And for most publishers, affiliate revenue is entirely additive. Publishers have for years included links to product pages in their consumer-review stories, but affiliate links have finally allowed them to earn money for influencing a purchase decision.
But affiliate revenue also presents publishers with a unique ethical challenge: how to avoid the appearance of shilling for consumer-goods companies in the name of making money, which could risk eroding reader trust and ultimately turn their publications into glorified catalogs.
Digiday spoke with executives at three publishers — IDG, Gear Patrol and The Independent — about how they’re embracing affiliate linking while making sure it doesn’t affect their editorial missions.
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