Advertising/Affiliate policy

February 21st, 2010

Share |

We would like to thank our readers for their feedback and support in Supporting this blog and reader feedback. More importantly, we would like to give special thanks to our donors for their support. After thinking through over the past few days, we reckon that this blog can only be supported in the long-term by a mixture of donations, advertising, affiliates and micro-payments:

  1. Donations– Donations make our day. It’s not just the money that makes us happy. Donations are a sign that our work is valuable to and appreciated by others. We agree with one of our readers that donors must be rewarded in one way or the other.
  2. Advertising– From our reader poll, most people do not mind the current level of advertisements. At least one reader finds the advertisements useful! This means most people accept that advertising is a necessary ‘evil’ (not that advertising is intrinsically evil). Also, the majority prefer articles and advertisements to be separated. We interpret it to mean that readers want to know clearly that they are being ‘advertised onto.’ Some advertising (e.g. banner ads) are very obvious. Therefore, most readers will have no problem distinguishing them. The tricky part is affiliate promotions…
  3. Affiliates– We receive compensations from affiliates to promote their products. But as you can read from our Advertising & Affiliates policy page, not any product/service provider can be our affiliate. We have to like their products/services first and we must have reasons to believe that they are relevant to some of our readers.Affiliates’ products/services are usually promoted in the form of links embedded within articles. Such promotions, by its very nature, are subtle. One of the reasons for this is because some of the links point to pages that actually contain useful information to some readers. Articles with embedded affiliate links can come in the form of (1) just a passing mention of products/services to (2) more direct and active promotion. Therefore, to ensure transparency to our readers, we will adhere to the following policy (as mentioned in our Advertising & Affiliates policy page):

    To alert our readers/subscribers of possible conflict of interests, articles that contain subtle embedded links to our affiliates will have the “Advertising/Affiliates” tag attached to them (this exclude links that can be easily recognised? as advertisements). Tags are displayed at the bottom of every article.

    For example, Market Club is an affiliate link and consequently, the ?Advertising/Affiliates? tag is present in this article. On the other hand, affiliates links that are clearly advertisements will not be subjected to this rule (see this article as an example). To put it simply, when affiliate links are subtle, we will use that tag.

  4. Micro-payments– One business model we are thinking about is the idea of micro-payments on selected articles. So far, web sites that charges micro-payment are relatively rare. The pricing point we are thinking of for micro-payment is in the range between 25 cents to 50 cents, depending on the article. Of course, donors will be exempted from micro-payments.We want to avoid going towards the paid subscription model. This is because, as one of our readers suggested, paid subscription implies a commitment in terms of consistent quality and regularity. Micro-payments, on the other hand, is flexible for us, flexible for our readers (because they can pick and choose which articles they want to read) and low-risk for our readers.

Please contribute feedback below. And also, the reader poll is still open.

Tags:

  • pb

    hey cij, i totaly believe you have a right to make money from this site but are micro payments worth the hassle, for both readers and your selves?

    i would rather you write and sell more books.

  • @pb

    Thanks for your feedback. πŸ™‚

    Yes, the biggest draw-back with micro-payments is as you say, troublesome. Also, another problem with it is that the per-transaction cost for micro-payments is relatively high.

    That is probably the reason why micro-payments are rare and that many micro-payments projects come and go without success.

    Rest assured, we are just musing about micro-payments. There's a report that Google is coming up with something this year with regards to micro-payment. Maybe they have a much more effective solution?

    Anyway, it'll be back to the drawing board for us.

  • @pb

    Thanks for your feedback. πŸ™‚

    Yes, the biggest draw-back with micro-payments is as you say, troublesome. Also, another problem with it is that the per-transaction cost for micro-payments is relatively high.

    That is probably the reason why micro-payments are rare and that many micro-payments projects come and go without success.

    Rest assured, we are just musing about micro-payments. There's a report that Google is coming up with something this year with regards to micro-payment. Maybe they have a much more effective solution?

    Anyway, it'll be back to the drawing board for us.

  • @pb

    Thanks for your feedback. πŸ™‚

    Yes, the biggest draw-back with micro-payments is as you say, troublesome. Also, another problem with it is that the per-transaction cost for micro-payments is relatively high.

    That is probably the reason why micro-payments are rare and that many micro-payments projects come and go without success.

    Rest assured, we are just musing about micro-payments. There's a report that Google is coming up with something this year with regards to micro-payment. Maybe they have a much more effective solution?

    Anyway, it'll be back to the drawing board for us.

  • Pete

    CIJ I very much appreciate that you are consulting everyone on this.

    One concern of mine (not sure about other people) is that this seems to be rushed a bit. Is the need to generate income urgent?

    I think you need to decide and explain what it is that you are trying to achieve. For example, a few sites I visit rely on donations…the donated money is used to host the site and provide basic services.

    On the other hand, some sites seek to actually make an income from their work. Donations are not a good way to do so, as they are often one-off, or small.

    Personally, and I suspect others disagree, I think a 'Premium Subscription Service' would provide you with the income stream that you are after. It is consistent and fair. As mentioned, you could provide both a free service as is current (with advertisements), but also some premium articles. OR alternatively, you could provide all articles to premium members only for a few days, and then release select articles free to the public on others.

    Please don't take the next bit the wrong way, I am a longtime fan. In fact, I doubt you have more of a fan than myself.

    But…are you sure you have the reader-base to start imposing restrictions on your articles? If you are not sure, then advertising is certainly the way to go. A subscription service would get you money, but risks driving readers away. Like the Google model of old, people flocked to Google over time as it was free, unintrusive and worked well. It picked up major market share using this method. The others such as Yahoo and Altavista, almost died out because they primarily tried to milk advertising dollars and offered their free search as a secondary service.

    I have always made the assumption that this website was about voicing ideas and perhaps some altruism in regards to hosting. I bought your book eagerly more as a reward to you for all the great work you have done over the years. I am sure that meagre amount does not come close to compensating. But now I am unsure about your motives. Was your plan all along to build a reader-base and then start making money?

    Like others, I am all for advertising on here, so long as it is never presented as anything else. I have a lot of trust in the authors of this website and the writing, but I am a very skeptical person and continually on the lookout for deceipt. I've been a regular on the Daily Reckoning and have learned over time that only very few authors on there can be trusted not to dress a sales pitch up as investigative journalism. Other sites I am much more skeptical about. But this site I have never, until recently, had the slightest concern about. Perhaps I am alone in these thoughts.

    So personally, I'd happily sign up for a subscription service. But I want transparency. I am a bit resistant to change like most people. And I want to know that a) where my money is going exactly, and b) that my money is safe and privacy ensured.

    Just some thoughts for you anyway. I am trying to be genuine and not meaning offence.

  • @Pete

    Thanks for being frank for voicing out your concern.

    One concern of mine (not sure about other people) is that this seems to be rushed a bit. Is the need to generate income urgent?

    It's more of a tipping point being reached, rather than a rush all of a sudden.

    But now I am unsure about your motives. Was your plan all along to build a reader-base and then start making money?

    If our plan is to make lots and lots and lots of money, then it certainly does not make sense to sacrifice all these years to write this blog- working at at minimum wage would be more rational thing to do if money is solely our object.

    If making lots and lots and lots of money is our sole and only object, we would be better off writing for a mainstream bank/financial institution to serve their agenda and trading on the side with all these insiders' information. It's the path of least resistance to sell out to the mainstream banks/financial institutions and at the same time make a contrarian counter-bets against them on our own account as a hedge.

  • Anon

    “Personally, and I suspect others disagree, I think a 'Premium Subscription Service' would provide you with the income stream that you are after. It is consistent and fair. As mentioned, you could provide both a free service as is current (with advertisements), but also some premium articles. OR alternatively, you could provide all articles to premium members only for a few days, and then release select articles free to the public on others.”

    I agree with Pete…I think this is the best method. Also do a monthly newsletter encompassing the articles you write on the blog. Thus you can slowly build a readership for your newsletter aswell.
    Newsletters are cash cows. The top newsletter services, these guys are making 5-10million a year. You just couldn't do that with the advertising streams you suggested earlier.
    I dunno, I guess it depends on how much money you want to make or need.

  • Pete

    Understood CIJ, then what is your plan?

    I really don't understand. Because if you are not trying to make lots of money, nor merely wanting to cover hosting costs… what are you trying to do?

    Without a clear strategy, failure is likely. I don't mean failure of your blog, I just mean failure of achieving your goal(s).

    If it is none of our business, then that is fine. But I really do want to help. I think a few of us do. We want to help you achieve your goal, whilst also getting the same great articles we have come to know and respect.

    Also, I think something you need to be mindful of is equity, or at least the perception of it. For example, one person might donate $100, yet another only $1. The large donator might feel like he is subsidising everyone else after a while. This is one reason that a subscription is handy.

    But my personal advice is not to rush into anything. Test the waters first.

    (then again, I'm no old-hand at this).

  • Anon

    Hey Pete i've officially joined you on the sidelines. The market is becoming a traders market and i'm not a fan of share trading. The margin of safety in the market relative to term deposits is negligible. We could go higher, infact I think we just might but i'm not going to try and eek out the last few percentage points.
    Buffets actions are so obvious. He's issued shares in his stock (most likely because his bookvalues are overstated) sold alot of shares that he normally wouldn't, dumped an oil stock (China time bomb?).
    LME stockpiles are just rediculous…they continue to be around March 09 highs yet commodity prices keep rocketing? The negative correlation is out the window. BDI is making a pathetic attempt at recovery.
    To me theres an inflation “wanting” bubble, a carry trade bubble fueled by so many countries its rediculous, a commodities bubble, and now a government debt bubble.
    I cant deny the facts πŸ˜› What a mess.
    I might go back in if we have a meaningful correction.

    Remember above not advice, just discussion, seek financial advice/decisions/info from a qualified financial adviser.

  • Pete

    Hey Anon, I hope my decision didn't influence yours. I am certainly not on top of everything market wise.

    But I am sleeping a lot better at nights now that I am no longer subject to all of the market volatility.

    And if the markets want to go higher from here…that's fine by me πŸ™‚

    I'll get back in when I feel things are being valued slightly more realistically.

  • Anon

    Hey Pete not at all. TBH when I saw term deposit rates go up near 8% (5 year fixed) I thought to myself will the market be able to beat that given all the headwinds. Unlikely. The xao would need to be over 7,000 to match those returns lol.
    David Einhorn (our hero with a high pitched voice) also doesn't try and get the whole rise.
    Overall equities seems risky…theres better risk/reward on some currencies than on stocks. My stock picking skills are not good enough to be able to pick winners in a sideways market. I wont be kidding myself ;).
    Lets see how this plays out…i've kept a couple of core positions (I tried to concentrate it so that if we do rise I should get near the index). But i'm only 20% long 80% cash.
    Yeah I agree about unrealistic values. Alot of stocks are not discounting the fact that the recovery will be gradual, not to mention the stimulata prop ups.
    Soros mentioned if stimulus is wound back we have a chance for a double dip…but I doubt thats a possibility this year.
    I suspect sideways action with huge ranges this year.
    Also I see alot of newbes making a killing in this market. Alot of them are preaching philosophies of the buy and hold quality strategy. Not good signs !

    Remember, above discussion not advice — seek a financial adviser for info/decisions/advice.

  • Pete

    Good points there Anon.

    I like making money, even making money on speculation if the markets are kind, but if there is one thing I have learned (personally) it is that money making opportunities come and go, but there are always more of them eventually.

    So even if the markets bust out and the All Ords gets to 7000, the Dow to 15000… so what? In hindsight anyone could be rich. I just feel more comfortable at the moment out of the stock market. I think that the risk is a looong way from being priced into stocks at the moment.

    Remember, the above is only for financial planners to use to bait you into overleveraging yourself into overheated market(s).

  • Anon

    “Remember, the above is only for financial planners to use to bait you into overleveraging yourself into overheated market(s).”

    haha.

    Well if the market got to 7000 im not sure how we'd get there. Carry trades fueling more risk appetite and pushing equity prices higher? Sales are flat and cyclical earnings have been poor.
    I agree with your reasoning about more money opportunities eventually.
    Its like a poker game, go all in on the low risk plays fold the hail marys and risky hands. That is unless you are a gun card bluffer lol.
    Heres some stuff I found about Stuart Walton. Fantastic Investor — This blokes record is over 100% annualized over almost a decade:

    * Be patient–wait for the opportunity
    * Trade on your own ideas and style
    * Never trade impulsively, especially on other people's advice
    * Don't risk too much on one event or company
    * Stay focused, especially when the markets are moving
    * Anticipate, don't react
    * Listen to the market, not outside opinions
    * Think trades through, including profit/loss exit points, before you put them on
    * If you are unsure about a position, just get out
    * Force yourself to trade against the consensus
    * Trade pattern recognition
    * Look past tomorrow; develop a six-month and one-year outlook
    * Prices move before fundamentals
    * It is a warning flag if the market is not responding to data correctly
    * Be totally flexible; be able to admit when you are wrong
    * You will be wrong often; recognize winners and losers fast
    * Start each day from last night's close, not your original cost
    * Adding to losers is easy but usually wrong
    * Force yourself to buy on extreme weakness and sell on extreme strength
    * Get rid of all distractions
    * Remain confident–the opportunities never stop

    Remember above not advice in any way shape or form, just discussion, see Petes financial adviser for overleveraging reccomendations.

  • Pete

    Haha, my financial advisor (me) will be sure to offer plenty of overleveraging recommendations.

    A good start would be to buy a bunch of RIO and CBA shares using credit cards and equity in your home, and then use those as a basis for some hefty margin loans. Think of the profits πŸ˜‰

    I very much like that list of Stuarts, thanks for posting it.

    When I first got into share trading I found that there were suddenly so many opportunities for profits. There was a lot of “wow, if only I had bought that one!”. Over time I learned that there are plenty of opportunities going at any one time, and you don't need to try and be in on all of them. Who needs 1000 companies in their portfolio anyway.

  • @Anon

    TBH when I saw term deposit rates go up near 8% (5 year fixed) I thought to myself will the market be able to beat that given all the headwinds.

    Before the 5-year term deposit expires, the government guarantee will end. πŸ˜›

  • Pete

    Argh…margin calls on RIO and CBA already! πŸ˜‰

  • Anon

    Thats true, but we already know from past history that the government will protect depositors at all costs.
    Also the government has mentioned it will keep a guarantee permanently albeit slightly less than what it is now.

  • Anon

    lol.
    DJIA started strong finished weak at the lows. If thats not bearish I dunno what is.

  • Anon

    If we go back to Benjamin Graham 101.
    You can get 6% for 6 month term deposit.
    Current PE of ASX = 16.97 = 5.89%
    PE Forecast Y1 = 15.25 = 6.55%
    PE Forecast Y1 = 12.77 = 7.83%

    So returns are barely above a 6mth term deposit. Theres a negative margin of safety for current asx returns and a 5 year term deposit (~8%).
    Thats pathetic.
    Pete we should use your gut feel as a canary in the coal mine warning πŸ˜›
    If we go higher the market the margin of safety will be even worse assuming earnings dont rise considerably above the forecasts.
    I dont think we can use the risk free gov bond rate given the government guarantee on deposits.
    Also theres alot of competition for deposits so theres a mispricing between term deposits and the rba cash rate.

    Remember above not advice, just discussion – seek financial advice/info/decisions from a financial adviser.

  • Anon

    hey if we keep replying will we eventually get to one word per line ? ;p

  • Pete

    Haha, looks like it! πŸ™‚