TheChocolateLife is available to the public and members free of charge. However, it does cost money to run (monthly hosting costs and other monthly and annual fees) and, while not a full–time job, it does take a significant amount of time each month, on a daily basis, to moderate and manage the community.
The money used to cover the hard and soft costs and to participate in activities that benefit the entire ChocolateLife community comes from the following activities:
TheChocolateLife has commission sales agreements with the following companies:
- Chocovision - batch tempering machines
- CocoaTown - machines for making chocolate from the bean
- FBM - continuous tempering machines and related equipment
- Packint - turnkey craft/artisan chocolate making equipment
USA / Canada
- Arctic Refrigeration - Walk-ins and Desmon refrigerators and freezers
- Atlantic Cocoa/ECOM - cocoa beans, butter, and powder (USA only)
- Bakon - melters and other chocolate machines (USA only)
- Ciao Imports - Guittard chocolate and Valrhona retail chocolate products (USA only)
- Irinox - specialty refrigeration (USA only)
- Tomric - molds and smallwares (USA only)
As a part of these commissioned sales agreements, TheChocolateLife is authorized to offer discounts that generally range from 5-10% to members, as well as to engage in other special programs.
In every case, the companies mentioned were chosen because they offer products of differentiable value to ChocolateLife members. Companies and product lines were chosen because they offer more than one way to scale production from small startup operations all the way through to large-scale capacity.
Companies and products are chosen after careful consideration and research. Companies are not taken on because they offer (more) money, they are taken on because they offer value to ChocolateLife members in a way that complement existing product lines.
Potential Conflicts of Interest
Moving to the first-person for this part of the discussion:
As the creator of TheChocolateLife and its sole moderator, I extend the offer of membership to representatives of companies that sell equipment for making chocolate and confections with only a very few limitations. They are free to participate in any and all discussions, but are requested not to post a discussion, blog, comment, or classified for the sole purpose of promoting their company's products and services - out of deference to my desire to keep the site as free from commercial promotion as possible within the editorial sections of the site. They are also asked not to cross-sell their products out of context with the topic of the original post or the flow of the discussion.
When I offer product advice in ChocolateLife forums, I do it based on as complete an understanding of the needs of the posters who are asking for advice - not based on which product will make me the most money.
Companies who manufacture and/or represent products for sale to ChocolateLife members may promote their companies and products in one or more of three ways:
- Take out ads in the Member Marketplace.
- Sponsor a Group.
- Pay for individual Classifieds or buying an annual Classifieds subscription.
In other words, I reserve the right to charge companies with whom I don't have a commission agreement for the privilege of selling their products to ChocolateLife members.