Courtesy of the Kboards, a worrying item about struggling e-book sites and their ability to monetize engagement with Amazon – or not – has come to light. eReaderIQ, the price tracking service for Kindle books which described itself as “The Easier, Faster & Smarter Way to Kindle!”, has apparently been locked out of Amazon’s affilate program, and left unable to support itself.
“As of June 10, 2016, eReaderIQ is no longer eligible to participate in the Amazon.com affiliate program. This means is that we are no longer able to monetize this site simply by having users click on our links,” the notice on the eReaderIQ site runs. “Because of this, we will need to rely on user donations to keep the site running while we figure things out. We hope to generate enough support to cover the costs of operating the site.”
It’s not clear what the change might have been that led to eReaderIQ’s exclusion. “A couple of other sites are affected similarly, it seems,” one Kboards user, The Hooded Claw, speculates. “I haven’t read anything specific on what happened or changed, but I have the impression Amazon changed the terms to make life difficult/impossible for sites where most links are to cheap or free books.”
Given the number of free out-of-copyright books that Amazon already distributes itself, as well as its encouragement for self-published authors to run discount or free e-book promotions of their own, I do wonder if that is the case. That said, I would be glad to hear if anyone can give further feedback on this. And it’s a sad day for businesses that do try to operate with the support of Amazon’s affiliate program.