THE QUICK VERSION
I make a little from Amazon's referral scheme if you follow a link to a buy it. It's never going to make me rich, and I like to think it has no influence on what I recommend, but it should pay for the costs of running the website.
I am experimenting on this site with the Amazon referral scheme. That means if you follow a link to a product I mention and then go on to buy it, Amazon will give me a small commission (about 5%). Will this make me fabulously wealthy? Will I come and do donuts on your lawn with my new Lamborghini? Unlikely. Firstly I am too old and sensible to be driving a mid-life crisis wagon and secondly I suspect it will just pay for the costs of running the website (Amazon will only give me a few dollars a time). It should cover things like buying domains and host costs. Maybe a regular supply of Liquorice and Mint tea (another key element in the production costs of this site).
No Affect on products recommended
Will it affect which products I recommend? I don't think so. If it did I would be recommending everyone get a $4,000 Mac Pro with lots of extras. Instead I think a lot of people would be happy with a $200 Chromebook and I have said so many times here. I am motivated by getting the right answer. I explain why I recommend things. I invite comments and I change my recommendations if folks find a flaw in my reasoning. The products I recommend are the ones I would recommend anyway, with or without Amazon. Generally in life I find the money looks after itself if you do a good job of looking after people.
I know most websites are paid for with advertising, but I have chosen not to go down that route because it could end up clashing with what I am recommending. I also like the idea of looking a little different. Who knows, maybe I will learn my lesson and fall in line with what everybody else is doing. Let's try it without and see what happens.
Cannibalising my own business
People have been saying to me things like: "but surely with Windows being such a high maintenance system it's in your interest to see people buy more Windows systems?". It is true that I have built a company out of the fact that Windows needs a ridiculous amount of work to keep it secure and to fix the endless stream of problems created when wide open technology gets into the hands of non experts. If I was motivated purely by money I would say "Windows for everyone" (and I would keep quiet about how to lock it down). But I have been doing this for so long I know all trends come and go. Windows has passed its peak and the world is looking for expertise on what comes next. I could try to hang on to the old, but the right thing is to focus on what's best for the customers.
As for sending all the recommendations to Amazon (when there are other vendors available) I am a huge fan of what they do and use them for my own purchases, so it's natural for me to link to them. Also, because they have sites in most of the most populous countries, they are the easiest one to choose when I want to give a link that most people can make use of. I'm open to suggestions if you can think of a better way.
It has to be said
Yes there is some commission, but mainly I just feel compelled to write this stuff. Every time I see someone suffer because they have been taken out by a scam on Windows, or lose insane amounts of precious files because automatic online backups is not built into Windows, I feel like I should be getting on my knees and apologising on behalf of the entire computer industry for all of our sins. It doesn't have to be this way. We have the technology to do so much better. Helping people lift themselves out of this madness is my way of assuaging my guilt.
Of course I could be hopelessly wrong and it will all make me obscenely rich. Then I might have to order some posh cakes with my tea, but not too many, don't want to get fat!
Don't be shy, say what you think. The comment system below is there for anyone to ask a question or make a point. Especially don't hold back if you are a normal person just trying to make sense of it all. It's easy to get the opinions of geeks on geeky matters, much more interesting to hear how this works out for you or what bits need more explanation. No such thing as a silly question, jump in.