How This Site Makes Money
“Don’t trust everything you read on the internet.”
This is sound advice for avoiding slanted news stories, photoshopped images, and … fake reviews?
Positive reviews that spring up in exchange for compensation are an unfortunate reality. Just look at the high-profile Belkin case, which led to the FTC cracking down on websites that receive incentives to write positive reviews.
The team here at Merchant Maverick is different. Our reviews center on our core values. Specifically, we pride ourselves on our honesty, integrity, and transparency. It is these values that allow us to deliver the content our readers deserve – content that is informative, accurate, and unbiased.
With that said, Merchant Maverick is a business, and like any other business, we have to make money to keep bringing you comprehensive reviews of small business software and services. It is our goal to be as transparent as possible about how we make money.
Reviews For Pay? No Way!
First, let’s make it clear that we do not get paid to write positive reviews. If a vendor approaches us with an offer of cash or other incentives in exchange for a positive review, we refuse – we always have and we always will. In fact, our editorial team and our partnerships team operate separately, for the most part. Our writers are not paid on commission, and they are not allowed to accept gifts or other compensation from the vendors they write about. We pay our editorial team competitive wages and offer excellent benefits; they have no incentive to tell anything but the truth.
Our intent is to remain unbiased, and we refuse to do anything to jeopardize the integrity of our site. If a vendor receives 5 out of 5 stars, hours of in-depth research have led the writer to determine that rating. You can read our rating and scoring system guidelines here for more information about how we determine ratings. Each writer has full autonomy over their own product reviews, and they do not have to defer to anyone in the company, even the CEO, when rating a piece of software or a service provider.
So, that leads us to the question…
How Does Merchant Maverick Make Money?
Referral partnerships are what keeps the wheels turning at Merchant Maverick. We form strategic partnerships with top-rated service providers, and we earn commissions by referring customers to these services.
We remain unbiased and maintain our integrity by only partnering with companies that we have already reviewed favorably. Partnerships do not influence our content. It doesn’t matter if we are partnered with someone now, have partnered with them in the past, or plan to do so in the future. Past, current, and future partnerships will never have an influence on our ratings and reviews.
That said, we do make mutually beneficial arrangements with already highly-rated companies in regard to site placement. The vendor that appears numerically first in a list of reviews may have paid us to put them front and center. This does not mean that the content of the review was in any way changed or influenced by that vendor. Nor does it mean we have added a vendor to a list or post where they would not already have appeared. It is simply a way for us to offer more exposure to good companies with good services. You, the reader, are more likely to click on the vendor you see first. That’s why vendors are willing to pay for that prominent placement, but it’s also why we never give prominent placement to a vendor we don’t already recommend highly.
Another way Merchant Maverick generates earnings is through native advertisements. The ads that you may notice in the sidebar or that pop up on your screen are paid placements. These ads are just that – paid advertisements – and have no effect on our site’s content.
Similarly, we may run email marketing campaigns that are financed by a specific highly-rated vendor. They are paying us for exposure to our reader base; they are not paying us to rate them highly or to influence the content of their review.
Can You Be Unbiased When You Are Receiving Referral Commissions?
So far, we’ve reviewed hundreds of merchant account providers, POS software companies, and business software providers. Our reviews are always in flux, and a 5 out of 5 today might become a 4 out of 5 tomorrow. The good news is that there will always be another company out there that can take that top spot. There will never be a shortage of companies that we can refer you to.
We have a strong incentive to remain unbiased. Our referral commissions depend entirely on whether you, the reader, trust our reviews and ultimately use — and keep using — the products and services we recommend. If we push shady companies forward for a quick buck, everyone loses. You don’t trust our site or follow our recommendations, and we don’t receive compensation for referring you to excellent business products.
What’s more, our readers are not the only people who suffer if we allow bias to influence our ratings. The vendors we work with depend on Merchant Maverick for accurate feedback about how their product works, how it is perceived by the public, and in which ways it can improve. Many companies actually make changes to their product in direct response to a negative review by Merchant Maverick. We have a responsibility to help the companies we review get better, just as we have a responsibility to direct you to the most appropriate software or services for your business.
Feedback Is Always Welcome
We always welcome feedback. Whether you agree or disagree with our content, comments and emails are always welcome. While we love to hear about what we’re doing right, it’s just as important to be informed of what we’re doing wrong.
We are proud to be able to provide our content at no cost. Our job is to provide unbiased, honest, and informative content. There is never any obligation to work with a vendor or click on our referral links.
Finally, if you have an idea for how Merchant Maverick can provide value to you without dipping into the referral commission structure, please tell us. Feel free to leave your comments below.
Our mission and values have remained the same since day one, and we plan to keep it that way. We know that our readers – you – are what makes Merchant Maverick a success, so it is our goal to provide the best content, complete transparency, and integrity in everything we post.
While it’s true that you can’t trust everything you read on the internet, rest assured that you can trust the content brought to you by Merchant Maverick.