In its boldest e-commerce move yet, Runner’s World has devoted its website’s homepage to a single Amazon Affiliate link.
At press time, Dumb Runner had not yet clicked the link. Sources speculated it might take readers to a steeply discounted Gore-Tex jacket, a vibrating foam roller, a GPS watch, a toasty wool hat that’s equally at home on the trails or your local coffeehouse, a French press coffee maker that will rock your morning routine, or one of the 10 most ridiculously plush Brooks running shoes that the brand’s editors can’t get enough of.
The link, in a bold typeface and a size usually reserved for display type such as headlines, is impossible to miss.
While the move puzzled some website visitors, many of whom wondered whether it was a technical glitch, industry experts said they weren’t surprised.
“More and more brands, facing declines in traditional advertising revenue, are turning to things like ‘native ads,’ sponsored content, and affiliate links to bolster their bottom lines,” said Bert Dawes, a professor of advertising at Van Dyke College. “Dedicating your website’s homepage to a single, big, money-earning URL, like this one, is simply the next level in that game.”
Reached for comment on the homepage affiliate link, a Runner’s World spokesperson assured Dumb Runner that the editorial staff genuinely loves the product in question.
“Just click it,” she added. “The link, I mean. Click the link.”
“Please, God. Click the link.”