Myself and the mods have answered this question many times and in many ways, both on the site and via private messages. I try not to make too big a deal about it but recent posts have shown that a number of you have some misconceptions about how TFP operates and how the site is funded.
Let me first point out that TFP (TroubleFreePool.com) and TF testkits, are NOT the same company and I do NOT profit from the sale of the test kits or anything else sold at their site.) Keep reading and I'll explain...
Some may think me either a fool or too generous for not profiting from vendors featured on TFP with links or forums, but I do not. Since this keeps coming up again and again, I'll give a more detailed explanation:
When TFP started, I recognized a void that was being created by peoples inability to join at Pool Forum. I also recognized that Ben's kit was a key ingredient to the sites success. After starting TFP I actually contacted several online e-tailers to see if any of them had any interest in making a kit geared toward our target audience. Not only did I not find any takers, I did not even get a single reply. Most e-tailers are not fond of our little niche - we buck the trends of buying more chemicals to fix your pool woes. We educate the consumer and try and help them save time and money and this sometimes means less sales for those companies who sell the chemicals. I applaud those who still value our market and are willing to work to make a profit while still valuing the true needs of the customer.
During the same time period that I was searching for a better kit, Dave (duraleigh) contacted me about mentioning his kit on TFP and explained that it would be very similar to the kit previously sold on Pool Forum with some improvements - increased quantities, faster shipping. I did not immediately say yes. Dave was an unknown quantity. I was looking for someone established, however, after several phone conversations getting to know Dave, his ethics and extensive experience delivering on customer service, I felt confident our two ventures would be mutually beneficial. I think it was even me who suggested the name for his kit. Had I known then how large the site would become and how confusing this would be for some people, I would have never suggested a name so similar to the site name. It was just a lack of foresight on my part - I've been as surprised by the success of TFP as anyone. I do believe though, that part of the reason for our success has been because of duraleigh's participation and the activitiy surrounding the use of his kits. It's not simply a one sided issue.
In fairness, Dave did offer me a percentage of the profits - which is a normal practice. He wasn't trying to pull anything over on me, quite the opposite. The fact is, I declined for one simple reason... I don't want TFP to be beholden to anyone, or dependant upon someone else's business practices. Regardless of what happens with Dave's kits - if business goes south, or he gets hit by a bus on his way home tonight (no offense Dave), TFP will function as it always has. I have had offers from other vendors for various profit sharing - affiliate programs, etc and have made the same reply to them all...pass the savings on to the TFP members (supporters). If you don't believe me, ask ANY of them!
My philosophy is simple, the more incentives I can create for users to take the next step and support TFP, as some have done, the more profitable the site will be, the more improvements we can make, more contests, etc. The costs have gone up dramatically, but so far donations have kept pace. I know that will be the case during the off months, but I'm doing my best to budget for that.
I understand why this has been confusing to some and understand that this is not the typical business model. The site is not a non-profit and I don't apologize if I am able to be compensated for my time, which is substantial. I understand that there are a lot of other ways that I could monetize the site and make more money, but in doing so I think I risk losing some of what makes TFP so unique in the marketplace. You can rest assured that the companies the TFP chooses to associate with are chosen not because of what they can do for me personally but because they have a good reputation and are able to offer special pricing and or services to TFP supporters. I don't want TFP to be a flash in the pan. I am looking for long term, enduring success and with your help, I think we can do just that.
I hope this clears things up.