From the NYTimes [emphasis added]:
A handful of advocates, armed with nothing more than their keyboards, have put many of the country’s largest retailers, including Apple, Microsoft, Netflix and Wal-Mart, on the spot over their indirect and, until recently, unnoticed roles in funneling money to Christian groups that are vocal in opposing homosexuality.
Funneling money to Christian groups? Sounds nefarious. It isn’t. It is simply affiliate marketing.
It is a routine arrangement on hundreds of e-commerce sites, but with a twist here: a share of the commission that retailers pay is donated to a Christian charity of the buyer’s choice, from a list that includes prominent conservative evangelical groups like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.
The Christian-oriented Internet marketer known as Charity Giveback Group, CGBG, is a for-profit company formerly called the Christian Values Network and resembles hundreds of so-called affiliate marketers, which retailers use to bring customers to their own Web sites. The affiliate receives a commission on any sales, and CGBG allows buyers to send half that commission to any of the Christian charities on its list.