I’ve fielded a question several times over the past couple years, because I occasionally mention that you can support the site by making purchases on Amazon. But I probably haven’t done a great job of explaining exactly how that works. A lot of websites use the Amazon Associates program, but here’s how it helps:
Step #1: I create ads on my end. Sometimes those ads are related to book reviews, and sometimes they’re recommendation ads based on categories that I pick. Most of you are interested in sports, and not many of you use makeup, so I choose appropriate channels. Then I post those ads permanently at the bottom of the page, or they appear temporarily in posts that eventually get bumped down into the nether regions.
Step #2: You click. Whether you like what you see advertised or you just want to buy something random on Amazon, you click on the ads. It doesn’t matter what you buy. Once you arrive at Amazon and make a purchase (generally within 24 hours after clicking on the ad), you’ve contributed to the site. If you leave your Amazon tab open for too long, then the cookies disappear and it’s no longer connected to Touch the Banner. So if you want to contribute, make sure to complete the transaction.
Step #3: Commissions. Amazon has various programs that can be used for commissions, including referrals to particular products or services. Chances are slim that I’m going to convert you to Amazon Prime or one of their streaming services, so I generally avoid those types of conversion ads. Once your purchased items are shipped, I receive a 4% to 12% commission based on what you bought. This is Amazon’s way of paying for ad space without giving out the money up front. They only pay when something is actually purchased. So if you buy a $100 item, anywhere from $4 to $12 goes into my account.
Step #4: The site benefits. I have no delusions of getting rich, but it’s nice to be compensated a little for the time spent on the website. On average, I probably spend a minimum of two hours per day writing, updating offer boards, culling information from Twitter, watching film, etc. But in addition to compensation, roughly 20% of site income goes into keeping the site running (servers, tech support, domain names, premium widgets, site upgrades, etc.), and another chunk goes into business taxes. I also have intentions of tweaking a few things to improve the reader experience, so hopefully it will circle back to you in some way, too.
The best thing about Amazon Associates is that you don’t pay anything extra. You get what you want from Amazon, and you don’t have to worry about setting up a Paypal account, giving me your credit card information, feeling guilty for not contributing, etc. Everyone wins.
If you want a little more insight into how the program works, here’s a short video: