Sweat socks, shaver accessories and toner cartridges have been my biggest sellers to date (thanks, Mom!). A few of my most devoted readers came through and bought maps of Angel Island, Mount Diablo and Henry Coe (before-tax profit: $1.49) but my reviews of local hiking books yielded nary a dime.

As I mentioned before, I get a tidbit whenever a link here leads to a sale there. My wife is betting on the day when I notch a commission for somebody’s new set of pots and pans. There’s no way of knowing what my links will bring; the only certainty is the results will be entertaining (if scant in the dollar department).

Interestingly, I used to think there was an ethical conflict in doing these affiliate things, because you’d be obliged to paint the prettiest picture to sell the most goods. Turns out people buy whatever they want for their own reasons or don’t buy at all, even though it would be a nice way to say thanks for all this cool hiking-related content. (Later it occurred to me that if I want money, I should just ask for it and save people the trouble of buying stuff they don’t need to support their favorite local hiking blog; it also occurred to me that the teeny-tiny commissions demotivate people from buying to help out: after all, why blow 50 bucks if your favorite blogger’s only getting three?).

Bottom line: I’ll keep throwing some Amazon links in now and again, and y’all can continue your practice of clicking on the interesting stuff and buying nothing till the economy improves. Heck, I’d do the same.