First, we only accept sponsors that either:
- we rely on for our workflow
- one or more of our team-members rely on that they can vouch for
- are services we feel comfortable being presented to our audience, only after extensively using it ourselves.
- In other words, we need to actually believe in the service or product!
Second, VPN sponsors are not allowed. We host open source VPN tools, and accepting sponsorships of this nature are a conflict of interest. We utilize the same opt-in affiliate protocol we’ve always used. (Detailed Below)
Third, we hold every right and will cancel sponsorships for companies we feel no longer align with our values. Things change in the world, and we want to change with it.
Fourth, sponsors are unable to influence the content we make, our recommendations, or our criticisms towards the sponsor itself or its competitors. We will maintain our independence in the space, and no sponsor is worth losing our reputation!
Finally, our sponsors are not formal privacy & security recommendations! We always encourage our audience to utilize our resources for formal recommendations. Our sponsorship protocols are different than our stricter recommendation criteria!
We will not allow our content or recommendations to be influenced by a sponsor. At any point in time, if we feel something changes, or our audience overwhelmingly doesn’t agree with our decision—we will immediately remove a sponsor.
Affiliate marketing has a bad rep and for good reason—it’s frequently abused with little transparency. However, we developed an opt-in affiliate model where we independently choose affiliate plans, which are always used alongside standard, non-affiliate links. This way, you always remain in control and only click an affiliate link if you choose to.
We implement an entirely opt-in, affiliate model with extremely limited services we feel comfortable having plans with.
Our affiliates are chosen by answering 5 questions:
- Would we genuinely recommend this to our friends and family?
- Who in our audience would benefit from this?
- Who in our audience would NOT benefit from this?
- Why is there a discrepancy, if any?
- Are we able address both the pros and cons when talking about this affiliate plan without misleading viewers?
If we answer these questions and feel a service is not only a positive experience, but is capable of being recommended without viewers misled—they may qualify as an affiliate.
We will not allow our content or recommendations to be influenced by an affiliate plan. All our affiliate plans are opt-in, clearly labeled, and include non-affiliate standard links alongside them so users are always in control.
At any point in time, if we feel something changes, or our audience overwhelmingly doesn’t agree with our decision, we hold every right and ability to cease the affiliate plan.
The current list of affiliate links we use can be found here.
Because of our expertise, we often receive special access to services and products under conditions not generally available to the public. This includes early access to products, and sometimes free review units. Regardless if we’re allowed to keep the review unit, we implement the following protocols:
- We never accept special access to products or services under any conditions where we’re unable to properly review the product independently. All companies/services/projects/individuals are directly made aware of this fact before giving us special access.
- We will clearly disclose to our audience if a service gave us special access to a product.
- While we can’t make this a formal protocol, we can make the general promise to never allow the nature of any special access relationships to directly influence our independence.
We will not allow our content or recommendations to be influenced by a free, discounted, or early-access service. We would rather maintain independence than receive special access to services.