Is Affiliate Marketing Halal or Haram?

Is Affiliate Marketing Haram?

Is Affiliate Marketing Halal?

I was having a reunion dinner with two of my old business buddies at the weekend and as usual the conversation pretty quickly turned to business (as it always does!). In particular to Internet business and the growing rate of Muslims creating their own online ventures. There was a common question that we had all been asked at some point which was is Affiliate Marketing Halal or Haram?

Now none of us profess to be scholars in the Islamic context however we do all share the same business morals and work ethics. We have also all been (and still are) involved in Affiliate Marketing over the years and fully see the earning potential it offers. By all means do your own research and decide whether Affiliate Marketing fits your own individual setup and comfort zone however our thoughts may well help too.

The basic concept of this is that you promote a product or service on behalf of a third party. Each time a customer buys you get paid commission. The actual amount is pre-decided by the third party so you both know where you stand. Once a customer decides to buy, they then deal directly with the third party to complete the order; you have simply pointed them in the right direction.

Now how you go about this is entirely up to you but we have narrowed it down to three base methods.

Method One

This is how I and my colleagues have always done this. You go out and buy a product for yourself and after using it decide it is truly an amazing product, to the point where you are continuously raving about it.

The product supplier is offering an Affiliate service and you sign up to it. You then continue singing its praises whether that is on your website, in a forum or even face to face. The readers/listeners are then given a link to the supplier’s site and are left to decide on their own accord if this product is for them.

If they buy, great. You get paid and they end up with an amazing item that, hopefully, they too will be telling everyone about. This method should work for all parties involved as long as your own review is honest and accurate.

Method Two

This is also something we have used in the past and is a more subtle, indirect approach.

You have a website or blog which also has a space on the site for adverts. Usually other individuals or companies will pay to place a small advert on your site linking back to them. This is straightforward upfront paid advertising.

The Affiliate method is this. You are an Affiliate for let’s say Amazon and you place a small advert yourself on your site linking to Amazon. This is not promoting any particular product but just the company itself. There is no post selling the benefits of Amazon and neither do you suggest anywhere that the reader clicks the advert. It is simply just sitting there.

If the visitor to your site decides, of their own back, to click the link they are then taken to Amazons site where they can either buy or not buy. If they do buy again you get paid, so in a way you could say you are getting paid for advertising Amazon but only when someone actually places an order.

Method Three

Now this is something that we have neither used nor endorse. You are an Affiliate for maybe two or three different companies and you have several posts or articles on your site telling everyone how great their products are. You may even go round verbally telling everyone the same and giving them the relevant link to find the products.

Only problem is you have never even bought or used any of these products yourself!

So in effect you are pushing the benefits of something you have never used or tried but are still trying to convince your readers that it will benefit them just to get paid.

In our view this is morally wrong, ethically wrong and most likely Islamically wrong too.

So that’s the overview the rest is down to you. As I mentioned earlier please do you own research, ask your own questions but above all if it is something you are not completely comfortable or happy doing then don’t. There are always other options available and at least your conscious will remain clear.

Halal Income

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9 thoughts on “Is Affiliate Marketing Halal or Haram?”

  1. Assalamualikum friends.
    Thanks for clearing my doubt about earning from affiliate marketing. But what about the youtube earnings. Is it haram or halal.

  2. method three is ok if
    website talks about scooters for 2018. Now even if u do not know about scooters u still can promote them if u go to a few trusted scooter related websites where u ask questions about scooters that are best. ie research

    thenn in ur affiliate website u put a disclaimer that u did research online and u found these models as the best.

    I dont thinnk its wrong and i have asked a scholar about it.

    1. That is a valid point. However I think the doubt arises when there is a ‘personal’ recommendation for a product or service that has never been purchased or used as opposed to giving third party examples of why you are recommending.

      If your recommendation states that you have not personally used these products/services but then give examples of other sources that have successfully used them or refer them to sources that are expert in that particular field then it is a much fairer way of doing it.

  3. Jazakalla brother. A well explained advice for Muslim marketers out there as I was a bit skeptical whether affiliate programs are halal or haram (especially I was concerned about certain products).
    Stay blessed

    1. Usually if something is not right there is always a small gut feeling that eats away at us. Some choose to ignore it and carry on while others take heed and find another product or service to promote. It all depends on how clear we want our own conscious to remain.

      1. Jazakalla brothers. I am a muslim marketer and now there is a small gut on my feeling that told perhaps there is something wrong on this business model.

        Now I promote some products related to baby products on Amazon. But the thing is I dont ever used nor bought theese products (method 3). The products I promote is Halaal. But you know that if a customer is to purchase anything else on account of the affiliates link that got him/her onto the merchants site, the affiliate will still receive a commission on the sale of such non-affiliate advertised, haraam, products. This is something that I doubt of halaal/haram. What do you think about this brother?

        1. Salaam, firstly I don’t believe the baby products are an issue here at all. When we mentioned promoting products that you have never used it refers more to products that could have an adverse affect on the buyer eg promoting courses you have never used or succeeded with or maybe recommending a car that you don’t know enough about. These are all items that have more to them than face value. By this I mean there are terms and conditions or technical features involved that are not immediately obvious on first impression.

          With baby products or clothing or shoes you don’t have anything hidden, it is a case of what you see is what you get. Unless of course you are promoting cosmetics where you may need to highlight certain ingredients or allergy warnings.

          With your second question, yes, once you have referred someone to Amazon for example you will get paid on whatever they purchase. However this is off their own choice and there is no option to delete this setup from your affiliate account. If this does not sit well with you you can either cancel this particular affiliate account or by all means donate those extra commissions to a good cause.

          Alternatively you could consider it as you are recommending the whole store to the customer and it is entirely their choice what to purchase. Your commission comes from the store recommendation and as Amazon is a reputable, honest business you are doing no wrong by recommending them.

          This is, of course, my personal view and I am aware everyone will have a slightly different line of thought on this.

    1. Salaam and glad this has helped. We wish the same views were shared by the ever growing number of others promoting third party products

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