September 14, 2009 AT 8:24 pm

Adafruit has never and will never do any affiliate programs, period…

Pt 2157
Jameco sent us this email today, below, we are going to politely decline (don’t worry, we like Jameco) – we thought this would be a good opportunity to make our policy on affiliate programs crystal clear – WE DO NOT DO THEM AND NEVER WILL.

My hope is that the name Jameco rings a bell. We certainly know who you are because we’ve observed that your website has been referring traffic to our site for some time now. We would like to propose a partnership that’s designed to both grow the amount of traffic you send to Jameco and compensate you at the same time.

We have recently launched an affiliate marketing program that pays approved affiliated web sites a commission on web visitors you refer to Jameco that place an order.  The whole process is managed by a third party company, AvantLink, which provides the tracking software and pays the commissions.

We would like to offer you a 5% commission on all orders placed within 90 days of the referral. I would like to set up a very brief call to explain the program in a bit more detail and discuss with you strategies for increasing the traffic you send us and thus the commission check.

Please respond with a couple of half-hour windows so we can schedule a call.

Our promise to our readers and customers:

Any time we post anything, link to anything, it’s because we like it!

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30 Comments

  1. You tell em!!!!!!!!!!
    Power to the people!!!!

  2. Seriously, you always have to hate on the blinking Christmas tree kits. I think I like them! I would definitely buy one for the holidays. Perhaps a spruced up version – ladyada style.

  3. SPRUCED up version? Ha!

  4. You know, it’s possible to make a blinking Christmas tree from a SpokePOV or Game of Life kit.

  5. Here is another vote for blinking Christmas tree kits. I bought one at Maker Faire two years ago and was thinking the other day that I wanted another one.

  6. woo hoo!

    but i think next april fools, blinking x-mas tree kits

  7. It’s nice to know that not everything is for sale

  8. RGB Christmas tree kit anyone? I would design one if school didn’t suck up my life…

    But honestly anyone? I would buy a kit

  9. This is why we heart you.

    Although, I’m curious to know, where’s the evil in taking a commission for legitimately referring a sale?

  10. hey @ell, it’s not “evil” we never said that :)

    we dont mind referrals at all…but only when they’re clear. however, we dont like it when the referrals are hidden in a URL, which is what affiliate programs usually are. because that way you can’t tell if the review or link is just to skim money or not. we just wanted everyone to know exactly what to expect from us, our site, and what’s ahead. we heart our customers, thanks for the kind words and support!

    thanks everyone!

  11. Good criminy, no blinking Christmas trees! Not to be a hater, but it’s got to be the least interesting kit to learn from. Plus you can get the trees damn near anywhere else.

    Grinch, grinch, grinch…

  12. Integrity! That’s the word. Sure don’t see much of it any more. My admiration for you, Limor, continues to grow. Kudos to all at adafruit.

  13. Hmmm…it’s interesting that the focus of the comments is mainly on the blinking Christmas tree kits. I guess I’ll weigh in on this as well.

    Christmas tree lights are awesome. I am both fascinated by and will always be supporting blinking Christmas lights. However not those cheesy ones that ladyada is hating on. I have to take her side on that. I’m talking some serious ones that the hardcore Xmas light enthusiasts set up. And I’m hoping to add myself to those ranks very soon.

    And good show on the affiliate program. 5% commission isn’t worth trading your integrity for. I’d say 8% is my minimum ;)

  14. I pine fir a spruced up version of a blinky Christmas tree.

    And I think your (non) affiliate pledge is noble.

  15. Well, I don’t see a problem with affiliate links, as long as they are clear.

    Why not, as have your cake and eat it too kind of way, have both?

    Have the main part of the post have the non-affiliated link, and then below, at the end of the post, include a “And here are the same parts with an affiliated link, if you want help us out” section.

  16. @cde – that sounds like a lot of additional work, we’d rather make kits.

    we don’t think we should have “a main part” of a post with non-affiliate links and then some other new part with affiliate links.

    it’s not really possible to make it clear since the URLs are often pretty cryptic, most people do not review each link before the click it and we also do want to litter our site with AFFILIATE LINK on every link to parts.

    all that said, having cake and eating it does makes sense to us, there are not many uses for cake besides eating it.

  17. Aww, have a little respect for the blinky Christmas tree kit (or even the LED dice kit that Jameco sells). When many of us started out we didn’t have access to these wonderful kits designed by MIT-degreed engineers.

    I admire and appreciate your stand on affiliate links, but I wouldn’t have a problem with them at all if you wanted to take advantage of them. I want Adafruit Industries to succeed and thrive, and that takes cash flow. I know you wouldn’t link something you didn’t think was worthy. Your position on blinky Christmas trees proves that.

  18. Limor,

    No opinion on the blinky Christmas trees from me. However, thank you for declining another sketchy scheme to separate your customers from their hard earned money. There are so many scams etc. out there its hard to know whom to trust anyone any more. Its great to know any links you provide are an honest recommendation etc. The idea of making money by selling good products and providing good customer service seems to have taken a back seat in our economy. Kudos again to you.

  19. There seems to be a big market opportunity for someone to come in and sweep up on next-generation Christmas tree kits! Hopefully an up-and-coming kit maker is listening ;)

  20. jameco email us today, ask why we were not interested – here is our reply:

    ————————
    affiliate programs would break the relationship with our customers and readers that we have worked very hard to develop. our readers and customers trust the places and companies we link / send them to. if there are affiliate agreements, cryptic urls and unclear relationships with companies, that trust erodes.

    we know that we send a lot of people to jameco’s site, it’s because we like many jameco products and have the best products and prices in some categories. while there would be short term gains of maybe a few thousand dollars with affiliate agreements, our readers would then need question why we link to some companies and not others.
    ————————

  21. Love it… Well said.

  22. It seems to me it’s to Jameco’s advantage to not pester you any further about affiliation. You already link and drive traffic to them. This way they can keep what would normally be your cut.

  23. Go Ada! We appreciate journalistic standards in this day and age.

    (Yeah, bloggers should read the journalism book and take it to heart. Especially in an era when real news outlets have burned that book long ago.)

  24. I seem to recall back when Popular Electronics was still in print them running some pretty boring designs. They ran a christmas tree light, and another I remember was a model rocket launch timer that used a 555. IMO, that’s why Popular Electronics, Electronics Now, et al, are out of print and Nuts and Volts is still around. Nuts and Volts prints much more interesting projects.

  25. Thank you Limor.

    I refer your site to my friends and family without having to think for a moment that they might see, or read, or be directed to something they might not appreciate.
    I trust you!

    Thank you very much!

    Phil

  26. I don’t get it – why would you be linking to Jameco to begin with? You can do much better with the 500% markup on kits than a measly 5% from Jameco. You seem vehemently opposed to this idea, yet you don’t articulate why. I agree that affiliates are lame but would not fault you for using them. You are not wikipedia – your bias is toward your business, as it should be. Your tutorials and blog drive your kit sales, and that is similar to the affiliate concept. Anyhow, I think you do excellent work.

  27. good for you, love the blog, keep up the good work!!!!

  28. You guys rock so hard. Thank you.

  29. Thank You!

  30. Respectfully disagree. The target site is going to charge the clicker the same price either way, so all you are doing is forfeiting the money to them.

    Why not donate all the affiliate money to charity? You can even have the readers (or just the clickers) vote each month on a charity to give it to.

    For full disclosure, add an asterix next to every outbound affiliate link. Clicking on it brings people to a page explaining all this and offering to collect a vote.

    I think this avoids any conflict of interest *and* effectively gives your readers a discount on their purchases since they are getting the karma on the donation.

    I’ve been donating affiliate money on my website for like 10 years and have never had a complaint. It can generate some serious donations too (well, much less lately), especially from Amazon links.

    -josh

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