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Buh-Bye Free eBooks? Free eBooks = No Free Stuff Program

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I'm a little bummed to have discovered that Amazon.com is punishing websites and bloggers for sharing free eBooks (thank you Bethaliz!) They've implemented a new 80/20 rule... which essentially states that any amazon affiliate whose ID shows up on 20,000 or more free kindle book purchases (or total of PAID eBooks are less than 1 in 4) will lose their entire Amazon Affiliate income for the month. No questions asked or answered.

How does this affect Budget101.com?

In several ways... while our Amazon income isn't very lucrative to begin with, it is how we fund our Thank you gift program. We use the Gift Cards we receive from our Amazon affiliate link to purchase surprise goodies for our members.

Offering eBooks without an Affiliate Tag

I considered sharing the Free eBooks without any affiliate tag, but it was brought to my attention in the Amazon Associates forum that Amazon will be tracking websites individually and checking to see if they are sharing the free ebooks- apparently to Penalize sites regardless.

I'm really frustrated by this for several reasons:


  • I personally LOVE the Free eBooks- I can't tell you how many times I've downloaded a (free) book from an author and then gone back and purchased several books from the Same Author because I loved his/her writing style & or expertise on a subject.


  • It seems very unfair to me that Amazon can take away an entire Months revenue due to "too many downloads"- seriously, isn't that defeating the purpose of advertising Amazon?


  • Bloggers/Publishers don't get Paid for promoting the eBook Anyway- so why penalize us for it? I say it again, we do not make ANY money at all from Amazon for promoting the free books, nor do we charge advertising to 3rd parties (like the authors!).


  • The only time we'd actually make any revenue is if the person who visited the link purchased something Else at the same time. - So you click on a free ebook and then decide to buy another title from the author, or maybe that you wanted a kitchen gadget you saw on sale, etc.


At first I thought that this wouldn't affect Budget101.com- after all, we don't have that many free downloads, but guess what... I was wrong! That's only 700 eBooks per day- we have 30,000+ members with an average of 3,500 visitors at any given time. So if just a tiny percentage of those members download a free ebook or 2- We lose the revenue that funds the Thank you gift program.

Here's an even worse scenario... if you click on my affiliate link to Amazon and then download/"buy" 5 free ebooks- Even though the link was ONLY to Amazon and I didnít promote ANY of those free ebooks, I am going to get nailed for all 5 downloads- which counts towards that 80-20 rule. Basically- they can penalize any affiliate at any time based on this new "rule" and assume that we, as publishers somehow have control of our members and guests after they click on our links!

Amazing and ignorant, all rolled into one. It seems like Big Business are losing their grip with reality lately... first the exec at Yahoo throwing Work at Home Employees to the dogs (whilst being a complete hypocrite and installing a massive office-side nursery for her own kid!) and now Amazon throwing publishers under the bus for doing what they're supposed to .. which is.. drive traffic to Amazon.

What's next I wonder.. will Bing and Google punish us for searching?

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Comments

  1. Honeygram's Avatar
    This is very sad! I have been getting some of the free e-books and it has been wonderful. Thank you for what you are doing here....it is a blessing!
  2. Mrsbear's Avatar
    Not good. Bad Amazon. I don't understand all you said but enough. I use Kindle, Kobo and I books. And Goodreads. I'll make sure I don't go from here to Amazon.
  3. knittywitch's Avatar
    I thought clicking on another place-like Amazon-with one of your links was supposed to help you, not hurt you. People can still get free ebooks through a place called Pixelofink.com I think that is the right address. Sorry about your conundrum, Liss. BOO Amazon!
  4. bethaliz6894's Avatar
    One other piece of information I have found out about Amazon, If you click a link through Budget101 for a free ebook, but don't 'buy' it. Go back to Amazon 2 days later and get the same book for free, it still counts against Budget101. I don't understand how, but that is how some blogs are getting into trouble with the money aspect. I am trying really hard to only get books I really want.
  5. Liss's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by bethaliz6894
    One other piece of information I have found out about Amazon, If you click a link through Budget101 for a free ebook, but don't 'buy' it. Go back to Amazon 2 days later and get the same book for free, it still counts against Budget101. I don't understand how, but that is how some blogs are getting into trouble with the money aspect. I am trying really hard to only get books I really want.
    Here's the thing, Amazon has so many ins/outs and little nuances that our feeling on it is Seriously Don't even let it bother you. Download ALL of the free ebooks you want, all of the free google play music songs you want and don't worry about what links you visited, etc.

    Right now, this has little to NO effect on Budget101.com because we don't have that many downloads to worry about.
  6. bethaliz6894's Avatar
    Thank you Liss, that makes me feel so much better.