About Affiliate Links in MailChimp

Affiliate marketing as an industry is prohibited under our Terms of Use, but affiliate links are usually fine to use in MailChimp campaigns. We understand that the difference here isn’t super clear, so we're happy to provide further explanation.

In this article, you'll learn why we prohibit affiliate marketing in MailChimp and how that's different from including affiliate links in your campaigns.

Definitions

First, let's be clear what we mean when we talk about "affiliate marketing" versus "affiliate links."

Affiliate marketing

A business model in which marketers are typically paid commission to generate leads or sales for a third party.

Links that direct to a third-party, but do not market on behalf of that third party. Often, affiliate links are used in the context of a partnership between two independent vendors or businesses.

Why We Prohibit Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketers are generating business for someone else, so there's no real obligation to maintain relationships with contacts they may have in MailChimp. This isn't the type of marketing MailChimp is meant for.

Affiliate links, on the other hand, are commonly used in marketing of all kinds. For example, if you're a blogger, you might link to, or promote, the website of one of your sponsors. As long as the URLs you use aren't blacklisted and your main message isn't centered around affiliate links, you shouldn't run into issues using them in MailChimp campaigns.

What You Need to Do

It’s common to, at some point, accidentally use a blacklisted link in a campaign. Here are some things you can do to help prevent this from happening.

  • Assess Your Affiliate Links
    Advertisements for another company in your campaign should appear under your branding, be in your voice, and be relevant to your contacts. Recommending products or services is also perfectly acceptable as long as the content and industries aren’t prohibited under our Terms of Use and Acceptable Use Policy.
  • Research Domain Reputation
    Many ISPs don't make their blacklists public, so it's hard to be absolutely sure an affiliate link isn't on a blacklist somewhere. But these resources can help you determine the reputation of a domain before you link to it in your campaign.
    Google Safe Browsing Lookup API
    SURBL
    URIBL
    Spamcop
    Spamhaus
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