We have an interesting dilemna and i'm curious to hear what you guys think about it.
It is our policy never to accept any affiliate or commission fees for software discounts offered through DonationCoder.com
Such fees are quite common on websites that recommend software, but it is our belief that they introduce a conflict of interest, in that the website has a vested interested in sales of the programs, and so we avoid this if even just to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
What we always do is ask the company if they are willing to pass on what would be the (sometimes substantial) affilliate fee to the purchaser. This can mean the difference between the user getting a 5% discount and getting a 25% discount.
However, sometimes we get back a reply saying that the company is not willing to do this, for a variety of reasons (they arent technically able to set up such a thing, or they dont want to disadvantage other affiliates).
So, generally in this case we just turn away the discount completely and do not accept the program into our discount list.
Now, there is no way we are going to get into the business of making money on affiliate fees - it's just not the direction I want this site to go in. I think we can be proud to be able to survive simply on user donations.
However, I thought it might be interesting to think about other possibilities.
One thing we could do is agree to the affiliate system and then have a way of everyone who bought the program using the affiliate link getting credited back the affiliate fee through the DonationCredits system. The only downside here is all the additional work we'd have to do to organize and process this, which probably makes it a bit inconvenient.
Another thing we could do is donate all affiliate fees to a charity of some sort. Not sure the amounts are going to be worth the effort though..