This morning, as happens every once in awhile, I received an email from Amazon containing Updates to the Amazon Associates Operating Agreement. Oh boy, it's a good thing I looked, because I decided to CANCEL my affiliation with them . . . and many of you may want to do so as well.
In the Updates scheduled to take effect October 1, Amazon informs Associate about what they call "Unsuitable sites." Here's the exact wording:
- We standardized the definition of “Unsuitable Sites” to include a) sites that promote or contain obscene, false and deceptive materials, or that are hateful, harassing, harmful, abusive or invasive of another's privacy, and b) sites directed towards children or violating child protection laws.
The items in red above are the problem. What, exactly, constitutes "hateful?" Worse, what exactly, constitutes "harmful?" And off the wall is the final item "abusive." What the hell does that mean and who gets to decide?
Here's the rub. If Amazon terminates an associate for violating any of these terms, their revised agreement also says:
You must comply with this Agreement to participate in the Associates Program and receive fees.
You must promptly provide us with any information that we request to verify your compliance with this Agreement.
If you violate this Agreement, or if you violate terms and conditions of any other applicable Amazon marketing program, then, in addition to any other rights or remedies available to us, we reserve the right to permanently withhold (and you agree you will not be eligible to receive) any and all fees otherwise payable to you under this Agreement, whether or not directly related to such violation without further notice and without prejudice of any right of Amazon to recover damages in excess of this amount.
In my mind, the writing is now on the wall: Amazon is going down the road of social activism and anyone who says something which is perfectly lawful, but which some left-wing liberal snowflake calls "hateful" means people get kicked off the Amazon program and get cheated out of the money they earned. It's THAT simple.
I tried to use the "Account Closure" feature of the Amazon Associates web site, but (conveniently) their system responded "Your account cannot be closed at this time, please try again later." That happened twice.
So I telephoned the Amazon Associates toll free number to cancel my account via telephone. You see, If I cancel them, I still get paid, but if they cancel me, I lose the money.
The guy I spoke to at Amazon asked why I was closing the account and I told him. It went something like this:
"Amazon is changing the Operating Agreement for Associates to include a provision about "unsuitble sites" which include "hateful, harmful or abusive" material. This means that some left-wing liberal snowflake who earns $15 an hour, gets to have VETO power over perfectly lawful news and commentary. And if some mental-weakling or emotional-retard in Amazon gets their knickers in a twist over something said which is perfectly lawful, I could be cheated out of my hard earned money simply because they have child-like mentalities and cannot deal with viewpoints they disagree with."
The guy was kind of shocked to hear me say these things and told me he would escalate my remarks to corporate. I told him that was a good idea because, I said, "Amazon is going down the same road as Apple, Google, Youtube, Twitter and the like, who are throwing people off their platforms simply because some mental weakling inside those companies disagrees with someone else's viewpoint."
He then explained to me that all monies due and payable to me would be paid in accordance with the agreement.
It isn't much, maybe $160 from July and perhaps another $100 from August. Better in my pocket than theirs.
So those of you who are Amazon Associates beware. If you say or do anything their mental-weakling, emotionally-retarded, liberal snowflake employees think is "hatefeul, harmful or abusive" all your hard earned money is gone.
Pass this along. People should know.