Linux Blog

Are You Funding Open Source?

Filed under: General Linux — at 8:24 am on Friday, August 29, 2008

I was using a piece of software that I had heard about a while back that manages collections. Its called Tellico and is actually quite good. While using Tellico I discovered that when you click on the “Amazon link” for the product, it has an affiliate code in it.

For those of you who don’t know what an affiliate program is, its basically a way for people to make money just by refering people to products. Most of the big guys have these sorts of “programs” including Amazon. Affiliate programs are very popular in the triple X industry.

What frustrates me is that this is included in Tellico, so in effect when you visit a product from your own personal collection, Tellico gets a percentage of sales from Amazon for any other items you purchase. While the affiliate link doesn’t bother me so much as it can be changed (and I also participate in the program), its the fact that it came right out of the Fedora repositories like this.

What about if Ubuntu reworked its software and included affiliate links for everything? Perhaps a FireFox plugin that manipulated all Amazon requests to include Mandriva’s affiliate link. I think that this is against Amazons terms of service but this method is a potential way for open source developers and organizations to get some additional funding. But is it right? Preying on your end users ignorance for profit? Although it doesn’t harm anything is it moral?

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Comment by Robby

September 5, 2008 @ 9:55 am

There’s actually a Firefox plugin that does insert an affiliate link for a non-profit when you browse Amazon, but only if you did not set an affiliate already. :)

One note, Tellico doesn’t actually insert the affiliate link. Once an Amazons search is done, each result has a direct link to the product page. Tellico saves that URL. But since Tellico had to use the developer key in the first place to conduct the search, Amazon retains it in the product link.

So Fedora would have to add some code to Tellico to filter the search result and remove the link. A simple regexp would do, probably, but it’s a case of adding code, not removing it.

Comment by

September 5, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

Thanks for the information Robby,

So this is in fact Amazon’s fault not Tellico’s. It is strange that they leave the code in. I guess that its better for developers to get a cut of the profits rather than Amazon getting all of the pie.

Again, Tellico is a great program!

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