Call for Vote: Prices or No?

I’ve been playing with adding more Amazon affiliate links to this site (and eventually others) since so far that seems to be the only thing that makes any real money. (Google ads don’t even qualify as pocket money, and Yahoo’s even worse.)

There are a number of ways I can structure these ads. One option is to use plain pictures like these:

Alternately I can use slightly glossier ads that include prices like these:

I also have the option to make various adjustments to the ads, e.g. including both new and used prices or no prices at all. On the one hand, I like being obvious that these are ads and stating the price right up front. On the other hand, with prices the ads are much larger. Worse yet, the text often doesn’t fit in the ad box making everything look really ugly and obscuring the prices anyway:

Mac Mini ads with obscured prices

This seems to be a function of Amazon wanting to use smaller fonts than my preferences allow. The ads work better in some other browsers. In general, markup that assumes a fixed size is a really bad idea.

These ads are all served by Amazon which limits what I can do. I could be more creative if I completely controlled the ad HTML. That could be done with Amazon web services. However that would take quite a bit longer to implement.

Any preferences? Alternate suggestions?

5 Responses to “Call for Vote: Prices or No?”

  1. Anjan Bacchu Says:

    hi eliotte,

    ones with prices preferred. that way user can decide whether it’s worth clicking or not.


  2. George Bailey Says:

    The “pictures only” looks a lot cleaner to me, but may not attract much attention. Maybe put ’em in a box with the caption ~”click on one of these babies.”

  3. Rob Sanheim Says:

    How about none of them, stick with standard inline links instead.

  4. Jon Says:

    I think that the images alone would attract more traffic. To me the images do not look like an ad. As a person just surfing alone the web, many times I find myself clicking on links just to find out what they do. I rarely (if ever) click on a ad to see what it goes to. Dosn’t mean I would actually purchase it. Just means you might get a higher click through rate.

    Perhaps, it would be benificial to place one of the 3 types, on 3 seperate pages that see similar traffic amounts and go with the one that makes you the most money.

  5. Jonathan Says:

    Gee Elliotte, I’d have thought for you, who castigates Sun (,
    quoted Joel Spolsky about prices being hard to find on web sites
    (, and
    has ranted “Hiding prices is deceptive and dishonest” ( the question of whether to include prices or not would be a no brainer. I realize they’re not your products but still, since your purpose in including the ads is to make real money (indirectly) from your readers why would you not practice what you preach?

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