So I've been playing around with affiliate links lately so I looked at Motorcycle.com's Terms of Service for this website, which state:
KAWASAKININJA300.COM - WEB SITE TERMS & CONDITIONS OF USE
KAWASAKININJA300.COM reserves the right to overwrite or replace any affiliate, commercial, or monetizable links, posted by users of KAWASAKININJA300.COM, with our own internal tracking. You agree not to post or otherwise make available content that constitutes or contains "affiliate marketing," "link referral code," or "unsolicited commercial advertisement."
This kinda pissed me off. I remember where it was said that it was thanks to the generosity of Motorcycle.com that we had free accounts, and a few scoffed at it, understandably. Between paid accounts, advertising, paid posts (like Ridersdiscount) and affiliate links I'm sure it's a hell of an investment. I'm 100% for capitalism, and I appreciate the fact that these forums only exist as long as they make money. I wouldn't want it any other way. However what pisses me off is the one sidedness of reserving the right to modify any link any of us post.
Basically that if you post affiliate links for someone else on places like Ebay or Amazon, they can substitute that link with their own so they can make money on it. Something like 1-4%, which can add up for a site with hundreds of thousands if not millions of links. Normally it's anything you buy at that site over then next few days, even if it's not what they linked. 90% of the time it's absolutely nothing, but on a site wide scale that's most likely tens of thousands over the years if taken advantage of.
I wouldn't have any issues with that if it weren't for two reasons. First, I wasn't aware of it since it certainly isn't disclaimed next to every link as in theory it should be. Second, they also prohibit you from posting your own. I'd be fine if they replaced links with no tracking (might as well someone take advantage of it), but that doesn't make if okay, in my opinion, for them to replace anyone else's without more direct consent. Regardless of making use of it or not, it feels deceptive and I'm sure most people aren't aware. No option is given to opt out, like other sites with a similar practice do.
A much more fairer policy would be to allow any individual not related directly to the products to post disclaimed affiliate links, and to give themselves the right to substitute non affiliate links for their own affiliate links, making the disclaimer more prominent, and allowing users to opt out if they would not like their links to be replaced. That way everyone wins.
Anyway, I feel like 90% of people won't care about this, but it caught my attention and I certainly felt a bit defrauded. I personally will not post any types of links in the future if I can avoid it with a policy like that. I'd rather just let whoever reach that destination on their own.
I'd be happy for someone to correct me if I misunderstood any of this.
On the other hand if you're of the mindset that capitalism sucks or Castro wasn't all that bad, then I'm sure you'd be happy to point out why it's immoral that anyone would want to make money at all.