A few weeks ago I decided to join the forums over at Acne.org. I thought I’d provide some thoughtful and helpful advice, and then if people like what I had to say they could click on the link in my signature, driving traffic to my blog. Everyone wins right?
Unfortunately, Acne.org does not allow any external links on their site. I received this message last weekend:
I haven’t had problems with posting links to my blogs on other forums, so was a bit surprised when I got in “trouble”. It only seems natural that if I have a blog about helping people with acne, that I’d include it when posting on a forum about helping people with acne. I guess that’s not how things work at Acne.org.
It wasn’t that big of a deal though so I shrugged it off at first, but then I started to think about it more and asked myself: Why don’t they allow any external links on their site?
The answer is simple: It’s bad for business.
At Acne.org they have their regimen (which doesn’t even work) and they push their products like Benzoyl Peroxide hard to readers. If someone like me were to link to articles that contradicted their philosophy or linked to studies that said Benzoyl Peroxide may cause tumors, their profits would go down.
It’s All About the Benjamins Baby
The truth about skincare websites is that nearly all of them are out to make money. Beauty and skincare are huge money makers and they want to push products people regardless of their efficacy.
Do you have any idea how big the cosmetic industry is?
Here’s a glimpse:
The United States is the biggest cosmetic market in the world, with an estimated total revenue of about 54.89 billion U.S. dollars and employing about 53,619 people in 2012. The leading beauty cosmetic company in the United States in 2011 was Procter & Gamble, making up 14.2 percent of the market. Although dipping slightly, generating only 29.5 billion U.S. dollars in net sales as compared to 29.9 billion U.S. dollars the year before, the company continued to be the leading beauty cosmetic company during the 2012 fiscal year.
The cosmetic industry seems to be continuously developing, now more than ever with the advent of internet companies. About 7.2 billion U.S. dollars was generated by online shops and mail-order household sales in 2010. Cosmetic sales are estimated to continue to grow in both the United States and other global markets, as many consumers feel that beauty products help in achieving social and economic goals. (Statista)
Even sites that advocate for a more natural and holistic approach are no exception. Take the Love Vitamin; this is a fantastic site for skincare that I frequently visit. However, Tracy sells numerous books and even a boot camp for clear skin, as well as getting money from affiliate marketing.
My site is no exception to this rule either. While I don’t have any books or products to sell you, I do make affiliate marketing money off products I use, and do have consultations available for a small fee. But I’m upfront about it, as sites should be.
You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
It’s going to be nearly impossible to find a quality site that doesn’t have any financial incentives. The reason being is that if someone doesn’t make money from their website, then the content is probably not that great and they likely treat it as a hobby. On the other hand, if someone puts out great content on a regular basis, they’ve probably realized they can monetize their site and eventually do.
There’s nothing wrong with making money off of a website, but people should be honest and up front when they do it. The reason I’m so peeved at Acne.org is that they market their forum as a place that exists to help people fight acne, but only when it fits their existing paradigm.
So when looking for products or approaches to acne that help, go with someone who is honest and transparent with their work.
I have a YouTube channel so you can see my skin isn’t terrible.
I show you the products I use and whether or not they’re worth it.
I do everything I can to build respect and trust from readers. You should expect nothing less.