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

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