Am I evil because I joined Amazon Associates?

So here's the debate: to monetize, or not to monetize?

When blogger first added the "monetize" tab, I was like, "Hey, this is cool! I'll give that a try." Anyway, I use an adblocker. So the annoyance of actually seeing adsense ads on the side was moot. So moot, in fact, that I forgot that I actually had enabled it! Until...

...that fateful day when I was on a computer that did NOT have an adblocker. I immediately was shocked and horrified. "My blog is gross! Oh no, no, no!!!!" I quickly disabled the "monetize" feature. There seriously can be no quicker way to turn off a blog reader than to fill your sidebar with ads.

And the honest truth is, would I really make money from them? No. I get less than 500 readers/month. I blog about mundane random things that happen in my life, not expensive products or services.

Last night, right before reading scriptures, my phone went "ding!" meaning, I had a new email. After checking it, I said to Danny, "Hey, guess what? Another 100 hits on my blog!" (I have my blog counter set to send me alerts after every 100 hits).
"How long has it been?"
"I dunno, about a week?"
"You should seriously set up ads! Get some extra cash."

I thought about it for a while. But no, sidebar ads are evil. They make my blog look like a freaking store. That's pretty much the point, no?

Every time I log in to blogger, there's a little banner proclaiming something like, "Do you frequently link to Amazon? Sign up to be an Amazon Associate!"

And actually, I had been meaning to think about potentially checking it out - someday. I guess that day was today.

I feel like a sell out. I get a certain commission if you, my reader, click on a link to the product I post, and buy it. It's very small, something like 4%. And considering the only products I ever review here are books and movies, that is something like $.01 per purchase. Ha. Pathetic.

But you know what? It actually saves me quite a lot of time, being an "Amazon Associate". While directly in the blog post editor, I can search for whatever it is that I am reviewing, and click "add link and image". You know what I had to do before? Open a new tab, go to Amazon.com, find the product I was reviewing, right click on the image, save it to my desktop, go back to my blog post, and insert the image. That more than halves the steps necessary to add an image of the book I am reading to the post! Isn't that awesome?

But they are SO SMALL. I'm sure that Amazon marketing experts do this for a reason: they probably have done psychological tests to determine the exact size at which a picture will register in the brain as something, yet be intriguing enough for you to want to click on it to go to their site. I'm totally positive that just getting you to go to the site is half of their goal.

I love Amazon's book reviews. They are so much fun to read! I wish there were an easy way for me to upload my reviews from my blog to their site, without having to copy and paste. I would totally do that, if it were an option. Sheesh, it's like I'm doing their job for them, for free! But that's a separate issue.

Still, I wonder if I'm just kidding myself. Am I really doing this because I secretly hope all of you will click on my link and buy the books I review, earning me freaking easy cash? Just FYI, I've only bought 1% of the books reviewed so far this year; I get these books from the good 'ole library. Have I turned to the dark side? Does me being an Amazon Associate mean that I have officially sold out and turned my blog into an evil advertising mechanism that fuels greed and consumerism?

I'm not sure. What do you honestly think? (and sorry, mom, if most of this technical bloggy stuff bored you to tears!)

I sent an email to the Amazon customer service requesting that they allow you to make your product preview box larger. I'm sad because now you will miss out on the great cover art, because in their little in-post widget, the picture is smaller than a postage stamp. I want to enlarge it; cover art is a huge part of the experience of reading book reviews. I know this from my experience watching "Reading Rainbow."


  1. What about posting a huge picture at the top of the review, and then posting the product preview from Amazon at the bottom? I just went through all my old reviews and did that, but the problem is...then it definitely IS selling out. "Look at this enticing book! Read what I think! Look, I made it convenient for you to buy, right after I recommended it!" Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. But it was easier to do that on old posts than delete the picture, because sometimes deleting pictures in the blogger editor is hard to do. You can end up deleting text. Maybe I won't do it this way in the future because it totally defeats my somewhat legitimate excuse of "it's easier to put the picture in the blog post this way" if I end up doing it BOTH ways. Auuugh am I overthinking this?

  2. I think we live in a commercial society. Do what you feel is right, either way I doubt it will land you in Hell.


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