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It pays to post

By Crissinda Ponder · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Posted: 1 pm ET

That link you posted to Twitter of that gorgeous pair of shoes you covet could add some pennies to your pocketbook.

By providing payments to shoppers who post product links that drive sales and Web traffic, social media shopping sites are offering fashionistas an opportunity they can't refuse.

According to The New York Times, social media shopping sites allow users to find and share items from across the Web on their sites. They act as a middleman by collecting fees from the retailers, taking a cut and then depositing payments into the users' accounts.

Links are created and tracked for each referring user. They can be in a tweet, Pinterest photo or Facebook post.

Some sites, such as Beso, pay an average of 14 cents for every click that a user sends to participating retailers. Others, such as Pose, only pay up when a purchase is made, and payments average about 5 percent of an item's purchase price.

The Federal Trade Commission thinks the practice, known as affiliate marketing, should be flagged to readers. Based on guidelines issued in 2009, bloggers are already required to disclose paid endorsements. But the lines are blurred for users of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Both sites recommend users disclose they are getting paid, but they seem unaware of how the guidelines apply, according to The New York Times. Beso suggests its users add hashtags such as #paid or #spon -- for sponsored -- to posts, but does not require it.

The practice is little-known now, but is predicted to expand as readers don't expect things online to always be free of advertising.

Would you sign up for an affiliate-marketing program to make a few extra bucks?

Follow me on Twitter @CrissiPonder.

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