★ I help fund MetaFilter! April 8, 2019 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Did you know that there's a Chrome extension that will let you add Metafilter's Amazon affiliate code to every Amazon link you click? It also adds the tag every time you navigate directly to Amazon. It works on all international Amazon sites and a couple of other Amazon-related sites.

It's called Amazing Affiliate Link. Install it in Chrome and then in the extension enter the Affiliate ID metafilter-20.

The developer's site

I don't know how much MeFi makes from the affiliate tags - maybe a mod can answer that.

I'm not a shill for the developer, I just think this a nifty way to collect funds for our favorite site.
posted by bendy to MetaFilter-Related at 8:08 AM (24 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Metafilter is a good cause. Amazon, not so much.
posted by terrapin at 8:41 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Metafilter is a good cause. Amazon, not so much.

Yeah, it's a trade-off. But a lot of us use Amazon even though it's relatively evil. It could be worse, it could be WalMart.
posted by bendy at 8:51 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


We don't really need to get into ranking the ethics of our consumption under capitalism here do we?

If so, I'll roll up my sleeves, I guess.
posted by ODiV at 9:28 AM on April 8 [8 favorites]


No, let's please not.
posted by bendy at 9:44 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


Is there a similar thing for Safari? I would run that!
posted by wenestvedt at 10:36 AM on April 8


The guys who run this site are criminally asleep at the switch if they haven't already begun rewriting Amazon links with a referral URL. It's not against the rules to do so for content generated by their users.
posted by floam at 10:50 AM on April 8


Shop at smile.amazon.com if you don't have this extension, and you can have the percentage go to a desired charity rather than who controls your cookies/URLs. If you're entirely unaffiliated, Amazon just doesn't pay anything out at all.
posted by floam at 10:52 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


One would think an extension like this is something that would be like approximately 200% not allowed by the Amazon associates program TOS but what do I know.
posted by Soi-hah at 10:55 AM on April 8


Oh, this extension changes Amazon URLs outside of metafilter.com. That's totally not okay. That's malware. It must be against the terms and conditions.
posted by floam at 10:57 AM on April 8


Malware? What are you talking about?

This is an extension for people to put in their browsers if they wish to change the affiliate ID on Amazon URLs they visit. It's entirely voluntary and done with their consent.
posted by ODiV at 11:21 AM on April 8 [12 favorites]


The guys who run this site are criminally asleep at the switch if they haven't already begun rewriting Amazon links with a referral URL. It's not against the rules to do so for content generated by their users.

I... what?

MetaFilter has been quietly appending a referral code to all outgoing Amazon links for the last 13 years or so. It doesn't change the message or behavior of any of the content created by its users, and it was hashed out over a hundred or so (gross, fight-y, from-a-different-era-of-MeFi) comments back when it was first implemented.

Also, what are "the rules" that would be broken if, say, every outgoing link from user comments was redirected to zombo.com?
posted by Mayor West at 12:13 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


The guys who run this site are criminally asleep at the switch

Because they're not extracting maximum value from the community they run? I understand that this feels like a crime under late capitalism but I assure you, it isn't.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:15 PM on April 8 [47 favorites]


Just wait until I bring this to the board.
posted by ODiV at 12:19 PM on April 8 [8 favorites]


Because they're not extracting maximum value from the community they run? I understand that this feels like a crime under late capitalism but I assure you, it isn't.

Apparently I was unaware that this is already being done on Metafilter. So they are not incompetent by my standard I had earlier. It was a gross exaggeration to use the world criminal, but basically I just meant in light of the funding issues, it would be low-hanging fruit that hurts nobody.
posted by floam at 1:06 PM on April 8


I don't mean this is literally malware, however it's not an unheard of thing for people who had a IT guy fix their computer to discover that he secretly installed a browser extension that gives him profit on every Amazon purchase they make. It's not rare for actual malware from the Internet, either.

> Also, what are "the rules" that would be broken if, say, every outgoing link from user comments was redirected to zombo.com?

It's fine for Metafilter to modify their own users' comments. But a browser extension might violate the rules of Metafilter's affiliate agreement with Zombo.com, which says that they should only be paid for Zombo referrals Metafilter generated, and not those of users out there with software that forges referrals for unrelated, natural Zombo.com visits. They might violate terms by asking users to do this on their behalf.
posted by floam at 1:11 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


It seems theoretically like (low level, harmless, but nevertheless) fraud to claim you were "referred by" metafilter if you did not in fact, hear about it on metafilter. That is to say, I'm 100% down with adding the referrer to the link on metafilter links, less crazy about adding it to every spontaneous hit I make on Amazon that had nothing to do with metafilter.

Also, I don't love Amazon and feel no particular outrage about tricking them for a good cause. So, on balance, meh.
posted by ctmf at 2:42 PM on April 8


Tricks. As
Sucre and Shadow
the other end is that, so. Ya, if a mefi had a book or diamond tip knitting needles for sale, why not.
posted by clavdivs at 4:24 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Wow, all that time I worked in IT, I could have supported my favorite charities. I'm not as devious as I thought.

Done. For anyone else, right-click on the extension iocn in the toolbar, choose option, enter metafilter-20.
posted by theora55 at 5:49 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


I understand why people would do this, but I feel I would be acting unethically if I claimed a referral when I had arrived at Amazon through some other means.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:48 PM on April 8


Ethics aside, this seems like the kind of thing Amazon is going to frown upon. They don't like paying referral fees to anybody who wasn't actually responsible for purchases that wouldn't have otherwise happened. And they're notoriously trigger-happy (although not reliably so) about shutting down merchant accounts at the slightest hint of fraud.

Per the official policies:
All Special Links must be accessed directly from your Site. [...]

Except as agreed between you and us in a separate written agreement referencing this Section 5, you will not use any Program Content or Special Link, or otherwise link to an Amazon Site, on or in connection with: (a) any client-side software application (e.g., a browser plug-in, helper object, toolbar, extension, component, or any other application executable or installable by an end user) on any device, including computers, mobile phones, tablets, or other handheld devices (other than Approved Mobile Applications) [...]

You will not attempt to circumvent the Fee Statement or artificially increase your fees. For example, you cannot cause any page of an Amazon Site to open in a customer’s browser other than as a result of the customer clicking on a Special Link on your Site.
On top of that, it would be very easy for Amazon to figure out which affiliate purchases actually came from metafilter.com and which ones came from other domains, if they cared to look.

Given that cortex has already received a nastygram over what sounds like a much more minor issue than this, I think this browser extension is much more likely to hurt the site's revenue than help it.
posted by teraflop at 7:29 PM on April 8 [8 favorites]


I never, ever EVER shop at amazon. I don't think anyone should. Please stop doing this.
posted by Violet Hour at 9:54 PM on April 8


If I wanted to make MetaFilter a beneficiary of any shopping I do through Amazon Smile, how would I do that?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 10:12 PM on April 9


You can't, because Metafilter is a for-profit business.
posted by floam at 1:48 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


My concern about spending much time and energy optimizing Amazon referral income, especially from MeFites who genuinely care about the site, is that it's giving out the "warm fuzzies" of donation too cheaply (in fact, for free).
posted by cogitron at 5:14 PM on April 12


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