Maria Popova - have you made $1M on affiliate ads while soliciting $500k in donations for your “ad-free” site?
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Maria Popova is a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree... She detailed a scenario in which a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist was offered money from Xerox to write an article. I sent her a message to ask for clarity in what she meant, given that I was aware of her practice of putting affiliate advertising links in her articles while at the same time asking users at the end of each article to donate to her site by telling them that she runs an ad-free site that is subsidized by user contributions ... The Brain Pickings “Support” page reads: “Keeping it all ad-free…means it’s subsidized by the generous support of readers like you.” ... Let’s use this to make the assumption that $2 is the amount Brain Pickings makes on each Amazon customer originating from her site. With 216M impressions, a 0.1% conversion rate on those ads at $2 per conversion would bring in $432,000 per year.... Maria knows that her readers are unaware of the affiliate ads - in her emails with me she was impressed that I was “aware enough to bring up these issues.” And in the 6 week stint where she did take down “ad-free,” she told me it was because “it seems to matter to you and it doesn’t matter to me in the least.” Then why did ad-free go back up 2 months later? It would be really disappointing if your donation numbers dropped during those two months, proving that ad-free did make a difference and driving you to change it back, because then you would have proof that the deception was affecting your bottom-line, yet you would still be doing it anyway.