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


Gated Video Site MyPod Studios Reportedly Killing It In Just Six Months


MyPod Studios is a curated video site with half a million in funding, a headquarters in New York and a beaming, brown-bobbed “hostess” named Bridgette who excitedly welcomes each new visitor to the site’s collection of video entertainment.

The site, which launched in September 2011, has an announcement to make: it had more than five million unique viewers in December, making it the 191st most trafficked site in the nation according to Quantcast, “right behind, blip.tvand and just five spots behind,” as MyPod notes, all with a team of five. “Advertisers and consumers are flocking to the site, and they are profitable after only six months,” a rep wrote in an email to Betabeat. Read More