Update On Our Amazon Associate Program, and Thanks

Back in July 2012 Patrick announced that, though we still won't run advertisements, we'd started an Amazon Associates program to defray costs. The Amazon Associates link is on the right-hand sidebar, or through here. If you follow it, and buy something at Amazon, we get a cut.

I'm writing with an update.

1. You've ordered 1,255 items through the link, at a cost of $27,417.50, and we've gotten a cut of $1,680.14.

2. There's no way to tell who ordered what; we can only see what's been ordered in the aggregate. Some of you have awesome tastes. Some of you have terrible taste, defined as "different than mine." Some of you are either having a lot of sex or need to lubricate an aircraft carrier drydock.

3. Our costs are hosting and traffic monitoring. Earlier we were on a virtual server; lately we are on a private server. This has dramatically improved general reliability and performance during high-traffic periods. It's more expensive, though.

4. I'm still calculating the total costs during the period since July. Once I do, I'll report it. Anything above the hosting and traffic monitoring costs will be donated to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. If there's not enough left for the FIRE to please me, I'll net it up out of my own pocket to at least $500.

5. Nothing from the Amazon Associates program is going to stay in our pocket for beer or barbecue or movies or anything. I'll use it to repay out-of-pocket hosting and monitoring costs, and send the excess to FIRE. I'm not using it to reimburse other hard costs, like PACER and telephone calls and the like.

6. We very much appreciate the people who have used Popehat's Amazon Associates link. As traffic has increased the monetary costs of running Popehat have grown into the that-makes-a-dent range. The social and soul-related costs are another story.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Nicholas Weaver says

    Some of you are either having a lot of sex or need to lubricate an aircraft carrier drydock.

    For the latter, they should be using either a silicone or petroleum based lubrication. Water based lubricants are simply ineffective in aquatic environments.

  2. Zac Morris says

    BTW, there is no link for me on the "right". I see the text "You know the drill. If you buy stuff through this link, then our creature lives!" But no part of it is linkable. Also, the link for the Blawg 100, is an address not found error.

  3. Zac Morris says

    Nicholas Weaver: Petroleum lubricants BAD! As for silicone it needs to be said to take extra care in the shower; else fall down go boom.

  4. Earle says

    @Zac Morris

    You may have a plugin that blocks the Amazon picture and link. Teh Pothate crew might consider embedding the link in a part of that text as well.

    Will be remembering (I hope) to click the associate link before I get some gear for my raft. That stuff is never cheap.

  5. Rhonda Lea Kirk Fries says

    @Zac Morris, you are using Adblock, yes? You need to turn it off to see the Amazon link. Or you could just whitelist Popehat.

    Right now, my Amazon orders are helping a friend with Stage 4 breast cancer build her son's college fund. Still, this is my favorite site on the internet, so I may use the link now and then anyway.

  6. Colin says


    Adblock Plus (at least on chrome for me) blocks that think, so you might want to white-list Popehat.

  7. says

    The Amazon widget will be invisible by default if you use Ghostery or Ad-Block Plus (or who knows what all). You can overcome this gross injustice by creating a custom exception to your blocking policy in your blocking plugin.

    For those who prefer not to gaze into the face of the widgilisk, I have also added a hyperlink to the relevant caption.

  8. Ben E. says

    Love this blog, and had somehow been totally unaware of your Amazon Associates program. I buy lots of books on Amazon… like, maybe time for an intervention lots of books. I'll have to remember to route traffic through that link.

  9. JWH says

    You run a good blog.

    This, line, though:

    The social and soul-related costs are another story

    Reminds me of a certain Keanu Reeves movie.

  10. jeremy7600 says

    I at first thought, how do I help bring that donation to FIRE up to $500?

    and then I realized, why doesnt my dumbass just donate directly :)

  11. jeremy7600 says

    And I second Chris R's question, how do we donate beer?

    I have a few tasty brews in mind.

  12. JR says

    Is it kosher to request the addition of NewEgg's associate program? I don't use Amazon, but would still like to contribute.

  13. Luke G says

    I third it! What if we WANT you to use your free Amazon money for a beer-related barbeque?

  14. says

    I'm glad I can help in some small way. While I don't buy things from amazon often (due mostly to a lack of money) I try to make all my amazon purchases through this link. When my husband returns to school in the fall, I will make sure he buys his books through the link.

  15. BaronLurk says

    For some of us who read purely for the entertainment value and want to help, how about a method to donate directly to the defray-the-hosting-costs fund (in lieu of the 6% of purchases)?

  16. says

    I suggest that the Popehat folks return the excess (if there is any) to FIRE, of course.

    That said, I'd be happy to donate some wonderful homebrew to the SoCal contingent of the site at a beer barbecue… I've clearly gotten enough joy (okay, schadenfreude) out of reading the Prenda and Carreon posts to justify it ;-)

    Needs to be done on-site here in OC, though, as my kegerator is heavy :-)

    (And I'd wager dollars to donuts that someone deliberately ordered lube through the link just to make Ken wonder…)

  17. George William Herbert says

    (raising eyebrow)

    Someone ELSE on this site has an aircraft carrier?

    Wow. What are the odds.

  18. says


    This, line, though:

    The social and soul-related costs are another story

    Reminds me of a certain Keanu Reeves movie.

    Oh, come on. "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey" wasn't that bad.

  19. Kevin says

    Hey look, you use dreamhost for hosting as well. Looks like my server is a couple of racks over from yours, I will see if I can make it wave.

  20. Rhonda Lea Kirk Fries says

    "…how about a method to donate directly to the defray-the-hosting-costs fund…"

    +1 to this.

  21. slambie says

    Gosh darnnit, I did not mean to use the Amazon link here to order that truckload of lube!

    Seriously though, I try to use the Popehat link whenever making significant purchases from Amazon. The suggestion to add a Newegg affiliation is awesome. The slambie family spent several thousand dollars on Newegg computer parts last December and while we don't plan on doing that again for a couple of years, it would have been nice if Popehat had gotten a cut from that.

  22. says

    If you're wondering who the hell is using your affiliate program to order 1940s swing music and Japanese doom metal, that would be me.

    I ordered a couple of DVDs yesterday and kicked myself because I forgot to go through Popehat. I'll be placing a big order soon, so I'll try to remember and use your site.

    Doom metal fans: Orchid, Church of Misery, and Kadavar all have new albums coming out this month. If you buy through Amazon, you can get some kickass music and support Popehat's shenanigans at the same time. Pardon my French, but that's pretty fucking awesome.

  23. C B says

    Might I suggest holding some money (a month or three's worth) in reserve? You may get linked to by a big site or break a story that goes viral, and costs could spike precipitously and unpredictably.

    (BTW – Came here a couple months back via Ars due to the in-depth info on the Prenda saga; have stayed for the wit and clarity of thought.)

  24. Josh C says

    Two points: first, it's probably worth keeping a buffer, on the off chance that you get repeatedly wanged/farked/instalanched/etc. next cycle.

    Second, when I went through that link, it was to send money to popehat. Not to FIRE. I like FIRE, but beer, barbecue, and movies for y'all would be closer to what I thought I was supporting. That's not a criticism, but it is a datapoint.

  25. Jag says

    "…how about a method to donate directly to the defray-the-hosting-costs fund…"

    Good idea and it reaches a threshold amount, we can get a picture of Ken on a pony.

  26. sorrykb says

    Nothing from the Amazon Associates program is going to stay in our pocket for beer or barbecue…

    A Popehat barbecue would be awesome. And extremely argumentative.

  27. mcinsand says

    I'm so sorry. I wish I had used the link last week when I ordered a mattress. Even after shipping, the deal was worth it. Before that, the only things I ordered were pork boullion, pull fireworks, and a thousand 'for rectal use only' stickers, but you wouldn't have gotten much off of a $30 order.

  28. perlhaqr says

    Some of you are either having a lot of sex or need to lubricate an aircraft carrier drydock.

    Did someone buy the 55 gallon drum of lube?

  29. says

    A Popehat barbecue would be awesome. And extremely argumentative.

    I think we'll see a PC Sim of a Popehat BBQ before we'll see an actual carbon community Popehat BBQ. The thread announcing a real-life BBQ would be 500 comments of mesquite grilled vs. hickory smoked debate.

    For the record, I am firmly in the mesquite camp.

  30. Lucy says

    I rarely shop. When I have, I have gone through the link though. I would donate a few dollars to a tip jar that goes directly to Popehat.

    Any abundance is well deserved.

    Sorry about your souls and friends though. That sucks.

  31. David W says

    At a guess, Ken & Co. would prefer not to bother with taxes and dividing the money fairly if they were to take any income from the site. An even split would leave them each with $(200-hosting costs), after all, not exactly a fortune.

  32. CTD says

    I've cut my bandwidth usage in half and my HTTP requests by 75% using CloudFlare. (I promise I'm not a paid shill!) It, or another CDN, might be worth looking into if bandwidth costs are an issue. Keep up the awesome work!

  33. AlphaCentauri says

    Maybe you can have an affiliate agreement with a beer-and-barbecue supplier, too, and those who wish can have an extra order sent to Ken's office ;)

  34. AlphaCentauri says

    Oh, and I second the motion on Cloudflare. Not a paid shill, either, though I did get a cool t-shirt for beta-testing.

  35. JLA Girl says

    Ken, did you guys find out if orders from other Amazon sites (like .ca) are coming through? I tried following the link through Popehat to .com then on to .ca. I'd be the Bioshock Infinite and Johnathan Maberry purchaser. (I'm not shy. I like what I like. And seriously, anyone who likes zombie/military mash ups should read Patient Zero. I'm done shilling now.)

  36. Daniel Neely says

    "Did someone buy the 55 gallon drum of lube?"

    I'm not sure what's more disturbing: Someone actually needing that much lube; or someone being willing to spend $1200 to troll Ken?

  37. says

    @Josh C:

    when I went through that link, it was to send money to popehat. Not to FIRE. I like FIRE, but beer, barbecue, and movies for y'all would be closer to what I thought I was supporting.


    Josh C makes a convincing point.

    I mean, convincing to me

  38. says


    A Popehat barbecue would be awesome. And extremely argumentative.

    This would be kind of cool. An LA-area Popehat meetup, and another east coast one?

    As I'm anonymous, I'd have to dress appropriately

  39. says

    Were those today, JLA Girl? Usually it doesn't show until the next day.

    No, @Ken, they were around March 12, when I emailed you on her behalf to ask you to check for them…. ;)

  40. says

    CloudFlare might make sense if we ever move to hosting multimedia files or other large assets. Thanks for the pointer.

  41. says

    JR, it's kosher to suggest any other additional form of donation to the site.

    We're unlikely to take any of them up unless it can be demonstrated that it would be a good replacement (i.e. it would generate more revenue for defraying costs and contributions to worthy charities) than Amazon.

    It would have to replace Amazon, not supplement it. I don't think Newegg fits that bill.

    We're not likely to choke the real estate with any more crabgrass.

  42. says

    @David, I've found that even without large media assets, just serving a couple of graphic images, the theme sprite, and jquery.js can make up a surprisingly large portion of my blog bandwidth. Or one oversized image or scanned PDF in a post that makes the reddit front page. I switched all my blogs over to Cloudflare's free service, and it took a lot of load off my VPS.

  43. AlphaCentauri says

    Even if it's not about expense, there's responsiveness. If a huge number of people all want to view this blog at once — say, for instance, if Clark were to suggest that Muslims aren't worshipping the real God — it can really slow page loads for all the people trying to view the site. It's exactly cases like that where there are lots of cached pages on other servers that can respond to the demand.

  44. Greg says

    Ken, thanks for the heads up about the Amazon link. We're frequent shoppers there, so I'm glad I have a way, however small, to help defray costs. It's the least I can do as a thank you for the great work you do in standing up to bullies.

  45. JR says

    @Patrick Non-White
    Guess it can't be helped. I very much like the format as it is. Uncluttered, clear, and concise. Until you get to the comments section that is. :)

  46. VPJ says

    Thanks for the reminder. I was going to pick up Lukianoff's latest anyway. Killed two birds with one stone by going through the link here instead of my kindle app.

  47. JLA Girl says

    @Ken and @David

    Sorry, sorry. I posted before reading David's follow up to me. I'll be over in the corner.

  48. Merissa says

    I've forgotten, but I promise to do better. As an ahead, I'll say that any nail polish purchased is probably me.

  49. JR says

    I might be able to provide the venue for a cookout in Georgia. We have two barbecues and a swimming pool at the hotel I manage. It's not much, but I'd be willing to ask around for those used to finer accomodations.

  50. WysiWyg says

    @Patrick Non-White;

    perhaps a link to a page where you list all the ways to help out instead?

  51. ZarroTsu says

    Yeah it was me. I'm in the process of lubricating an aircraft carrier drydock. Sexually.

  52. VPJ says

    Yeah it was me. I'm in the process of lubricating an aircraft carrier drydock. Sexually

    Is that an F-14 in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

  53. BaronLurk says

    I'm in the corner, trying to figure out how you guys can get a cut of all of the Prenda-related popcorn sales…

  54. Zac Morris says

    Yup, AdBlockPlus it was! Been using it so long I don't even think about it. Adding the link to text is a big help, I'll try to remember to use it now! :-)

  55. Zac Morris says

    Yeah, just view'ed source and saw you're popehat.com hosting jquery.js! Are they charging you for the bandwidth of all the wp-content includes? If so change those .js URLs to a CDN URLs.

    is the same version you're using.

  56. says

    A Popehat barbecue would be awesome. And extremely argumentative.

    That might actually happen. Two of the authors may be in a large southern city on the same day later this month.

    If it happens, they've discussed throwing it open to readers.

    If it happens.

  57. says

    @Zac Morris

    you're popehat.com hosting jquery.js! … change those .js URLs to a CDN URLs.

    Ex: //ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.8.3/jquery.min.js…

    Yeah. What could possibly go wrong? ;)

    (Thanks for the suggestion. Believe it or not, we're well versed in these techniques and have made some deliberate decisions….)

  58. efemmeral says

    Adding the hyperlink was elegant; it solves the Can't-See-It problem without a tedious tutorial.

    Now to solve the Can't-Remember-To-Use-The-Link problem. For those who depend upon seeing an Amazon bookmark perhaps you could add a sentence to the hyperlink such as, "Want a Popehat/Amazon bookmark? Just drag this link onto your bookmarks bar." God willing, you won't have to explain they can rename it by right-clicking and selecting edit but I wouldn't put money on it.

  59. Luke G says

    @JLA Girl- check out his Pine Deep books, pretty solid Stephen-King-reminiscent supernatural horror.

    Oh, and unlike everyone else recommending products I AM a paid shill, just not a hyperbolic one.

  60. says

    Thanks for adding the simple link to Amazon; I've replaced my old Amazon toolbar link with yours, and ordered 185 bucks' worth of things I don't really need.

    Thanks also for all the good work you do.

  61. JLA Girl says

    @Luke G — read 'em. I thought they were better than Stephen King (but then King's never been my fave)