10.15.2019

I've always had a queasy feeling about ad links in blogs so from this point on we're going ad free. With one or two exceptions...


building by night. A handheld shot from a park bench.

When I started the blog it was as a vehicle to share my angst, adventures and even fun moments resulting from nearly always have a camera in my hands with a group of like-minded photographers. After a while I started using the blog to promote a series of books I was writing about photography for Amherst Media. When the books started being sold on Amazon.com it seemed sensible to advertise the books here on the blog to help with the marketing. After all, with every book sold through Amazon I eventually got my royalty share from the publisher as well as a small commission from Amazon. Double dipping at its best! (Don't worry, it didn't cost buyers one cent more....).

Since that worked so well I decided to do what all the other bloggers seemed to do and extend my use of Amazon ads to cover more photo products like cameras and lenses. But that always felt a bit disingenuous to me. I'm not a highly technical reviewer and most of my reviews were based on my very limited, and sometimes specialized, approach to photography. I could write with an authoritative bent but I was always aware that there were many aspects of every camera I wrote about that didn't interest me. Just as there were whole swaths of menu items that I never got around to using. At some point I got into reflexively adding links to lots of stuff I was writing about and the writing got bent a bit in the direction of acquiring gear because I kept getting regular, small but addictive financial rewards for doing so.

After writing a lot this year and cutting out almost all links back to commercial sites and commercial products I realized that I never really wanted the blog to exist in order to provide any sort of financial return beyond perhaps having a potential client stumble across the writing and taking a chance by hiring me. 

As of now I'm discontinuing all affiliate advertising on the VSL site and will, if I have time, go back and remove ads from older posts. I'd like to see if my subconscious writes better when there is not even a whiff of influence from potential affiliate commissions that might drive me to blunt my scathing assessment of a piece of gear, or my desire to write stuff that's a bit more controversial; more combative. 

I will reserve the right to use the VSL blog site to sell off old gear that I own from time to time or to market my own services and any product I might invent, design and make (not bloody likely....). 

If you miss the ability to click through links, support a site, and buy products I would recommend that you hold that thought and head over to the onlinephotographer.com, make your purchase and then come back here and continue reading. (Mike's business model is completely different from mine...).

I think it will be refreshing to just write about, and discuss photography (and swimming, etc.) without the idea that we need to buy more stuff or review stuff in order to have a nice dialogue. I hope you feel the same. 

No more ads here. No more subtle suggestion that it's time to......upgrade, improve the inventory or just get a buying adrenaline dose. We'll just keep writing and reading about life in photography and everything I like around the edges. I've cancelled my affiliate account so none of the ancient links should work anymore. Probably good since half the stuff on the older posts is no longer available . I hope you can live without the additional layer of commerce. Let me know in the comments. KT


the tripod that requires a two person team to set up....


the secret of doing lots of street photography is wearing the right shoes.


No, I am not trying to sell the building attached to this sign...

17 comments:

Eric Rose said...

You had links?? I have ad blockers on my browser so I have never seen them. I applaud your decision however. I come here for an unvarnished "Kirk" fix.

Eric

MER said...

I enjoy reading your blog, too, and haven't found any ads you may have had intrusive. I respect your decision!

Unknown said...

Sexy Sausage, that is funny. Great name for a shop. Web site in French. Thank goodness for Google translation.
Never minded the links to advertising so don't mind you taking them off the site. Its your blog to do with what you please.
Jb

Anonymous said...

Wait, you mean... you mean... when I visit your site, it has to be to read, look at pictures and enjoy, and not for GAS relief? Man, I dunno if I can hack it. I guess I'll give it a try! ;-D


Ken

Anonymous said...

I had quit seeing the links when I added an ad blocker but good idea. Don’t know if it happens but have wondered if the links not only drive sales but also gather information. I know, for sure, that the number of cookies listed in my browser far exceeds the number of sites I visit.

Richard Leacock said...

No, seriously...

How much for the hotel?... Are you including a bar or at least a coffee shop in the deal? : )

Regards

Richard

Gary said...

I didn't even know about the links, and I've never seen any influence of commerce in your writing. Always honest opinions if you ask me.

John W said...

Never saw the ads anyway. I have an ad blocker. There are few sites I'd pay to read but this is one of them.

Sumners, Larry said...

Do not care about links. I am a big boy and can take responsibility if I decide to buy something.

Michael Matthews said...

This has been probably the least commercially influenced photography blog of all time. If you do decide to offer some of your ever evolving inventory of gear to readers...as-is, no guarantees, just your appraisal of condition...that would be a great idea. I would have bought your G9 for Precision’s trade in value plus a modest premium.

MikeR said...

Approve. Also approve going to TOP for links to B&H and Amazon. Mike's livelihood is his blog, those links to buying sites, and Patreon, which I hope all of his faithful readers would use to sustain what he does. (I'm an NPR station sustaining member. I think it's a practical way to do business.)

Anonymous said...

I'd love to know what those "right shoes" are. I'm always looking for comfortable shoes to wear while out taking photos!

Chuck Albertson said...

Good for you.

tnargs said...

Hard to criticise a decision to buy one's soul back!

While you are on an integrity drive, maybe you could mention a couple of products that you hated more than you revealed at the time.

As a consumer of blog posts that include aff links, I kind of hope that the bloggers who I respect, like you, simply don't publish any reviews of products that they don't endorse.

cheers

Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

I would never publish a positive review on a piece of gear I didn't like unless the review was to warn people NOT to buy the gear in question.

But there is stuff I just didn't like..... coming up soon.

But right now I'm sitting on the back porch with Studio Dog soaking up the 65 degree temperature and having a cup of coffee and a home made chocolate chip cookie made with walnuts. Yum.

Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

there is no one "right pair of shoes." The ones in the image are Skechers with memory foam; perfect for dry days on cobblestone. Different terrain, different shoes.

Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

And you thought I only collected cameras....