Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Question for my readers

I read a post on the Blogger Buzz last month about their new integration with Amazon Associates, and have been mulling it over ever since. The full post is here.

When I first started this blog, I had a Google AdSense widget in the sidebar that displayed ads that were supposedly relevant to my blog's content. I removed the widget six months later without making a single cent from it; believe it or not, this blog started with a high level of scientific content*, specifically new research in evolution and my weekly Primate Party feature (any current readers remember that?!), and most of the ads I saw on my blog were for creationist drivel (mildly annoying) or baby monkeys for sale (completely unacceptable).

But this Amazon Associates programme looks like an interesting alternative. The way I understand it is that it makes it easy for me to insert links to Amazon products into my posts, and I get a small commission if anyone clicking through to the Amazon site from my link buys the product.

How would you guys feel about it if I tried this programme? I review books (and occasionally movies, music and TV) anyway, so would it be OK to add a link or two to these posts? I'd use the following guidelines:
  • I'd only review products that I'd usually blog about anyway
  • I'd give a 100% honest review every time
  • I'd state on each eligible post that I get a commission on any sales resulting from my links
  • I'd link to these guidelines on each eligible post
  • I'd only spend any income I earn on more books, music, or DVDs that I would subsequently review for my readers. (Oh, and maybe iPhone apps...)
  • I'd declare how much money I've received (or maybe just what I've bought with it) every six months or so
I don't want to breach any trust I've built up with my readers, so I'll let you guys make the final decision for me! Please let me know what you think, and feel free to suggest any additional guidelines. I've finished a couple of books since my last review post, so I'll hold off on posting those reviews until I've seen the first few comments on this post.

BTW, I very rarely get any hits on my book or movie review posts from people searching the internet and randomly clicking through, so any income (and I aint expecting much, if any!) would be from my regular readers. I don't think my traffic's as high as some of you seem to think it is... I think I just have a higher than average commenter to lurker ratio!


*you can blame Nature Network for the current state of affairs; they made me an offer I couldn't refuse, and most of my sciencey posts end up over there now. 


  1. Personally, it wouldn't bug me at all. I am good at ignoring ads that don't interest me. Your outline of full disclosure seems ultra above board. I will keep reading (but if you start buying all kinds of fancy gadgets then coffee is on you!).

  2. Thanks mate! I'm good at ignoring ads too, and so are most people, probably meaning that this is all a moot point 'cos I'd never make any money anyway!

    I can add "coffees for Mermaid" to my list of disclosed expenses if you like! But then I'd have to review our coffee dates for the world to read.

  3. I think that your disclosing the connection with Amazon as you describe is totally fine - that way people can decide if they want to trust your blog postings or not because you've been open about the process. And I don't think you even need to limit what you buy with the income you generate - just my two cents!

  4. Oops, I posted that comment with my Google account. meant to post it like this, with a link to my blog!

  5. see, if I ever were to blog on NN (as myself rather than this psudo nick) I fear that my blog would be "eeyore sighs, eeyore cries, Eeyore is sad" you get the picture? ;) (Although, I have been tempted, especially now when I have shifted jobs. Ah well, it's not as easy to just "start" I'm sure)

    I digress. I think it would be fine with links. As long as you not all of a sudden start with "blog post about this wonderful new gadget"... although, I admit, the likehood of that seems small. And yes, disclosure like this solves a lot of problems with believability (is that even a word?).

    (thanks for bragging rights too. I've been scatter brain this week :D)

  6. Its you blog and if you can make a bit of $$$ from it go ahead! Hey scienceblogs runs ads and no one gets annoyed with it!

  7. Go for it! The only ads I really hate are ones that dramatically slow down page loads or flash shit across the screen all the time. I agree with Mermaid that you're going beyond the call with your disclosure. And I agree with Beth that you should use the money for whatever you want, and that it's not necessary to tell us how much you make from it. That said, thanks for asking!

  8. I won't object to you raising some money from your blog, as long as you give a suitable percentage to me.

  9. I agree with EGF (again). it wouldn't bother me and you should use the money, if any, on whatever you want.

  10. I agree with everyone else. It wouldn't bother me in the slightest, and you surely don't have to report how much money you're making or what you're spending it on.

  11. I just had a flash of what might be posted should you review the content of our coffee 'meetings' and it made me giggle. First of all, you would have to explain why we voluntarily choose to meet at a place nicknamed 'Pubes'. Good luck with that :).

  12. Go ahead! I'm currently enjoying one of your recommended reads. Oooh, could make it a regular thing and do it like Oprah. ;)

  13. Heh! I should have known you guys would be all awesome and cool about this!

    OK, so the consensus seems to be that I don't need to restrict my spending of any income, and that I don't need to report it. (Peer review FTW!) I'll probably report on income after the first six months - I imagine there will be a few readers who will be interested in if this is a feature worth adding to their own blogs - but then not again. And I'll probably spend the majority of any income on books and music anyway, just out of preference - I love books and music, but sometimes feel guilty about the frivolous spending! Especially buying music via iTunes, for some reason. It's obviously much better for the environment than buying and shipping CDs in plastic cases, but it sometimes feels like you're not getting anything tangible for the money.

    I'll add my revised guidelines to my next book review, and link back to it every subsequent time.

  14. Beth, how DARE you advertise your own blog! :)

    Chall, I totally think you should blog on NN! Also, if anyone ever detects any changes in my blogging patterns that you think might be a result of financial considerations, please feel free to call me on it publicly.

    SM, true! And I won't be changing my blogging patterns to attract extra traffic (SB peeps get paid by traffic, right? Or is it by comments?), just adding links to posts I'd be writing anyway. (It might just bump those posts up the order a wee bit).

    Eco, it never occurred to me not to ask! And don't worry, no Flash-based ads or animation EVER. I promise.

    DM, thanks!

    Bob, please define "suitable"!

    Nina and Alyssa, thanks!

    Mermaid, just for that, I'm totally gonna review today's coffee meeting.

    (and I do hope no-one's monitoring our work emails, like you said...)

    HG, ooh, which one?! Are you enjoying it?!

  15. I'm reading Dry Storeroom No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum. It's interesting, I've learned a few things, and it reminds me of the "fun" museum part of science that first got me interested. Also, I tend to go through novels at break-neck speed ("Will the hero and heroine end up together??? Can they diffuse the bomb in time???"), but I find books like this easier to break up into manageable reading sessions that don't upend my sleep and work schedule. :)

  16. Good idea! I'll click on every link so you can make shitloads of money so you can buy me fishbowl drinks when I come to visit. Oh wait [re-reading post] I need to buy the product as well? I'll buy my own drinks then ;-)

  17. Now I'm confused... are the last two comments from the same person, or not?!

    Anyway, whoever-you-are, I'm glad you're finding the book interesting! I'm the same way with my reading habits - super fast at fiction, sloooooow with non-fiction.

  18. Eh, I think there's two of us. I cannot recall having anything to do with the first
    one. But I might be wrong

  19. Weird... I'd seen both comment signatures before, but thought it was the same person using different Gmail accounts (I have 3 - long story - and sometimes I'm logged in as the wrong one and comment just as Cath, not Cath@VWXYNot?). Good to know!

  20. I think that's a great idea! And I agree with everyone else: spend it on whatever you like and no slow-to-load ads. :)

  21. it wouldn't bother me one bit; if anything, I sometimes look for the books you review on amazon anyways and add some to my wish list, so you may be saving me some time and your money would be well-earned!

  22. Thanks, Amanda and ScienceGirl! I'll sign up soon and then decide which pending review to post first!

  23. I'm coming back to this late, but yes, I am different from hgg. Confusing! I'll have to think about my name, though I am fond of this one.

  24. HGGirl; I think you should keep it. We can mess with peoples' brains. Muwahahaha!

  25. The fact that you "both" commented on such an old thread within a few minutes of each other makes me very suspicious that you are in fact the same person who is deliberately messing with everyone!

  26. damn, you got me, erm us, there!


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