An enjoyable consequence of the site’s growing traffic is the increase in personal inquiries I receive from readers through the Contact Me form. I decided to write this article since I found myself repeatedly answering the same questions.
The most common question I receive is always some variant of the following: “Not to be rude, but why are you offering well thought out, time-consuming advice to strangers for free? What’s in it for you?”
It’s a completely valid question, and it deserves a thorough and honest response.
The simple answer to the question is that I am not doing it for free. The service is completely free from your (the reader’s) end, but I am compensated for my time. Please allow me to explain.
There exists something on the internet called “Affiliate Marketing.” As a publisher on the internet, there are several different ways you can generate revenue. You can charge advertisers for advertising space either on a pay-per-click basis, or on a flat-fee basis. Or alternatively, you can set up an affiliate arrangement, whereby the advertiser pays the publisher a commission for actual sales generated by traffic originating from the publisher’s site.
Affiliate arrangements are quite ubiquitous now on the Internet. Amazon.com has the most popular program, called Amazon.com Associates. Blue Nile and James Allen both have affiliate programs, as does Abazias. My point is that these arrangements are by no means limited to the “dark side” of the Web. The Internet’s best and most respected retailers across the board engage in Affiliate Marketing.
You yourself have probably visited several affiliate sites without even realizing it. Ever used a coupon site like slickdeals.net? I like to check hot-deals.org all the time, as I’m a sucker for a great electronics deal. These sites and many, many more all make money through affiliate commissions.
Most affiliates for diamond sites offer little more than banner advertising. If you’re on their site, and you click on a banner ad for Blue Nile or James Allen, a cookie will be placed on your computer that can then be tracked by the relevant site. If you make a purchase from their site within 30 days, the owner of the site will earn a commission.
I like to believe that I am different. While it’s true that pretty much any link on my site to any diamond site will place a tracking cookie on your computer, I am one of the very few that offers a truly value-added service to the reader. I guess you could say that while other diamond affiliates are passive in their approach, I am active. When you contact me, I go out there and find the best diamond for your budget. I work for my commission. You can see from my feedback on ivouch that the people whom I help are always very grateful for the time and effort I dedicate to them. Almost always, when the reader discovers that I earn a commission, they are vigilant in making sure that the sale is tracked properly to me, as they feel that I truly deserve it. People ask me all the time, “What do I have to do before I buy to make sure they know you sent me?”
And since I am an affiliate for many diamond sites (over 6 sites), you can trust that my advice is objective.
Another question I often receive is “Are you affiliated somehow with James Allen?”
Again, a very fair question deserving an honest and open response.
The answer is that I am affiliated with James Allen, but no more than I am affiliated with any other diamond vendor. As I mentioned earlier, I have affiliate agreements with numerous vendors. I recommend James Allen most of the time because, simply put, they are the best.
One of the main tenets of my outlook on diamond buying is that it’s best to buy the lowest clarity grade possible that is still eye clean. Achieving this goal is only possible on a site like James Allen that offers real magnified photos of their diamonds. Lets say half of all SI2s are noticeable to the naked eye. How could I ever recommend an SI2 from Blue Nile or Abazias if I can’t verify that the stone is clean to the naked eye? I won’t put my reputation behind a stone I can’t see. Despite the limitations of the photos on James Allen, I am confident I can still call eye-cleanliness correctly at least 95% of the time.
This is something I simply can’t do on the other sites.
Additionally, from my time working in the industry, I have clear insider knowledge that overall, James Allen’s margins are significantly slimmer than Blue Nile’s. This makes sense as well. Blue Nile is a giant sloth of a public company. James Allen is a tightly organized privately held company that runs at maximum efficiency. James Allen can afford to make less on each sale.
You can see from my diamond stud earrings article that I am clearly not a shill for James Allen. In my research conducted for that article, the clear victor was neither Blue Nile nor James Allen. For that product, I wholeheartedly recommend Diamond Wave over James Allen, as they simply offer better value for the product.
As always, I remain committed to offering anyone who contacts me my professional opinion on all diamond related inquiries, no string attached and with a sincere intent to make this complicated process easier on the consumer. It’s a pleasure for me to take a small part in helping you decide on the perfect diamond….