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How does Brickset make money?

UltrabuilderUltrabuilder Member Posts: 5
edited March 2012 in Brickset.com
(I am new to the Brickset forums, so I am not sure whether this question is allowed, or if I posted it in the wrong category. Sorry if I did. :)
Brickset has always been a great tool for me as a LEGO fan, but I wonder. How does Brickset remain on the web if I don't see any form of advertisements (except for the few boxes on the sidebar)?

Comments

  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Member Posts: 4,401
    This is probably better answered by @Huw or @Bluemoose, but Brickset receives affiliate income from certain websites like Amazon, eBay, shop.LEGO.com, etc. when users click through Brickset and then purchase products on these websites.
  • UltrabuilderUltrabuilder Member Posts: 5
    This is probably better answered by @Huw or @Bluemoose, but Brickset receives affiliate income from certain websites like Amazon, eBay, shop.LEGO.com, etc. when users click through Brickset and then purchase products on these websites.
    Oh I see now. Thanks!
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    Huw's general philosophy is to make the monetization of the site as unobtrusive as possible. I can't say if he'll always stay away from advertising, but I know he is very much against the idea of displaying a bunch of ads. I think I speak for most of us when I say that approach is appreciated.

    At the same time, Huw deserves to be rewarded for the time and effort he has put into the site, and more to the point, for how good the product is. That's why you'll often see me and other staff members reminding people to click through the affiliate shopping links since it costs nothing to do.
  • The_Brick_BuilderThe_Brick_Builder Member Posts: 658
    Its a great thing that BrickSet isn't based on money and ads.
  • DaddyDeuceDaddyDeuce Member Posts: 272
    One thing I've seen happen that is annoying (but understandable) is it appears that linking to certain sites is frowned on, if those sites are receiving their own affiliate income.

    Or maybe I'm misunderstanding the dromedary situation?
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Member Posts: 4,401
    ^ Linking to sites competing for the same affiliate income would obviously not be very beneficial to Brickset. But if, for example, FBTB or Brothers Brick break a news story, you'll definitely see us link to them.

    That being said, I wouldn't think your Dromedary (or was it Bactrian?) situation would be in the same boat.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,258
    One thing I've seen happen that is annoying (but understandable) is it appears that linking to certain sites is frowned on, if those sites are receiving their own affiliate income.
    I can't say I've ever noticed that. Do you have examples ?

  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    ^ I vaguely remember the conversation. People were alluding to the website without explicitly naming it. I don't recall if people were doing it voluntarily or if it was a moderator action. I believe it was the former, though.
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    edited March 2012
    Also, if you do a forum search of the website name, you get quite a few hits, so you can see that mention of the site is not uniformly censored.
  • DaddyDeuceDaddyDeuce Member Posts: 272
    edited March 2012
    I didn't say it was censored, but I was under the impression it was not welcomed.

    See: http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/comment/56045#Comment_56045
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    ^ Yep, that's the one. I checked the moderation logs and that was edited out by @huw , so I guess our policy is "yes, not welcome" :P

    As Yellowcastle was pointing out, that site does essentially what Brickset's Amazon price watch does, so no need to link to it and divert revenue.

    On the other hand, discussion about sites which are LEGO-centric and complement information here will likely go unmoderated.
  • sidersddsidersdd USAMember Posts: 2,432
    Linking to ebates, RewardsRunner, mrrebates, etc., ok as long as it's not one of the affiliate stores (i.e., ToysRUs, FAO, Target, YoYo are ok)?
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Member Posts: 4,401
    ^ That seems fine to me...
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    edited March 2012
    ^^^^ Personally I've never mentioned that site from a self-censoring point of view; The more people use it, the less effective it is for its intended use.
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 2,760
    ^Surely the same could be said for posting deals etc on Brickset or in the forum?...

    Is there a way to donate directly to Brickset/Huw, as I often forget to 'click through' to affiliates but am sure there must be costs involved in running this site to such a high standard :D
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    Brickset runs a store in Hong Kong which actually fronts for an opium den. The datebase, the forums, the search engine, etc. is just a cover for the opium den operations. In fact, Lego itself is part of that cover. Huw makes all the bricks in his basement with an old model airplane injection mold machine. Yeah, it takes time and money but those pale in comparison to the wealth he's raked in from that Hong Kong opium den! ;-)
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,450
    Damn! My cover is blown!

    Actually, @rocao is right, it makes money from affiliate marketing. As long as it continues to do so it will always be ad-free, with the exception of LEGO related ones. I hate ads!

    There is no way, and no need, to donate directly. That could be awkward given it's not a 'charity': the site is now run as a limited company and turns a profit, which ensures I am inclined to keep enhancing it.

    I don't get too worked up about links to other affiliate sites, I think the only time I 'censored' a post was one that mentioned the CCC site that is directly competing for Amazon affiliate traffic.
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    I don't think a "Donate" button would do any harm... As much as I have used this site for reference and appetite-whetting I (and perhaps several thousand others) would happily throw down some change. Or "chuck you some pence" as cross-the-pond parlance would have it. But the twin motives of abhorring advertisement and not wanting to appear as a charity are impeccable.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    edited March 2012
    I would suggest that if someone wanted to donate to Brickset they should speak with Huw via email about some sort of site promotion and then purchase the prize via the affiliate links with the express purpose of donating it to be given away.
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Member Posts: 4,401
    ^ Or they could just donate to some charity on Huw's behalf. :o)
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,767
    A great charity is www.buyredbullgivesuwindalegoUCSMileniumfalconandstardestroyer.com it is all going to a good cause :-D
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    Don't go to that URL! It's a porn site with some really sick people doing some really sick things with lego minifigures! :-P
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,767
    Damn it! I thought giving you a cut of the profits would keep you quiet
  • MCNwakeboardMCNwakeboard VirginiaMember Posts: 269
    Thanks for the laughs guys. Brickset is a great site but i'm fine using the affiliate links whenever possible. Keep up the great work!
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,909
    What sucks is that when I place an order, I always forget to click the banner mainly because I am too excited about ordering a set. I'll try my best next to to remember to click the banner.
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Member Posts: 4,401
    I think you still carry our tag if you just visited us prior to buying but I may be wrong.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,099
    No non-related LEGO ads? So I take it that it's a definite no to "Tex and Edna Boyle's Prairie Feed Warehouse and Curio Emporium"? :-O
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Member Posts: 4,401
    ^ Whoa, let's not be too hasty in rejecting Prairie Feed. ;o)
  • jadedancjadedanc USAMember Posts: 1,303
    Didn't realize that clicking on the links and purchasing then would help out here. Now I know and will definitely do that when I buy at [email protected] and other sites. I LOVE this forum and would like to help any way I can. Especially since when I am retired from Army in a year I will have LOTS more time to spend on here and building lol
  • weinnerweinner Banned Posts: 148
    I'll have to start doing this to. I didn't know this.
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