No, no, it’s more interesting than it sounds.
1/ Cookies ! Nom nom nom
This site uses the following cookies :
- Google Analytics cookies to get statistics about our traffic.
- One cookie to control the display of the banner about cookies (yeah, I know).
- Possibly some WordPress cookies that only communicate with our site (depending upon whether I’m experimenting with plugins at that time).
The Google Analytics data are anonymized, and Google Analytics settings are all at default.
2/ Social media sharing buttons
These button are but static HTML links. Thus, it does absolutely nothing unless you click on it. At which point it takes you to a bare-bones page operated by the social network in question.
Which means that the social buttons on writeups.org do not track anything, write anything or make any request. Once you click on one and end up on the Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, whatever page they do stuff, though. If only to identify you.
It *is* less slick than the usual buttons, though.
This used to be done using my own “code” (scare quotes). As of September of 2018, this is now handled by the Shariff software. It does the same thing, but more and better. Shariff is coded by German privacy activists and is fully compliant with EU online privacy laws.
3/ Advertisements – AdSense
Writeups.Org is authorized to display Google Adsense advertisements. All units are hand-placed, based on available space. Our policy is to only add AdSense units once an article has had a features review, so older articles will not have units yet.
All ad units are clearly preceded by the mention “Advertisement”.
Any given profile will have between zero and three AdSense adverts, based on available space. These are normally placed near the beginning of the article.
4/ Amazon.com partnership
Writeups.org is an Amazon.com affiliate. So we get a percentage on the sales at zero cost to the buyer. All such links are clearly signalled.
(“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases” is the mandatory mention, I think.)
As of July of 2017, they now also redirect Canadian and British readers toward the corresponding page (if any) on Amazon.ca or Amazon.co.uk.
So yes, every time you buy something (anything) after clicking on those links, Amazon makes a tiny donation to writeups.org. Cool, uh ? Remember that before you go on an online shopping rampage.
There are three types of Amazon.com links.
4.1/ “Writeups.org and Amazon.com recommend” boxes
Hand-picked products that are relevant to what is closely discussed, with an illustration. These are plain HTML links toward an Amazon.com page, without any scripting or external call. Almost all entries have them.
In most cases the products are comics/movies/games/books that feature the character in question – usually their major stories. Which also helps in placing unfamiliar characters, for instance to quickly see what movie they are from.
In other cases these are books or documentaries about an important part of the character’s background (for instance, an history of African-American NYPD officers during the XXth century), or an action figure of the character, or a joke link about the character’s motif or costume, etc.
4.2/ In-text links
A plain HTML text link, but in the text of the article and without a picture. These are all signalled with a logo to make it clear it’s an affiliate link.
These are not commonly used. But say, I might make a reference to a book or movie when discussing a character. If so I may link to the work on Amazon, in no small part for people not familiar with the material.
4.3/ Auto-recommendation box
These ones appeared later, in late August 2016.
These advertisements only get placed in profiles that have way more text than right-hand column illustration, and thus have lots of white space on the right. They generate recommendations based on the page’s content, which can also get funny when the parser misunderstands the context.
These work by analysing the profile’s text. Thus, they normally suggest stuff closely related to the material being discussed. Such as more comic book trade paperbacks about the character. And in several cases, a newer and cheaper edition of the book we recommend, which was published after our writeups was done.
Some suggestions can be really good. And sometimes they miss the mark – for instance because there are popular YA novels that share a name with the character.
I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if this specific sort of Amazon box identified you in some fashion and steered recommendations toward stuff you’re more likely to buy, though.
5/ Humble Bundle partnership
As of late August, 2017 writeups.org is a partner of Humble Bundle, a popular distributor of video games and digital comics. They build low-cost thematic bundles that run for a limited time. Buyers can choose how much of the money goes to writeups.org, to charity, to the publisher, and to Humble Bundle.
The charity recommended by writeups.org as part of the Humble Bundle partnership is Doctors Without Borders a.k.a. Médecins Sans Frontières .
There are two kinds of Humble Bundle affiliate links on WORG.
5.1/ “Humble Bundle and Writeups.org recommend” boxes
This is primarily used in video games profiles, if Humble caries the game in their general, not-a-bundle store. These are also simple HTML links done by hand. This way you can buy Steam keys, plus a DRM-free copy for those games that provide one.
If Steam had an affiliate program I’d use that instead, but they don’t. And Humble is one of the best-established and reputed Steam keys resellers, so that’s nice. They’re part of my small set of legit key resellers for my own shopping.
5.2/ Digital time-limited bundles
I *like* Humble Bundle offers, so we mention about 2 or 3 of those a month on our page. It is nearly always stuff that is related to writeups.org content. Meaning comics, games, novels, etc. we have coverage for, or wish we did.
(2019 note – the frequency of thsoe has since greatly diminished.)
Writeups.org doesn’t carry any native advertising. Nor, to my regret, have we ever gotten money or goods from any publisher.
The “Related articles on writeups.org”, as the name implies, only recommends content on WORG. There is no external chumbox content.
This low-footprint, unobtrusive adverts setup means of course that income is markedly under what it could be. Donations are supposed to compensate for that.