Here’s a new clause in the Amazon Associates’ contract that I never spotted before, which is available publicly for viewing. European countries have a similar one, with differences in the currency.
If you have not earned any advertising fees in the 3 years prior to any given calendar month, then on the first day of that calendar month we may charge you an account maintenance fee that will be deducted from your unpaid accrued advertising fees. That account maintenance fee will be the lesser of $10 or the amount of unpaid accrued advertising fees in your account. Further, any unpaid accrued advertising fees in your account may be subject to escheatment under state law.
At least they give you three years before deducting a maintenance fee, but one wonders just how troublesome it is for Amazon to keep one’s account open when you make zero sales. It could be worse: it could be Commission Junction, which starts charging after six months. Many people have cried foul over that one.
However, we are cancelling our Amazon.fr account as a result because we don’t score many sales there. It makes us wary of Amazon, however, because this sort of clause is a real turn-off and brings a cloud over the service.
I notice that while we received emails notifying us of the change for the UK, Germany and Europe, we never received one for the US. I was surprised to ﬁnd, when writing this blog post, that the US agreement has changed, too.
I think this only encourages us to look at alternatives, rather than make us push Amazon more. Certainly if I were starting a website today, I’d look for an afﬁliate programme that does not have such a clause. And who’s to say that the next big bookstore site isn’t in China or India, prepared to compete on this very thing?