Saturday, October 4, 2014

Squeeze Play? Amazon Authors Asked To Pay For BookLinker.

   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:

"Marilyn Storie, 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. Best regards 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.


Niki Savage: Author said...

I have received the same email and I share your outrage. I've already deleted my booklinker links and will no longer make use of their services. I agree that paying the fee, even though I could easily afford it, won't be any use, because readers will soon associate those links with unwanted ads. Time to find another universal linker, I guess.

Marilyn Storie said...

Yes, another one. And therein lies the rub, I think. I don't mind paying a reasonable fee, but I don't know what else is worth using. Another writer with in-depth tech knowledge may come along and point the way for the rest of us.

Max said...

Moving on to BookGoodies

I understand that everyone needs to pay their bills, but this change without any notification was nonsense. Likewise the fee is ridiculously high for what amounts to a URL redirect.

Major impact on my websites. What I like about BookGoodies is that I can create a spreadsheet list of my ASINs, do a fast script to create their link model, and go. No registration of the link is actually required. So that's an improvement at least.

I imagine Sunday I'll be talking to my Canadian, UK, and German friends to make sure it actually works as promised of course. Time killer. :/

Marilyn Storie said...

Thanks so much for leaving the rest of us information about another service. The unanimous response I've seen so far is to get up and go.

Steve Douglass said...

Nice blog, Niki. Well written.

Here is my response to Richard's absurd message:

Hi, Richard

Thanks for your prompt and candid response. I'm aware of the glitch to which you referred. It coincided with the Audible advert, dropping my reported clicks to zero.

Work with me on this. I like your link and think it has a fabulous future, so long as none of your competitors
offer the click-summary feature, one of the most attractive components of your offering. I hate the Audible
advert, however. I think when you eventually do a post mortem on it, you'll conclude that it it was a blunt instrument,
a quick fix, and perhaps a deal breaker.

Why have Amazon Associates withheld affiliate income from you?
Have you done something wrong? Why is it that authors have to bear the burden of your
internal struggle? Why can't you and Audible, an Amazon subsidiary, develop a less
intrusive, more subtle, (less spam-like), advert? Why can't you and Amazon understand the effort and expense
required to write and self-publish three books, then develop almost 1000 clicks per day, world-wide?
Why can't Amazon, obviously an enormous beneficiary of your universal link, share in its costs, at least by remitting to Booklinker a revenue percentage of each book sold as a result of a click on your link?

I have more questions, but I'll stop for now.

Best, Steve Douglass.

Marilyn Storie said...

And here's another one that another writer, Angela Kulig, ran into
Neither of us can vouch for it, however. I can vouch for the BookGoodies one. It was simple enough to set up. Works fine at your end of things, too.

Jesse Lakes said...

GeoRiot is an alternative you might consider. Here are a few reviews from other writers that you might find interesting:

Genius way to get a single web link for your book to redirect globally - Roger Packer Blog

GeoRiot: An Alternative to A-FWD for Creating Universal Amazon Affiliate Links - Nick's Daws

GeoRiot - Sally Jenkins

Full disclosure, I am a co-founder so may be a bit biased. :-)

Marilyn Storie said...

Thanks for making full disclosure on GeoRiot. (It makes your pitch for the product a lot more credible, too.)

Joe White said...

Hi all, I came across this article while searching for Booklinker Reviews, and just wanted to clear a few things up. Full disclosure, I currently work at Booklinker (as well as GeoRiot).

GeoRiot actually acquired Booklinker in early 2015, and we immediately got rid of the paid aspect and removed that pesky interrupt that sent your readers to an ad before getting to the Amazon Store.

I am currently heading up a project to improve the service even more, so watch out for some new features coming along in the next few months!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out at "admin [at] booklinker [dot] net"

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