Referral Links Violate WordPress TOS

Monday has made me it’s slave today!

"I think I won't put this in my mouth." -said no toddler EVER

“I think I won’t put this in my mouth.” -said no toddler EVER

My dog, Deuce didn’t chew up this Nerf ball…my toddler did!  Don’t worry, he didn’t swallow any pieces, just bit them off and spit them out like sunflower seeds.

I found out moments before I went to write today’s post today that WordPress.com users are not allowed to use referral links in their posts.   Click HERE to read the question I posted in the discussion forum.

I was under the impression from their Terms of Service that as long as you aren’t selling anything or advertisting that links that you receive a small discount or reward points for wouldn’t violate the TOS.

July Birchbox

July Birchbox

The main post that’s littered with links is my Birchbox post.  If you click the word Birchbox, it sends you to Birchbox’s website.  If someone were to then sign up for Birchbox from there, I would get 50 birchbox points.  You can only redeem points in increments of 100, and I have only received points on their site for reviewing products at this point.

Since one referral alone can’t purchase you anything I thought that a few links to Birchbox’s site wouldn’t violate their TOS.  I also used referral links a few weeks ago when writing about Julep and Dropbox.

SO, my posting time has been consumed with figuring out what to do and getting started on resolving this issue.  Aren’t Mondays fun?

What do you think of this rule? If you use wordpress.com does it frustrate you that we are unable to use Ads or Google Analytics?

How would you go about fixing this? I think I am going to post a link to my twitter page every time I want to offer referral info.

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Hungry after all this reading?

Playlist for this post: The Stable Song- Gregory Alan Isakov, In Repair- John Mayer, Pirate Flag- Kenny Chesney, **The Sound of my husband’s stomach growling for dinner**

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7 thoughts on “Referral Links Violate WordPress TOS

  1. Hi there!

    Thanks for the follow on my old blog, Random is Order. I actually rarely post there anymore as I’ve moved everything over to my new home on WordPress.org, www . littlecupofrandom . com.

    The reason I’m sharing this here is because I made the move due to WP.com’s referral links policy. I went round and round with staff from their TOS group about the difference between affiliate links and referral links and they ultimately told me no on the referral links as well.

    See, I had thought the same thing you did, and my blog was peppered with links on my various box posts with no issue. Then one day, I posted a Birchbox review and my blog got shut down. The difference? I used the magic words, “click here” as the text that I attached the link to. WP.com’s algorithm is set up to catch those kinds of links so if I had never used that wording, I would have been fine. If you word your referral sentence like, “If you are interested in signing up for Birchbox, you can get there by clicking on the name anywhere within this post.” Then you would put the link anywhere you’ve written Birchbox, and there would be no issue.

    Even knowing this, I decided to move my blog over to WP.org so that I wouldn’t be breaking the rules intentionally. I also like being able to post what I want to without “the man” breathing down my neck. I still only post referral links to boxes, but I can do more down the line if I decide that’s right for my blog.

    I don’t like WP.com’s policy, but I understand it. I just don’t like that there are whole blogs who are selling things that are able to work around the rule. I think WP.com should be more concerned about them than the 100 points I get from Julep if someone clicks my referral link and actually signs up. While I guess I understand the no ad program thing as well, I think people should be able to do what they want to on their blogs. Of course, you can if you use Blogger or a self-hosted site on WP.org.

    Sorry this was so long. I just have a lot of input on this topic since I so recently went through the battle. I hope you’ll come visit me at my new blog, A Little Cup of Random, instead of my old one. I’d love to see you there. Now off to read more on yours!

    Cheers,
    Shauna

    • Thanks for ALL of that! I actually really enjoy reading well thought out comments. You commented on a post on another blog called Butterfly Reviews, and that is where I saw your name, which is why I followed you! I really liked what you said to her. She had been commenting on my blog and tried to accuse me of implying that you only get Birchbox’s 10 points if you sign up for a referal link, which I believe that in the post I wrote on Birchbox, I made it clear that “you get 10 points just for signing up”
      I felt she was being difficult and picky so I stopped following her and deleted every comment she had made on my blog. I’ve never tried to skirt around the rules, I just didn’t know that subscription box links were affiliate links. Now I know, and they are all gone. I plan on self-hosting once I hit 500 followers.
      I didn’t know about the “click here” wording, but just like you, I won’t knowingly break rules.
      Thanks for stopping by my blog!
      A little Cup of Random is great! love it!

      • Sorry you had to deal with all that referral link nonsense. It really struck a nerve with me which is why I posted in the first place. I just think you should leave people alone if they aren’t hurting anybody. I’m happy I got a follower out of it though!

        Let me know if you need help moving your blog over when you’re ready. I’m helping another blogger right now as the process is not as intuitive as you might think.

        Cheers,
        Shauna

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