Author Topic: Pixel of Ink Closing -- AMZ affiliate changes -- MERGED thread  (Read 7029 times)  

Offline nightfire

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Wow. Just. Wow. Pixel of Ink is no more. :(

From their site:
Quote
All Good Things Must Come To An End

Dear Readers, Authors, Family & Friends,

Over the past 6 years we've loved sharing our Kindle book addiction with all of you. It's been fun being a part of your lives as you discovered great books, new favorite authors, and enjoyed the ever sought-after Book Hangover. Those are the best!

As with all beginnings, there have to be endings.

Pixel of Ink has been a joy to create, run, and share. It's indescribable to have been able to reach to so many people, and affect so many lives in such positive ways.
Due to changes in the eBook world and in our life, it is time for us to move on, and Pixel of Ink must now end.

Again, thank you for taking this wonderful journey with us. Pixel of Ink would never have been what it was without you.

Sincerely,
Sharon & David
Pixel of Ink
http://www.pixelofink.com/
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 11:42:08 AM by Ann in Arlington »
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Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2016, 10:23:22 PM »
EreaderIQ is also no longer able to be an Amazon Affiliate. :( not sure they are related, but very odd coincidence. Those two sites have been around long as I can remember. EreaderIQ is going subscription, not closing down yet. Sad to hear about POI.


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Offline Kate.

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2016, 10:26:11 PM »
Whoa! They announced they were planning to re-open advertising slots earlier this month, too. =(

Quote
Many of you have been eager to hear when we will have advertising spots available and we are happy to share that time is almost here! We will send an announcement a few days prior to opening. So, stay tuned for more details on that front!

Something dramatic must have happened to change it so quickly. Elizabeth's theory could be right.

Offline AuthorX

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2016, 10:38:05 PM »
It's more shocking to me is that a website owner with that much stake would simply put a closure notice on their front page rather than selling the brand to another party for a few hundred thousand or whatever it's worth.

Silly, silly peeps  :P

Offline nightfire

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2016, 10:41:34 PM »
It's more shocking to me is that a website owner with that much stake would simply put a closure notice on their front page rather than selling the brand to another party for a few hundred thousand or whatever it's worth.

I agree with this to some extent. They may have had offers from companies that they didn't want to have access to the emails lists they built over time.  Someone may have bought the list and they are keeping it quiet. The site, the content, the email lists, the traffic, they are all worth money.  It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.
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Offline nightfire

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2016, 10:44:24 PM »
EreaderIQ is also no longer able to be an Amazon Affiliate. :( not sure they are related, but very odd coincidence. Those two sites have been around long as I can remember. EreaderIQ is going subscription, not closing down yet. Sad to hear about POI.
I also heard that, along with Fussy Librarian having issues with the affiliate program.

I'm heavy into affiliate marketing and managing but I knew that Amazon is fickle and can change their decisions to enforce their TOS or not in a heartbeat.  That is one of the reasons my sites do not only rely on the Amazon affiliate program for revenue, no matter how much authors wish all book promotion sites could.
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Online Patty Jansen

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2016, 10:50:30 PM »
How to dominate the world in three steps:

1. Create a really easily-implementable affiliates system.
2. Allow a lot of powerful lists to become dependent on affiliates that funnel a gazillion customers to your site.
3. Wipe out the lists one by one. Customers are all yours.

*curtain falls*

Crap about POI. I was looking forward to buying an ad spot.

ETA: The Sequel: Amazon vs Bookbub.

Online Mark E. Cooper

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2016, 10:53:13 PM »
Amazing is making its latest move for world domination. Won't be long before there will be Bookbub and Goodreads alone

http://the-digital-reader.com/2016/06/15/amazon-brings-the-hammer-down-on-discount-ebook-sites/

Online Patty Jansen

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2016, 10:59:35 PM »
Amazing is making its latest move for world domination. Won't be long before there will be Bookbub and Goodreads alone

http://the-digital-reader.com/2016/06/15/amazon-brings-the-hammer-down-on-discount-ebook-sites/

And yet, when you visit that link, all the listed articles in the right-hand column spell "Amazon", "Kindle", "Amazon", "Kindle", "Amazon", "Kindle", ad nauseam. How long before someone wakes up?

Offline UnicornEmily

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2016, 11:09:55 PM »
ETA: The Sequel: Amazon vs Bookbub.

Hee hee.  That I would like to see.

I just hope Amazon doesn't buy Bookbub.  I'm kind of afraid that will happen.  It would definitely not be a good day for wide indies.

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Offline M M

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2016, 12:11:51 AM »
Hee hee.  That I would like to see.

I just hope Amazon doesn't buy Bookbub.  I'm kind of afraid that will happen.  It would definitely not be a good day for wide indies.

They don't have to buy BookBub. Amazon has the ability to just shut it down by turning off the affiliate fee tap.


Offline TheForeverGirlSeries

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2016, 12:20:08 AM »
How to dominate the world in three steps:

1. Create a really easily-implementable affiliates system.
2. Allow a lot of powerful lists to become dependent on affiliates that funnel a gazillion customers to your site.
3. Wipe out the lists one by one. Customers are all yours.

*curtain falls*

Crap about POI. I was looking forward to buying an ad spot.

ETA: The Sequel: Amazon vs Bookbub.

#nailedit

Offline UnicornEmily

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2016, 12:22:16 AM »
Oh, eep.  I wasn't thinking about Amazon smacking down BookBub.  I was thinking about BookBub being the only site with a chance of taking on Amazon.  I really want to see them be able to start their own standalone wide e-book store, and give Amazon a serious run for their money.

Anyway, yeah, Patty, you really nailed it.  :)

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Online Mark E. Cooper

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2016, 12:46:20 AM »
Bookbub and other sites "can" survive without affiliate income, but only by raising prices or adding sponsors/advertising to their emails...

Oh look, Bookbub has ads at the bottom of emails now. I bet they are going to offer authors ad space... oh look, they just did :P

Online Patty Jansen

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2016, 12:49:10 AM »
Bookbub and other sites "can" survive without affiliate income, but only by raising prices or adding sponsors/advertising to their emails...

Oh look, Bookbub has ads at the bottom of emails now. I bet they are going to offer authors ad space... oh look, they just did :P

We'll see a lot more of this.

In the interview with MD, I was hoping Kate would say that they're looking into a long-ish term project to offer books directly from their site. They're well-placed to do that.

Offline dgaughran

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2016, 01:12:00 AM »
It's a real shame. Pixel of Ink was a real champion of indie work, always treated authors fairly and decently. Too many sites today are about the quick buck, way overcharging for pretty meager results. Pixel of Ink took a very different approach and will be sorely missed.

Good luck to Sharon & David in whatever they do next.

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Offline UnicornEmily

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2016, 01:46:47 AM »
Bookbub and other sites "can" survive without affiliate income, but only by raising prices or adding sponsors/advertising to their emails...

Oh look, Bookbub has ads at the bottom of emails now. I bet they are going to offer authors ad space... oh look, they just did :P

Oh, good point!  You think that might be because of the Amazon affiliate problems?  That did happen relatively shortly after Amazon started doing stuff.

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Online Mark E. Cooper

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2016, 01:52:31 AM »
Oh, good point!  You think that might be because of the Amazon affiliate problems?  That did happen relatively shortly after Amazon started doing stuff.

I think so. I clicked a BB book cover the other day and didn't notice an affiliate tag. It wasn't a free book. I might have missed it, but I remember looking for it because of the TOS stuff going around lately.

Offline Vinny OHare

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2016, 01:55:41 AM »
What a shame, I wish Sharon & David luck. From every author I have heard from it seems they had a very personal attention service.

What really amazes me is how many sites depend on the Amazon affiliate program as their only means of income.

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2016, 01:58:36 AM »
What a shame, I wish Sharon & David luck. From every author I have heard from it seems they had a very personal attention service.

What really amazes me is how many sites depend on the Amazon affiliate program as their only means of income.

I'd be interested then, Vinnie, since you're in that industry, what you see as alternative income stream. I feel that already a lot of sites charge too much for what the results are worth, so I doubt there is much room for them to move.

Offline Vinny OHare

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2016, 02:08:10 AM »
I'd be interested then, Vinnie, since you're in that industry, what you see as alternative income stream. I feel that already a lot of sites charge too much for what the results are worth, so I doubt there is much room for them to move.

Im sure BookBub doesn't rely on amazon affiliate at all. It is probably chump change for what they make by charging what they do. They probably only used it for tracking since it is easy to set up. POI could have changed their business model and charged 1/3 or 1/2 of what BB charges and be just fine.

Offline oakwood

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2016, 02:24:40 AM »
It's too bad. Somewhere along the line they must have been in breach of Amazon affiliate tos. Amazon relies heavily on affiliates to funnel biz so cutting off big players is not something amazon would want to do. There is no competition since none of these sites are taking any biz away from Amazon, the opposite. I've never heard of or met a fellow affiliate who got knocked out for no reason. many times tho, it's a reason they didn't know about or had ignored since every one else was ok with it. There's so much fine print and rules to comply with it's a big part of being an affiliate just to stay compliant.

Amazon have always ben VERY strict that their TOS (which changes over time) is adhered to. This includes unlicensed use of amazon logo, not identifying links as affiliated, cloaking of links etcetcetcc - none needs be done maliciously, but not in line wit TOS perhaps out of ignorance.. which is easy if you're using third party system service providers to handle stuff, since they don't give a hoot or even know the basic requirements. A good example is the many instances of wordpress plugins that facilitate creating links to amazon, even on automation. Many/most of these plugins actively cloak the link. Some of them actively manipulate the 90 day cookie feature that is essentially a cart cookie not intended for direct linking. On top we have the cloudy mixup of promoting a product you may have reviewed (or your site has, indirectly though users) that you have also published. an almost impossible web to untangle.

For me the bottom line is as always... if you're promoting as an Amazon affiliate, make 100% sure your operation is squeaky clean and 100% compliant including every little bit of code, privacy policies, cookie management and affiliate identifiers. Same goes for KDP. I see a lot of trying to manipulate KU2 reads through formatting just to increase a % here and there on payouts.   :-\    This is active manipulation and is the same as biting the hand that feeds you. One day it'll slap back.

ETA: Here's the reason , quote from the-digital-reader
http://the-digital-reader.com/2016/06/15/amazon-brings-the-hammer-down-on-discount-ebook-sites/

Quote
I spoke to eReaderIQ founder Christian Hupfeld on the phone this evening, and he told me that Amazon terminated the site's affiliate account for various violations of Amazon's ToS.

Like Fussy Librarian, eReaderIQ offered an email service where users could be notified of deals in the Kindle Store, and it also had a Chrome extension. Both are violations of Amazon's ToS, but rather than give the eReaderIQ a chance to correct the violations Amazon has instead cut the site off.

This is breach of a rule that is as old as amazon itself so it shouldn't come as a surprise. It's sad, perhaps unfortunate, but not surprising. It's stated clearly in the TOS - as is the prohibition against marketing with links thrugh email - exactly the same as google adsense tos

This here is a very good shortlist of common mistakes that will sooner or later kill your amazon account
https://marketever.com/mistakes-get-banned-amazon-affiliate/
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 02:54:17 AM by oakwood »

Offline Melody Simmons

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2016, 02:25:44 AM »
Im sure BookBub doesn't rely on amazon affiliate at all. It is probably chump change for what they make by charging what they do. They probably only used it for tracking since it is easy to set up. POI could have changed their business model and charged 1/3 or 1/2 of what BB charges and be just fine.

So sites can link as long as it is not affiliate links?  Or no links at all?  Will Amazon come down on sites that use just plain links eventually?

If they allow normal links sites can still try to survive by charging for services - either charging the ones who advertise or the ones who get the newsletters. Or did they make such a huge amount of money through the affiliate program that nothing else is now worth considering?

POI was the first free ebook site I signed up for years ago!  I'm going to miss them.

Offline oakwood

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2016, 02:31:40 AM »
Or did they make such a huge amount of money through the affiliate program that nothing else is now worth considering?



This, for sure.
There is no type of service they could offer, to the type of client that a reader is, that would come near the balance of effort/profit gained from massive targeted traffic & linking to low-cost products
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 02:34:22 AM by oakwood »

Offline Vinny OHare

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Re: In shock: Pixel of Ink Shuttering it's Site
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2016, 02:39:56 AM »
It's too bad. Somewhere along the line they must have been in breach of Amazon affiliate tos. Amazon relies heavily on affiliates to funnel biz so cutting off big players is not something amazon would want to do. There is no competition since none of these sites are taking any biz away from Amazon, the opposite. I've never heard of or met a fellow affiliate who got knocked out for no reason. many times tho, it's a reason they didn't know about or had ignored since every one else was ok with it. There's so much fine print and rules to comply with it's a big part of being an affiliate just to stay compliant.

Amazon have always ben VERY strict that their TOS (which changes over time) is adhered to. This includes unlicensed use of amazon logo, not identifying links as affiliated, cloaking of links etcetcetcc - none needs be done maliciously, but not in line wit TOS perhaps out of ignorance.. which is easy if you're using third party system service providers to handle stuff, since they don't give a hoot or even know the basic requirements. A good example is the many instances of wordpress plugins that facilitate creating links to amazon, even on automation. Many/most of these plugins actively cloak the link. Some of them actively manipulate the 90 day cookie feature that is essentially a cart cookie not intended for direct linking. On top we have the cloudy mixup of promoting a product you may have reviewed (or your site has, indirectly though users) that you have also published. an almost impossible web to untangle.

For me the bottom line is as always... if you're promoting as an Amazon affiliate, make 100% sure your operation is squeaky clean and 100% compliant including every little bit of code, privacy policies, cookie management and affiliate identifiers. Same goes for KDP. I see a lot of trying to manipulate KU2 reads through formatting just to increase a % here and there on payouts.   :-\    This is active manipulation and is the same as biting the hand that feeds you. One day it'll slap back.

Some time back Amazon changed the Affiliate TOS because so many sites were sending people to amazon promising free books and hope the user bought something expensive so they can make a nice commission. They added stuff like if you send 10000 links to free books a month they can suspend you amazon affiliate earnings and keep it. Needless to say the first wave of sites disappeared overnight.