disclaimer about it.

    Having said that, I enjoy reading your blog. Although I don’t pop in as much now, I still go back from time to time especially when I need to refer on something.

  16. says

    Blogging takes time and effort and money. I think it is normal for bloggers and webmasters to earn something for it. They provide a service. I do however have a problem with advertorials if it isn´t clear that that is what they are. I think it is sort of misleading. As long as bloggers put the word advertorial somewhere not to be missed it is fine.
    Agnes last post is: Wat is Rosacea

    • Sesame says

      Hi Agnes, thanks for being understanding. Agree for advertorials – must mark out one way or another.

  17. says

    I’m also a blogger and I agree with what most others have said. As long as you are being ethical and honest it’s not a problem. Advertising has been used to support entertainment since radio. This is just another form of entertainment. Also, no one would ever be able to afford to keep doing this without cash and product coming from somewhere.
    Angela Hall last post is: Beauty Quote of the Week: Estee Lauder

    • Sesame says

      Yes, agree with most of what you mentioned. But with blogging, the difference is that many readers don’t see an obvious “overhead cost” and it also doesn’t help with too many unethical bloggers out there that have caused damage to what we’re doing.


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