I warn affiliate marketers on this site, in the Super Affiliate Handbook and at Affiliate Blogger PRO NOT to use free hosting services for a variety of reasons.
Still, some insist on doing so despite the warnings.
In case you are one of those who thinks a free blog is too good a deal to pass up and you're preparing to set up your blog on WordPress.com – here is one good reason NOT to do so, straight from the horse's mouth, aka. WordPress.com.
Blogs that violate our advertising policy or fall into one of the following categories are not allowed on WordPress.com:
Affiliate marketing blogs: Blogs with the primary purpose of driving traffic to affiliate programs and get-rich-quick schemes (“Make six figures from home!!”, “20 easy steps to top profits!!”, etc). This includes multi-level marketing (MLM) blogs and pyramid schemes. To be clear, people writing their own original book, movie or game reviews and linking them to Amazon, or people linking to their own products on Etsy do NOT fall into this category.
In the WordPress.com Support Forums, they specify that only blogs with BIG traffic numbers or VIP blogs may be exempted from this rule.
Here is another quote from the WordPress.com site:
In addition to AdSense-type ads, please do not use the following services on your blog: sponsored / paid posts including PayPerPost, ReviewMe, and Smorty; affiliate / referral links to the following domains: usercash, clickbank, clickhop, cashrocks, payingcash; clicktrackers (and any similar) and any promotion of the “I made a million on the internet and so can you” type of advertising (i.e. MLM, network marketing, cash gifting, etc.). Paid or sponsored post content is also prohibited. Please check our page on types of blogs for more information about what content is and isn’t welcome on WordPress.com.
OK, so what happens if you decide to ‘try it anyway'?
Well, during my interview with Denise Griffitts, she mentioned that she had a WordPress.com blog that consisted of almost 200 pages and a year's worth of work.
What happened to that blog?
Because she had two affiliate links on that site, it was shut down and Denise did NOT have the option of reclaiming her lost material.
So… word to the wise.
If you want to make money online as an affiliate – register a domain and set up an account with a reputable hosting service.
Don't risk your hard work, money and your affiliate business for the sake of a couple of bucks.
Did you find this post informative and useful? If so, please share it with others! If you have a comment, question or suggestion, please post it below!
I had the same thing happen to me with Weebly. Although they say they allow links and advertising they shut me down without notice. I had set up several sites on individual accounts to see which worked before I upgraded to a paid site and I assume that may have been it but they don’t tell you what you did wrong or even give you notice that your sites have been removed.
I didn’t know if my sites had been hacked or something so I kept emailing them for a week to find out what happend before I got a response and all they told me was pretty much that my sites were blocked and any other accounts I had would be blocked and I need to quit spamming them with emails.
I lost quite a bit of money that week my sites were down.
Also to note, many of these sites let you upgrade to a paid site but they can still cancel you and won’t give a refund.
Weebly should also be off limits to anyone who wants control of their own site.
Juana Gillum says
Thanks for the warning on this one. I started a WordPress blog about a month ago and will be moving to another host. Your advice is so valuable for someone like myself just starting out!
Your post is a great sounding of the alarm to serious online business owners. We all have to work within our means. But it amazes me how many people come online “to own their own business”, only to try to get everything free and put their business at the mercy of others.
It’s WordPress.COM that restricts you from using affiliate links because the blog is hosted on their site.
If you are self-hosting through BlueHost or Host Gator, etc….you would be using WordPress.ORG
These hosting companies use C-Panel which makes it really easy to download WordPress.ORG using Fantastico on C-Panel. The process takes maybe 5 minutes.
Samantha Gardner says
Thank you for reminding people of why they need to pay for and host their own content. I see people making this mistake all the time and saying – Why pay when I could have it for free… above is just one of the reason for sure. Free is not always free.
Affiliate Mary says
Rosalind, thank you for the update. I noticed in the comments that it seems you can use the wordpress software on a paid host server. Can someone please confirm that? I have paid webhosting company with a WP installed blog. I have my own ebooks available but was considering adding affiliate links (I’m new to this). Is this still okay to do?
i have already write an post in wordpress.com about meldar fruit in french language and i know it’s not an affiliate website.it’s just to share some information about this delicious fruit that few peole have tasted it.
all the best.
Pat Marcello says
I can’t tell you how often I rant about this very thing. People just don’t get it. Affiliate links in your blog posts? Gone, baby gone. You can use an optin form, and the content isn’t even yours, not technically. If they want to shut down, as what happened with Blogetary.com this week.
Get your own hosting, and if you’re not a tech-head, even a newbie can install a WordPress blog with Fantastico. Then, you can do with it what you want.
Great article, Rosalind!
– Pat Marcello
Forrest Pierson says
Sorry, I’m bit of a newbie here. Just want to be clear: Since I have Just Host for my blog hosting and I installed WordPress with Fantastico, I should be OK to affiliate with AdSense and Amazon?
Wordpress doesn’t have the control to bring down my site in this particular situation, only direct or free WordPress hosting is affected?
Howard Howell says
Rosalind… Very good advice. Although, I like to recommend to newbies to create a free practice site on wordpress.com and become familiar with the wordpress control panel. Then, when you are comfortable, create your “real” hosted site using the wordpress software. I will refer people to your post. Thanks. …Howard
Pat Vojtaskovic says
The same darn thing can happen to you at places like Squidoo. You can work your butt off and if you do one thing they decide they don’t like, bang. They kill your work.
All things considered, is always best to put your time in your own sites.
Just curious, is Weebly a bad choice? They seem to be set up pretty well for online businesses.
It’s important to note that when you use free hosting, someone else is in control of your destiny and you can be shut down with no warning as Rosalind notes. And as Craig says above, lose years worth of work in one fell swoop. Which is why you should back up your site regularly regardless.
Just last week the federal government shut down an entire site that hosted 73,000 blogs because a few of the bloggers were copyright infringers (they were posting copyrighted movies so people could download them for free). If you pay for your own hosting, you have a lot more control. Besides, Bluehost is a pretty good deal, about $110 or so for one year’s worth of hosting, and they’ll let you host a bunch of domains on one account. Hostgator is also good, they bill monthly at about $10 a month.
Just to add: Interestingly enough, Blogger and Squidoo allow affiliate links and advertising (unlike WordPress.COM) but they still shut people down. Some blogs they shut down had no ads or affiliate links (according to accounts I read) and were still shut down. The subject matter was general and should not have been a problem, but those platforms have “Flag” feature where other people can “Report” abuse. There are some people, especially if they are competing in a similar niche, that will do such things to eliminate the competition.
I read on message boards quite often that have comments from people in “denial” that their Blogger blog won’t be one of the victims of a sudden and irreversible shutdown by Google. I have read numerous accounts of people who built up large non-spammy, legitimate Blogger blogs that woke up one day to find it ALL GONE. It does happen. Good Luck trying to “appeal” with Google. They often won’t respond or put the blog back up. Squidoo has done the same thing to many honest people who had built legitimate pages.
In my early days, I dabbled with these free platforms, but quickly switched over to self-hosting with Host Gator and use WordPress.ORG
I refuse to spend time building up a nice site with any third party and take the chance of it being deleted. It’s worth the peace of mind to have my own “real estate” online, where I’m not dictated by another entities terms of service (which could change on a dime).
Unfortunately, even when advised by people, such as yourself, who clearly KNOWS what they are talking about…..some people need, or rather insist, on learning for themselves the hard way.
Diana Walker says
Hi Rosalind! Great advice. I am so grateful that I did learn early on not to use free hosting, once I started learning about Affiliate Marketing.
Although for my first experience of blogging, in 2005, it was a good way to experiment and see if I liked blogging, and see if I could keep up with regular posts (I still struggle with that)
But, yes, since I am loving the Affiliate Marketing World and learning a lot from you and other leaders, this is really important advice to share.
Wow, what a hard lesson for Denise Griffitts to learn, and it is great that you and she are helping us to learn from earlier mistakes!!
Hi I was wondering if you could help me with a little advice. I haven’t become one of the “trashed blogs” yet but I did see a message when I opened a new page in my browser and realized that when I tried to click the CLICK HERE link on one of my post. Which lead me here.
Anyway I am using wordpress.com and have some work put into it at http://www.lefttruth.com and now am stuck with what to do as far as using my affiliate links. I am new at affiliate marketing and dont have the money to throw around. Could you please help me to find a alternative?
kids beach chair says
wow, I did not know this, luckily I dont do this! 🙂
Sensei J. Richard Kirkham B.Sc. says
I just added your link to my comment section on how to setup a Blogger blog for this very reason.
My question is how do you backup your wordpress blog so you can reinstall later?
Gobala Krishnan says
Yeah, WordPress wants to keep their platform “clean” of an form of advertising. I find it amazing though that someone at WordPress would actually take the trouble to spot two affiliate links, and that those two links can get your account shut down.
Good reminder about the dangers of WP…however, it does say you can use the site to host a page about a book YOU wrote and link to a payment method. (As long as its not a known ‘affiliate’ type method like Clickbank etc.)
Claude Pelanne says
Right on the mark. My site was “archived” by WordPress.com. A fancy word for shut down. No notice or warning. One thing though, I had taken
your advice and had backed up my data. I moved on to a hosted solution.
Nancy Redford says
I remember Jeremy Palmer had a huge blog hosted at blogger and lost his entire site. This was some time ago but he did have affiliate links amongst valued content. I strongly advise anyone using free blogs to migrate the content to your own hosted domain -just like this one 😉
This will improve your overall professional outlook and it will be easier to gain trust and credibility because visitors can see from your domain name that you invested in your business. Best of all YOU have full control.
Best of success,
I personally consider all free sites an asset to my main websites. Even social networks can shut down your account for one reason or another, with NO prior warning!
Jeff Meland says
Good points Rosalind. I listened to your interview yesterday and I thought that was a great point than many people need to know. It can be a bit confusing for those not familiar with wordpress. Thanks for your continued assistance!
Totally agree with you, I had this problem before, can not do business on free hosting. Thank you.
Craig Mullins says
Yep, listen to what she says. Don’t go thru the heartache of losing a site you put months or years into in one instant.