The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 March 2007

The lines will not be blurred

Amazon.com is pushing "context links," yet another attempt to "monetize" blogging, and McGehee isn't buying:

When I see a link in the substantive, non-advertising content of a site, especially a blog, I think I have a right to expect that the link is related to the content, and isn't just a twisted form of product-placement advertising.

I could say the same here, except that it might require me to claim that I have, you know, content.

Posted at 7:30 AM to Blogorrhea


I turned it on today, but only after I figured out how to hack it so that the product links have a double-underline, not the single underline of real links. It's my blog, and I happen to like most of the things Amazon sells (books, music, DVDs, food processors, Visine), so generating links to things I talk about doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.

Especially if I get a little kickback from it. And I mean "little" - something like $10 per quarter, which I usually then spend on new books. I haven't put them in the RSS feed yet, but I might. I turned on Amazon's "preview" pop-ups for amazon links a long time ago, but even I rarely see them work. These I actually see. So far, they're amusing and non-obtrusive, but it's a simple rip-out of the page templates if they're otherwise.

Posted by: Matt at 4:14 PM on 27 March 2007

Well, if it works for you, that's a Good Thing, right? (And far be it from me to sneer at $40 a year.)

Posted by: CGHill at 4:40 PM on 27 March 2007

Matt's fix sounds like a good one, though I've seen the double-underline too on various sites and blogs. As a rule they don't lead to much of interest to me, so if I saw such a link on a blog where Matt's hack was in effect I don't know that I would recognize it as worth clicking.

My big concern about the context-link concept is a question of how relevant does my text have to be to the product being context-linked? I don't think that a post about the Chrysler 300 should lead to a website about a recent movie.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:36 AM on 28 March 2007

I dunno. You ever drive a 300?

I am always concerned about the conflation of content and advertising, though I'm pretty sure Matt's mods would address that issue sufficiently, and besides, not everyone is as blind as I am.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:41 AM on 28 March 2007