I received an e-mail from BookLinker this AM. It annoyed me so much that I've gone off-schedule to blog about it.
This was the e-mail:
You may have noticed that BookLinker short-links are currently displaying brief rich-media advertisments before redirecting to your content.
This is because Amazon Associates are withholding affiliate income from us; effectively forcing us to display these ads in order to meet our ongoing costs.
Sales are unlikely to be affected, but if you would like to continue using our service *completely ad-free*, we are offering a new premium plan, costing 10 GBP per month.
Please respond to this email if you would like to upgrade to this plan, and we will respond with instructions.
Richard @ BookLinker
My first thought, of course, was that Richard had unnecessarily capitalized 'You', misspelled 'advertisements', and misused a semi-colon and a hyphen; my second was that he could take a hike.
I tweeted my distress and then remembered SmartURL. This was a similar site, somewhat more complicated for an author to use, but also superior in some ways to BookLinker.
I say 'was' because I quickly discovered the site(quelle surprise) no longer provides a service for books. They've narrowed their niche market down to music. One would have to wonder if the same party has a finger in both url services.
One would also have to wonder if Hachette has an indirect interest in either outfit.
I suppose $15.30 U.S. or so isn't a huge sum for well-established authors. But for new authors or those who make a limited amount, the annual cost of $185 is steep. It would be naive to think cash-poor Amazon will suddenly shower BookLinker with gold. But it could be that the new fee is solely to force Amazon to pay them what they want.
It's odd, though. And those who do meekly pay for the non-advertisement service will gain a reduced benefit. Once the public anticipates an unwanted ad at the end of a link, they are not going to open the door to discover there isn't one.
I was going to end by observing that the change in service will hurt all authors, traditional or Indie. But now I'm rethinking things. Are only authors who are also Amazon affiliates being penalized?
If so, it sure sounds like a squeeze play to me.