We talk often at Slate about things we love: books and songs and shower heads and light bulbs and baby toys and, of course, television shows. We know from your comments and emails that you like many of the same things. What happens, though, when you need a new pair of earbuds and can’t find the article where Seth Stevenson reviewed them? Or you need a birthday gift for your favorite foodie and you can’t remember which Vitamix model we liked best?
We thought, why not collect our favorite things in one place, with reviews and helpful links showing where to purchase them? And so today we introduce Slate Picks, a home for all the stuff we think you’ll love. Yes, there are recommendations from past articles and collections from Slate authors who review products. But Slate Picks will also offer a window onto our obsessions. We have asked our staffers and contributors for their favorite board games. The Outward team compiled a list of essential gay anthems. We asked Future Tense contributors to give us a list of essential science fiction.
You can get to Slate Picks by bookmarking http://picks.slate.com. Or sign up for our email newsletter, and we’ll let you know when we have new Picks for you to check out. You’ll also occasionally find collections highlighted on relevant Slate article pages. A couple of notes: Slate Picks is a “living document.” We will constantly be adding new collections, and new items to existing collections. It’s also in beta. We’ll be working hard to improve your experience. Please give us your feedback in the comments on this page.
And we want to be up front about one thing: Slate is an Amazon affiliate; when you click on an Amazon link from Slate, the magazine gets a cut of the proceeds from whatever you buy. Slate has similar affiliate relationships with other retailers, including Fandango, ThinkGeek, Zappos, Brookstone, Pottery Barn, and Pottery Barn's related stores. Many of the products you see here will generate revenue for us if you buy them, and many of them won’t.
You might ask: Do these affiliate relationships create a conflict of interest for Slate? They certainly create an incentive for us to link liberally to Amazon when we discuss items that it sells, whether we’re praising those items or warning you that they might kill someone. We’ve been doing that for more than five years now. But they don’t affect what we say about those items. Retaining the trust of our readers is much more valuable to us than affiliate revenue, for reasons both editorial—Slate has always prided itself on sorting the good from the bad, whether we’re writing about political candidates or paper shredders—and financial. What we’ve learned about reader loyalty over the past 18 years is that it’s slow to build and easy to destroy, and best long-term strategy for our magazine is to focus on integrity. And just like a regular store, Slate Picks’ long-term success depends on your being happy with what you buy, which means we need to be honest and genuinely enthusiastic about what we recommend.
So please check out Picks and let us know what you think. We think it will be good for our business, and we’re excited about having a place to highlight the stuff we’re passionate about. Our hope is that it connects you with things you’ll love.