Note: I think the line where readers will push back probably will vary from blog to blog depending upon their readership. For example here on ProBlogger I get a little more negative feedback from readers on affiliate promotions. I suspect ProBlogger readers are a little more tuned into the issue and suspicious of some of the affiliate marketing that goes on around the web.
It is important to note, however, that StudioPress is now a subsidiary of WPEngine which is the company that actually does the web hosting on which StudioPress’s Genesis framework runs. The affiliate program only works with choosing the StudioPress framework and themes, not the actual hosting on WPEngine. WPEngine has a separate affiliate program for its hosting services, which yes, is a bit confusing.
If you add up all the services you get, the premium membership is a steal. For example, you’ll notice they include unlimited keyword research with a membership. Other paid keyword research tools sell for $49 or more just by themselves. Add in website hosting, and there’s another $10 / mo. Add on the website security package, and there’s another $10 per month (I’ve paid as much as $29 / mo just for website security). Just based on those things alone, Wealthy Affiliate is a great deal with all of the resources and tools you need in one convenient place. Not to mention all of the training, tutorials, and support that is included with the membership.
I concluded that having read a product review, people felt more informed to make a purchasing decision. As a result, if they did click a link after reading the review they were more likely to buy the product. Those clicking on the top link seemed to be more in a ‘surfing’ mode. They clicked on the link less because they wanted to buy it but more out of interest to learn more. Some bought the product and some bought other products once they were ‘in the door’ at Amazon.