Affiliate Linking, general considerations
First, a brief explanation. Affiliate linking is a form of commissioned sales, popular among website owners, whereby the site owner (me) receives some amount of income if visitors (you) buy a product after following a link from this (or other) sites. This is largely what “cookies” are all about. As a general rule, large “aggregator” sites (Amazon) pay small (< 5%) commissions; independent product creators tend to pay somewhat higher (+-50%) rates. The amount you pay for the product is not affected by whether you followed a link from this site or found the product through your own web search.
As an small business owner, I need to cover the mortgage. Affiliate income is one tiny contribution to that total. If any content on this site helps you make a “buy” decision about a product, I am most grateful when you use my affiliate link for that purchase.
At the time of this writing (Jan 4, 2010), if I’m linking to a product, I’m using it. In the future, I may recommend products that I don’t actually use myself—specific planners/calendars come to mind as an example. People with different needs and thinking habits need different kinds of calendars. If I am not actually using a product, I will make that fact clear in the recommendation, and I will do my best to identify who might best benefit from that product.
1. Most of the reviews on this site will be positive. If I don’t like a book or a product, it’s simply easier to ignore it. I can write a stinking review, and if you need proof, check out my review history on Amazon.com.
2. Within reason, I write reviews for books and products that I think might have some appeal to an audience of professional academics. My reading takes me through creativity, art production, small business management, and some of the “popular” writing about serious fields, particularly medicine and economics. Outside academia, I am a bit of a book maven. Whether or not that designation will hold up among professional readers remains to be seen.
3. The point of most of my reviews are to help you decide whether to buy a specific product. If you want a more formal evaluation, look at the publisher’s copy or something in the professional press. With regard to books, at least, my own personal “ownership” categories are:
- Read and return to the library
- Read and renew as long as they’ll let me, or until I process what I need, but I don’t need to give the title its own place on my shelves
- Read a library copy and then buy for myself
- Read the review and buy as cheaply as I can, used or new-online
- Buy new, at full price, because I have to have it NOW