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I think my favorite part is “Warmest Regards”

If you’ve been using my Amazon links, I thank you for your support of this blog. Unfortunately, you should stop now.

Received from Amazon this morning:

Hello,

Effective today, Amazon is terminating your Associates account as well as the Operating Agreement that governs it (link below).

Why?
We reviewed your account as part of our ongoing monitoring of the Amazon Associates Program. During our review, we determined that you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, found here: . The violations include the following:

-We have found violations in one or more of the Bounty Statements from your Site.
-You are encouraging customers to bookmark your Special Links. All Special Links must be accessed directly from your Site.

An example of the above violation can be found here: https://www.clairewolfe.com/blog/2011/01/19/itty-bitty-questions-about-quirks-of-human-nature/

What’s next?
You must stop using the Content and Amazon Marks and promptly remove all links to the Amazon site.

Because you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, Amazon will not pay you any outstanding advertising fees. Please be aware that any other related accounts may be closed without payment of any fees. Amazon reserves all other rights and claims.

In limited cases this closure may be appealable. See Appeals help for more information, found here: .

Amazon.com

Warmest Regards,

Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/associates

This is typical Amazon — no warning, no chance to shape up. Just SLAM! And oh BTW, we’re keeping the money already credited to you.

I’m not going to appeal. Two reasons. First, even if you’re innocent, if you’re a vendor or an associate you might as well appeal to the Borg. (Amazon is good to its customers, nasty to its subordinates.) Second, I’m not innocent; I did indeed ask people to use the links as they say. As to the accusation about bounty statements, I don’t even know what a bounty statement is, let alone how I might have violated one. But there it is.

Amazon blog links are over. I’ve removed the one in the sidebar. I couldn’t possibly ferret out every associates link from years of blogging, as they demand. I may try later. But for today I’m simply saying thank you and asking you never to use one of those old Amazon links again.

Beyond that, I don’t know where things will go from here. For now, I’ve halted all house projects, stopped buying “treat” groceries, and am looking at other places to cut the budget. I already eliminated Netflix and home Internet earlier this year.

Three angels have provided 3/4 of the recent non-Amazon support for the blog (bless you D3, SF, and RW). Others have sent surprise donations or stuck with me via Patreon even as Patreon went to the dark side. I could name a lot of others who deserve my eternal thanks. GL, AE, KK, BM, DA, MJ, JM, V, DB, FM, AG, ABCDE … so many more I’m neglecting to mention, but to whom I owe everything for years of support. I remain one lucky writer.

But while it lasted it was wonderful to have a means for potentially hundreds of people to support the blog simply by making purchases at Amazon with no extra cost to themselves. No other affiliate program has such power.

That’s over now, though.

20 Comments

  1. Claire
    Claire August 16, 2019 4:54 pm

    Oh, and while I appreciate the irony of Amazon cutting me off one day after I reiterated my pledge not to hold another fundraiser … I am not going to hold another fundraiser. The fundraisers have been wonderful, but I dislike begging. The blog needs a regular, predictable, preferably broad-based means of monthly support.

  2. free.and.true
    free.and.true August 16, 2019 5:34 pm

    Sounds like you’ve become the latest victim of leftist big-tech demonetizing, Claire.

    Just wow. What smug, lying, priggish shitheads, fishing for some tiny “violation” on your part to justify their intolerant BS.

  3. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal August 16, 2019 6:20 pm

    It’s like the world doesn’t want us if we don’t either work for government or a big corporation (pretending they are different entities). It’s just one thing after another making sure we have no reliable source of money unless we do either of those things.

    I think it really sucks for Amazon to do that to you. How was anyone supposed to know to support you with Amazon purchases if you aren’t allowed to mention it?

  4. jed
    jed August 16, 2019 7:01 pm

    My Amazon purchasing has declined quite a bit anyway. They’ve so badly messed up their web interface, I often give up in frustation at the inability to weed out the crap and get to a listing of what it is I’m trying to buy. And even if I accomplish that, often, there is still far too much questionable crap. Hell, even changing the sort order can severely affect the amount of displayed products. And of course, their politics just suck. I’ll probably end up still using them for some things, such as re-orders of prior purchases, as that doesn’t require much effort. And, I really do like the Kindle, so I’m likely to stay tethered to Amazon for at least that.

    I can’t imagine why they would care about how it is that an affiliate drives traffic to them. And of course, demanding that you remove all links is a stupid thing. Hell, I’d go to the effort of removing links to them just for spite. There’s no legal leg for them to stand on anyway, in re. linking to them.

    A way long time ago, I did a blog conversion for a friend, from “Blog City” to WordPress. With direct access to the database, it wasn’t too hard to work some PHP code to transmutate the markup. A regex to replace all Amazon links with all Amazon links removed because they suck is do-able.

    Hmm. Patreon joined the Dark Side? I guess if I heard about that, I’ve forgotten.

    Yeah, there’s no referral progam with the scope and reach of Amazon, but I wonder, given the audience here, whether a few well-selected programs, could fill in at least to some extent. I’m thinking Lucky Gunner, e.g.

  5. larryarnold
    larryarnold August 16, 2019 9:05 pm

    I had a spare minute, so just for fun I went and searched their “help.”
    I got:
    No results match your search for “Bounty Statements” in Amazon.com Help.
    and
    No results match your search for “Bounty Statement” in Amazon.com Help.

    Even if you could keep people from bookmarking your links, why would Amazon care? Its more business for them.

    Oh well. Back to work.

  6. Joel
    Joel August 17, 2019 10:14 am

    I guess they felt like they could make better use of the money. Oppressing seasonal workers is expensive, plus Bezos needs a private continent.

  7. Claire
    Claire August 17, 2019 10:35 am

    free.and.true — You know, I never even thought about it being political (though I did wonder why they had to go all the way back to a 2011 post to find me committing an offense). I suppose there’s no way to know.

    About the time you were posting your comment, I read this from the eternally harassed and always fiery Larry Correia, which is about FB, but infuriatingly relevant to today’s leftist-corporate Web:

    http://monsterhunternation.com/2019/08/16/banned-again-facebook-gets-even-dumber-part-iii-the-saga-continues/

  8. Claire
    Claire August 17, 2019 10:44 am

    Kent — “It’s just one thing after another making sure we have no reliable source of money unless we do either of those things.”

    Sigh. It does seem like that sometimes.

    This is the third time in the last four or five years that the blog’s income has been stomped on by some entity — first when Backwoods Home decided Mas Ayoob was the only one of its bloggers worth $250 a month; second when Amazon nerfed its commission structure; and now this. I don’t know that any of these decisions were done with destructive intent, but destructive they certainly have been.

    After the nerfing, an angel stepped in and made up the lost Amazon income, and bless ‘im, he’s still at it, month after month. But the Internet as it is now has certainly made things hard — for writers in general and specifically for those with the “wrong” opinions.

    Unprecedented opportunity coupled with unprecedented control. “Free” content driving out paid work. Noise and nastiness driving out thoughtfulness. Bad times.

  9. Claire
    Claire August 17, 2019 10:49 am

    jed — “A regex to replace all Amazon links with all Amazon links removed because they suck is do-able.”

    Now, that’s brilliant.

    As to other affiliate programs, I’ve tried a few over the years and gotten literally nothing. For something like six years, for instance, I had affiliate links to Paladin Press. Know how much I earned from those links? Zero. Not a dime, ever. Amazon is like nothing else. Other affiliate programs might bring in an occasional modest lump sum, but what this blog needs is a small, but reliable, and preferably broad-based monthly income.

    Patreon was a good idea for that, and I’m going to look into Patreon alternatives. But yes, they did go to the dark side.

  10. Claire
    Claire August 17, 2019 10:56 am

    larryarnold — “No results match your search for “Bounty Statements” in Amazon.com Help.”

    LOL! That is SO very Amazon.

    And you’re right about links. There were a lot of times over the years when somebody wanted to put my link on their site or email it around to all their contacts or use it to buy something for me. Oh, the number of times I had to warn somebody that Amazon wouldn’t take well to such sincere helpfulness!

    So much for being good. 🙁 Bottom line: Amazon’s rules are complicated enough that they can use them against any vendor or associate they choose.

  11. patrick fowler
    patrick fowler August 17, 2019 11:53 am

    Hi Claire what do you mean by the ” dark side ” in reference to Patreon … I’ll admit that the response in my experience has been poor , even after telling dozens of my customers about it. I guess they see it as sort of a bleg type thing.

  12. Bill T
    Bill T August 17, 2019 12:29 pm

    That stinks, I like Amazon for the convenience, I’m just far enough away form the big City to where I have to drive twenty minutes or so just to get where I can shop for the stuff I want. With prime it’s much easier to just click and ship. Plus for as metropolitan as it is here, I often can’t get what I want anyways with out ordering it. Guess they are just as evil as people say they are as I would have though that they wouldn’t care how anyone shopped at the site. I’m going to agree that it’s your content that someone in the food chain doesn’t like so they are going all SWJ on you.

    Their loss as I’ve been meaning to cut back on them anyways. I’ll just bump my Patreon a level as I get far more value here than most places.

    Everyone have a great day.

  13. Claire
    Claire August 17, 2019 1:00 pm

    First, Patreon went to the dumb side, announcing a new fee structure that drove small patrons away en masse. They rescinded that, but not before costing some creators hundreds a month in support.

    Then they went to the dark side, banning perfectly innocuous creators for “progressive” PC reasons.

    I’m looking at alternatives now. I’m sorry your experience wasn’t good, but I can see your clients’ POV. 🙁

  14. Claire
    Claire August 17, 2019 1:08 pm

    Bill T — I agree Amazon is a great resource for people who aren’t handy to lots of shopping. I also agree it’s a good time to “de-Amazonize,” unfortunately.

    Thank you for your long-time support, and for bumping it up.

    I’m also looking into using SubscribeStar as another option.

  15. Comrade X
    Comrade X August 18, 2019 7:22 am

    I have no reason to ever go to Amazon again about anything.

    They have joined both FB & Google as being no go’s for me.

  16. just waiting
    just waiting August 18, 2019 10:02 am

    Moving somewhere 4+ hours away from the closest big city (over 50k people), I thought I’d be using amazon a lot more. Prime delivery “doesn’t apply in my area”, my few orders took 6-9 days to get here. Pay extra for Overnight? Still takes 3 days.
    I found that local stores can get me almost anything I need “next Tuesday”, if I know I need it before Friday at 4. Sometimes there’s a Thursday truck for Saturday, Sunday, Monday needs, but generally its Tuesday.

    Can’t be in a hurry here if you want to keep your sanity.

  17. just waiting
    just waiting August 18, 2019 11:31 am

    Larry, it was the strawberries all along

  18. Claire
    Claire August 28, 2019 10:35 am

    LibertyNews — Thank you for the link to liberapay. I did look at it when I first searched for Patreon alternatives. I got the impression it was mostly to support open-source software creators, but I’ll give it a closer look now. Even if it is just for OS creators, that’s a great cause, too.

  19. Roy J. Tellason
    Roy J. Tellason September 17, 2019 9:04 am

    I was an “amazon associate” for a while, with a boatload of links in one of my web pages. I saw the balance on my account climb up to a few dollars, and then sit there. I eventually decided that this wasn’t worth the hassle and told ’em I wanted to close that out. It took them literally *months* before they finally got around to doing it.

    I also used to sell books on amazon. Their terms were so obnoxious that it got to the point where I would cancel sales, informing the buyer that if I were to go through with it I’d end up losing money. Eventually I got tired of that and put my list on “vacation” status where as far as I know it remains to this day. My stuff is currently listed on one of my own web pages, and I do occasionally get a sale, though not that often. I like this better because I end up interacting directly with the buyer, and there’s usually very little BS involved.

    Searching for something that I want to buy online often results in links to amazon. But I can usually find the same item for sale elsewhere, at a better price.

    They’re bullies!

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