A little social and economics experiment

I have a passion for the human brain and human behavior and I love to experiment with anything. My birthday is near so it’s a good time to go forward with this idea.
The starting point is that this blog is absolutely non-profit oriented and that status will remain forever – no banners, no donations, etc. I do it purely for fun, pleasure and knowledge improvement, altough it generates positive externalities (aka work!).
I am curious to observe what would be the result of  sort of asking something in return (sort of what is the value for you). I love books (physical ones!) and that is what I am asking for. My initial idea was to create an Amazon wish list. This doesn’t work because it will disclose my shipping address. The solution that seems to work without major problems is an Amazon gift certificate – an email address and that’s it.

So what kind of amounts are we talking about ? I have a very positive experience with the Amazon Marketplace and second-hand books. The descriptions are very accurate and I purchased books as new for awesome prices. As a reference point the total cost of each book I get is around €8 to €12 ($10 to $15, £6.5 to £10, including shipping (usually the significant cost!). I usually purchase from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (gift certificates can’t be exchanged between different countries). The email address for this experiment is amazonexperience at put.as.

Let’s see how this works out. The only risk you have is if it’s a success and I get a ton of new books. Then I will have to dedicate more time to read them and less time to publish stuff! Hey, life is risky 😉


10 thoughts on “A little social and economics experiment

  1. I’ve seen those gift certificates at many gas stations in the city. Will you be able to use a gift certificate i bought in germany? (I don’t use amazon personally so i have no idea)

  2. How is this a social experiment? There’s nothing about it that is experimental. You’re asking for people to buy books for you, it doesn’t matter how you dress it up.

    I thought your posts were moderately interesting, but this has put me off.

    Buy your own books like everyone else. Don’t use what could have been a successful blog as a platform for money-grabbing. Like it or not, that’s how it comes across.


    1. Well, it just got interesting with your comment (and I’m not being sarcastic!). It’s the type of comment and thinking that I kinda of enjoy from different perspectives.
      You are basically free riding. Not that I have a big problem with that, else there wouldn’t be a single post here.
      And it is an experiment. It asks/(tries to)test how much do you value the information and the stuff around here – at current market rates there’s a shitload of money “invested” in here.
      In your case, you don’t put any value into it and that’s perfectly valid and acceptable. What is commonly referred as the market, that kind of opaque and misterious thing the media refer to these days, is nothing more than the sum of all individual decisions and preferences. And in many cases the variance is high, as you are perfectly demonstrating 🙂

      This has nothing to do with money-grabbing. The externalities produced by a successful blog (reputation and recognition) allow me to buy more books than I can read during my expected life. There are things much more valuable than just money ;-). The first person that did sent a gift card knows that.


  3. To be honest, I think your arguments are poor justification. You can try your best to flower it up, but when you distill it to its essence, you’re saying this:

    I write these blogs that you get for free. I don’t put ads on the site, so please “pay” me by helping me buy books.

    Whether or not your intent is to come across this way isn’t really important. What is important is the way you come across. A whole post dedicated to getting people to buy things for you, whatever the motivation, I feel is wrong, particularly for a blog like this.

    You say: “You are basically free riding”.

    Off what? Your blog? You? I think you’ll find that’s absolutely incorrect, and that further justifies my initial point. If you feel that people reading your blog posts are free-riding then it demonstrates evidence that this “experiment” is an attempt for you to get something back from the “free riders”. Social experiment my ass. You write posts without people asking, and you call them free riders for reading them. You’re starting to sound like religion: born in sin and demanded to be good. What a crock.

    By your logic, every time you read something on the internet without paying for it, contributing to it, etc you’re freeloading. If you feel this way, I’d recommend you disconnect from your network as you’re basically free riding off everyone…

    … including me. Did you read this comment? If so, I’d appreciate a donation of $10 USD for doing so. Thank you, Free Rider.

    1. You keep missing the point and attacking something that it’s not. I don’t need any financial revenue from this blog and I really don’t need people to send me books.
      But if they want to send me for some reason they feel worth it, then I will be very happy because totally strangers did it. I highly value that.
      You don’t value this ? You don’t care about this ? It’s your choice. And I strongly support the freedom to have such choice.
      It’s the same freedom that allows me to post and tweet whatever I want. Don’t like it, don’t read it.

      Of course you are free riding the moment that you use any information or tools that are written/posted here.
      If you don’t, then you are just wasting your (not so valuable?) time. Others seem to extract value from all this else the blog itself and some of the tools/code wouldn’t be popular and used by many. In Economics, we call it VALUE. I’m just very happy for spreading knowledge and try to teach others, and opt out to charge 0 monetary units for that value.

      It’s the same thing for open source/free software/whatever. Everyone is free riding on the work of others. If that is better for society is something that I’m not certain, and it’s a long discussion. The beauty of Economics is that it is much more complex than what most people picture it.

      I am not demanding anything. I made that very clear and the direction of this blog will not change based on “success” or “failure”.

      Everyone has their point of view, yours is just focused at the wrong side. Don’t worry, the world is so fucked up that most people just care about money and not about the value of other things.


    2. You are very lost, dear child. It’s simply what the readers of the blog think the value of the content is. He’s not asking for cold hard cash, instead he’d like some books for leisure reading. If you compare this blog to many other blogs out there, you’d probably appreciate that this blog isn’t littered with ads every square inch and clicking on white space would open popups. Just visiting those “blogs” enough times makes them way more money than this. As for posts without people wanting them? I thoroughly enjoy reading the posts since they are oft expository of silly screwups (little snitch vuln/crack, HASP in Hauptwerk, NYT, freemium games, etc). If you don’t want the posts that fG! takes the time to type up, don’t come here anymore, I’m sure there’s more appropriate sites for you, such as http://tinyw.in/vKr4 that you would thoroughly enjoy. Ironically, you’re coming here complaining about shitty posts, when your blog is titled “OJ’s Rants”, no one gives a shit about who touched who, who flipped you off, why you use twitter http://buffered.io/posts/why-i-use-twitter/ I’d much rather go watch a kids show than read your stupid rants. Go rot in hell, troll.

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