No Longer an Amazon Associate

When I started this blog six years ago, it was with the intent of keeping a basic travel journal and sharing some lessons learned because we were first time campers.  When we made the decision to become full time RVers that morphed into sharing that experience and being a place where I could share my thoughts and feelings of the emotional journey.  In short, writing became my therapy.  It also became a place I could share my budget information, because I had found other peoples budgets to be incredibly helpful in giving me the courage to make the decision to go on the road.

Once I quit my corporate job, it changed into a place where I shared detailed information on the various work kamping jobs we did and it also showed the reality of trying to balance work and travel.  Now that I have taken a corporate job again, it very much feels like the blog has gone full circle and I am back to sharing travels and on occasion emotions regarding something going on in my life.

I mention the changes because I received a comment recently from Marianne asking how she could unsubscribe.  She was looking for a work kamping blog and mine no longer fit the bill.  My one major thought around this comment is that I will trade being happy for having a compelling blog anytime.    We’ve had plenty of struggles in the last several years and I am looking forward to hopefully having a less interesting life!

Interestingly enough the comment came at the same time as something else.  I have been an Amazon Associate for several years and right before Thanksgiving I received an email stating I was not in compliance and I had five days to fix it.  One of my links was broken and my language which stated “if you would like to help our blog click on this link” was not in compliance with their policy.  Changing those links is a big deal for me because it’s all manual, but I spent several hours doing it and told them it was done.

The next day they cancelled my account.  Apparently I missed one link, so I called and filed an appeal and five days later they said you need to reapply.  Ok then.  I reapplied and was told I could not get a new account because I was previously denied.  This circular argument was making me crazy so I decided to get someone on the phone and explain my mistake.  I fully took responsibility for not changing it everywhere, but it was inadvertent and I wanted to start again.

I made several phone calls and was repeatedly told I could not speak to a supervisor in the Amazon Associates department.  They only communicate via email and I needed to file another appeal.  This was super frustrating because I was sure if I could just explain what happened they would understand.  I wrote one more appeal and this is the email I received.

We received your appeal regarding the termination of your Associates account. A specialist has reviewed your account and the decision to terminate your account was found to be correct. As stated previously, under the terms of the Operating Agreement we may terminate your account at any time, with or without cause. This termination is final and not subject to appeal. 

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

-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.  That’s what I did although I fail to see why that is a big deal.  That’s how the program works.

It is important that you immediately stop using the Content and Amazon Marks and promptly remove from your Site(s) and delete or otherwise destroy all links to the Amazon site, all Amazon Marks and all other and any other materials provided or made available by or on behalf of us to you under this Operating Agreement or otherwise in connection with the Program.

Please be aware that any other accounts you have, or may open in the future, may be closed without payment of any fees pursuant to our rights under the Operating Agreement.  Amazon reserves all other rights and claims.

Wow…just wow.  First off I make $25-$40 a month being an Associate.  As you all know the last few months I have spent that money buying presents for my grandchild.  I am not raking in thousands of dollars here but even if I was the lack of an opportunity to plead my case to a human being really bothers me.

I am also a very good Amazon Prime member and these two things are connected in their system.  I use Amazon all the time and recommend it to others.  I would have thought that would have bought me the ability to talk to a human being but no.  Trust me I tried more than once.  My initial thought was to cancel my Amazon Prime account and take my business elsewhere but to be honest we love being Prime members.  I can separate the two things in my head but it left a very bad taste in my mouth.

So that takes me back to the blog.  Currently I am spending $99 a year on the blog website through Word Press.  We have resisted going to a business account with them because that costs $300 a year.  Eventually though we will need to go that route because we are going to run out of storage space.  I compress my pictures before uploading them, but there are a ton of them and currently we are at 83% of the space they have given us.

In this context we have talked about moving our website to another host, but I like Word Press for its spam filter and easy interface.  Plus moving a whole website is a big deal and just not something I want to tackle unless I am forced to it.

So these three separate events have all come together in a short period of time and are making me think about where we are with the blog.  Believe it or not I have made numerous decisions over the last several years based on the idea that it would give me something to write about.  Sometimes those decisions turned out great , other times not so much…Selling Christmas trees comes to mind.  I also gave up on seriously monetizing the blog a long time ago because I personally didn’t want to feel like I couldn’t tell my truth.  That was and still is very important to me.

But what if my truth is not that interesting?  I know some people like my Mom, Lee’s Mom, and Nancy will continue to read no matter what because they love us, but I totally understand why its not that relevant to other people.   We have been so blessed over the years when people reached out to us and told us we made an impact.  That truly has been a reward in and of itself.  Which make me wonder is it worth the effort if there isn’t much impact??

Simply put should I spend $99 a year to have a place write my thoughts down and keep track of my memories?   I suppose my answer to that question is yes.  The rest is all ego.  I didn’t start this with any particular expectation and it has far exceeded what I originally thought it could be.  Even if it turns out to be mostly pictures of Jack and Oliver in the future which may be boring but it’s nice.

Plus things change.  There is one thing I have learned in this lifestyle is hold on a minute because it will change.  I have no doubt in the future that will continue to be the case.

Finally if you ever supported the Amazon link and supported us thank you.  It was a very nice thing to do and much appreciated. Unfortunately you can’t do that for me anymore, but you can still do it for other blogs you read.

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

37 thoughts on “No Longer an Amazon Associate

  1. As always, your willingness to really delve into an issue is very much appreciated. Only you can decide if the $99 per year plus the time and effort of writing your blog is worth the payoff of having an archive of your life…the rest of us get to enjoy it or not…I for one am very grateful for your blog, because it stimulates my thinking on various issues, but I can only imagine the work involved…the worst thing would be for you to feel obligated or pressured…then it would become the “tail wagging the dog”…..those of us that love you, will support your decision either way!

  2. Hi Tracy
    We are still out here with you(lol) ,and following. However, sometimes ,way behind on our reading, because life happens! You still are our inspiration from the beginning and blog or no blog you have led an incredible lifestyle the last five years. The memories and friendships made will be with you always!! And right now you are right where you will never regret being, getting to bond with Oliver! Can’t ever get those precious moments back. We have had a couple rough years, but still hanging in there! Haven’t seen much of the country yet, but hope that changes soon. Just want to say thank you for being so honest in all your blogs, because at some point all of us have had those same feelings, mand ups and downs. You are an inspiration to so many who have contemplated this lifestyle, including us! Take care, enjoy Oliver and we look forward to reading all about wherever life takes you and Lee. Merry Christmas!

  3. Even though we have never met, we have many friends in common and I think if our paths had crossed when Harry and I were on the road we would have hit it off! 🙂 I love reading your blog and will keep on doing so as long as you are writing it, on or off the road.

  4. Hi Tracy,
    I have been following your blog for about a year now. Originally I was looking for inspiration for our coming RV cross-country travels. You gave me several ideas that made our recent 8,000 mile trip more rewarding (especially loved the National Cowboy Museum in OK City). We also ended up at a couple of campgrounds you and Lee reviewed. But more than the practical ideas and help you have given, I love that you speak from the heart about day to day life which is, by itself, thought provoking and sometimes heart wrenching. I am impressed by the time and commitment you have to the blog and just want you to know that this reader has thoroughly enjoyed your unvarnished approach to sharing your life, on or off the road! Thank you.

    • That’s so sweet Jane and I am glad you found it helpful. I need to keep in mind that it’s not every post and different things help different people in all kinds of ways. Basically they aren’t all winners but I keep plugging . Appreciate you taking the time to write this.

  5. If you can afford it, I’d love to keep reading your blog. You’re a very strong writer, regardless of the content. Also, is there another avenue you could take to allow your reader’s an option to support your blog(e.g. Patreon)?

    • We’ve talked quite a bit about having a tip jar but a couple of people I care about hate that idea. It doesn’t bother me but I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression. The $99 a year is easy. If it gets higher I’ll have to think about it but for right now it’s fine.

  6. I want you to know I have followed your blog since 2015 when hubby and I were researching the RV lifestyle. I cannot express how helpful your blog has been in our quest to become full timers. In fact, we attended the 2016 RV Dreams Rally where we met you and Lee. In some small way we felt connected – and have continued to follow your journey ever since. We have been full timing in a fifth wheel for over two years and are enjoying traveling the country. We hope you continue to share your experiences – we so look forward to your posts and pictures.

    • That’s lovely Barb and thanks so much. I think it’s wonderful you feel connected. I feel the same for people I read about even if we rarely see each other. Thanks so much for taking the time to say that

  7. WOW to Amazon’s poor customer service.

    On Sun, Dec 8, 2019 at 7:33 AM Camper Chronicles wrote:

    > Lee and Tracy posted: “When I started this blog six years ago, it was with > the intent of keeping a basic travel journal and sharing some lessons > learned because we were first time campers. When we made the decision to > become full time RVers that morphed into sharing that exper” >

  8. We aren’t full timers and don’t know if we’ll ever be full timers but I sure enjoy reading your blog. Your life will continue to evolve. So you picked up a corporate gig again, you are still living in an RV?!?!? 🙂 You do what you feel is best but I’m sure there are lots of people out here in internet land who sure enjoy your updates.

  9. Tracy, I would very much miss your blog. You are a skillful writer, and I enjoy your thought process. What a crappy thing for Amazon to do! Classic bullying. However, the best gift you can give Oliver is your presence as a healthy grandma. Good luck!

  10. It sucks Amazon should be so rigid. It’s a sign of the times. Human element is disappearing for everything.
    On the blog… Glad you write. Putting thoughts down is good therapy even for the most well adjusted among us and not just those that might need it or should consider it. As for the future of your blog, if things become constrained with your current setup… I’m sure that some other method will become available for you to continue your own “therapy”… Looking forward to meeting you and Lee at the RV-D spring rally.

  11. First thing…you made me feel very SPECIAL being included in the Mom’s list!!! But more importantly, this blog is your record of some very special times in your life. I never enjoyed writing so I stopped blogging. However, I have not stopped keeping a photo record of our life. As we get older it gets more and more difficult to remember all the special times. So while we would miss your blog if you stop, please do not stop keeping a record of your life. You will not regret it!!!

  12. Tracy – I started reading Howard and Linda’s blog several years after they went on the road and so enjoyed reading I HAD to go back and start at their beginning. Likewise, reading about their adventures led me to start reading about you and Lee and start at the beginning, which then led me to Kelly and Bill’s blog. These three blogs start my days off each and every day. I have shared tips and ideas from these blogs with my husband and 6 weeks ago we finally became full timers, and I thank all of you. I think of the 6 of you as RV rock stars and am looking forward to meeting you at the RV Dreams rally in April. I do hope you keep writing, if you have time. You tell it like it is – “the good, the bad, the ugly”. I love Lee’s comments.

  13. I started reading your blog because my husband and I want to go fulltime someday. I really like your writing style and I still read your blog posts even though you are not traveling like you were. I would miss your blog but if you stopped it would be understandable. Good luck!

  14. I for one hope you continue your blog. I like to read it, no matter what you guys are up to. I love to see what you and Lee are up to, then Jack and now Oliver. You always give great information on everything. It really has helped me a lot over the past few years. Thank you for all that you have shared and I hope you continue to share.

  15. Pleeeease keep your blog! I have no idea why, but I am fascinated by every little detail of your lifestyle. And now, with a grand baby in the equation, it’s even better!
    Amazon’s associates managers sound like they need some serious skills training! Grrr
    Merry Christmas to you, and your family!

  16. I always look forward to reading your blog posts, like waiting for an episode of your favorite show to drop on Netflix! However, life is too short to waste time doing things that don’t bring you Joy. Sorry to hear about Amazon, don’t let the bastards get you down! 🙂

  17. Amazon’s response reminds me of the old Bell System labor strike bumper stickers (dating myself here), with the Bell symbol and the words: “We don’t care. We don’t have to.”
    I’ve enjoyed reading your stories very much; thank you for writing them. You provided me with many insights to full-timing, which I have considered and may consider more, later in life. I wonder if a Patreon account might offset your WordPress cost. You’re very good writers and I’ll be following along.
    Glad to see all is going well other than the Amazon borg.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.