What's up with the related links at the end of each post? I saw one about gout and was like WTF?!
HA! Yes, sometimes the concept of "related" feels a little tenuous, doesn't it? Those posts are served up by a service called Outbrain. The thumbnails include four Offbeat Empire posts and one related-ish post from another blog. The bulleted list of text links beneath are all to other blogs that use the Outbrain service. Each link includes a parenthetical notation of its source blog, so it's easy to see which are native Offbeat Empire links and which are to other sites.
Every time you click on link to read one of the posts on another site, we make a small profit. It's not much, but it adds up to a few hundred dollars a month across all four of the Offbeat Empire sites.
We just added the module a couple months ago, and I spent the first few weeks doing a TON of tweaks to the blacklist of URLs and post titles that weren't allowed. The Offbeat Empire has a pretty clear voice, and of course I can't expect all other websites to adhere to that, so I had to see if I could find trigger words to screen out shady shit. I've got things pretty well set, but every now and then something weird will slip in — like that gout post. I also see a lot of posts that I really like down there — uncommon wedding cakes, couture wedding gown inspiration, interesting newsy bits. For the most part, I'm super happy with Outbrain.
That said, if you ever see anything in the Related Posts or Elsewhere links that strike you as offensive, email us right away with:
- the title of the linked post (ie "Battle of the bulge: you look fat in your tacky wedding dress (StyleBlah)")
- the website URL that's linked (ie styleblah.com/battle-of-bulge.html)
We'll get the offended link off the site immediately, and update our blacklist accordingly. Please do not leave a comment on the post where you saw the link.
Not every link is going to be a perfect fit, which is ok with me. The one's I'm looking to block are the links stand in stark contrast to the Offbeat Empire's values. We're talking stuff like really negative body image posts, disturbing gender stereotypes, snarky/bitchy anti-feminist posts, etc. I'm ok with not every related link feeling like it could have been written by an Offbeat Empire editor — what I'm not ok with is perpetrating hateful, body-hating, anti-woman garbage.
Speaking of which, wanna see the current blacklist? It's kind of hilarious. If one of these words appears in the post link, the post will not appear on any Offbeat Empire site: aging, arthritis, bikini, body, boobs, calories, carat, cheat, cheating, credit, deaths, debt, diet, divorce, fat, fail, genocide, gout, homicide, Kardashian, killing, males, middleton, royal, Schwarzenegger, sex, skinnier, tacky, teeth, thin, thinner, too old, tummy, weight, will kate, workout, gut, belly, flatten, tummy, stomach, toned.