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FAQ

What is a direct to consumer brand?
So why is this site not a middleman like any other?
Do brands pay to get listed on NoMiddleman.com?
How do you guys make money?
What does it cost me to use this site?
Can I buy thru you guys?
Do you guys sell advertising?
How are brands rank ordered in each category?
How much does it cost to sponsor a category?
Why don’t you have the category I’d like to sponsor?

 

What is a direct to consumer brand?

The short answers is… a direct to consumer brand is one that opts out of the traditional retail distribution model, and ONLY sells to customers directly. No wholesalers, no distributors, no traditional retailers (online or offline). No middleman. Get it… The No Middleman Project?

The word ONLY above is the key here because consumers can buy directly from almost every brand via their website. That alone doesn’t make them a “direct to consumer brand,” and 99.9% of brands out there are NOT direct to consumer brands. Their products also can’t be sold thru other middleman (traditional retailers, etc.) as then the margin for those middleman has to be baked into their prices across all channels. They can’t sell direct at a lower price or they kind of piss off the middleman partners that their business relies on to survive. Consumers pay extra for the convenience of buying thru the least efficient, middlemen-laden channel the brand sells thru.

If you’d like this explained in more detail, see our about us page.

So why is this site not a middleman like any other?

We’re simply a vetted, curated directory of direct to consumer brands. By design, we don’t sell anything and we take no piece of any transactions. We’re just an information source that helps you find direct to consumer brands. You can then go to their website or call them and do business directly. You don’t really need us to do that.

Does NoMiddleman.com get affiliate commissions from the brands?

No.

Frankly we’ve always felt affiliate commissions are a dirty little corner of the internet marketing world. We select and list direct to consumer brands on an editorial merit basis only. In fact, brands can’t even buy their way in. There is no pay to play. This is all by design.

If you don’t know what an affiliate commission is, it’s basically a kickback a website can get by “recommending” a brand or product with a special link that tracks who referred the customer. We don’t play that game as we feel it would inevitably distort the integrity of the “recommendations”. Likely many of the brands we list even have affiliate programs (it’s pretty common online), but we refuse to take their money as it compromises the integrity of what we’re trying to do in the first place with The No Middleman Project.

PRO TIP: Whenever you see that “top 10 [fill-in-the-blank] products” or “[fill-in-the-blank] product reviews” web page acting like it’s editorially researched and derived from expert analysis, check the links (which usually go to Amazon product pages). Some dude in his underwear with a laptop just completely made this list up in 10 minutes, posted in on the internet, and now earns money in the form of affiliate commissions. With the regrettable byproduct that it’s part of the growing junkyard of misinformation on the internet praying on uninformed consumers for a meager profit.

Do brands pay to get listed on NoMiddleman.com?

No.

All brand listings on NoMiddleman.com are free and always will be. And every brand listing is a complete listing so there are no “up charges” to get a link, or a picture, or a video, etc. Brand listings and category listings are free, and editorially derived.

How do you guys make money?

We are a for profit company that serves the needs of direct to consumer companies. Our mission is to empower the direct to consumer revolution in every facet. The NoMiddleman.com directory of direct to consumer brands is only one facet of an evolving menu of services we will offer direct to consumer brands. We want great brands to thrive by making great products. We take care of the great direct to consumer brands, and logic follows that the great brands will take care of consumers, or other great brands will take their place.

Within the NoMiddleman.com directory unit of our business model, we allow one existing brand within each category to support The No Middleman Project with an annual sponsorship of the category. There are potentially 1000s of categories and the vast majority don’t have sponsors. We think of it like we’ve got a perpetual project to build, review, and maintain the world’s greatest free library and we let one book within each category of books sponsor its own section so we can keep building and build it well. We’re very transparent who is sponsoring each category.

Note, the brand already has to have been editorially vetted and selected for inclusion in said category. The category sponsorship gives them the top, side, and bottom banner ads in the category and gives them the top listing on every category page. So it effectively raises their profile within the category, but ever other brand that we’ve editorially selected to include in the category gets the exact same detailed brand listing. All brand listings are the same.

What does it cost me to use this site?

Nothing. It’s free for consumers to use the site.

Can I buy thru you guys?

No. We don’t sell anything. We’re just an information source. You buy directly from brands either by phone or on their website.

Do you guys sell advertising?

We don’t sell traditional CPC “Cost per Click” advertising and we never will, but we do allow one brand within each category to sponsor that category with an annual sponsorship. The brand has to have already been editorially selected to be included in said category. If they are, they are eligible to sponsor that category, but only one brand per category so it’s not obnoxious. The price of category sponsorships are capped so as to prevent us from ourselves becoming a middleman.

To clarify, we don’t have any kind of random ads that will be popping up on the site, there are no ads of any kind on most pages of our site, and there are no “sponsored listings” within categories. Our intent is not to give you good editorial information and then slowly obscure it with listings that are paid for. Our business model of one sponsor per category paid on an annual basis (with caps on the amounts we can charge per category) is our final monetization strategy for the NoMiddleman.com directory of direct to consumer brands… and this is written into our corporate charter.

How are brands rank ordered in each category?

For now, we rank order brands within categories by our estimate of their website traffic. The more traffic we estimate they have, the higher they will rank. Thus, we’re not making any editorial statement by listing one brand over another. It’s just their site’s web traffic, which we admit can be misleading at times. Still, this is the fairest solution we currently have. This may change down the road as things evolve, but it will always be an editorial call.

How much does it cost to sponsor a category?

The No Middleman Project was conceived and designed by a seasoned owner/operator of a successful direct to consumer brand as a solution whereby best of class direct to consumer brands (spread across differing categories) could loosely band together to keep customer acquisition costs down, way down… and at known fixed costs into the future so those savings could be passed onto consumers. We believe this has the potential to collectively save consumers billions if not trillions of dollars per year.

Unless otherwise specified, all available categories are currently either $10,000 per year (or $3000 per year for micro-categories), on a first come, first serve basis, which includes a perpetual first right of refusal on renewing at the following year’s rate. This is only available to brands that have already been editorially selected for inclusion in the target NoMiddleman.com product category. Separately, we also offer a $3000 per year “homesteading” option (or $1000 per year for micro-categories) with different requirements. To learn more about full sponsorships or homesteading, visit our advertising section.

Why don’t you have the category I’d like to sponsor?

The No Middleman Project is an organically evolving resource and new categories are added every month by our editorial team, the larger direct to consumer community, and thru consumer and brand representative suggestions. If you know a great brand selling direct to consumer in a category that we don’t currently have, just drop us a note and we’ll review the brand and the new category for inclusion. In the event that both are accepted, then the brand will be eligible to sponsor the newly created category. Check out our advertising section for more details, or email us at:

yourfriends@nomiddleman.com