Even though I spend a large portion of my social life (online and otherwise) discussing money, I am still aware of the societal stigma attached to being super open about finances. However, societal expectations aren’t something that have regular stopped me from doing something, and I’m not starting now.
To begin with, no matter what happens as a result of monetization on this site (or any of my other ones), I’m not doing this for money. That will never be the goal. If anything, it will be a side-effect. GoCurryCracker writes about money made from their blog as Accidental Income. They write to provide knowledge, and because they like it. Simply, that is similar to why I am doing this. A more detailed post regarding my motivation is available here. See What’s My Motivation for a more detailed discussion of the why.
There are a fair number of ways one can take a site and monetize it, and I dislike a lot of them. One can have pay-per-click ads on the site, which gunks things up from a user interface point of view. One can post referrals to specific financial instruments and tools, like Mr. Money Mustache does with credit cards (although sometimes one has to decide if they will let these companies dictate your content or not). One can set up a newsletter, collect information from their viewers, and sell it. One can do affiliate programs. One can sell guest posts if you have a large enough audience. One can have intrusive popovers or popups (with these, I take the view of David Cain over at Raptitude.com, in that I hate them). As I said, the money part of this is not a priority for me, but since it’s easy enough to setup, especially now that Colorado can sign up for the Amazon Associates program, I went ahead and signed up. I like this program. One just gets a link to a specific product, and when someone uses it, the price doesn’t change for them, but I get a cut. That means that in theory, I anytime I discussed a product, I could make it an affiliate link, get a cut, and nobody would be the wiser. Seems like a win-win situation, right? Alas, transparency is a huge deal for me, and since this show and this blog is about money, I’m going to be open and honest about it, and I will always make sure I provide a choice to support what I do or not.
To that end, I’m going to be implementing some practices around the Amazon Associates program. To begin with, I will only post links to products that I have used personally, or that someone I trust has used. When discussing products or services, I will specify if it is first hand or second hand. Any time I post something, I will do my best to have an in-depth review of the product available as well, and as time goes on, I will make sure that I update the review so that I can provide longevity information as well. I’m still debating on how to do this, as far as formatting goes.
If this site makes money, it will stay in the site. It might be for professional animation, professional graphic design, or just go into an index fund so that I can share accurate numbers. The very last thing I will do is pocket the money, or take a salary (but that would be so cool). As far as the animation and graphic design stuff, I am going to do as much as I can using Open Source Software, and learning how to use it. This type of work is not my forte, but I do like learning, so I’ll start. If it turns out really hard, or really bad, that’s when I will reach out to a professional (although if someone wants to volunteer, I won’t discourage that).
So the following is an actual product recommendation, with a stubbed out review. In short, it’s just a manual coffee grinder, but holy crap I love it. So the detailed review itself is subject to change, but how I’m going to link is what I’m not sure of yet.