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Should ASR Use Amazon Affiliate Program?

Should ASR Forum use Amazon Affiliate Program?

  • Yes

    Votes: 35 72.9%
  • No

    Votes: 13 27.1%

  • Total voters
    48

amirm

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#1
As some of you know, Amazon has a program where if you send them referrals and someone buys something, you get a few percentage point commision. Many people who make a living from the web rely on this program to make money. Unfortunately with this motivation comes abuse with people about Amazon products or mostly reviewing such. If reviews have good content I don't mind it but many fluff reviews are doing this with no value add ("here is an unbox and please go and buy the thing:).

It was suggested a year ago that I should go ahead and use the program to fund purchases of gear that members do not have to offer. This is true of new gear for example that is just announced. Or equipment that is popular but no one is offering one to review.

On the negative side, some people assume as soon as there is such monetization, then the whole site is corrupt and brand and what we are about is ruined.

Personally I am in the middle, tilting to the negative side on whether I should or should not do it. I don't want to ever defend a review because someone says the product is on Amazon and that must have something to do with a positive review.

So what do you all think? Vote on the poll. If you are a visitor, this is your chance to become a member and make your voice heard.

Thanks.
 

XGEOX

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#3
I'd agree with Hemi-Demon's sentiment; the reason I'm drawn to your content (and a Patreon supporter) is the effort you put into collecting the data to make an informed assessment of the hardware you review. You always give your general thoughts at the end and reference specific measurements in your reasoning. This approach inherently deters any paid shenanigans that less objective reviewers might be tempted by.

However there is still an element of trust and transparency required, and I do think any incentivised content/links should be clearly labelled, wherever they may appear. As far as I can see, you've been careful in the past to note any potential bias at the start of reviews; I trust that any future content regarding these items would continue to do so.

One possible option to alleviate any concerns would be separating this kind of content into it's own category; perhaps even a 'leader board' of the best price/performance ratio devices available on Amazon US/UK/etc; for those of us looking for quick recommendations.
 
Joined
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#4
Hello from France,
In France, for example there is a bargain deal site www.dealabs.com that is affiliated to every merchant site, all links to merchant sites from members discovering bargains are transformed in order to make some money with affiliation programs.
You can be affiliated with every merchant without loosing ASR independancy, the important thing is not to be affiliated with some particular gear brands like hifi magazines and audiophile sites. You can have special relationship with some brands if you explain it like you did actually.

Sincerely yours
Habu34
 

tomelex

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#6
Amir, this is a tuff one for sure. I can't even keep up with all the reviews you do as it is!

If you take no money there can be no accusations. Let me ask you to think about how you feel about reading stereophile or other magazines in the audio world, how the gear being talked about have adds on the next or facing page, how sometimes the measurements taken or are scaled are not the same as other gear, to downplay a weakness in the gear, etc.

Once you cross over, I don't think there is any coming back. Is it worth it in the long run is the question. I would say for now go with your gut instinct. Maybe in future you will have to monetize for various reasons, then the decision is kind of made for you.
 

RayDunzl

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#7
All I see is a little gaming of the system.

Post a link that says "Click Here Before You Shop at Amazon to Help Support the Site".

Where's the conflict with something like that, assuming it even works as expected?

Put it in your sig. That's pretty random.
 
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#8
I think there's a lot of encouragement to do this because nobody wants to see you paying out of pocket. It's a great service to the audio community and should definitely be rewarded. That being said, I think affiliate links would be more damaging than other options like Patreon review paywalls, taking site ads, etc.

Without any way to validate that a positive review wasn't influenced by driving click-through, there will be critics. If there are fewer bad reviews, there will be critics. If the product isn't sold through Amazon, there will be critics. I'm not advocating for the criticism but rather advocating for maintaining the unquestionably unbiased reviews.

Lastly, the r/audiophile and r/headphones communities on Reddit do have rules against posts that contain affiliate links for those reasons. To remain consistent and impartial with enforcement, the affiliate link farm rule would likely have to apply to ASR as well and I'd hate to see that happen. Sadly, Audio Precision hasn't released a plugin for reviewer intentions : )
 

amirm

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#9
Lastly, the r/audiophile and r/headphones communities on Reddit do have rules against posts that contain affiliate links for those reasons.
Ah, I had not considered that. This is an important thing to me as well. Thanks for pointing it out.
 

RayDunzl

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#10
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#11
The subreddit moderators (myself included) don't actually have any control over what's advertised or promoted on the subreddits. That's run sitewide, completely by Reddit. As far as I know, the targeting you see there is all driven through Google AdSense based what they know about your browsing history along with the context of the page.

There are smile.amazon.com links in a select few places though. These generate 0.5% of the purchase price as as a charitable donation of the purchasers choosing but otherwise don't monetize.
 

RayDunzl

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#12
I like the ads that pose as posts...

Oh well. I don't mind being somewhat corrected.
 

daftcombo

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#13
I would advise not to do it.

Amazon is known to treat employees almost like slaves.
 
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#14
Sorry I am late to the party here. If you can swing it I would prefer to see this site unaffiliated with Amazon. Once Amazon bought DPReview, for example, I felt they lost a lot of credibility. Now it’s like they want you to buy something, anything, please, from Amazon. And today I found out Amazon bought Eero. And I say this as an Amazon Prime member of many years. To the extent you can keep them out of your business, I think it’s good for you editorially, but I see the writing on the wall—If there is an influencer or innovator on the scene they want to get in on the action, and will do so with any opportunity you present to them, including, but not limited to, buying your influence and independence with what for them is a pittance.
 
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#15
I would advise not to do it.

Amazon is known to treat employees almost like slaves.
Based on what I have seen, anyone who would want to belittle the work you guys do here wouldn't need a reason like Amazon affiliation. What was that line from Deadwood? "You generate your bad moods first and then look for someone to blame them on." But I think there is something to be said for not supporting a company with a bad human rights track record. Maybe there is another affiliate program that would be better-suited?
 

amirm

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#16
So where I have left it is that the original link in this thread works no matter what you buy from Amazon. I am not however promoting any links for any products in the review to Amazon or otherwise. So if you like to donate to the site without spending your own money, you can use the link in the first post.
 

RayDunzl

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#17
So where I have left it is that the original link in this thread works no matter what you buy from Amazon.
I may be blind, but I can't see it.
 

amirm

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#18
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