On Amazon and Advertising

I promised a follow-up to my last post on money, advertising, and Amazon, explaining a bit about the links here, so let me get into it a little bit.

Technically, being an Amazon affiliate (“associate” is actually the term they use now) is advertising. They call it advertising and suggest things I could suggest/link to. I am told what types of things are “best selling products,” for example. I rarely look at these things, though. Maybe I should. But as I don’t think I’d likely be linking to them, it feels a bit pointless. Anyway, possibly because I never link to things I don’t genuinely recommend and because I’d been linking to Amazon even when I was not making any money off of it, these links don’t feel like “advertising.”

What does it do for me/the blog? What does this comment/disclaimer I always put on a post mean:

Note: All Amazon links above are affiliate links. This means I get a tiny percentage if you buy the linked items or other things via Amazon after clicking. Your purchase price won’t change. And if you do smile.amazon for charity, they stack. Still without changing your purchase price. Thanks!

Basically, it means that Amazon pays out a percentage of money to me when you buy “eligible” items after clicking one of my Amazon links1. This isn’t just the item I link to, but anything “eligible” you purchase. You, in fact, don’t have to purchase the linked item at all. Indeed, Amazon encourages folks with webpages to simply link to the Amazon homepage with the site owner’s referral code. (I haven’t done this and don’t expect to.) They also encourage personalized “stores” for recommendations or wishlists. I’m likely to do this, at some point.

It doesn’t change the price they’re charging you. At least, not directly. Let’s be honest that we all know there’s no such thing as “free” when it comes to lunch, shipping, or referral bonuses. But the amount they pay out are built into their business plan. The amount I get paid changes, as far as I can tell, based on item (some items seem to pay slightly more, but I’m not totally sure) and number of things sold via my links (this appears to be the major factor). This changes monthly, with the total resetting at the beginning of the month, and the percent paid out decreasing, then increasing again back as more items are sold. I don’t expect this to be hugely relevant in the beginning, but that may change as the year continues.

Finally, some of the nitty-gritty details, in case you’re curious. Amazon pays me based on any eligible purchase you make within 24 h of clicking on one of my links, unless you click on someone else’s affiliate link in that time, in which case they pay that person. Technically, if you put something in your cart right then and then wander off & come back 89 days later and pay for it, they’ll still pay me. And, as I’m sure you’re wondering, no they don’t pay me for my own clicks. I do my shopping through Northwest Edible usually.

So, that’s the part of it that relates to me. What is “smile.amazon”? Charity, simply put. Well, perhaps charity and tax write-offs.

The link says it, but to distill it down, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of any “eligible” items to the charity you select every time you make a purchase at smile.amazon.com. The donation is not something YOU can write-off on your taxes, but I assume they do on theirs. There’s a TON of 501( c )3 organizations on there, so you can just pick one and go and know you’re supporting that charity. Again, without directly changing your purchase price.

The interesting thing is that these stack. So if you go to one of my links, usually, it will be a smile.amazon link. This means you’ll be supporting me and the charity of YOUR choice. My smile.amazon choice has no bearing on where the donation from your purchases goes, nor will I ever know who you choose to support.

I think it’s all pretty damn neat, frankly. It’s absolutely fabulous (better) if you take my recommendations and go buy those same things in a small business near you. But for the times you are going to go to Amazon anyway, or I am going to link to Amazon so you know precisely what I am recommending, I think writing my links such that they support me and charity seems like a win.

What do you all think? Is this advertising? Does it annoy you? What about including the “smile.amazon” portion of every link? I do that to make it easy to support (I often forget to add the “smile” when I go to amazon from a blog I love), but is that annoying? I’d love to read your answers in the comments or on Twitter. Or via email. However. I just love hearing from you guys.


1 Not all of my Amazon links, yet. I’m working on getting old ones rewritten to be this, but it’s taking a bit. If there’s a disclosure like the above on the post, it’s most likely been edited. If not, not.

2 thoughts on “On Amazon and Advertising

Comments are closed.