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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for December 12th, 2012

Claire Wolfe

No matter how bad it gets

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

It can always get worse.

Joel has advanced glaucoma. And more to say about it.

That would be a tough thing for anybody. But for a desert hermit …

Claire Wolfe

Another round of thanks

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Speaking of Amazon (as unfortunately we were earlier today), I owe another round of thanks!

  • For the DVD of one of my old faves, Lagaan, another thank you to the ever-generous Anonymous.
  • And I’ll enjoy stevia-sweetened ketchup for a long time to come thanks to RB.
  • “Mmmmmm!” say the dogs. “Peanut butter-flavored rawhides. Woof-woof, MC!”
  • And JG & Family … that cool collapsible steel cup is going straight into my bug-out bag as soon as it’s finished complementing my Christmas tree.

I had to close my Amazon wish list and will never be able to use it again. But you have been incredible Santas.

A few gifts are still on their way, so I’ll have yet more thanks to give.

I’m starting to get quite worried about two items. So if you’re the so-far secret Santa who bought either the Bainbridge fireplace or the Energizer starter-compressor-inverter thingie, I hope you’ve been tracking the shipments and know where they are. If you haven’t, please check, because they are among the missing.


I also need to add: Despite my recent bad experience with the Amazon Associates program, I’ve never known Amazon to treat a customer badly. And they do have some of the best prices anywhere. So I hope you’ll continue using my regular Amazon links for your shopping.

(UPDATE: I still don’t know and probably never will, why Amazon is flagging some orders as ineligible for commissions. But if you have ever sent anything to me from my wish list, it might be best not to use any of my Amazon links until I can get a better handle on what’s happening. Their rep assures me that my account isn’t in danger from these mysteriously “flagged” orders; but since I’ve heard otherwise I’m not believing it unless I have better info.)

Claire Wolfe

Wednesday links

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
  • You’ve heard people sneering about PETA protestors attacking society women for wearing fur but refraining from attacking outlaw bikers for wearing leather. Well … what if … (H/T MJR)
  • Apocalyptic dog food for your best friend’s bug-out bag.
  • “The Luxury of Anger” and how gun carriers hold themselves to a higher standard. Well said, Caleb.
  • So where’s Bob Costas and his sanctimonious ranting now?
  • How far off the fiscal cliff will you fall, if it comes to that?
  • Even before the election, fans of cannabis in Washington state were worried about DUI provisions of the law that could get people in trouble merely for having innocuous traces in their system weeks after perfectly legal use. That’s not the only such complication. I can think of an easy, commonsense solution. Wonder if anyone will adopt it? (H/T H.)
  • Writer David Young says your ebooks are yours (or ought to be) and even suggests some ways to protect them.
  • Cops bust suspect. Suspect steals cop car.
Claire Wolfe

Amazon plays dirty

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

If you’ve ever sent me anything from, please do me a favor. Right now, while you’re thinking of it, go and delete me from your Amazon address book.*

This is important.

Amazon just denied me one of the biggest single commissions I would ever have received. Their reason? As boilerplated by someone signing itself David T:

I found some of the items, including the [expensive item in question], listed in your account’s Orders Report were flagged by our system as ineligible for Associates advertising fees.

Due to the proprietary nature of the way we make these determinations, we can’t share the full list of criteria by which we detect these ineligible orders. Typically referred orders can be flagged because our system recognized the orders were placed by the Associate, or on their behalf. This can also happen if we have determined that the orders resulted from you requesting or encouraging your friends, relatives, or other people you know to purchase products through your Special Links.

When I protested that the item had certainly not been bought for me and that the only people I had been “encouraging” were blog readers, David T responded sternly:

I reviewed and confirmed the order you inquired about met our policy definition for an order ineligible for Associates Advertising Fees. Unfortunately, we are not able to make an exception to this policy. …

As this determination will remain unchanged, we won’t be able to comment any further on this issue.

“Reviewed” my Great Aunt Fanny. I’ve learned since that both the phony “review” and the “due to the proprietary nature” business are standard Amazon stonewalls.

Worse, they are stonewalls that may proceed Amazon closing the accounts of independent sellers and Associates — and keeping payments in their own hands for months.

I’m disgusted that a company I’ve always thought so highly of (and that does treat customers well) would take the attitude: “You screwed up. We won’t explain. There’s no appeal process, so just shut up and go away.” But apparently they’re notorious for crapping on those who ride their financial coattails (though the worst of it seems to go to independent sellers — which I am not).

After considering the situation and talking with other Associates, I’ve concluded that the mysterious problem is this: if I’m in your Amazon address book (and I am if you’ve ever bought me something, including wish list items), then we’re “friends or family members” — and from now on, anything you ever purchase at Amazon will not be eligible for commissions. And could even jeopardize my account.

Never mind that hundreds of other people might be using those links. I’ve learned of at least one case where Amazon closed an Associates account bigger and more active than mine because their dumb-and-blind algorithm told them the guy was using his links primarily for “friends and family” — which he could not have been unless his social circle were impossibly big or impossibly rich.

But never mind. The Algorithm Is Always Right.

It also seems that Amazon is most likely to close accounts after a vendor or Associate has had a big month and before releasing funds for that big month. November, thanks to you, was my biggest ever, and it’s still six or seven weeks until pay is due for that.

So please. Remove my name from your Amazon address book. My address will be in your address book if you’ve ever bought something from my wish list. I’m not positive that will take the curse off. It might be too late if the flag they put on your purchases is permanent, but it’s my best guess for solving the problem.

Unfortunately, this also means no Amazon wish list next year — or ever again. But I thank you from the cliched bottom of my heart for the great gifts of Christmas past and present. Your generosity, steady support, and sense of fun have warmed a couple of dreary seasons.


* UPDATE: This whole message may be in vain. People that I know have sent me wish list gifts are reporting that I’m not (visibly) in their address book. So it may be that Amazon is simply adding some code somewhere or using some other invisible method to mark our “friends and family” status.

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