Axed from Amazon. Argh.

Well, this stinks. I got a letter from Amazon saying this:

Hello from the Associates Program,

We are writing to tell you that effective as of today’s date, Amazon is terminating your Associates account.  Under the terms of the Operating Agreement, we may terminate your account at any time, with or without cause.  This decision is final and not subject to appeal.

It is important that you immediately remove all Amazon Content from your Site(s).  Please be aware that any other accounts you have, or may open in the future, may be closed without payment of any fees.  Amazon reserves all other rights and claims.

Because you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, Amazon will not pay you any outstanding advertising fees related to your account.  Amazon exercises its right under the Operating Agreement to withhold fees based on violations, which include the following:

-You are incentivizing others to visit the Amazon Site by specifying that purchases made using your Special Links will help to support you or your website.

-You are encouraging customers to bookmark your Amazon links, as opposed to clicking through your Site to reach Amazon.

Thank you for your participation in the Amazon Associates Program.

Warmest Regards,

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

It was so weird and abrupt, I thought it might be fake (“Warmest Regards”??), but it’s not. I knew they changed their Terms of Service on Dec. 1, and I thought I was following the new guidelines, but apparently not. I understand the second guideline, but the first one they mentioned doesn’t even make sense to me.

Well, this is a pretty big kick in the teeth, especially now, when everyone’s buying tons of stuff. I’m telling you about it for three reasons.

One is, if you’re shopping on Amazon, please use someone else’s link! Lots of folks have Amazon Associates accounts, and it would be a shame to waste that money.

Two: If you have an Amazon Associate account that’s important to you, stop everything make sure you’re in compliance. They didn’t give me any warning whatsoever; they just shut it down.

Three: I’ve installed a PayPal button on the top right sidebar. I have really mixed feelings about this. I try to give people something for their money, so I was pretty happy about the Patreon system. I’m very aware that my patrons are essentially giving me gifts, for which I am very grateful! But at least folks got access to our goofy little podcast, and I could tell myself I wasn’t just begging. When I started putting ads on the site, I spent a lot of time hunting for the right ad agency, so as to avoid cluttering it up too much for readers. I hate begging. Hate it.

On the other hand, I don’t really know, at the moment, how we’re going to make up this lost income. It was real income, not just fun money. November to January is when I make the most money through Amazon, and all of that is just gone, even if I do somehow manage to get reinstated in the future. I’m looking into alternative affiliate programs, and I can push harder to get another book out sooner than I planned, and of course Damien can get yet another job. We’re not destitute, by any means, and there are many families needier than ours! But it’s a little nail-bitey just the same, and I did not sleep a lot last night.

So, argh argh argh, I guess if you had some cash dragging you down and you really wanted to get rid of it, and you sometimes enjoy my scribblings and bibblings, you could do worse than to click that button.

Thank you.

I’ll keep calling Amazon and trying to get reinstated, but I am not optimistic. They are just extremely big, and I’m just another blogger!

Argh.

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44 thoughts on “Axed from Amazon. Argh.”

  1. So sorry to hear that, I can’t believe how they don’t warn you either. And actually I’m more sorry that some extremely rude remarks were made in the comments above, there are very few who will kick a dog when it’s down, and they end up disliked by everyone and lonely so they reap their own rewards. Thanks for the heads-up, I will need to carefully check that my blog is compliant. Wishing you and your family all the best for this coming year.

  2. Their terms of service is long and often not easy to understand. I’m sorry this happened to you. One of the earliest things I learned is not to ask for clicks/purchases, and not to include their links in emails or any other offline venue. I know there are more so I use caution when sharing any of their links anywhere but on my blog.

  3. I don’t think you’re begging at all. I love your meal posts and am constantly amazed at the meals you create for your large family (and I come from one that is only slightly less big than yours). I decided to subscribe because it seemed the right thing to do when I enjoy your blog posts so much.

  4. I live in NYC & I swear one of the public radio stations WFUV would say on air, use our link to do your holiday shopping because we get some money for it.
    Is this now against amazon policy?
    It’s very confusing.

  5. First Trump, then NCR fires you, now Amazon demonetizes you? You can’t catch a break sweetie!

    Maybe this is a sign to get offline for a bit and work on yourself and your family.

    ❤️❤️❤️

        1. Meant to add: funny, I thought it was things like NFP that got combox knickers in a twist, but that post has barely any comments. Never thought this would be a thread that would start fights!

          1. Ah. I still think this is an odd post to draw the jerks out in such force. Does Amazon send them or something? (“Don’t cross us – not only will we stop paying you the pittance from our massive earnings, we’ll inflict trolls on you too, mwahahaha!”)

          2. lol! I don’t know why I think it’s so funny that they would spend the energy to defend the honor of Amazon, of all things, but I do…

  6. You can also monetize on skimlinks or genius link and be getting your money from Amazon through them, they do take a percentage. Many who Amazon cut the cord on go this route.

  7. I am so confused. I don’t understand their assertion at all. But I am very sorry for your losing this income stream, especially at this time of year.

  8. Affiliate links are for things like her post about their favorite Christmas gifts. Affiliate links are not for saying “hey if you shop at amazon click my link so I get money”, which is what she was doing with her a few weeks ago.
    You can’t get mad at a company for not paying you money when you aren’t actually working for them. It doesn’t matter how big this company is, anyone who knows a thing or two about business knows that it doesn’t work this way.

    1. Yet, you ARE working for Amazon, or why would they pay you at all? Affiliate marketing means essentially that a person is doing advertising for Amazon, and getting paid in commission only. Either by adding links to social media or blog posts, or placing their actual ads on their blog.

      Many brands pay upfront to have their ads placed on someone’s site, or have their brand mentioned in a post or social, and linked back. Amazon pays in commission after placing links or ads.

      It’s not the same as being an actual employee of Amazon in one of their warehouses, but you are working as an Amazon Affiliate, affiliated with Amazon, working freelance but with a signed contract with Amazon to be paid for work.

      That same contract that contained the rules they believe she broke, and states that they do not have to pay her because of that, is the same contract that requires them legally TO pay her, if she had not broken their rules.

      So, yes, it would be appropriate to “get mad at a company for not paying you money” because you ARE “actually working for them,” clearly they do pay you for services when rules are followed. They wouldn’t do that just for funsies.

      I can’t give comment as to wether or not Amazon is right in their decision – if she was posting the way that you mention, then yes that could be seen as incentivizing I suppose, although I never thought twice when I’ve seen people do that. I’ll definitely mention to them now though to stop that type of posting. But I don’t want others to read your comment and avoid affiliate marketing thinking that it’s a waste, since no one has to really pay you ever if they don’t want to. Contracts are legit, and when both parties follow rules, money is required for services.

  9. I don’t get why either of those 2 things are a deal breaker. You advertise for them, they get sales. What’s so awful?
    This is really weird. I love Amazon….it’s a real life-saver for me.
    But this is just silliness on their part. A bookmark is wrong? Huh?

  10. Asking people who enjoy your art (and yes, writing is an art) to support the artist they enjoy is not begging. It’s called getting paid for the work you do, which is basic right of human dignity as defined by the Church. And how exactly is directing people to shop at Amazon through your link not a total win for Amazon? Do they not know that people are more likely to shop there when it also benefits a favorite person or charity than if it solely benefits the company? Seems utterly counterproductive business-wise.

  11. I’m sorry Amazon did this to you, and I’m also sorry that you have to deal with asshole commenters on a day like this. On the upside, they convinced me to give more through PayPal than I originally planned. Praying for you and your family.

    1. If you really don’t think blogging to the point where you’re actually making enough money to support your family is a “real job”, then it’s probably pointless for me to even write this. I can guarantee you that any full-time blogger spends more time working on their business than the majority of people in 9-5 jobs. Putting food on the table is a “real job”. Being able to earn a living through one’s own business is impressive.

      1. Oh blogging can be a real job. But Simcha just whines about patriarchy and Trump and bastardizes the Catholic faith. And somehow manages to get money for it. That’s not a real job. That’s taking advantage of gullible, good hearted people. It’s shameful… and not a real job.

        PS to the person below who said I’m a troll, Jonathan B and I are completely different people. I don’t know him from Adam.

        1. And how exactly does she bastardize the Catholic faith? By bearing 10 children? (Something seen frequently in liberal/cafeteria-Catholic circles, NOT!)

          Simcha: Again, please explain to me how to increase my gift on Patreon. If I have to do it through paypal, I will. You are a brilliant writer whose content I find valuable, and I also appreciate that your blog is much less “salesy” than the average blog. I am willing to pay for this service.

          1. Okay, I finally took care of this. I apologize for taking so long. Advent kicked my butt this year! But today we had a snowday, so I finally have time to catch up on things. It’s not much, but hopefully my increase along with others will help offset what you’re losing from Amazon.

  12. Simcha, do you think letters of support for you to AMZ corporate would do anything other than make it worse?

    I really want to write them. Dismissing you without even a warning before hand really sucks.

  13. So sorry for what has happened I recently learned that the owner of Amazon, Jeff Bazos is the richest person in the world and they pay their delivery drivers below the minimum wage:-(

    1. I’ve successfully avoided shopping at Walmart for years because of their business practices, but I don’t know how to completely avoid Amazon. When one lives in a rural area (and hates shopping), it’s pretty much a lifesaver. I’m going to have to examine my shopping habits more and come up with some alternatives. I hate the modern economic system with these monster monopolies!

  14. I’m sorry for how Amazon treated you. I’ve read on many other websites encouragement to use their Amazon link to buy from or through Amazon – is that prohibition a very recent policy? I’ve never read any requests on websites to bookmark their Amazon link to buy, and that part of the policy made also sense to me.

  15. I’m so sorry Simcha. Those creeps. I really, really don’t like Amazon. I think I’ve said it in the past, — when my husband worked in the apparel industry they had a “take no prisoners” approach. Of all the companies they played ball with, Amazon played the dirtiest.

    But I must be a hypocrite because my husband has Amazon Prime. I know they’re destroying Main Street U.S.A., but I’ll say “Just order it!”while I hold my cost-counting-convenience-loving-nose.

    Vindictive anna lisa is glad they sent out that funny Meme showing Bezos looking like a cast member of the Big Bang Theory. Now he just looks like The Terminator.

    I wonder if his billions sing him lullabies at night while poor children die from unclean drinking water.

  16. What a ridiculous policy! I am so sorry they have done this, especially at this time of year. I already donate through the Patreon system, and would be happy to increase my donation, if you could send me a link on how to do this. (I try to avoid using PayPal because Abby Johnson once mentioned that they contribute to pro-choice causes. I do use them when I’m desperate.)

  17. That stinks so much! What the heck??? I mean, what’s the point of being an Amazon associate if the money doesn’t go to support you? Everything’s supposed to be non-profit? I bet your family is pretty darned not for profit. Grrr!!!!

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