For many years now, the Podfeet Podcasts have been partially funded by the use of Amazon Affiliate Links. The idea is that if I talk about a product and provide a link to that product on Amazon, a small percentage of what you spend on Amazon will come back to me. Unfortunately, Amazon has cancelled their relationship with me.
A few years ago I got an email from Amazon telling me that I wasn’t doing it right. I forget exactly what problem they’d found that violated their terms of agreement, but in the letter they gave me specific wording I was allowed to use and things I was specifically forbidden to say. In fact, the phrase, “A small percentage may go back to help support my show” was the wording they said I could use.
The letter was fairly clear in what terms I’d violated and told me I had 5 days to respond or my associate status would be terminated. Obviously I took this quite seriously and changed the language on my website and I’ve been using the correct wording ever since.
Then last week I got an email from Amazon.ca, the Canadian Amazon Associates program. They said:
- You have created Special Links to an Amazon Page that does not contain any products.
- You are incentivizing others to visit the Amazon Site via your Special Links by offering rebates, cashback, discounts, points, donations to charity, or other incentives, or by stating that customers can support you by shopping through your Special Links.
… and they gave me 5 days to comply or I’d be cancelled.
I thought I understood the first problem described, and that would be my creation and encouragement of the podfeet.com/amazon link that took you directly to Amazon. I immediately took down the page.
But the second half of this left me confused. I wrote back in less than a day explaining that I’d taken those things down but asked how I can be truthful with my audience and yet not say that using the links helped me. In fact, I’d been told to use that wording before. I explained that I thought it would be unethical to not tell you if I had an incentive to have you use the Amazon Affiliate Links I was providing. I asked for guidance on what I should do.
And 4 days later I received cancellation notices from every Amazon store with which I’d been doing business. I filed an appeal explaining that I had responded immediately but I don’t think I’ll be hearing back from them.
I’m sad about this, but I must admit that I didn’t read the terms of agreement every time Amazon sent them out – which was probably four times a year. I’m sure they’re right that I wasn’t complying with the terms, so I don’t have any hard feelings about it. It makes me sad to not have that revenue but as I’ve explained before, I can afford to do the shows without any funding at all. It is simply nice to not have it cost me money.
So I give my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have made sure to use the links over the years. I’ll still probably link to Amazon often because personally I like shopping there, but you may see more B&H Photo links than you did before. And no, those won’t be affiliate links, I just like B&H and their products!