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.
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.
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!