According to my records I had an affiliate account at Amazon.com since at least the beginning of 2000. It might have been earlier, but that’s when I first got payment from them. (An affiliate account allows linking to Amazon.com and earning a fee when somebody follows that link and buys something there.) On June 29 I received an email from Amazon stating that if the California Governor signs a new law they may terminate my account. (Full text of the letter.) As soon as I got the letter I started looking for alternatives. I signed up for Google Affiliate Network, which was a prerequisite for becoming affiliate with AbeBooks, Barnes and Noble (BN) and Google eBooks.
The next day the Governor signed the law and my 11 years old Amazon affiliate account suddenly ended. (See termination letter.) On the same day I got approved to become an affiliate for AbeBooks and BN. A few days later I got declined to become an affiliate for Google’s eBook program. I was disappointed as that’s the program I was the most interested in. But they probably looked at my sites and decided they are not professional enough. There was no real explanation given for the decline. I might try again later, after I made the sites beautiful, useful and successful.
So now I am learning how to create links for AbeBooks. On the one hand their terms say “Affiliates are NOT allowed to direct link. Any sales generated through direct linking are not commissionable.” On the other hand they have a page for creating direct links. Confusing and I don’t have the time right now to sort it out.
BN doesn’t seem to allow creating more than a few direct links and I would need hundreds. I still have to figure out how this system works and the help/FAQ fils I studied so far didn’t help. Have to invest more time into it if I want to make it work.
I am not going back to hundreds of pages and blog posts to remove the Amazon.com links. But from most of my sites where the links are generated in a more automatic fashion (eg. from a database or from Drupal) I already removed the links to Amazon.
This fiasco made me rethink why I am building these sites (SocRelig, KabbalahBooks, and FilmAndReligion). On the one hand these cover topics I am interested in and I thought I can provide a service to the online world, by making them. On the other hand I always hoped that one day they can generate some revenue for me. I never earned more than few dollars a month via my Amazon.com account, but at least that contributed towards the ISP fees. Now I have to ponder upon
- how important it is to make money from these ventures
- how much energy I can put into them if they don’t
- what other channels/methods should I explore for them to generate revenue.
I need a bit of time to figure these out…