WTF, Amazon?

On July 24, 2014, in Make Money, Marketing, by LuCuS

WTFApparently Amazon is making enough money that they don’t need help from anyone else to promote their products. Either that or they really don’t give a damn about anyone else which is more likely the case. Since 2009, I have been using the Amazon Associates program to monetize some of the websites that I own and operate, including this one. As an example, on this very site, I have written numerous reviews of products and always make sure to include links to my Amazon Affiliate account whenever I write those reviews. I have also written guest posts for several other websites where I review different products and, of course, link to those products on Amazon so that I get paid for purchases made from people clicking on those links.

Now, I’m sure that Amazon has updated their affiliate terms of use since I first signed up for an account. However, I am being honest when I say that I haven’t read it since I first read it back in 2009. Being that I haven’t read it in so long, I have forgotten pretty much everything mentioned in it. But, since I haven’t had any issues (until now), I honestly believed I was following their rules. After 5 years of promoting Amazon and sending them business, they decided to close my affiliate account, to withhold any & all outstanding payments, and to ban me from the program for life. And, it isn’t for any reasons you would think. Let me explain.

About a month ago, I decided on a personal challenge of creating 100 Android apps by the end of this year. So, I started churning out code as fast as I can. Before I started, I created a list of apps that I felt that people might enjoy. As a starting point, I thought of apps that I would personally use. One of the ideas I had for an app involved a simple interface that showed a random product from Amazon. The app would display the name of the product, a picture of it, and a brief description. If you liked the product and wanted to buy it or at least get more information on it, you could touch on the picture which would take you to Amazon’s website. If you weren’t interested in the product, you could touch “Next Item” which would then present you with another random product from Amazon. I even included a category list that would allow you to filter down the returned products to something that better suits you. Since this app was all about providing you with random products from Amazon, I named the app “Random Amazon”.

About a week after publishing the app, I received an email from Amazon telling me that they have closed my affiliate account and that they will not pay me for any recently sold products or for any other products I might try to sell from this account or from any other account I might try to open later on. In the email, it stated that they had closed my account because I was in violation of their terms of use. Immediately I thought it was because I had used “Amazon” in the name of my app, “Random Amazon”.

Nope!

According to the Amazon Associates’ terms of use, you cannot link to any Amazon products from a mobile app without obtaining written permission from Amazon prior to publicizing your app. This was the reason they closed my account. Apparently they have an approval process that your app must go thru before you can link to any of their products from your app. According to the terms of use, it states that your app must be available from the Amazon Kindle store or at least from the Google Play store. Had this been an app for iOS, I wouldn’t have been able to submit the app for approval in the first place. But, being that it was an Android app, I asked if I could take down the app and go thru the approval process after receiving their email.

Nope again!

Amazon replied back saying that since I violated their terms of use, they have decided to close my account permanently and without notice. Being that I didn’t have a lot of users download my app yet (less than 20) and that I make a lot of money from my websites and don’t really need the app, I sent an appeal asking if they would reinstate my account since I had taken the app down from the Google Play store and will not republish it.

Nope! Not gonna happen!

Again, Amazon replied back saying that, even though I have removed the app from public access, their decision is final and that no further appeals will be considered. What a bunch of bitches?!?

I have spent a tremendous amount of time and energy sending business to them, not to mention all of the money that I have personally spent with them over the years. In fact, between my fiancee and I, we spend an average of $10,000+ a year with Amazon. I know that’s not much, but it is a lot of money that I could be spending somewhere else instead of spending it with a company that decided to treat my like shit without the slightest bit of interest in giving me a chance to correct a mistake that I take full responsibility for by completely removing the offending app.

Amazon, you have lost yourself a customer that used to be a huge fan of yours. I know you don’t give a damn about me, but I hope by sharing my story that others will see what kind of lousy company you really are. I’ve heard ugly stories about you before and this personal experience has corroborated every bad thing I’ve ever heard about you. I’ve removed you from my websites and now from my life.

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