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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.



Claire Wolfe

Amazon plays dirty

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

If you’ve ever sent me anything from Amazon.com, 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.

43 Responses to “Amazon plays dirty”

  1. Karen Says:

    “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.”
    It would seem to me that that is the sole purpose of having special links. D’uh!

    Well that certainly pisses me off. I’m not sure which is more upsetting; that a trusted vendor is such a disappointment or having to learn, yet again, that the game is always rigged to favor the house. Old Pollyanna here hates learning the same old garbage over and over.

    You weren’t in my address book, so that issue isn’t a concern. Does this affect your link as an associate? Should we keep using that?

    And I’d hate to lose your annual Christmas wish list!! Perhaps you could just make it a more generic list and let us find our own ways of obtaining the items. Amazon’s loss.

  2. WaterLily Says:

    This is a total bummer, Claire. I’ve had some issues with amazon and they are very obstinate. You have to be a real PITA to get someone to listen. Do not bother with email. Keep going above someone’s head, and talk to a real person. My issue was resolved – no, not to my total satisfaction, but they did help me – but not until I actually spoke to a live person.

    They should not punish a writer whose business contacts buy gifts. Ask them if they’ve ever bought or received a gift for/from a business associate, and exactly what does that token of appreciation have to do with purchasing their own goods via your link that they’ve bookmarked?

  3. just waiting Says:

    You see this sad thing every day, those that have cutting away as much as they can from those who don’t. Wall St is cutting bonuses for lesser associates this year, but not for CEOs. Its a further consolidation and extraction of wealth.

    So the haves get a bigger piece of the pie, and those who made the pie get crumbs. The haves just don’t seem to realize that once they have it all, the game is over.

    Never used Amazon before you asked, won’t use it again unless they make you whole.

  4. Claire Says:

    Thanks for the concern and empathy, guys.

    Karen — To clarify, I apparently am in your address book if you’ve ever bought one of my wish list items. I’m told (though I haven’t seen for myself) that Amazon adds me to your book when you buy something for me. So it’s definitely a concern.

    Water Lily — Sigh. I hate the damn telephone. But I see your point and guess I’d better try, since this problem could get worse.

    And yeah, the worst part of this is the “rigged game” aspect — and that those who have can freely crap on those who haven’t — and the arrogant unresponsiveness of institutions. They know they don’t have to be responsive or treat people well because We the Little People don’t count. What bothered me most of all was not losing the commission, but discovering that Amazon — a supposedly friendly, customer-oriented private business — was a unresponsive and as “always right” as any government bureaucracy.

  5. Claire Says:

    And …

    Yes, please do continue to use my regular Amazon links if you are still inclined to be an Amazon customer. (And in many ways it’s still a good company.)

    But if you’ve ever purchased anything for me via Amazon, check your address book. If you find me there, remove me.

    I’m not 100 sure this will help. But since Amazon refuses to explain what’s causing the problem, this is the only solution I can think of, based on what little they’ve said.

  6. uownurself Says:

    FYI: I ordered something for you via your wishlist link on this blog, and I do not see you in my amazon address book.

  7. Jim B. Says:

    Just checked my address book, mine is the only one there. So you shouldn’t have any trouble from my end. Too bad there isn’t a competitor around to make Amazon clean up their act. If you want to actually talk to someone and rag their ears, here’s is their’s 800 number which is not advertised, gee I wonder why?

    Amazon’s phone number: 1-800-201-7575

    And while I’m at it, here are some more numbers.

    “1.866.216.1072 (Toll free, US and Canada) 1.206.266.2992 (Outside US and Canada) And while I am at it, here’s two more hard to find numbers: e-Bay: 1.408.376.7400 and 1.800.322.9266 (Toll free US) Pay Pal: 1.888.221.1161″

  8. Claire Says:

    uownself — Uh oh. That makes the problem even more worrisome and difficult. Other Associates have told me that Amazon would have added me to people’s address books. But if there’s no visible addition — but just some Amazon secret code — this mess becomes impossible.

    Thank you for checking and for letting me know.

  9. Claire Says:

    Jim B. — Thanks for the phone numbers. And yes, I’ve noticed a lot of companies make their contact information nearly impossible to find.

  10. Sam Says:

    I’m sorry about this. It just stinks. It feels like there are always people trying to make money and other people trying to stop you as if there isn’t enough to go around. If there is anything we can do to help fix this please let us know.

  11. Pat Says:

    Claire, you’re not in my address book either. I deleted my entire account, and will order as a new customer. Have been meaning to do that anyway, when I change my mode of payment.

  12. Claire Says:

    Pat, thanks. That might be a good solution, too, for those willing to erase their Amazon histories. (And of course “history” doesn’t mean much on Amazon, except for those who’ve, say, published a lot of reviews.)

    Since Amazon simply won’t explain their criteria, it’s hard to say.

    Sam, thanks. It really does stink, especially because Amazon not only won’t say why they’re disallowing purchases or how I can avoid the problem. I’ll continue to press them on this and will let you know if I learn a solution.

  13. Kent McManigal Says:

    I checked and you are not in my address book- not visibly, anyway.

    Your experience sounds like mine with Examiner.com- they kept reducing the amount they paid per page view, but kept saying that they used a “proprietary algorithm” to calculate pay, so they weren’t really reducing pay. And, anyway, if I wanted more money I had to promote my columns more aggressively- so it was all my fault. The number of page views kept going down, even though another method I had for seeing how my page views were going showed no drop. I finally told them I didn’t want to write for a company that I found to be dishonest. They said “good riddance”.

    Better luck to you in resolving this.

  14. David Says:

    Claire- Might be the act of getting something from a wish-list is all that’s needed. But this sort of thing is SOP for Amazon…especially the “we won’t answer your questions” combined with threats bit. It’s what they do. Lots of writers have run across this re: suddenly-deleted reviews (hasn’t happened to me so far, but I dunno why) and in a couple of cases they’ve unilaterally blocked a customer’s purchased ebooks–and deleted them from a reader’s own Kindle–until internet folks kicked up a fuss. At which point they’ve backed down w/o explanation. Just a nasty customer-service culture over there, and I keep being surprised you say good things about them. Which is one of the reasons I suggest buying from Smashwords in the post you charitably linked to today. {8′>

    Pat- deleted your account? Really? I tried that once, and after several go-rounds where I’d call or email and say I wanted it gone, and they’d send email requiring confirmation, and I’d confirm, and then they’d want confirmation of the confirmation…I eventually filled all the contact/name fields with garbage and figured that was an end to it.

  15. Matt, another Says:

    Well, that cements my decision not to continue a relationship with Amazon. While I’ve had not personal problems with Amazon, or an associate there of, I just don’t trust Amazon. They are a major corporation and have so many customers they have no incentive to treat one customer right. A major corporation will always work in their best interest and it would seem that someone or something within Amazon decided they do not want to share big commissions with associates such as yourself. Corporate greed. I don’t trust Amazon not to share, sell or crunch my purchase data in ways I wouldn’t approve. I don’t trust them not to provide my purchase information with any government, governmental agency, or psuedo government agency if just asked nicely. I don’t trust them (or any online seller ultimately) to keep my various data secure.

  16. Bear Says:

    Amazon is not your friend. Aside from the difficulties with my CreateSpace/Kindle books (a long rant in itself, and something I discovered that they reportedly do to a lot of writers on a regular basis), I had a lot of other issues:

    – Associate account closed. No notice, no explanation. Ever. Amazon kept the money.
    – Associate account closed again. Ditto.
    – Amazon Honor account (used for web site tip jar donations) closed becuase they realized I wasn’t a 501(c). I was able to refund _most_ of the pending donations. Not all. Amazon kept the remainder.
    – Associate payments not made. Held well past 90 days _after_ exceeding their minimum payment threshold (which they raised a couple times just as I hit it; that was years ago). No explanations. Ever.
    – Didn’t receive referral payments at all on several items (which people told me they ordered and received). No explanation. Ever.

    As a customer: They’ve doubled-charged me without authorization, refused to credit my card for orders _they_ canceled, charged S&H on items listed as S&H-free (orders over $25), lost orders which they then claimed they couldn’t fulfill (and yet another hassle of refunds), had shipments apparently _disintegrated_ (never did figure that one out, and yep… refund hassles).

    Then there’s the Kindle a _very_ generous someone bought for me from my wishlist last Christmas. I still can’t use the WiFi services because they registered it to the purchaser rather than the recipient and refused to fix it. They _do_ (or did) have a system for the _customer_ to fix it. Online. WiFi only. Which I don’t have. The SOB actually told to just take my Kindle to school someday and do it during class. I don’t go to school; not for several years even if you do count job training.

    Of course, once you know how Amazon copies all your Kindle files (including your own personal data, not just ebooks bought from Amazon) and occasionally deletes them because they decide you don’t own them, then that lack of connectivity becomes a feature.

    And that ain’t a complete list. Except for the wishlist (which folks can order from if they are feeling generous – hint- [grin]), I don’t do business with Amazon anymore. I only have the wishlist because so many people _do_ still risk Amazon. Feel free to look at the list to see what I want and buy it from someone else. Please. Really.

  17. David Says:

    Bear-

    Yeah. I’ve never messed with affiliate or seller stuff other than publishing ebooks. The rest of the stuff sounds familiar.

  18. Jim Bovard Says:

    Claire – good luck with getting justice out of these rascals. I hope that your posting here has already caused them a heap of headaches.

  19. Ragnar Says:

    Same here… I’ve sent from the wishlist but not showing you in my address book… and there’s lots of addresses there. What a screw job. I hope you get credit for all the stuff I’ve ordered.

  20. Jim B. Says:

    Matt,

    A big corporation, like Amazon, is not working toward their best interests if they don’t treat their customers right. They are only merely chasing the almighty buck, that’s it. I believe that if they don’t clean up their act, then they deserve to go down the tubes.

    I’ve made a few relatively large purchases from them recently and my experience hasn’t been bad… yet. The only reason I’ve been making large purchases recently was to get some items I’ve had my eye on for some time ahead of them establishing a presence in my state and instituting a state sales taxes on my purchases. Once they do, I’ll be making only the small purchases large enough only to take advantage of the $25.00 free shipping. I haven’t done anything more than being a customer.

    If I see them being even more bad then I’ll simply give my business to Powell’s. Would probably make more sense financially anyway.

    As for e-readers, probably go with a Nook, unless anybody can give me a reason not to.

  21. Claire Says:

    Well, that was discouraging. I called the Associates help line and talked with a pleasant — and completely unhelpful — young man named Nick. According to him, even the help line employees aren’t told thing one about the mysterious algorithm, nor are they given any means to reverse any “flag.”

    “All we’re told,” he said, “is that items are flagged because ‘an account closely related to yours’ placed the order.” And once that happens there’s no possibility of reversal and no appeal process.

    One Algorithm to Rule them All …

    I did get him to give me a physical address to send a letter to, but he wouldn’t/couldn’t give me the name of the person in charge of the Associates program. So I might have to do some sleuthing on my own.

    He says there’s no danger of my Associates account being closed unless “it’s just some guy ordering stuff for himself all the time.” But since I’ve heard otherwise and since the All-Powerful Algorithm has already proven itself irrational and unjust, I’m not believing it.

    Thanks to you guys who’ve checked your address books — and sorry to send you on a wild-goose chase.

  22. Claire Says:

    Jim Bovard — I only wish I had the ability to cause headaches to any and every institution that’s so wrapped up in its own procedures and bureaucracies that it no longer considers individuals to have any importance.

    I have no illusion that my little posting will prick any consciences or change one jot or tittle of procedure at Amazon. As I’ve looked into this, I’ve discovered that Amazon has weathered class-action lawsuits and more. It isn’t going to be much bothered by me.

  23. just waiting Says:

    So I’m left confused. Are we talking physical, street addresses in the my account section?

    And if I go to your link now and buy for myself but don’t order things for you, will you still get credit?

  24. Claire Says:

    I wish I knew, just waiting. I wish I could tell you. The only phrase Amazon has given that seems to have any meaning is “if an account closely related to yours” places an order, all of that order is ineligible for commissions. But they will not say what defines “related.”

    I already knew that items ordered by me or for me were ineligible. But I can only assume from what I’ve learned this morning that having purchased anything, at any time, from my wish list makes you “related” to me.

  25. MamaLiberty Says:

    What a pain! I just received a very generous “Amazon” gift card, and was all ready to shot ’til I dropped… but I think I’ll wait and see how this plays out first now.

    I did not find you in my “address book” in “account,” but if I buy some stuff to send to my grandsons, it may show up there and I’ll see if I can do something about it.

    As for making a difference… think about what gun owners did to S&W a while back, and to Zumbo more recently. You might be very surprised… We need to brainstorm to see how we can spread the word. Mess with Claire Wolfe and friends… heh heh…

    Right this minute, I am totally convinced that it is TIME… and one of the bastards has a name.

  26. MamaLiberty Says:

    That was supposed to be SHOP ’til I drop…. AGGGGH typos

  27. Pat Says:

    “Pat- deleted your account? Really? I tried that once, and after several go-rounds where I’d call or email and say I wanted it gone, and they’d send email requiring confirmation, and I’d confirm, and then they’d want confirmation of the confirmation…I eventually filled all the contact/name fields with garbage and figured that was an end to it.”

    David – Don’t know what they’ve done with it, but when I clicked Delete today, another button popped up (in red tones) saying Confirm. When I hit that button, my address went away. Now, when I’ve gone back to check, it still lists my name, email address, and password (*******) but doesn’t bring up my account, address, or any other info. Just asks if I want to Edit my name, eddress, or password. Am sure I’m still in their files, but unable to open my previous account. Have not received any email(s) to confirm. Amazon may have changed its policy re: how to delete.

  28. WaterLily Says:

    Claire, I would still go a bit further on the phone and ask to speak to a Supervisor. Having been a Customer Service Manager for many years, I can tell you that no matter WHAT their policy, if you make enough of a stink, they are able to accommodate you. Ask for the Customer Service Supervisor’s name, tell the rep you only wish to speak to the Supervisor, and will not speak to anyone else.

    I had an issue with a shipping company that amazon uses called Lasership. They are horrible in my area. I repeatedly complained to amazon about this company (too long of an issue to go into here) Amazon refused my request to not allow this company to deliver my packages, even after I threatened to close my (Prime) account. However, they did resolve Lasership’s issues. Now they have to follow specific delivery instructions, and every time they deliver an item to me, Lasership’s supervisor calls me to ensure I received it.

    We have many items on Amazon’s subscribe and save program that I cannot find elsewhere for a decent price, so I won’t delete my account with them, but I am having HUGE second thoughts about publishing my book with Kindle Publishing or Create Space now.

    So sorry for your trouble with them, Claire. If I were you, I’d be the squeaky wheel until they resolved the issue to your satisfaction.

  29. Claire Says:

    MamaLiberty — Go ahead and use that gift card. Probably shouldn’t use my links for it because you have bought from my wish list; in general anyone who’s done that should avoid my links at least for a while.

    But as far as commissions go, once someone purchased the gift card, that’s it. If there were going to be any commissions, they would have been issued to somebody at that time. The items bought with a gift card don’t earn commission. So shop and have fun.

    And I do remember what gun owners did to S&W and Zumbo — and to K-Mart before that. But that’s gun owners. And those were gun issues. And much, much bigger than this. This is too small to fight over.

    Water Lily — I thought about asking for a supervisor. But I remember that an old trick of help lines is that when someone asks for a supervisor, they simply put a different phone-drone on the line with no result. I’m much better writing an indignant letter, and that’s what I’m going to do.

    After the first of the year, I’ll also start poking around to see if any other substantial online superstore has a good associates-type program.

  30. David Says:

    Jim-

    On my blog I linked to an article about B&N not allowing customers to access ebooks they’ve already bought unless B&N has a current credit card on file. So if they can’t perpetually charge you? You can’t keep your books. Unless of course you don’t trust them with your books to begin with, either by buying elsewhere or storing DRM-free versions yourself.

    So I dunno about Nook vs. Kindle, but B&N vs. Amazon is probably not much of a choice. :/

  31. Bear Says:

    Claire: “And much, much bigger than this. This is too small to fight over. ”

    Not necessarily, Claire. You might think that _your_ isolated case is too small to bother with. But my experience, and the little bit of research I did when I started wondering if I was just a lone guy getting caught up in the “isolated” glitches inevitable in any large organization, suggests this is a _not_ isolated incident and is a lot bigger than most people think. My searches kept turning up case after case. Typically, I found reports with simple searches on phrases from Amazon emails; identical phrasing in thousands of “isolated” cases says to me that its an institutional (if not intentional) problem, and they sure as heck aren’t isolated glitches. The _reporting_ of problems is isolated, so folks don’t have a clue as to the real extent. And the victims usually seem to be individuals or very small businesses can can’t afford the time and money to fight Big Amazon over a few measly bucks; so they take the loss… and Amazon takes the money.

    But maybe I’m wrong, and I really am the only one who has been repeatedly screwed by Amazon. Well… me and all those other reports I found. Ummmm… and _you_.

    I’d be interested in seeing a survey/poll giving a rough idea of how many Associates had had their accounts shut down and the money in them kept by Amazon. Ten bucks here, nine bucks there… multiplied by how many ex-Associates? That might add up to a nice pile of free money for Amazon. Even their habit of delaying payment: how much interest are they collecting before finally making their overdue payments?

    Too small for a broke individual? Probably; certainly was in my case(s). Too small for a boycott or class action suit? Maybe.

  32. Pat Says:

    The gift-giver of those larger items (to Claire) should try to track the items. I think that’s been mentioned before, but he/she should keep at it and insist on proof of delivery – or get their money back!

    If the items are coming by UPS or FedEx, maybe there’s a weight or size limit. But that should have been established when it was ordered. Or possibly Christmas shipping is holding it up.

  33. Claire Says:

    Bear, in my bit of searching, I found lots of Amazon’s former independent sellers telling nearly identical stories about having their accounts closed and their money seized or at least held for a long, long time. But I found only a few such accounts by associates. (It was uncanny, though, how Amazon used the same boilerplate for everybody even though the circumstances differed hugely.)

    I should clarify, though. I’m not willing to fight their Associates lack-of-service system over a few denied commissions. But if they do worse than this, I would absolutely be willing to join a larger effort to get some justice.

    Been poking around and there simply are no other affiliate programs that match Amazon’s. Lots of sleaze out there. Or lots of special-interest stuff. But Amazon … is Amazon. For now.

    But yeah, if they go on like this, five years from now, some other company will be “Amazon.”

  34. Claire Says:

    I definitely hope the givers are tracking those items. The odd thing is, they’re both big enough that I expected they’d be FedEx or UPS only. But they were purchased from my wish list, which has only a P.O. box address. And neither item description said street addy only.

    For a while, I kept waiting for somebody — the giver, the shipper? — to contact me for a street address. But nobody did.

    It’s as if those two fabulous items were ordered, then dropped off the face of the earth. So it’s a big mystery. Particularly since one of them was ordered nearly a month ago.

  35. jed Says:

    Well, since all y’all have hashed this over thoroughly, I don’t know what to add except to repeat that it really sucks.

    You might remember Lily Tomlin on Laugh-In … “We don’t care; we don’t have to. We’re the phone company.” That’s Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc.

  36. David Says:

    Pat- Thanks. Hmm. I spent weeks trying to do it. Maybe they’ve improved that process in the meantime. :->

    Claire- You say you haven’t heard of them mistreating a customer. Well, today I ordered a Kindle Fire & a case for my daughter. Tonight I got email from Amazon explaining that my account had been hacked and somebody had ordered stuff.

    Probably it was because of me using Tor, which I use a lot. And probably the exit node was in some country they decided was unreasonable. But, y’know, the stuff was supposed to be sent to my address, the Kindle Fire was on sale, the case is no longer available, and I imagine it’ll take days before I find out what they’re going to do. Should I order again and potentially get charged twice? And get charged more for the Android tablet while choosing some other case? Grr!

    Anyway. It’s just an algorithm, right? Not their fault. Algorithms come from God.

  37. Jim B. Says:

    If it’s going to a P.O. Box, then it is not going by Fed-Ex or UPS, turns out that only the Post Office is “allowed” to deliver to a P.O. Box.

  38. Jim B. Says:

    I should add that if you have a box with a private service such as a UPS Store then they can accept any packages for you. Kind of makes one wonder why have a P.O. Box unless you really need to.

  39. David Says:

    Jim-

    If you were talking to me…I’m in Maryland ATM. I use Tor, aka “the onion router,” because it (mostly) encrypts and (mostly) anonymizes my communications. So I appear to be coming from, literally, all over the map–if they’re trying to use geolocation on my IP addresses.

    OTOH, I’ve used Tor for years and this is the first time I’ve had a problem of this kind. Maybe it’ll happen a lot more in the future. :-/

    -D

  40. PamsPrideRecommendations Says:

    Claire,
    If I understand it correctly people are buying gifts from your wishlist and then sending them to you? I could see how Amazon would then make a personal connection to you and then all future purchases they make through your blog.
    Perhaps you could ask for Amazon Gift Cards instead in the amount of the item they would have purchased for you and then they could privately email you the Amazon Gift Card Code?
    I know a few online friends that use the links on my blog to make their purchases and they only use Amazon gift cards earned from Swagbucks and I earn a commission from them.
    Perhaps changing over to getting gift cards where the code is privately messaged to you would help?? (Just a suggestion…)
    Pam

  41. Claire Says:

    Pam, thank you for the suggestion. Sounds complicated. Amazon gift cards earned from Swagbucks? Duh. I see I have some research to do. But I’ll definitely look into it.

    I still think Amazon should be smart and judicious enough to distinguish between “friends & family” and readers who buy a Christmas gift for a writer in support of a blog. But … yeah. What I think Amazon should do counts for exactly nothing.

    It’s funny; the reason they refuse to disclose their criteria (or even to answer repeated questions asking how I can avoid a problem whose nature they won’t explain) is that they’re worried giving any info would enable people to game the system.

    I never had any intention of gaming Amazon’s system. But their policies encourage people to want and need to.

  42. PamsPrideRecommendations Says:

    You can check out Swagbucks here:
    http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/BillandPam

    I have made $585 so far this year with them…all in Amazon Gift Cards. Just use them for your normal daily searches and research, play a few games, and if you have a Kindle Fire you can do swagmobile and the points really add up!

  43. Claire Says:

    Thanks again, Pam. I checked out Swagbucks after your first message. It’s hard to imagine many of the privacy-guarding people hereabouts would want to reveal themselves as that site requires. Some might and more power to them. But I wouldn’t.

    Interesting idea about gift cards, though.

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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