Over the course of 2020, I have received more “we'd like to write a sponsored post on your site” emails than I have in the previous 9 years combined. I politely declined a few, but I've just started ignoring them, and today I wanted to publicly document my policies for this site.
Is BirchTree a Business?
Technically, I suppose so, but I don't treat it like one. Nearly all of my revenue on the site comes from the Carbon ad at the top of each page. As traffic goes up, so does my revenue. I'm not getting rich off this, but I get a nice deposit in my PayPal account every month, which is nice. People are also sometimes generous enough to donate via Ko-Fi, and I massively appreciate everyone who does that, so thank you!
But i think of this site like a hobby. More visitors equals more money, which is nice, but I'm not chasing exponential growth. I want to write things that people enjoy and find interesting, but im not writing in hopes of getting 9to5Mac or John Gruber to link to me. That’s always great, of course, but those are just bonuses.
I do not do sponsored on my site. I don't republish things other people have written. 100% of the content you see here is here because I wanted to talk about it.
About 5 years ago I dabbled in selling one sponsored post per month, but that only lasted a few months and even then, those posts were clearly titled “Sponsor” and I wrote all the copy for those posts. Ultimately, it was more trouble than it was worth and once Carbon came knocking, I never looked back.
What this means today is that you can not buy your way onto this site. You're more than welcome to ask me to try your app or hardware or whatever, and I may give it a shot, but I'm not going to promise to write something, and certainly not an “avertorial” piece.
Short version: if you email me abouta sponsorship opportunity, I block that address. It’s nothing personal, this just doesn’t vibe with what I want this site to do, and replying with a polite, “no thank you” tends to tell people that I’m on the hook and they might change my mind, so hopefully this saves everyone time.
I don’t do a ton of reviews here, but as you can guess, I don’t do paid or sponsored reviews. Since I’m not a review site, I rarely get pre-release software or hardware, which means I’m rarely going to get the first review out there to get those sweet first-day clicks. On the occasion I was given early access to an app, I’ll tell you that in the review. Also, if I was given a promo code for the app, then I’ll disclose that as well. However, given my above stance on promoted content, this is almost never the case.
Basically, if you see a review on this site, assume I bought it for myself. If I didn’t, I’ll let you know, and no matter what my thoughts are my own.
My overall message is that I value the trust people have in what I publish, and whether it’s a review, a UI mock up, or just me saying I think something is cool, I want you to know that those are always my genuine feelings. Maybe one day I will want to make this a full time job and then I’ll have to reassess how I handle promoted content and sponsored collaborations, but as it stands now I really have no interest in that.
So thank you for reading for all these years and making this a project that I feel so passionate about! I love to write, so I’d be doing this even if only 5 people were reading it, and it means the world to me that there are so many people interested in the same stuff I like. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!