I’m an Amazon associate

Wednesday 9 March 2005This is more than 18 years old. Be careful.

When I link to Amazon (for example, when writing about books), I do it with an Amazon Associates link. Amazon Associates is an affiliate program: when you follow my link, I get a small percentage of the money you spend at Amazon. Your price remains the same, so it’s a win-win situation for both of us.

I’m not going to get rich off of it (I’ve earned a grand total of $25.31 in the two years I’ve been a member), but money is money, am I right? I’ve added an Amazon link to the sidebar on the left. If you want to toss a few pennies my way, the next time you are heading to Amazon, use my Amazon link. Thanks!


when you follow my link, I get a small percentage of the money you spend at Amazon. Your price remains the same, so it's a win-win situation for both of us

Is it? One of the problems with accepting payment for promoting items is that some people may now suspect you're biased and shun your reviews. This applies even if you write your reviews in full honesty and the payments are very small (you might be compensating for that in volume, if your blog is very popular). I've wrestled with this question myself for some time now, and I admit that I still haven't come to a definitive conclusion, but for the time being I have stopped using the affiliate program.

If you fear that I'm recommending books because of the $12 per year, then I really do have a (credibility) problem!

In point of fact, the new Amazon link here makes no recommendataions at all: it simply links to the home page. I guess it "recommends" Amazon, but you should feel free to use other merchants if you prefer them.
It's not the quantity of money involved that makes a difference. When you (legitimately) use your blog to indirectly promote a product, you cease to be a disinterested party conveying information solely for sharing the wisdom. Probably it won't make much of a difference, but there is a real qualitative change in your relationship with your readers that might turn some of them off.

You might look at the question from the other side: if you make so little money out of it, why bother?
I do it mostly because I like to understand how the technology of the web works, and I learn best by doing. Since I have the associates link, I figured I should give people a chance to use it. Getting a free CD once a year isn't a bad deal.

If you feel that my recommendations are insincere or have somehow been corrupted, you shouldn't follow them. At least with this posting, you have all the information (including how many dollars' worth of corruption is involved).
No no no, that's not what I'm saying. I've read your blog for a long time, and I intend to keep on doing it. I know your voice and enjoy it, and I'm sure the Amazon Associates link won't change your attitude. I was talking about a philosophical distinction that will probably be irrelevant for 95% of the world, but which I think is worth discussing nevertheless. No accusation intended.

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