Amazon.com Update…

I’m not very good at keeping my blog updated.  That’s pretty obvious.  It’s not that I don’t want to write or don’t have anything to write.  It just is always one of those things that I’ll get to “Later.”

Hehe… hasn’t worked well for me.

But I have to at least make this post since it is probably the most asked question I get these days… What happened with Amazon.com?

I’m happy to report that all is well in the Amazon.com world with me.  It took a loooong time, and I never want to go through it again… but Amazon.com finally cleared my account in November for payment in December.

And it was just in time.  Check out my December numbers for my primary Amazon.com Associates account…

Amazon.com December Results

I would have been seriously bummed to sit out the holiday season.

Anyway, I appreciate all the positive comments I’ve received from people over the past few months.  It was tough to go though it and be in limbo with so much money for as long as it took.  But it’s all worked out now.

So What Did I Learn?

I know there’s an old saying that says it’s easier to seek forgiveness than permission.  I still agree with that for the most part… but I have to tell you it’s also really easy to just communicate up front and avoid major headaches on the back end.

Most of my problems with Amazon.com came because when I opened my second Associates account I didn’t anticipate the direction I would take it.  And when I did go in that direction I didn’t update my account to note the change.  I could have avoided a LOT of red flags if I’d just communicated better with Amazon.com.

Just recently I launched a major new effort with Shopzilla.com.  Once again I will be doing something very different from the average affiliate.  The first thing I did was call my affiliate manager and explain exactly what I would be doing.  And, probably more important, exactly how my impressions and traffic patterns would differ from the norm.  Now it’s noted on my account and I think it will help avoid similar problems in the future.

I’ve taken the same attitude with many of my advertising campaigns.  I make it a point to make sure my account manager knows exactly what I’m doing and how/where/when I’m pushing the envelope.  Most of the time I don’t even think they understand… but it’s easier than fighting them the whole way to get ad campaigns approved and running.

I also learned a valuable lesson about diversification.  But not in the traditional sense.

I still don’t care much for diversity of business… but account diversity is a whole different animal.  I’ve recently embarked on an effort to make sure that I never have all my affiliate sales run through a single account.  I figure that $5,000 / month per account is a reasonable risk tolerance for me.  My affiliate sales will be distributed amongst multiple accounts each owned by a separate corporate entity and each with its own advertising and financials.

The idea is to minimize the amount of money I have at risk in any individual account at a given time.  It also allows me to designate certain accounts as “experimental” accounts that I can be more aggressive with without jeopardizing my other accounts.

I’m actually surprised it took something like this to give me the idea.  I have an extensive background in real estate investing and similar legal structures are commonplace for investors to protect their assets and minimize financial exposure.  I don’t know how well it will hold up if it ever gets put to the test… but I’ll never have 1 huge affiliate account again.  It’s surprisingly stressful (to me) to have that much income at risk each month.

Live and Learn.