Bezos-owned Washington Post now inserting gross Amazon affiliate links into news articles

By Paul Bradley Carr , written on August 16, 2014

From The News Desk

There's something creepy in this Washington Post piece about Penguin's new "adult" cover for the 50th anniversary edition of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Well, something else creepy, beyond the weirdly over-sexualized cover itself.


Six paragraphs into the story, we find this...

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 6.32.53 PM

...a "buy it now" button, wedged into editorial copy and linked to an affiliate account of Amazon.

A quick skim around the WaPost site suggests this is something the Post is doing with all of its book reviews now, as well as on news items and even letters to the editor. The link to the Roald Dahl book links to the Amazon affiliate ID "slatmaga-20" (presumably short for Slate Magazine, per the Post's ties with that publication). That ID can also be found in a link within this letter to the editor. Meanwhile, this music book review links to the Amazon affiliate ID "thewaspost-03".

Despite the various IDs being used, one thing is very clear: The Washington Post now sees reviews of books, and even news reports about books, as fair game for selling those same to readers, editorial independence be dammed.

And, of course, with every sale, Jeff Bezos -- the founder of Amazon, and the new owner of the Washington Post -- gets ever so slightly richer. What a happy coincidence.

UPDATE: Washington Post claims careful insertion of affiliate links into news stories happened by accident