Patreon vs Amazon

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Disclosure: This content may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

I currently use Amazon affiliate links on this site, in my email newsletter, and sometimes on my @TotalCatskills story feed on Instagram.

Sales through these links generates revenue, which helps cover the costs of hosting and software services I use to run and its social accounts.

However, I hate feeding the Amazon beast; it makes me so uncomfortable.

The big dream for my hiking content is that, one day, it might generate enough revenue to provide a living — ethically.

The financial part of that dream is years away (if it’s even realistic) but generating income via Amazon’s machinery would always be in opposition to the ethical part of the equation.

This hasn’t ever been lost on me — I just rationalized to myself that it was how the sausage had to be made.

Patreon may offer a way out of that compromise.


At the start of November, I had zero patrons. By early December, I had 21. What a fantastic start. Patrons, thank you so much for your trust and support!

Messaging with a follower recently, I had the brainwave that, if I could get enough people to sign up via Patreon, I’d be able to stop shilling for Amazon entirely.

So I’ve set a goal of 55 patrons for my Patreon account. When I reach 55 Patrons, I will remove every Amazon affiliate link from my content: website, newsletter, and social feeds.

The cheapest level of membership is $3 a month, and that level includes access to the private @TotalSean Instagram where I now post my latest photography and video from the trail.

The upper levels include access to a growing list of patron-only content.

If you decide to join up, at whatever level, thank you for supporting independent work!


I will promote the patron model regularly on my social accounts, this website, and in my email newsletter. (Patreon’s notes say many people have to be told about a Patreon account six or seven times before they sign up.)

It makes me happy to think that Amazon’s links will eventually be coming off my content.

(And I’m sure it’s petty but it also makes me happy to think that, when enough hikers have bought into this process, Jeff Bezos will be a tiny bit worse off.)

Thank you again, patrons, for being early adopters of this support system.


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