free book friday

Free Book Friday on Hold For Now

It is with my apologies that I am writing this post today instead of the normal Free Book Friday articles that I have been doing.  I must temporarily put Free Book Friday on Hold for now.  But hopefully by next week we will be back on track.

free book friday on hold

The Email

So let me explain what is going on.  Two days ago I received an email from Amazon.  I knew immediately what it was.  It said it was an update of their terms.  And I immediately knew that it was just their next reduction of fees for affiliate sales.

This is nothing new, and I wasn't that upset upon seeing it and opening it to see exactly what the changes were.  And then I was stunned.  The rates of affiliate sales were slashed often to less than half of what they were and they were slashed across the board.  This was not a small change.  Here is a chart with the before and after rates:

Since then the internet selling world has exploded with anger and confusion about Amazon's very untimely decision.  Ad revenue is down as well as unemployment numbers skyrocketing around the world.  Amazon was one of the very few companies that was actually thriving right now because we could order from home if we couldn't get out of our houses.

One Extreme to the Other

Last week, Amazon's response to this was that they would be hiring hundreds of thousands more people to make up for the out-of-control huge demand.  And then this week, they took their record-high profits and decided to take them away from their affiliates.   What a low blow!  Oh, and how they started that email:  "Hello Associate, We hope you are staying well at this time."   Bahahaha.  I feel  the sincerity.

Amazon Rate Drop

I do understand they are a business, but that is not ethical business in any sense of the word.  And there were other issues as well.  For some time now, Amazon has been doing things behind the scenes (manipulating cookies, hiding multiple hits daily to their site that were showing up in my Wordpress analytics) that were making me question the validity of continuing with them.

free book friday on hold

There Is a Better Way

In contrast, I know we all love to hate on Walmart.  And honestly, I have avoided shopping there quite a bit over the past few years because there is some frustration with the experience.  But there are a few things I notice about Walmart.  First, they have employees that stay there for a lot of years.  There are cashiers at my local Walmart that have been there since the store opened 25 years ago.  (How has it been that long--surely I'm not old enough for that to be the case!)

They also pay significantly more than minimum wage and other companies have had to raise their hourly wage rate to keep up with them.

My sister-in-law has worked for Walmart for some time.  And last week she announced that Walmart was offering special bonuses right now for their employees because they have been worked so hard to keep up with the Coronavirus demand.  And their June bonuses will be coming early.

If that isn't enough, they are also in the middle of hiring another 150,000 people to help keep up with demand.

Here are a couple of articles highlighting these facts and even more:

Walmart Issuing Cash Bonuses to Hourly Workers, Hiring Another 150,000 Employees

Walmart to Pay Nearly $550 Million in Employee Bonuses: ‘It’s Almost Like a Mini Stimulus Package’

And the best part about that last article:  they will get the Trump stimulus as well as the Walmart one.  This will really help them in ways that they have needed for years.

Way to go, Walmart!  You saw a need and took care of it in a humanitarian way rather than hoarding your profits and kicking people while they were down.

Going Forward

So all this is to say that I have decided that I need to change all of my Amazon affiliate links to affiliate companies that are paying more reasonable rates and showing a little bit more appreciation for the world as we are living right now.  It will take me a little bit of time to do that.  But in the end, I am hoping to actually have a better experience for my readers.

Here are a couple of videos from well-respected men in the blogging/internet marketing community.  It's Jim Harmer and Ricky Kesler from Income School.  They do a great job of talking about how to move on in a productive way.

Just for the record, while Jim and Ricky (actually mostly Jim) can get easily excited, I have never actually seen them angry like this.  So if you aren't familiar with them, I assure you they are generally wonderful people!  And actually their anger is not necessarily unwarranted.

Here is a video from Jim and Ricky from a year ago.  They could already see this coming, but not so fast and so hard.  They also talk about the other disadvantages that working with Amazon was  causing to affiliate sites.

Here is one more video from another great guy in the internet/blogging world.  His name is Alex and his Youtube channel is WPEagle.  It has been one of the most helpful places for me to get help on building my site.  And he is very familiar with the Income School methods and uses them in his work.

If you have a favorite internet guru on Youtube, I am sure they have also weighed in on this issue.  Feel free to share that with me!

Conclusion

The bottom line here is that this isn't really new news.  Amazon has been trending this way for a long time now.  And all of us that were affiliates with them could see it coming.  The biggest issue here is the timing.  So changing things to help protect my business from taking more unnecessary hits now is definitely the better route to go, especially when thinking about the long term.

And why is this an issue when Free Book Friday isn't even costing you money?  The reason why is because I really can't endorse a company that treats its people so badly on any level.

So hopefully,  putting Free Book Friday on hold will be a very short blip on my screen.  I hope it will be back next week and better than it has been yet! In the meantime, while I am working on changing things up, you are welcome to check out my previous Free Book Fridays and see if there is anything you missed.  Here they are:

Free Book Friday:  Something for Everyone!

Free Book Friday 2:  Something for Everyone!

Free Book Friday 3:  Something for Everyone!

Free Book Friday 4:   Something for Everyone!

FreeBookFriday 5:  Something for Everyone!

So what are your thoughts about Free Book Friday on Hold (and all of the other sites that are now scrambling to change out their links)?  How has this news hit your world?  And what ways did you think about for recovering your profits?  I would love to hear what you all are thinking right now!  Just comment below.

See you soon!  ♥

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Comments 66

  1. Everything has been out of norm, even amazon. I am just wishing everything returns back to normal soon so we can restart our lives. Thanks for your explanation.

  2. Covid has hit me as well. It’s kinda crazy how much impact it has on the economy. I ordered something from Amazon just a few days ago, and the day after I ordered, they announced no more shipping from France. I can’t imagine what all the people out there who count on amazon are doing? Are there alternatives?

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      There are alternatives, at least in America. I have been looking into them but it takes time. We all got comfortable just using Amazon because it was more convenient. And that was their plan. Now they don’t need us as much. The company I work with said that if we start working with the other companies again and build up loyalty with them, we won’t find ourselves in this position again. Thank you for sharing. I hope you are able to get the thing you ordered soon from somewhere.

  3. I gave up on Amazon long ago. It’s like they figure everyone shops with them anyways so why bother paying for referrals. I don’t like their big ego mentality and prefer to stick with smaller companies that care about their affiliates.

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      I agree and felt the same way, but got comfortable and “lazy.” It was easier just to link with them than to go find better links. I have learned my lesson. And lucky for me, it will only take about a week to reconstruct those links. I feel bad for the people that were exclusively Amazon Associates.

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      1. Marie, I am good, still the situation is under control here, and I have started going to office. Love to read you good and inspiring posts.

  4. I’ve been seeing some blog posts about this affiliate problem with Amazon. I don’t really believe in affiliate that much because I haven’t got money out of it. But if I have to recommend you a affiliate site that can work it will be Shareasale.com is a good Network.

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      I am with Shareasale and several others. They are one of my favorites! Affiliate sales can be a good source of income, but it is far better to have several streams so that when something like this happens it doesn’t destroy your whole business. Thanks for sharing, Jessica! ♥

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      I have had problems in the past too, but got lazy because it was just easier to grab their links than to go look for better ones. I have learned my lesson!

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      I know! As much as I am complaining about my issues with them, it’s not as bad as them making people work in an unsafe work environment without taking enough precautions. And I too wish things would get back to normal. This has been a most bizarre world.

  5. Dang! That’s crazy! I don’t work much with amazon….and dont do too much online stuff, but man! sorry to hear about that

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  6. I have learned so much from this post. I’ve been meaning to read up on affiliate marketing but never got to it since my site needed a revamp and I’m still new to everything. This will definitely make me do some more research later on. I hope that things will still get better for you though.

  7. I heard about all of this in regards to Amazon, and yet without them we’d have nothing. Literally. We’re both vulnerable and we’re unable to get a shop delivered from any local store, yet we’ve been able to use Amazon Fresh which has helped a little.
    It’s crazy. The world is going crazy right now. But it will make me think twice in the future about which businesses I choose to support.

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      I think it is worse for you in UK than it is here in America. We still have a lot of shopping options. I am sorry for your lack of resources. It kind of hurts even more that you have to support the business that isn’t taking care of others well during this time. I do hope things get better for everyone soon. Take care, Friend!

  8. Its the timing that sits so poorly with me as well. I can understand from a business perspective that they don’t ‘need’ affiliates – they are going to drive enough business even if we all quit. However, to hit the affiliate community with this at a time where the world has been turned completely upside down shows how little care they have for their affiliate partners.

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      That is exactly my problem with this, Britt. They could have waited a couple of months or considered it a bonus since we were still referring those customers. And that would have helped cover the advertising losses that bloggers were already dealing with. Instead it’s been double losses. We will all land on our feet, though, won’t we?!?!

  9. I can relate! So much hard work goes into affiliate marketing and having income reduced by as much as 60% is crushing. That said, it will be a great opportunity to explore and diversify our links. Hopefully we can support more small businesses as they work to rebuild after this hard time too. We will all get through this together!

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  10. I’m a new blogger and I’ve heard about affiliating with amazon a lot, but thanks for this post I may have to think twice before applying an affiliate from them.
    World now is definitely crazier, everything’s out of order, it really affects a lot though..

  11. I don’t use Amazon for affiliates anymore – my focus has moved onto different ways of monetising that is more secure and reliable. Plus having a green and ethical niche means I can’t really promote Amazon at all.

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  12. I have heard the change in how Amazon ratios commissions and it is pretty sad. I hope that you can bounce back and things will be back to normal!

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      Fortunately I am with a few other companies as well. I just need to concentrate on the better ones now. I feel really bad for the people that were exclusively with Amazon. They took a big hit this week.

  13. Wow – thanks for posting this. When I received the most recent email from them I just erased it as usual. Now that might sound like bad affiliate business but like you mentioned, I get them all the time. Now that I checked the rate list I can’t imagine sending them my hard earned traffic. Its really sad that a company doing so well would choose a moment like this to make such a drastic change. Good luck with restructuring and I look forward to your upcoming posts!

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      I agree. I have to look a bit deeper online, but I bought some books this weekend that were cheaper and free shipping. There are actually a whole lot of ethical issues coming up that are way more serious than reducing commissions.

  14. It’s sad that it has come to this. I’ve been meaning to look into affiliate marketing, but just never got to it. I need to do more research then.

  15. I didn’t know free book Friday exist! I usually get my books from op shops. If I need fresh release books that I’m truly interested, I go to Amazon, but recently their logistics process are detailed.

  16. I do not do the amazon affiliate program but I can see why people are not happy. I hope that Amazon can rectify this situation.

  17. I think everything is changing because of what’s happening around us. Don’t you worry, it’s okay to put free book friday on hold for a while until you can find another company.

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      Thanks, Peachy. I’m not too worried. I just realized that I need to make sure I’m not investing my energy in just one place. That puts me in a very vulnerable situation.

  18. I’m an Amazon Affiliate as well and this is ill timed and frustrating to say the least. I’ve just started looking around to other companies to become an affiliate with… Need that money!!!

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      I have found a couple of lists of good affiliates online. But unfortunately I haven’t had enough time to take advantage of them. I hope things get straightened out for you soon!

  19. It is definitely rough seeing such drastic cuts give current times. I have been impressed by Walmart initiatives too.

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