Transparency and Support

If you are a long-time reader of Herbivoracious, you may have noticed that there are more recipes than ever before (2 or 3 per week instead of 1), and also a bit more commercial content here than in the past.

Back in March of this year, leading up to the publication of  the cookbook, I quit my day job to focus on a full-time culinary career. I’m planning on opening a restaurant, and the blog is going to be a big part of that. As I devote more time to developing recipes and sharing them with you, I also need the blog to move beyond being a fantastic hobby to actually helping me make a living. So around 1 out of every 5 posts that I write will be about a product or giveaway.

You have my word that I will only recommend products and brands that I personally use and love, so I hope that you will find these posts aren’t just a distraction, but actually add value to your visits here. Beyond that, I like to share specific tips about how to get the most out of the products I recommend, so even if you ultimately choose a different one, there will be an opportunity to learn as well. I hope you’ll extend me that same opportunity by leaving lots of comments telling me why you agree or disagree with my choices, or about other products that might be even better.

Although it isn’t typically done, I want to be transparent about how these kinds of affiliate links, as they are called, work. I’ll use Amazon as the example because that is where my links most often go, simply because they have an enormous selection and so many people feel comfortable shopping there. Of course I encourage you to go support local retailers when you can – or we won’t have any local business left. But the reality is that many, many people, my family included, do a lot of shopping via Amazon because it is convenient and often very inexpensive.

Here is how it works. If you visit Amazon.com via a link on my site, I earn around 7% of anything you buy in the next 24 hours. It doesn’t have to be the item I recommended. You can visit via one of my links, then procede to buy a Nikon D7000, a Terex AL-5L LED Light Tower, or  a novelty beer cozy and I earn some bucks that help me keep creating new recipes. Using an affiliate link doesn’t affect the price you pay at all, and I don’t get any of your private information – you are doing a direct transaction with Amazon.

I know it might be hard to remember, so here are two easy things you can do:

  1. Boomark this link and use it for all of your Amazon shopping.
  2. Or, visit Herbivoracious anytime, and you can always find the Amazon link in the sidebar to the right, under  “Support Herbivoracious While You Shop”

I know it may seem like a small thing, but if everyone who visited this site spent even $1 a month on Amazon, it would be enough to allow me to create recipes here on a full-time basis.

There are other ways you can help. First of all, tell a friend about Herbivoracious. You’ll see a bunch of social media links at the left of every page, or you can simply email them the URL. Second, sign up for the email list so you never miss a recipe. And finally, if you work for a brand that makes amazing products or services that  you think my readers would like to know about, I’d love to have you as a sponsor.

So what do you think? Does this make you never want to visit again? Or are you cool with it?

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Friday, September 14th, 2012 in My Kitchen.

26 Responses to “Transparency and Support”

  1. September 14, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    am perfectly cool with all that! Best of luck!

  2. Emma
    September 14, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    I never mind advertising on a blog. How else is the blogger supposed to make money, other than charging a fee for the blog itself? Support the artists, I say!

  3. LeDesign
    September 14, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    I think anyone who signed up for your newsletter and appreciate having wonderful new recipes for free, could make an effort to support your work.
    I shop regularly at Amazon and didn’t know i could use your link to their site for any purchase I make.
    I’ll sure will do it from now on. Thank you for sharing the information. I believe a lot of people will be glad to learn it and help.
    Keep up with the good work. Best of luck!

  4. September 14, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    Well written and Go, You! Especially with the plan for a restaurant. Maybe I’ll get there some day. We usually travel over the pond every other year on a family holiday.

  5. September 14, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    Awesome! It’s great that you can support yourself with this blog. Love all the recipes — keep ‘em coming! (And best of luck with the restaurant!)

  6. September 14, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Hi Michael, I am more than cool with that. I prefer to read about the product from the blogger as most of the time it’s tried and true, not just a simple advertising. Can’t wait to read your review of pasta maker attachment for Kitchen Aid you’ve mentioned in one of your posts. I make my own pasta, and knowing how the attachment works, it’s pros and cons, would be so helpful. And when I decide to buy it, I’ll go to your Amazon store (we don’t have anything local to buy it from, so I won’t feel guilty).
    Thank you for sharing this information with your readers, your transparency is greatly appreciated. It helps to see a real person behind the blog, with real life plans, questions, ambitions, and everything… I wish you good luck and all only the best! :)

  7. September 14, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    If you really like the product you promote, I think it is fine. I like to read about actual products and why they are great- like good design, durable, made in the US, locally made or grown, sustainable, cruelty free etc. Personally I think there should be some sort of link to what you do on your site that makes sense for us to read about it here, but I know that may not be economically viable.

  8. ben
    September 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    you’re worth it! i’ll use the link when i can for sure. happy to. thanks for al the great creations.

    shanah tova

    ben

  9. September 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    I appreciate the transparency and look forward to your recommendations!

  10. September 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    Very cool with it! I have bookmarked the Amazon.com link to help. I love your blog and recipes. I subscribe to your blog. I share all your recipes with my twitter followers and FB friends. Wishing you the best of luck with your restaurant and cookbook (which I hope to buy soon!) and this blog! You ROCK my culinary world! Blessings to you! :) <3

  11. September 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    I’m cool with it. Excited to see how the new restaurant venture develops. :)

  12. September 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    I totally appreciate your transparency! For one, because it’s real. And for two, because I would love to support myself (even a little bit) off my blog someday, and hearing about how other bloggers are doing that is really helpful!

  13. Emily
    September 15, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    I think it’s great that doing something I was going to do anyway can help you make a living doing something you’re clearly good at.

  14. September 15, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    No one should have any problem at all with Herbivoracious (or any other free blog) doing product/giveaway posts. Or with advertising on the sidebar. Bring it on! If I subscribe to a cooking magazine, I have to PAY for the magazine, plus deal with ads. If the new business model becomes online blogs which I DO NOT have to pay for, but still get great content, with the commercial stuff still in attendance, that’s even better! And it’s WAY better if you are being the guinea pig and letting me know whether an untried product is worth trying.

  15. Slammin' Salmon
    September 15, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    Sounds a lot better than popup scripts, flashing banners, and other forms of advertising. I don’t mind seeing perspective on good products you use and I certainly don’t mind you making some cash on this blog. Considering I haven’t found any other veg blog even close to the level of this one, it does a service to vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike by shattering the idea that vegetarians have to be relegated to side dishes and afterthoughts.

  16. Crystal
    September 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Bookmarked! Good luck!

  17. Amanda
    September 16, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    I am okay with this, within limits. I have noticed that about 75% of the time when a blogger goes super commercial like this, I stop reading their blog. Not because I’m opposed to the occasional ad or whatever, but because most of the time their blog inevitably ends up ALL commercial and the content really suffers. I hope that’s not the case with this blog, as I’ve really enjoyed it.

    I would personally prefer if your sponsored posts and reviews were clearly labelled as such (in the title, or at least a decent post-script). I feel like that is transparent and then I won’t mind it a bit. But when there is no labeling, I start to wonder what’s really true and what’s been posted to make money, and I personally find that a turn-off.

  18. September 28, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Definitely cool with it! Saving that affiliate link, too :)

  19. Alana
    October 2, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    I am so cool with it that I’d be happy if you had a category to take me to all the products you recommend! I was about to buy myself the spatula when i realized I’d get free shipping if I included something else. Then I discovered that you don’t have a category link for product recommendations. Also, just wanted to say congratulations on the new developments and thank you for all you have taught me over the years. In 2007, you wrote a post about how to combine flavours and textures — i wish i could find that post again! — and it started a big journey for me in learning how to cook instead of just following recipes by rote. I am happy to support you any way I can, and I really appreciate your guidance.

    • October 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

      Thanks, Alana! You’ve been a supporter for a long time. You are right, I don’t have a very good category for recommendations, but there is this: link to herbivoracious.com – and I do plan on building it out into something more useful.

      I wonder if this series is the what you were thinking of? 5 parts starting here: link to herbivoracious.com – if not, give me another clue about it and I’ll try to find it for you.

      Thanks,
      Michael

  20. Alana
    October 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    Found it! It was this one:
    link to herbivoracious.com
    Amazingly helpful.

    • October 2, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

      Oh wow, that really is a blast from the past. I’d forgotten about it completely except that as soon as you mentioned it, I remembered the photo which was taken in terrible light and then I had all kinds of trouble processing it. I’m really delighted that it helped you feel more confident as a cook. This would be a good topic to come back to, thank you!

  21. Kitty
    October 17, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    This is such a great thing to read.
    I’ve often wished I could “tip” my favourite blogs. I tip for good service. I’ll happily pay a little more at a local business if the staff can give me good advice.
    Blogs like this provide the advice and are a wealth of information, but before this I had no way to support it in return. I’m happy to be able to do so.
    Also, I wonder if you would be able to put a “tip the blog” button on the page in a tasteful way?
    You might be pleasantly surprised at the result :)

  22. ck
    May 14, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    I love to support you and thank you for all the wonderful writing and recipes.

  23. Chezzie
    June 30, 2013 at 12:56 am #

    I love the site and appreciate the helpful tips about products, I have put your Amazon link into my bookmarks bar but……as I am in the Netherlands I order from Amazon.co.uk I also have lots of friends here and in the UK who would be happy to buy via your links, could you arrange the the same deal with Amazon UK Michael?

    I am about to write a review on Amazon about your brilliant book so I hope that helps the UK sales. Good luck with your new ventures.

    • June 30, 2013 at 7:32 am #

      Thanks, Chezzie! I haven’t set up international Amazon affiliates yet – i’d be curious if other readers would use them if I set it up. Anyone?

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