What Is the Difference between Referral Links and Affiliate Links

Updated: Apr 2

The Internet has opened up a Pandora’s box of opportunities for people looking to make money online. One of the top ways to earn money is by promoting one’s own referral links or affiliate links. While they are often mistaken to be the same, it is worth noting that they are completely different in a few important aspects. Let’s take a look at how they differ and how you can make money from referral links and affiliate links.


In previous articles we have discussed what is affiliate marketing (Part 1; Part 2), why companies offer referral programs, and why these are considered among the best passive income ideas. Now let's talk about the differences between referral and affiliate programs.


Referral Links

Referral links are those links that you can obtain by signing up for a service, app, or website. It is usually handed out to all users without any conditions. You can earn money by referral link if you send your own custom referral link to your friends, family, acquaintances, or anyone else in your contact list and convince them to sign up for the product. Each successful registration can earn you hefty rewards, which can be redeemed in the form of extended service, gifts, coupons, cash back, or a cash transfer. You can share them with your friends and family via social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or chat applications like WhatsApp.


Affiliate Links

On the other hand, affiliate links can be obtained only by signing up for an affiliate marketing program. Here, you need to go through a separate, elaborate process for obtaining an affiliate marketing link. Once you have been approved, you can start promoting your affiliate marketing program via various Internet tools like social media, YouTube, blog posts, websites, etc. When a person uses your affiliate link to register for a service or makes a purchase through your link, you will be given a commission on the total value of the purchase made by them.


How Do They Work

You can make money with referrals free since you can target specific groups in your contacts to derive maximum conversions. Your friends and family are likely to pay more attention and sign up for a product recommended by you than any random stranger on the Internet. Thus, you can enjoy the advantage of easier and faster referral conversions. Conversely, affiliate marketing programs allow you to reach a wider base. You can enjoy a direct cash transfer to your bank and earn more money. However, affiliate marketing programs usually have certain conditions to be fulfilled before people can sign up whereas you can obtain referral links by just signing up as a customer.


An innovative way to promote referral link or affiliate links is to submit them to specialized platforms like I Refer You. Such platforms work on the ways to deliver your money making links to people who are more likely to use them. This way you both win: you get referral or affiliate bonuses, others benefit from using your discounts or other types of promotional offers. We will discuss the most popular types of discounts and bonuses in our future articles.


To Sum It Up

In the battle between referral and affiliate links, it is a close call to say which one works better for you. If you’re an ordinary person who is just looking to make some quick money from referral links, it is the right option since it doesn’t take up much time or resources. However, if you are interested in making this a career and scaling up your efforts, affiliate marketing can help you earn more money. The option that you should go for is the one that provides you with maximum benefits in the least possible amount of time and effort.

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