We want to address a side of blogging that a lot of bloggers don’t want to talk about, and that a lot of readers aren’t aware of… how do we make money, and what are our policies about it?
We decided it was time to help our community understand our business model at Autoimmune Wellness and how we make decisions when it comes to promotions and marketing. We believe that by being transparent about our approach it will help you understand not only the challenges we face as online business owners, but also make you aware of the interactions you are involved in so you can consciously take part.
Advertising has been rightly and wrongly demonized over the years, but it’s a big part of keeping the internet free. By taking a proactive and transparent approach we hope we can build trust and ensure the longevity of our platform and mission.
When we joined forces in 2015 we decided that part of the founding principle of this site would be that anyone, regardless of financial resources, should have free access to the information they needed to implement the Autoimmune Protocol. And we’ve done that, as millions of folks have visited the site to learn more about the protocol, find recipes, and read informative and inspirational articles!
That being said, running a website, podcast, and social media channels is expensive! We pay for hosting, website design, development, and maintenance, recipe and article development and contributions, content editing and management, and a small team that helps us effectively make the most of curating and delivering these free resources to all of you.
As far as the business side of our operation, our goal is to offer help and information in a “tiered” system that serves everyone, built on the foundation of these incredibly high-value free offerings and extends to paid offerings that subsidize our free work and help us fulfill our responsibilities to our families. If it were possible we’d do all this work without pay, because it is our passion and calling, but unfortunately we have bills to pay, just like all of you!
Now that you know where we are coming from, here is what you should know about how we run our site:
The “never” list
- We don’t run third-party advertisements. Although this is very common on blogs these days, we choose to run Autoimmune Wellness without the use of these advertisements as we can’t control the content and we prefer a less distracting user experience.
- We don’t run sponsored posts. Companies never pay us to create a recipe with their ingredients, and brands can’t pay us to review their products.
- We will never be affiliated with multi-level-marketing (MLM) companies. We don’t believe in using pressure and exclusivity to promote products that are priced higher so that consultants or distributors can make a commission.
- We never use fear as a marketing tactic. Let us be explicit–fear should never be a part of anyone’s purchasing decisions, especially when it relates to their health.
The “yes” list
- We only promote products and services we have personal experience with, use, and love ourselves. Our goal is to share authentically about tools and resources we have found helpful in our own healing journeys, not to bombard you with a bunch of stuff you don’t want or need. We don’t take on affiliates for products that we don’t find affordable and useful personally.
- We do use affiliate marketing on our channels. Affiliate marketing means that we get a commission when you click a link and purchase a product–but so we are clear, that product price is never inflated on your end in order to pay us.
- We do promote our own products and services through our channels. We try to create products and services that we believe address the needs in our community and come from a genuine desire to serve. The channels we’ve built help us present those products and services to the people we believe are seeking them.
- We are incredibly conscientious about price points. The products we promote most often are accessible to a majority of our audience, while those at higher price points are highlighted only occasionally. We understand that every journey and budget is unique and we want to respect that while acknowledging products that could be useful to some.
- We do take one sponsor for our annual podcast season and occasional Instagram promotions. These are both intended to cover the costs of production for each of those channels and regardless of the expenses we need to cover, we will never accept sponsorship from companies we don’t believe in or have personal experience with.
- We use our promotional channels to raise money for non-profit work and medical studies. In 2017 we raised over $24,000 for autoimmune and real-food focused non-profit organizations, and in 2018 we raised over $12,000 to fund the first-ever Hashimoto’s and AIP medical study. Funding this work is a big part of supporting our movement at the grass-roots level.
- We support small businesses that are focused on serving our community. This is one of the best things we can do to grow our movement and help make this method of healing a mainstream option for everyone. There must be an infrastructure for a large scale change to become reality.
In the beginning of 2018 we ran a huge reader survey where some of the key questions we asked our community were around promotions and advertising. Of the thousands of you that responded, an overwhelming majority let us know that you thought our promotions were useful, tasteful, and fit in well with our free resources and content.
It is a privilege to do this work and have this platform, while we need to make a living, we are not trying to make a “killing.” We keep your trust in us and that awareness in mind as our blog, mission, and movement grow.