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nothing more than a crass attempt to get a few bucks
December 16, 2001 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Why do people persist in doing this? tsarfan posts a link to an Amazon page showing that they're selling sex toys, ostensibly to incite commentary on what Amazon and other e-commerce outlets will/need to do to become profitable. In reality, however, it seems to be nothing more than a crass attempt to get a few bucks from MeFi's significant readership by making the link include his Amazon referrer code. In the words of the immortal Michael Stipe, "I call bullshit on that."
posted by hincandenza to Etiquette/Policy at 4:06 PM (35 comments total)

A while back, someone suggested that Matt write code that replaces any amazon referrer code with his own. Michael Stipe said something useful?
posted by machaus at 4:27 PM on December 16, 2001


Here's one place where Matt pointed out that this is not a good thing. In the words of the immortal Kyle Broflovski, "Shenanigans! Shenanigans!"
posted by mcwetboy at 4:29 PM on December 16, 2001


Or it could have been an accident?
posted by rodii at 4:31 PM on December 16, 2001


No. It couldn't have been an accident. You can't just end up at those associate link pages, you have to intentionally build a link to the product with your code in it.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:35 PM on December 16, 2001


Everyone step back though and let the humor seep in. We are discussing whether someone making money off of other people buying dildos is morally acceptable. after previewing, what eyeballkid said...
posted by machaus at 4:38 PM on December 16, 2001


I don't think we are discussing whether it's morally right to let someone else make money off of other people buying dildos. I think the point is that there shouldn't be much of anything being sold on MeFi except these. And if there is something being sold then part of the $ should be going to Haughey.
(heh, i said dildo)
posted by eyeballkid at 4:58 PM on December 16, 2001


all monies generated from the commision of the sales of dildoes thru the MeFi posting of the fact that AMAZON is selling VIBRATORS will go to the families of the victims of 9/11 - happy?

maybe the reason that i put my affiliate code was cuz i wanted to see how many people actually do buy VIBRATORS from AMAZON during CHRISTMAS because some anonymous poster pointed it out on a message board.

talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. the post was about dildoes on amazon, now the post is about dildoes on here.

loosen up a tad, your cynicism will live to see another day, im sure.

thank you machaus, however, for putting this all in context.
posted by tsarfan at 5:09 PM on December 16, 2001


Will Matt be auditing your charity?
posted by thebigpoop at 5:12 PM on December 16, 2001


After clicking through both, I can't tell the link with the affiliate code from the one without the code. In other words, unless Matt corrected the first link, it's seems damn sneaky to me -- the ultimate in self-linking. The next step will be some kind of marketing info gatherer on a post. If I want to give money or props to anyone or any charity it should be my choice. The fact that you did the work to build the affiliate link and then deliberately DIDN'T mention it makes this post a switch-and-bait that is really offensive. This isn't a sales board, dammit, for your profit or amusement.
I think Matt should delete the link.
posted by dness2 at 5:32 PM on December 16, 2001


What a greedy thing to do. The LORD will deal with him. Praise Jesus!
posted by gleemax at 5:33 PM on December 16, 2001


dness2: After clicking through both, I can't tell the link with the affiliate code from the one without the code.

Normally you wouldn't; there isn't anything once you arrive at Amazon's site to indicate that your clickthrough has been logged for associate purposes. I also suspect that clicking on the first link starts a session that may persist: if you click on the first one, even clicking on that second (unaffiliated) one after that may make tsarfan money, but I'm not sure about that. Just a hunch.

I think Matt should delete the link.

I think Matt should break out a can of whup-ass. This sort of thing has to be slapped down fast and hard before more of us get the same idea and the whole site goes straight to hell as a result.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:04 PM on December 16, 2001


After clicking through both, I can't tell the link with the affiliate code from the one without the code

The pages will look the same, but the link is slightly different. The associate's one has the associate's ID after the ASIN: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005LBRH/tonypiercecom/ whereas the non-associate's link did not have the tonypiercecom part.

I understand the reasoning behind not wanting people to put in their code if they have use an amazon link on a FPP, but is it also frowned upon to use the code in a comment within the discussion? I've done that before, not to get rich, but so that a non-amazon entity would get the 5% or whatever instead of stupid amazon if one happened to buy something via the link. If there was a metafilter associate's code I'd use that.
posted by gluechunk at 6:06 PM on December 16, 2001


I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.
posted by briank at 6:07 PM on December 16, 2001


mcwetboy, yes anything that they purchase during that web session will gain a percentage commission even if it is something more banal (or more anal for that matter) than a dildo.
posted by machaus at 6:09 PM on December 16, 2001


"maybe the reason that i put my affiliate code was cuz i wanted to see how many people actually do buy VIBRATORS from AMAZON during CHRISTMAS because some anonymous poster pointed it out on a message board."

1. I don't think many people consider MetaFilter a "message board."
2. Posting a link, while your member profile lists your personal website, is not really posting "anonymously."
3. If you're doing research, contact Jupiter Media Metrix or Amazon, themselves, to discuss the browse-to-buy ratio of vibrators during December. MetaFilter is not your research vehicle.

Using MetaFilter to make yourself money, intentional or not, is fucked up. Especially when a person busts his ass to make it all *work* for little or no monetary reward (outside of textads), like Matt has been doing since day one.

posted by Hankins at 6:11 PM on December 16, 2001


"maybe the reason that i put my affiliate code was cuz i wanted to see how many people actually do buy VIBRATORS"

I call bullshit on your explanation of your bullshit.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:25 PM on December 16, 2001


Michael Stipe is immortal?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:36 PM on December 16, 2001


gluechunk brings up a good point. Anyone know what Matt's Amazon affiliate code is (Matt?). Then, if you want to post a link to Amazon, you can include that code, and help good ol' mathowie out with the costs.
posted by benjh at 7:02 PM on December 16, 2001


1. The post is not clever, revealing or funny. Or at least not to anyone over the age where one still gets the fits buying condoms. Ooo, for HER pleasure, he he he.
2. The post offers no insightful commentary or invitation to social discussion -- no links to other stores or histories, etc. Where is the difference between this and the personal massagers or flavored rubbers one can find in any drugstore? No judgement, my ass.
3. It's a post to Amazon, for god's sake. Hardly new.

So, it's a borderline post anyway.

Add a link which sneaks in making money for oneself and which isn't obvious (as verified by the above explanations) and the post feels as satisfying as unreturned fellatio.

"cuz i wanted to see how many people actually do buy VIBRATORS"

cuz vibrators are so funny? It would be more dignified to admit it is the money.

I think Matt should break out a can of whup-ass.

Yes, I was perhaps being too restrained. My profanity though reveals how much this pisses me off. I don't want to have to start thinking about what I click through on Metafilter in case I start supporting some advertiser I don't want to or buying some little twit things on Amazon involuntarily. This, to me, is self-posting with a mercenary twist. It's gotta be slapped down.

posted by dness2 at 7:03 PM on December 16, 2001


I'd just like to point out that anyone who wants to send me money is welcome to do so. Precious metals, publicly traded equities, and sex toys are also welcome.
posted by anapestic at 7:10 PM on December 16, 2001


I understand the reasoning behind not wanting people to put in their code if they have use an amazon link on a FPP, but is it also frowned upon to use the code in a comment within the discussion?

You have to ask? If someone wants to make money at Matt's time and expense, why not break into his server and offer affordable ColdFusion hosting?
posted by rcade at 7:15 PM on December 16, 2001


anapestic, I have a sex toy or two that's ceased to vibrate, as it were. Can I send you those in lieu of actual working models? I promise to run them through the dishwasher first.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:26 PM on December 16, 2001


You have to ask? If someone wants to make money at Matt's time and expense, why not break into his server and offer affordable ColdFusion hosting?

Yes, I did have to ask. At times people will include a relevant link to a page on an e-commerce site (amazon, bn, circuit city, whatever). Assume that there are a few people who decide to make a purchase after using the link. What is wrong with wanting some of that money to go into the hands of regular people (or mefi) instead of the corporation? (And I'm assuming it's a relevant link, not just something tossed up to drum up referral fees.)

posted by gluechunk at 7:27 PM on December 16, 2001


What is wrong with wanting some of that money to go into the hands of regular people (or mefi) instead of the corporation?

Nothing I think, as long as you are up-front about it. A disclaimer puts the choice back in the hands of the clicker, where it should be. I still think self-referral-links are cheesy, and should never be a FPP, but other links can be noble. As long as you alert people to the potential for supporting Matt, PETA, Scientologists, or someone's college fund, I wouldn't squawk.
posted by dness2 at 7:38 PM on December 16, 2001


Those were just examples by the way. One person's worthy cause is another's dreaded sore on society. Or some may believe that a particular business deserves the money, being the lesser of two evils.
posted by dness2 at 7:46 PM on December 16, 2001


I believe Matt's Associate ID is metafilter-20
posted by willnot at 8:47 PM on December 16, 2001


maybe the reason that i put my affiliate code was cuz i wanted to see how many people actually do buy VIBRATORS from AMAZON during CHRISTMAS because some anonymous poster pointed it out on a message board.

Why do I even have to try to sort your underlying motivations here? We don't know you or know if you are genuine. Whether you are taking part in buying some fluffy dice for your car, contributing to the charity of your choice, or taking part in some "personal research" for your own pet project, or....(The list goes on)

The fact is that people are meant to be informed about these sorts of things. When I click on a link, I don't want to wonder about any hidden agendas the poster might or might not have.

"talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. the post was about dildoes on amazon, now the post is about dildoes on here."

[Rolls eyes]

I would be chuffed to see people using Matt's referrer ID on this site. I think there could be some problems whereby new users might see it happening, not understand who Matt is, or whatever, and think it's an ok policy to use their own referrer. If Matt doesn't consider this to be a problem, then I'm ok with the idea.
posted by lucien at 9:04 PM on December 16, 2001


dness2: I have to disagree with the post being borderline. I think it is interesting that Amazon sells that kind of device. I knew that they were the company with everything under one roof, but I'm sure that most of us can agree that we didn't know that everything included the Vibratex Rabbit Habit.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:29 PM on December 16, 2001


I think it is interesting that Amazon sells that kind of device.

As pointed out in the original thread, amazon is not selling it, drugstore.com is. And drugstore.com has had a "Sexual Well-Being store" for around six months now.
posted by gluechunk at 10:17 PM on December 16, 2001


eyeballkid: I have to agree that the Vibratex Rabbit Habit is a find. It even feels good to say. Singlehandedly, pun intended, it makes the post cross the border.
But I am sure you would agree that the Vibratex Cactus would have added more meat to the post. Or perhaps a Lifesaver?
The simple fact is that this stuff is all over the web, including the Yahoo (this one is weird) and Amazon auctions, and it could have been discussed with so much more.. depth.

posted by dness2 at 11:35 PM on December 16, 2001


rotflmfao. *wiping away tears*. It's late. That was funny.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:44 AM on December 17, 2001


What is wrong with wanting some of that money to go into the hands of regular people (or mefi) instead of the corporation?

The problem is that the Amazon linker is making money for himself (or for a favorite charity) at someone else's expense. Matt's been extremely slow to turn MetaFilter into a commercial site. Posting Amazon affiliate links without his input or permission is one of the most offensive things anyone has tried to pull off on this site. Nice job, tsarfan.
posted by rcade at 5:49 AM on December 17, 2001


"...one of the most offensive things anyone has tried to pull off on this site."

Well, there was that time ZachsMind peed in the pool....
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:01 AM on December 17, 2001


whup-ass.
posted by rebeccablood at 7:11 AM on December 17, 2001


The link was entertaining and could have sparked an interesting discussion about sex and the internet and viable businesses.

But using a personal referer is tacky. I don't buy the 'wanted to track how many people used the link' argument.

I take umbrage with the September 11 crack, though. But maybe that's just me being a local.
posted by rich at 12:07 PM on December 17, 2001


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