1. What’s the point of Outfitted and Equipped? Are you saying that I need to buy these specific things?
The idea behind Outfitted and Equipped is to give readers an example of the kind of outfits they might put together for different events. General style advice is great, but seeing some specifics put together in a concrete way can be really helpful. We definitely don’t think you need to buy the exact items we list. The gallery is supposed to serve as inspiration. It might help you pick out something similar when you’re shopping, looking for something at a thrift store, or simply pulling together items you already have in your closet. Again, the gallery is there simply to serve as inspiration, not to say you need to specifically buy X, Y, or Z.
2. If you’re not saying I need to buy these specific things, then why do you list and link to them?
There are going to be a lot of people who like a certain item in the gallery and want to know where they can get it. The links are there for the sake of convenience.
3. Does the sponsor control what items you recommend and do you get paid for recommending them?
A company agrees to sponsor a gallery in exchange for our inclusion of 1-2 of their products. We only accept sponsors who make things we or the curator actually like and would recommend anyway. The rest of the items included are entirely up to us or the curator, and we don’t get paid for including them. They’re things we genuinely like and recommend.
4. Why publish sponsored Outfitted and Equipped galleries anyway? I don’t like sponsorships — they’re too commercial.
First, we publish them because we like them. We think they’re fun and helpful. I only publish stuff I genuinely enjoy — whatever the offer is I get from advertisers. These kinds of galleries have been a staple on other men’s interest sites for a long time and I wanted to bring them to AoM because I like the idea. For their creation I have to pay 1) a style curator and 2) a graphic designer, and the sponsorships cover their cost, and also go to keeping AoM running.
The costs of running a large site like AoM are huge, and they only get bigger year after year as our server costs soar and we expand into creating new kinds of content — illustrations, comics, videos, etc. We’re committed to keeping AoM 100% free, as we want as many men as possible to have access to the content, regardless of their ability to pay. And the reality is, you can’t have free content AND no advertising. Nobody loves advertising, but it truly is a necessary thing, as without it, sites like AoM would cease to exist.
Toeing the line between using advertising to support the site and not making it too commercial isn’t easy. We try to use our best discretion in the choices we make. We turn down tens of thousands of dollars in ads and sponsorships every year because they don’t fit the values of the site, or they would be too intrusive and commercial. With Outfitted and Equipped we feel we get sponsor support and a great piece of content too, which to us is win-win, and why we like them. We hope you’ll like them too.