Linkages

Booting Up: More on the Economics of Maria Popova’s Affiliate Links

times gif

It was high time that The New York Times published a trend piece on GIFs. It was not surprising that the GIF the Grey Lady embedded didn’t actually loop..  [Gawker]

“Does she ever wonder, though, whether her readers might need that tip-jar money more than she does?” More on the blogonomics of Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings. [Counterparties]

For those of you who have always dreamed of syncing your iPod to your favorite sex toy, here are some possibilities for a high-tech Valentine’s Day. [Mashable]

After President Barack Obama issued an executive order on cybersecurity following his State of the Union address, Congress has scheduled hearings on a cyber bill. [The Hill]

Mark Zuckerberg’s stake in Facebook has climbed to nearly 30 percent, according to recent filings. [Business Insider]

Content

Maybe Don’t Talk Shit About Ads If You Make Money On Affiliate Links [Updated]

Ms. Popova's omnipresent avatar. (Image: Twitter)

Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova is a little like the brainier counterpart to the Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman: She’s got her haters, but she’s also hugely popular, to the tune of 500,000 monthly visitors to her website. Fans like Biz Stone and William Gibson come for her eclectic array of offerings; many, like Princeton professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, fork over regular donations to keep the site running without ads. (Ms. Slaughter has compared it to supporting your local public radio station.)

But there’s something Ms. Popova doesn’t mention in her appeals to donors, amid her talk of operating “ad-free.” She might not run banner ads, but she appears to earn income from affiliate links. You read a glowing review, you click through to order the book, and Ms. Popova gets a commission.

The accusation comes from an anonymous Tumblr, apparently created explicitly for the purposes of posting this scathing take-down. Read More