Amazon associate account for Metafilter October 26, 2005 11:52 PM   Subscribe

What if there were an Amazon associate account for the benefit of Metafilter?
posted by gorillawarfare to Feature Requests at 11:52 PM (23 comments total)

Many AskMe threads involve links to Why not have a Metafilter Amazon Associates account, so that any purchases made after following the links could make money for a good cause? Possible causes include mathowie's bank account, the Metafilter scholarship fund, some other charity of choice, or whatever else we can think of.

The special links could either be hand-built by those who felt like doing it, or facilitated by some new posting interface tweak. I can't find the details on what the links need to look like without signing in as an associate, but I expect a normal link could be associate-ified very simply.

What do you think?
posted by gorillawarfare at 11:53 PM on October 26, 2005

I think it's a new and innovative idea and surely no one has ever suggested this in the last five years.
posted by keswick at 11:59 PM on October 26, 2005

Oh dear. Perfectly right. I was so excited about my amazing innovation I actually didn't even think to search.

There's at least this, and probably others. I'll read those, and apologize for not doing this first.
posted by gorillawarfare at 12:02 AM on October 27, 2005

OK, I've found three threads with mention of this idea: 1 2 3. It seems that, in general, there's been broad support for it.

The nay-sayers have included mathowie himself, who's said that he'd prefer that the money go to a charity than to him, and that he thinks it'd be of limited use, and obnoxious to see the modified URLs. It's also been suggested that having links with an approved referrer code might mislead naive readers into thinking that they can use their own referrer codes when posting.

I'd still like to see us taking back some of the money we're making for Amazon. Mathowie still knows better than I do whether this would likely generate a sum worth the trouble, but I suspect it would.

If an outside charity is preferred (the previously suggested givequick seems defunct), the EFF has broad appeal, and publicizes their referrer code here. As for confusing unwitting posters, we could add another line to the post pages advising against including private referral IDs. This seems like as good a pony request as any to me.
posted by gorillawarfare at 12:41 AM on October 27, 2005

It would be interesting to have some kind of api to collect all those mentions and set 'em up on a page with click-through cover images, and edition info etc.. It would be fun to see a collection of all books that have recommended (of couse a few would slip through that are only here for mocking purposes, but that's fun too). Sort of a standing bookstore of "MeFi Recommends".
posted by taz at 3:10 AM on October 27, 2005

I fully described a "mefi recommends" system in a few metatalk posts a year or two ago and everyone wasn't too into it so I left the nearly done code to gather dust.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:37 AM on October 27, 2005

mefi recommends is the Harriet Miers of ponies.
posted by mullacc at 7:30 AM on October 27, 2005

Matt, it seems like easy money. I always figured you got your cut. I say do it, Baby's gonna need new shoes.
posted by theora55 at 8:09 AM on October 27, 2005

What's the link to the thread where "mefi recommends" was "eh'd" to death? I kinda like it. But then I'm a book geek. (Not like there's too many of those around here, no sirree.)
posted by matildaben at 1:26 PM on October 27, 2005

Mefi Recommends discussion. People were surprisingly strongly opposed.

There's been little reaction to my original question. Does this mean no one will freak out if I start adding the EFF referrer id to my Amazon links?
posted by gorillawarfare at 1:41 PM on October 27, 2005

I guess using a MetaFilter referrer on MetaFilter makes sense. But personally, I don't like the idea of referrer links. I post Amazon links all the time, in my blog and on various sites, and I've never used them. I'm a capitalist. Amazon provides me with a great selection at competitive prices with above-average service. I don't have any objection to them profiting from my business.

Having said that, most items I buy from Amazon are sharply discounted. I hold items in my shopping cart or wish list until I'm ready to order >$25 and I always select free shipping. Plus I use their search engine occasionally, so I get the (small) A9 Instant Reward. Despite the volume of business I give them, I doubt they make much money from me. I don't begrudge them what's left.
posted by cribcage at 1:59 PM on October 27, 2005

I've said this before, but fuck Amazon. Must we commercialize every last nook and cranny of our existence? Why people would have warm and fuzzies for a freaking shopping mall never ceases to bewilder me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:26 PM on October 27, 2005

Yeah, fuck that Amazon shit. If I want to read "War & Peace," I make my own paper and WRITE THAT SHIT MYSELF. Fuck that selling book shit, man.
posted by keswick at 7:32 PM on October 27, 2005

I just read everything on the communist internet.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:32 PM on October 27, 2005

Fuck that selling book shit, man.

I get the warm and fuzzies for the library. It gives me every book I need, almost everytime. And if it doesn't have the book, I might consider buying it, but I prefer a real store rather than an online store. Course, there is something to be said for cheap books and low delivery costs...
posted by ashbury at 8:44 PM on October 27, 2005

No offense, by the way, gorillawarfare. Just a hobbyhorse of mine.

keswick, I generally ignore you, mostly because it's eemed to me that the highest heights you to reach in your participation here are repetitions of tired jokes from the SA Forums, punctuated by calling people names (something I also enjoy from time to time), dropping a one-word comment or two, then posting an image macro from 2002 (and from SA, again). This time there actually seems to be some content to your comment, unclever as it may be. Congratulations!

Nonetheless, I think I will continue my policy of ignoring you.

Also, fuck Amazon. If you buy books, support your local bookseller (or anything else-seller -- it's been a long time since Amazon's just been a bookstore), even if it costs you an extra buck or two.

(I will say that I have enjoyed trying to memeify 'suck it, haters', perversely, precisely because I thought it was so dumb.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:11 PM on October 27, 2005

There's a local doughnut shop where I used to stop every morning; and at least twice a week, they would run out of chocolate-frosted doughnuts before nine o'clock. Meanwhile they always had a full tray left with cinnamon doughnuts. When Krispy Kreme came into the area, I switched -- because they always have chocolate-frosted.

I'm a conservative and a capitalist, and I believe strongly in supporting small business. But I also believe in marketplace principles; and when Mom and Pop aren't even trying to meet their customers' demands, the chains deserve to win. I believe in community -- but they have to earn my business like anyone else. I don't support them "just because."

The fact is, Amazon sells CDs that I can't buy anywhere in the Boston area, even if I were willing to pay $18.98 per disc. Amazon didn't earn its success by offering cheap prices; if you recall its early advertisements, the message was, "If you want it, we have it."

People who equate Amazon with Wal-Mart are idiots; and despising all corporations simply because they're corporations is every bit as intellectually bankrupt as any other prejudice.
posted by cribcage at 10:51 PM on October 27, 2005

Broad brush ya got there, cribcage!

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:10 AM on October 28, 2005

Damn, I am getting bitchy these days. Pre-emptive apology from me: sorry.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:30 AM on October 28, 2005

No offense taken, stavros.

All this debate about the merits of shopping at Amazon or elsewhere seems quite beside the point to me. I wasn't advocating that we should buy more or less from Amazon. Rather, I was noting that we already drive (what I expect is) a fair amount of business their way, and that they're offering to give us or a cause of our choosing money in return. Taking advantage of this offer would not be preventing them from profiting, nor would it be begrudging them anything, any more than, say, using coupons at the grocery store is.

Stavros, your linked-to point is a fine one. Rather than trying to cash in on the business we're creating for Amazon, we could just stop giving them business. But Amazon is giving us a lot of information (for free), and I haven't found another source that's as reliably informative.

Anyway, there doesn't seem to be enough general support for a new policy about this right now, which is all right with me. At least now I know that, which is more than I knew when I started the thread.
posted by gorillawarfare at 11:36 AM on October 28, 2005

what cribcage said, re: amazon.

also, stavros, thanks for making it abundantly clear you Just Don't Get It.

[img macro]
posted by keswick at 12:50 PM on October 28, 2005

Oh, I get it. Problem is, I don't want it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:16 PM on October 28, 2005

There are tons of places to buy shit online. It's actually cool that Amazon offers a self-service-signup way to make money on referrals plus a leading site experience plus rich content about the shit you're buying. They are a store. But they're a very good one with lots of nifty features and a way to turn raw traffic into a small income. Not the kind of thing that would impress off-the-grid divas like stavos ;) but just the same...
posted by scarabic at 1:03 AM on October 29, 2005

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