Affiliate links, group rules, and hate comments
My weekdays go somewhat like this
Wake up / get dressed / do skincare
Check my fb group / eat breakfast
Check fb group every few hours
Eat lunch / check the group
Check the group
Parent / cook / eat dinner
Check the group
Weekends are basically the same, but my work gets swapped for taking dozens of product photos and planning content, and of course being with family.
You get the idea - I spend a large amount of what would have been my free time approving posts, answering questions, booting spammers, accepting new members, etc etc etc. I read every comment. And that’s just the clerical side of things - even more time goes into content creation, working with brands and shops to secure discounts for the group members and followers, and otherwise trying to keep my little online enterprise going. Korean Beauty Fanatics currently has 61.4K members.
I am by no means complaining - I love all things skincare, I love having one of the largest kbeauty groups online, and I love writing reviews.
Every so often, someone comes around and I get the following comments:
“Rules should be the same for everyone - if you can share affiliate links, then so should we”
“I guess we aren’t allowed to share other blogs here, even though the admin shares hers”
“Must be nice to get so much free stuff from brands”
Let’s unpack this a bit with a metaphor. Imagine you opened a bakery. You spent countless hours choosing the perfect location, developing recipes, building a customer base and getting the word out that you are open for business. You pay the lease and buy store decorations, you show up while most people are still asleep to get everything ready for the day. And then someone walks in and says - “hey, I want to sell my cookies here and I’m not going to help you pay the building rent”. Even better - they don’t even ask. They just set up one day right in your dining area and start yelling at the customers “COME BUY MY COOKIES!!!” Or they slip ads for other bakeries into your customers’ baskets. Would you be cool with that? Of course not. You politely (or not) tell them to stop, and get “well, YOU sell cookies here, and so can I, otherwise it’s NOT FAIR”.
I spend countless hours in the group. If we add up all my affiliate income and divide it by the time I actually invest into this, it’s likely below minimum wage. Way, way below. It’s definitely less than what I make in my real job (I’m a cost accountant, I have an MBA and over a decade of experience in finance). This is without taking into account photo backdrops, web hosting, and the fancy camera I bought this year. Again, I am not complaining - it’s a great hobby that brings me tons of joy and a little income. But it’s also a business. And no, I’m not going to let someone else use my platforms to profit from them or to direct traffic to creators who aren’t spending hours and hours on the clerical part of running the group. I have great respect and love for many influencers, I watch their content and I use their affiliate codes. It’s nothing personal. But my group is my group. It gives many people a chance to share their experiences, ask questions, and laugh with others about our love and borderline obsession with skincare.
And on the topic of getting “free” stuff - yes, it’s awesome! Is it free? Not really. It’s very rare that a brand or a shop will send something with no strings attached. Usually there’s an expectation for a review, social media mentions or something similar. And there are deadlines and sometimes even contracts. I keep an excel spreadsheet of things I want / need to review and the due dates. Yes I love it, but it’s also work. And at some point, it can become overwhelming. I’m currently scaling back on gifted campaigns and prioritizing paid work, again because it takes so much time and effort.
So as a reminder for anyone who feels the need to express public outrage for how the group is run - membership is optional. Yes, I enjoy and respect the members, but I’m not forcing anyone to join or to stay. If having an occasional affiliate link or not being able to share other people’s articles or your own shops in the group offends someone, they are absolutely free to start and grow their own platform, make the rules, and prepare to receive hate comments from disgruntled members. For me, relieving someone of their group membership is much quicker than trying to explain what “fair” even means in this case.
Want more content? Find me on YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and in my private Facebook group. Subscribe below to receive blog updates via email. And check out this post for my favorite shops and discount codes.