Please keep in mind that the topic or quality of this post does not matter. If you think the answer is weak, that's fine, irrelevant, down vote it. What matters is the fact that a link that was posted is redirected.

I posted this


but it now takes you to this


I appreciate that the SE sites exist solely because someone is making money, but I feel this is taking it too far. That's not my own "affiliate" link. If it were, I would accept the change. However, it's not. Pollute the site with advertising all you want (that's to be expected), but don't alter user's post!

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    What is the problem here? So they make it an affiliate link of SO/SE. Where's the issue? – Bart Jul 28 '13 at 21:07
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    I'm downvoting this for "Pollute the site with advertising all you want (that's to be expected)" No, hell no. – yannis Jul 28 '13 at 21:07
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    @Yannis: That's a shame. I guess you missed the gist of the question. Asking questions is hard. Thank you for the writing lesson. – raven Jul 28 '13 at 21:12
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    That's exactly the same page. Why you care for the URL so much?? – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jul 28 '13 at 21:12
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    @raven You're written an excellent rant. But this is not a question, nor the start of a discussion. What is the problem? What harm does the affiliate link cause? What is fundamentally problematic here? – Bart Jul 28 '13 at 21:19
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    @raven: No, they're not. – Michael Petrotta Jul 28 '13 at 21:21
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    @raven You don't like something, and you propose an alternative. That's fine, but... your alternative sucks. Hard. Sorry, but that's a downvote in my book. I don't have strong feelings about the affiliate links (actually I couldn't care less), but just the idea that "polluting the site with advertising" is ok is... scary. – yannis Jul 28 '13 at 21:22
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    The answer to your question is yes. SE is hijacking Amazon links in order to make what must be a tiny amount of money on the side... but then servers must run and it's not like I care that SE might get a few pence from a book I buy (I've never even seen an Amazon link on SE until this point so it's still not likely). – ben is uǝq backwards Jul 28 '13 at 21:23
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    True @raven. I mean, the amount of money you've poured into this site must be amazing by now. The membership fees and everything. Not to mention all the in-app purchases and the like. Give me a break. And if that is your problem, the dupe suits just fine. – Bart Jul 28 '13 at 21:27
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    @raven I'll personally give you a cut for all amazon links in your answers when you start paying your share for hosting expenses and developer fees. – yannis Jul 28 '13 at 21:27
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    You can hardly call an Amazon link " content, that SE users provide for free", I don't think you can call it content. It's either self-promotion (your own book etc.) or just you stating that this is something you like to someone else. Why didn't you link to a picture of a salad spinner rather than an Amazon page of them? – ben is uǝq backwards Jul 28 '13 at 21:32
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    @MichaelPetrotta: Thank you. That's what I needed to see. I'm only four years late to the party, but now I understand. – raven Jul 28 '13 at 21:34
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    @Skippy I agree with what you say here, but Stack Overflow is a for-profit business. The site does exist to make somebody money (among other things). – Pekka Jul 28 '13 at 23:15
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    @Skippy, Stack Exchange Inc. is a (Delaware-based, New York-headquartered) private corporation that runs the Stack Exchange Network. As far as I know, they haven't disclosed whether they've yet turned a profit, though they're certainly intending to do so. – Michael Petrotta Jul 28 '13 at 23:38
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    @AnnaLear: I understand. I apologize for my seemingly "trollish" post, but this was the first time I encountered this link switching policy of yours and I found it jarring. An unnecessary, knee-jerk reaction on my part. – raven Jul 29 '13 at 0:31

As the linked dupes state, SE does do this.

What's wrong with that? Something has to happen to the affiliate cash. Is it all that important that it goes to Amazon? Something has to pay the bills around here, and it's OK to insert your own link when you own the site.

As one of the linked answers says,

Are you an Amazon stockholder?

The links both go to the same page, and one gets the owners of the best QA sites in the world money to run their servers. Which one would you rather have?

I agree with you in principle that links shouldn't be changed automatically. In this case, however, the community agreed that it's OK for SE to automatically insert their affiliate code.


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