Mattresses + Affiliate Marketing = $$$$$

Thanks to the latest XKCD:

I ended up reading this:

It’s…surreal. I am now even more firmly attached to my feelings on affiliate marketing with regards to this site.

Also, does it annoy anyone else that articles like this always feel the need to physically describe the various people involved?


I’ve never felt so positive that my next bed will come from Ikea.


In this case, yes. They’ve picked up on the fact that in-depth interviews do this, but haven’t grasped the why of it.

Those in-depth interviews like to describe how people’s body language changes as the interview goes on, either to portray their subjects’ emotional reaction to the question, or to break up long blocks of text, or to impart a bias into the reader. They’re building an image in the reader’s head, but it can’t have the intended effect unless you give the reader an initial impression to base the changes to that image off of.

That’s what the writer’s trying to copy: they’ve picked up on the fact that good writers include that kind of description at the start of an interview, but not that it’s supposed to be followed up by describing the body language of the interviewee throughout the interview. That’s what bugs me: not that it’s there, but that it’s there purposelessly.


I think you’ve struck upon my core complaint. Even in an in-depth interview, I’m still not sure about the purpose of describing what the interviewee is eating. I suppose it sets a scene, but I usually find it distracting instead.


I wonder if perhaps the article could be entitled “The War To Sell You Anything Is An Internet Nightmare.” I’ve heard about scamming reviews and the problems Amazon has had with that, but I didn’t realize that the relationship between reviewers and reviewees on review sites could be so complex and self-serving. I always figured the ads were based on my google searches and so on.

Is there a review site that reviews review sites without all the reviewer/reviewee shenanigans?


I’ll have to check my reviews of review site review site review sites.


Especially when it all goes weird, like when certain journalists would fawn over what snappy dressers some of the neo-Nazis like Richard Spencer are. And it’s like, yeah, well, Hitler loved dogs, but MAYBE NOT FUCKING RELEVANT RIGHT NOW.


Starting to read the article, but I must admit my main goal right now is to wrap my head around the idea that I live in a world where there are mattress bloggers.


I have thoughts about this:

  • Getting commissions for items you “honestly review” is not ethical, period full stop. Just getting the sample to review for free should be payment enough. You wanna make more money, use advertising links and Amazon links.
  • I’m so happy I have an IKEA mattress.
  • Judging by the numbers listed near the end of the article, I have chosen entirely the wrong career path.

Why do I suddenly yearn for a three pack of lightning cables or sheets made of bamboo?


Traditionally, the editorial and marketing departments are separated and insulated from each other to prevent conflicts of interest. Sometimes this fails anyway. We are increasingly seeing what happens when the editorial and marketing departments are literally the same person.


This lady did a really good breakdown of how affiliate marketing works.


My gut reaction to this is faux surprise at the notion that there really is no honor among thieves.

I mean, it’s a whole article about scumbags fighting scumbags, and then eventually laughing all the way to the bank.

Scum. Bags.

That said, I’m not 100% coherent at the moment, so I may revisit this sentiment at some point in the future.

On a more personal note (and perhaps even tangentially on-topic), I was struck by the description of Kenny.

He was tall and good-looking, with a kind of brogrammer affability. Later I’d learn he had studied physics and finance at Washington University in St. Louis, where he rowed crew and was a Beta Theta Phi brother. I’d also look up some of his mattress reviewing videos.

I read this and was like, “oh man, this guy,” and then I saw his picture, and it totally fit the description.


And yet, at the same time, I had another wholly different sense of recognition, because he looks a lot like one of my very good friends from my undergrad days, who had grown up in St. Louis and, most importantly, also wore his baseball cap backwards.

In fact, as I recall, most of the St. Louis kids wore their caps backwards, and while it was definitely the fashion at the time, it tickles me to learn that it’s persisted as long as it has, at least in St. Louis. :smile:

But the resemblance is purely physical. My friend was actually a pretty cool dude who would never get involved in an affiliate marketing kickback scheme, and now this is kind of starting to hit me in the feels, and I may have to figure out how to get in touch with people I haven’t seen or heard from in something like twenty years. :fearful:


When I was just out of college, I briefly moved back to Alabama. There was a small Sealy mattress factory there and you could buy a mattress directly from them. I’m not sure why I went, but I got a tour of the space and the man explained how mattresses are made.

The factory was just a little space where they bend wire into the frames. There are two types, one where the wire is one continuous thing and the other where they make a bunch of coils that are packed together. They are both pretty good.

The main difference between mattresses is how much padding is on them. You can buy a cheap mattress and then get a cushy pad to put on top and save a bunch of money.

A friend of mine who is a chiropractor also taught me that you can buy latex mattresses directly from latex manufacturers. You can custom make your own mattress from layers (one side tough and the other soft, for example), and these are very affordable. You can buy latex toppers, too, and stick them on your normal bed.