Social Media: Amazon Affiliate Program Changes and A Fresh Crop of Social Media Links

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The Amazon Affiliate Program: What’s Changed Recently

You may have heard that Amazon has changed its terms for its affiliate program. Here is the change.

“In addition, notwithstanding the advertising fee rates described on this page or anything to the contrary contained in this Operating Agreement, if we determine you are primarily promoting free Kindle eBooks (i.e., eBooks for which the customer purchase price is $0.00), YOU WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO EARN ANY ADVERTISING FEES DURING ANY MONTH IN WHICH YOU MEET THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
(a) 20,000 or more free Kindle eBooks are ordered and downloaded during Sessions attributed to your Special Links; and
(b) At least 80% of all Kindle eBooks ordered and downloaded during Sessions attributed to your Special Links are free Kindle eBooks.”

This affects people who rely on posting free books as part of their business model. The reason you’d drive traffic to free books is because Amazon’s rates change depending on the total number of books sold.

For example, let’s say I sell some books for Amazon by blogging about a book and pointing to Amazon with an affiliate link, a specially constructed URL that points to the book on Amazon. I get a very small percentage of each sale. That percentage can differ according to what merchandise it is, but it also differs according to how many items I’ve sold that month if it falls in the “General Product” category.

So let’s say I do that. Perhaps I mention that I often use Samuel R. Delany’s wonderful About Writing in teaching. Over the course of a month, three people buy the book (in my experience this is an optimistic estimate. Let’s say that’s all the traffic I drive this month. Because I’ve only sold 3, my percentage is 4%.

But let’s say I also blogged about a bunch of free stuff and people bought books through the same sort of affiliate link. Let’s say I am incredibly diligent about this and sell 628 free books. That 628+3 moves me into the 8% tier – double that original 4%.

Which can start to add up if you’re making some secondary sales, where folks are ordering not the book you linked to, but still poking around on Amazon and buying other things.

So that, in a nutshell, is the Amazon change. If it’s all goobledygook to you, you probably are not one of the people that need to worry about it. And what does that have to do with social media? The answer is that social media shares are how some affiliates drive traffic.

The best of links recently saved to use in my Building an Online Presence for Writers and Blogging and Social Networking 101 classes:
You can follow all my social media links on Delicious.

Pinterest is a social network I’m still find a lot of reasons to like. I use it to provide a regularly changing source of visual interest for this blog as well as to organize some of my blog posts like posts on writing or posts on social networking.

A study on what increases Twitter followers. No surprise here: positivity and informational content.

How to use a press release to increase your online visibility.

Online book discovery is something market-minded writers need to pay attention to. Here’s why it’s currently not working well.

Obscurity: A Better Way to Think About Your Data than “Privacy.” An interesting piece by Woodrow Hartzog and Evan Selinger about online life and privacy concerns.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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