CollectiveRay has been around in one form or another for more than 15 years. It is one of the oldest, and significantly large completely free resource for WordPress, Joomla, web design and other tips for people working with websites, both beginners, experienced and advanced users.
Creating and maintaining such a large site takes an incredible amount of effort. This is a full-time job for several people who strive to create new content, update and optimize old content as new versions come out, research, co-ordinate, update and upload, keep the web servers in tip-top shape and make sure everything is as smooth as possible for our visitors.
The infrastructure which we use to run the site is also quite costly. Such services as hosting (InMotion), CDN (StackPath), custom web server (LiteSpeed), mailing services (Aweber + Drip), premium extensions and other necessary infrastructure typically run into thousands of dollars every month.
So how is this site completely free? How do make money to be able to pay for all these costs?
We want to be fully transparent with our readers and explain how CollectiveRay is funded. This is important information for you so that you can understand the implications of how we make enough income to run the site.
Why is CollectiveRay completely free?
Many beginners, small business owners, web designers and freelancers, or the rest of our audience making use of our resources are already operating in an environment where budgets are quite tight. In particular, budgets for training are typically non-existent and they typically rely on publicly available resources and knowledge to help move them forward.
Such knowledge is crucial for the success of these small businesses.
CollectiveRay has always been run with a very specific goal in mind. We want to help people move their business to the next level and succeed beyond their own expectations. We create highly actionable tips, tricks, tutorials and resources, which are available without any restrictions of any kind.
You as a visitor to this site will never have to pay us anything to access our resources.
We leverage our experience, knowledge and research team to make available world-class resources which we hope we had access to ourselves when we were setting up our own sites.
How Is CollectiveRay funded?
We believe that honesty and transparency are crucial, such that our audience trust our reviews and recommendations. If we are not honest, and let's say recommend a product which we don't believe in, you're going to be disappointed that you've followed our advice.
Full transparency, honesty and trust are the only way to build a faithful audience.
And given the costs we mentioned above, if we had no ways to fund this site, we'd have shut down a long time ago.
So how do we make money?
We typically earn a referral fee when somebody buys services from vendors that we suggest or recommend if that user has clicked on one of our buttons and / or links. This is not failsafe, there are many times when we miss out on such a referral fee, due to lost tracking cookies, ad blockers, changing of devices and plenty of other problems.
So this is not 100% reliable, but it is a source of revenue.
But how can you trust us not to recommend a product because we get a referral fee.
Once again, this is a question of earning and maintaining your trust. We will ONLY recommend products and services which we have thoroughly tested, used for a significant time and are convinced that these return good value to our visitors.
All opinions expressed on this site are our own. We do not endorse products that we have not tried or used. We do not accept payments for positive reviews. We will not remove any negative feelings about a product we may have encountered.
We do give the vendor the option to NOT publish a whole review if they feel it is too negative. But whatever we publish is our true sentiment.
This monetization method is known as affiliate marketing and is one of the primary methods which are used by many of our vendors to bring them good traffic. Most large brands such as Amazon, eBay, and many of the big and small players rely of affiliates like us to send them visitors who are interested in acquiring products that they offer.
This is a relationship which benefits three parties:
- You - because you find a good product you were looking for without spending a lot of time performing research (we did the work on your behalf already and separated the wheat from chaff)
- The Product Vendor - running a business requires sales, and if vendors do not get people who are interested in buying their products, they will fail. We help vendors by sending them visitors who are likely to buy their products.
- Us - for being the matchmaker between the buyer and the seller and creating a mutually beneficial relationship, we also get a fee which helps us to run our own business.
We use such referral fees to help us pay our bills. Affiliate marketing is one of the essential pillars of eCommerce and most businesses would fail without such a mechanism. Amazon generates much of its income through its affiliate program as do thousands of other vendors.
The referral fee that we get varies for each vendor based on different parameters.
Note that many of links to vendors will have a tracking code, particularly if they are in the form: https://www.collectiveray.com/out/vendor - the out part of the URL indicates that you will be leaving our site and visiting a vendor, from whom we might get a referral fee.
Note that this is not always the case.
Many times we will use a call to action button such as the below:
or you may see a banner such as the following:
When you click on any of these links, a tracking cookie is created on your browser. This cookie will be used by the vendor to pay us a referral fee, if you end up buying the product we are suggesting.
Sometimes vendors come to us for reviews of their product. Our team has many years of experience working with various products, so we can offer valid information about a product.
Given that researching, using and reviewing a product takes a lot of time and effort, we usually ask for a fee to do this.
This fee does not influence our opinion of said product, we do not give a product positive reviews because a product review was paid for. We do give the option to the vendor not to publish the information if they feel that the review is too negative.
Sometimes we allow vendors to place banners on certain sections of our site for a fixed monthly fee, through a 3rd party broker such as BuySellAds. You can find the prices we charge for such banners by registering to the BuySellAds website and searching for CollectiveRay.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does it cost me more money?
No, definitely not. In most cases, you will actually be paying LESS! This is possible because as an authoritative website with good monthly traffic, most of our vendors will give our visitors exclusive discounts.
Once again, there is a mutual benefit to offering such discounts. You win. The vendors win and we win.
For example, if you buy hosting directly from InMotion, you will be paying $7.99/month. Buying through our exclusive discount, your price goes down by nearly 50% to just $4.19/month.
Most of our articles and reviews have a Discounts / Coupon section. This will typically have any exclusive coupons we have and any discounts currently active by that specific vendor/product.
2. Do you get access to my personal information?
We will never get any access to any of your personal information. With GDPR and various other privacy-related legislation in place, we will never get any access to any of your personal information such as your name, email, address, credit card information or anything else.
The only information we get is that somebody clicked on one of our links and if they made a purchase, the time and date when the purchase happened, and which product they bought.
We don't get anything else, and we don't need any other information.
3. How can our visitors help in the running of our site?
Sites like ours require a lot of running costs, besides the insane amount of hours we spend on the site, time that we would rather be spending with our families. But because we are passionate about what we do, we make sure that we deliver the best results, even at a personal cost.
We have a small team of researchers, editors, web designers, and developers who help us in the various aspects of running the site.
That's why we need your help. These are some of the ways you can help us:
- When you planning to buy a product, buy it through one of our referral links so that we get the referral fee, and you get the deal
- Leave a comment with your honest thoughts of our reviews
- Share some of our best articles with your friends and favourite Facebook groups or wherever else you interact with your peers
- Follow our social media and subscribe to our mailing list
- Spread the word and recommend our site to people who you think will need our resources.
4. Why should you help CollectiveRay?
The internet is, unfortunately, an area where honest people and scammers have access to the same audience. Some cowboys would rather recommend a product that pays them a high referral fee (even if it sucks), because it earns them more money.
We will never betray your trust by doing so. We will only recommend products that we know and love and are 100% happy to recommend.
These cowboys also tend to offer courses, or training sometimes for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Their level of quality is usually less than the quality you will find on Collectiveray - for FREE!
Our readers and their success is our top priority. We do the hard grunt, research work so that you don't have to.
If you have found our stuff useful, we would appreciate if you could "partner" with us in a way which helps us to maintain the quality of the site.
Thank you for your ever-present support.
To your continued success!
Please leave a useful comment with your thoughts, then share this on your Facebook group(s) who would find this useful and let's reap the benefits together. Thank you for sharing and being nice!
Disclosure: This page may contain links to external sites for products which we love and wholeheartedly recommend. If you buy products we suggest, we may earn a referral fee. Such fees do not influence our recommendations and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.