Advertising/Affiliate policy

February 21st, 2010

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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.