Why are my Amazon links being removed? Really??

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  1. robhampton profile image97
    robhamptonposted 5 months ago

    I understand the editing process, quality control and for articles not to appear "spammy"  My article was about slat chlorine generators and a sentence in there about testing salinity levels in the water. "This can be done by using a salt test meter or salt test strips" I amazon linked "Salt test meter" and the link was snipped. First of all it has EVERYTHING to do with the article and I also own the exact same meter I was linking to. It also wasn't a big gaudy amazon capsule. It was a highlighted link. What is the point of even having an Amazon ad program if they just keep getting rid of all the links? My blood pressure goes up a bit when I see them doing this kind of ridiculous stuff.

    1. wilderness profile image98
      wildernessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      Did you indicate that you own it, use it and recommend it for the task being discussed?  Did you give a couple of pros and cons about the meter?  I link to a specific voltmeter on many of hubs, but make a point why that type of meter is desirable AND that I use one. 

      HP has gotten pretty determined to reduce the number of hubs designed primarily to sell products and the rules have changed on what is permitted and what is not.  One requirement is that you have experience with the product and that seems to mean that you say so.

      1. robhampton profile image97
        robhamptonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        Yes, I've been on here since 2010 and know that the quality control process has changed. My articles are anything but "spammy" and I'm careful not to use any more than 1 Amazon link on any given article. But to me, just seems like it would sound stupid to say "salt test meter, I own one and it's great" rather than just to leave it as a simple highlighted link that the reader can choose to click on or not. To me, going on and on about a product on a link sounds like a spammy sales pitch, but I guess that's what they want.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image98
          Marisa Wrightposted 5 months agoin reply to this

          You'll find plenty of Hubbers who agree with you, but I'm afraid them's the rules.  You don't have to "go on and on" about the product, though.  Don't link "salt test meter" in that sentence.  Instead, add a sentence something like, "I use the .........(brand) meter, which I've found easy to use."

          1. robhampton profile image97
            robhamptonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            Good advice Marisa.. I was wondering how I should phrase it so it doesn't sound like a sales pitch.

            1. Marisa Wright profile image98
              Marisa Wrightposted 5 months agoin reply to this

              The rules don't say anything about having to "sell" the product.  The rules say only that you must make it sound like you have owned or at least tried the product.

    2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image96
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 5 months agoin reply to this

      Did you specifically SAY that you own and use that particular product and why you use it instead of other brands or types?  Did you mention its special attributes?  These are things you've got to do when placing ads on your hubs.

    3. robhampton profile image97
      robhamptonposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      I posted this 2 months ago and have learned a LOT! so listen.. about a month ago had an Amazon link snipped. This link was 100% relevant to the article and also included my experience. ( Article was on calibrating a salt system for a pool and salinity level needs to be right, link was for a pool salt test meter, which I own the same one as described in article) it was snipped. I emailed the team, they emailed back and apologized and told me to put the link back up and they would make sure it passed qap. My email to them contained the phrase "snip happy moderator" .. that's exactly what had happened. I'm definitely not suggesting anyone email the team every time they snip something. Chances are that it's for a reason. In my case, there was no reason other than maybe a newbie editor or moderator snipping a link for no reason. I might have to re read the last post, but did someone suggest that what someone buys affects us? Naaa. My links are for swimming pool stuff and half the time the end sale is anything from diapers to Xbox games. We still get any earnings if they click our link. Doesn't matter what they buy after that.

  2. robhampton profile image97
    robhamptonposted 5 months ago

    Salt, not "slat" lol

  3. Randy Godwin profile image92
    Randy Godwinposted 5 months ago

    What's really irritating is if the Eds remove an Amazon link from your hub and Google puts a similar one on it instead because you referenced the product. Yeah, removing some product links sux.

  4. Robin profile imageSTAFF
    Robinposted 5 months ago

    We don't think your article is spam or you are a spammer because you have included the link.  Maybe we need to update our messaging so that is conveyed properly!  Here's is my blanket response about using products in articles; I hope it's helpful.  It sounds like #1 should be your focus:

    We allow products in articles and in most cases will not snip them if:

    1.  You have personally used the product and give a genuine, first person review of the product. (This is really important for products on Network Sites!)
    2.  They are 100% relevant to the content.
    3.  A reader would be happy to see the link and not be confused or feel like they are being sold something for the benefit of the writer.

    Helpful Tips:

    - Use in-text links that are less distracting to the reader.
    - Consider the topic of the article.  Search engines may expect to see products on commercial topic.  In most cases, an article on poetry shouldn't have a product.  You can check this by Googling your main keyword and seeing if products are shown.
    - Think about reader trust.  Ask yourself if you would be adding the product if you had no financial gain from it.  What is your intention?  If it's to help the reader, then include it.  If it's for your benefit, consider removing it.
    - Only include products that are specific and the reader might have a difficult time finding, e.g., if you're writing a recipe article and linking to flour on Amazon, this will always get snipped. 
    - Take a look at your sales for that particular product.  If you have had no sales (this includes gateway sales of other products from this page) then remove the product.  It's not in your best interest to keep the product. 

    We understand that our policy on products is strict, but our intention is to ensure that all articles and all Network Sites are protected.  We were told specifically that Amazon products were a problem.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

    1. Marisa Wright profile image98
      Marisa Wrightposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      Robin, it would be great if you could update your messaging.  Haven't you noticed how often we have Hubbers on the forums, upset because they've been accused of having "spammy elements" in their Hubs?

      You may no longer realise the impact of those words because it's accepted jargon for you.  For a newbie, to say "you have spammy elements" sounds the same as "you are a spammer", and it's offensive. 

      It seems to me that 99% of the time, "spammy elements"  means there is a problem with links, either to other websites or to products.   So perhaps you could change that message to simply say what it means, i.e. "you have included links to websites or products which breach our rules".

      1. robhampton profile image97
        robhamptonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        Marisa, not really a newbie on here, been here since 2010. As I already stated, I know that things have changed over time with quality control with what is acceptable as far as Amazon links. Some good advice and feedback on this thread, and I sure appreciate everyone's input. I think I'm just going to quit using any Amazon links from this point forward. My articles are informational articles.."how to" articles. If I place an Amazon ad, or link and start talking about my personal experience with the product I'm linking to, then this article now starts becoming about me, and my personal experiences with products. I don't want that. I want to convey straight information. So if the rules for linking to Amazon ads are that I need to discuss personal experience with certain products then I choose not to include that in an article. It's not about me, it's about the message I'm trying to convey to the reader. I'm not a salesman, therefore I don't want some pushy sales pitch included just to ad an Amazon link.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image98
          Marisa Wrightposted 5 months agoin reply to this

          As you say, Rob, it's not about you!   I'm talking about newbies in general.  However I've also seen more estabished Hubbers, like you, who've been shocked to be accused, suddenly, of "spamming". 

          Of course that's going to feel like a slap in the face after years of good writing, and your reaction - "I'll just quit using Amazon links" - is not unusual.   You may say it's "because you want to convey straight information" but I suspect there's a grain of hurt feelings in there, too.

          I don't think personal reviews and straight information are incompatible. You're writing your "how to" articles to give people the benefit of your knowledge and experience.   Your knowledge and experience of what products to use are part of that benefit, surely.

          1. robhampton profile image97
            robhamptonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            Marisa, LOL. Laughing because you are correct. I definitely had a "how dare they!" moment at one point.. Thank you for the excellent advice, and to Robin for chiming in as well. I won't give up on Amazon yet. Maybe I'll browse some hubs and see how others are presenting their Amazon referrals and get a better idea how I should go about it. Thanks again!

      2. Robin profile imageSTAFF
        Robinposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        Thanks for the feedback.  I updated the emails that were sent that used this jargon (there were only two out of the many editing emails we send.)  The term, spammy elements, is still used in the FAQ—as I think it's necessary to have the distinction of what we consider spam on the HP Network.  Thanks again for the helpful feedack, Everyone!

        1. Social Direction profile image89
          Social Directionposted 3 months agoin reply to this

          it would be very helpful if the e-mail explained a bit about how we are expected to use amazon links.  I suppose I should have become more familiar with the faq, first of all.  what worries me is this:

          "However, if you add back problematic elements (links, products, etc.) your article has a very high chance of becoming Defeatured. Moderators will only snip a freshly edited article once; after the first time, it is your responsibility to keep your article in compliance."

          Which leads me to believe my article could become defeatured if I try again to use the link, but do it right.  Should I not even try again with this article and just do a better job next time?

          1. theraggededge profile image99
            theraggededgeposted 3 months agoin reply to this

            It's pretty clear in Robin's explanation above:

            We allow products in articles and in most cases will not snip them if:

            1.  You have personally used the product and give a genuine, first person review of the product. (This is really important for products on Network Sites!)
            2.  They are 100% relevant to the content.
            3.  A reader would be happy to see the link and not be confused or feel like they are being sold something for the benefit of the writer.

            Helpful Tips:

            - Use in-text links that are less distracting to the reader.
            - Consider the topic of the article.  Search engines may expect to see products on commercial topic.  In most cases, an article on poetry shouldn't have a product.  You can check this by Googling your main keyword and seeing if products are shown.
            - Think about reader trust.  Ask yourself if you would be adding the product if you had no financial gain from it.  What is your intention?  If it's to help the reader, then include it.  If it's for your benefit, consider removing it.
            - Only include products that are specific and the reader might have a difficult time finding, e.g., if you're writing a recipe article and linking to flour on Amazon, this will always get snipped. 
            - Take a look at your sales for that particular product.  If you have had no sales (this includes gateway sales of other products from this page) then remove the product.  It's not in your best interest to keep the product.

            1. wilderness profile image98
              wildernessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

              "Take a look at your sales for that particular product.  If you have had no sales (this includes gateway sales of other products from this page) then remove the product.  It's not in your best interest to keep the product."

              This is a thorny question, seems to me.  When an article on toilet repair produces a sale of women's underwear or a child's toy, well, it WAS in my best interest to have it.  But if it chips away at authority then it can do far more damage than good - the dollar from selling panties doesn't compensate for losing 1,000 views.

              I think HP is on the right track here, and that the product must be 100% relevant to the hub, but I'm not so sure about the personal use  of that product.  It's not so much a review of that product, but about using it, after all.

              1. theraggededge profile image99
                theraggededgeposted 3 months agoin reply to this

                I would think that it doesn't matter at all *what* is sold. The item purchased has no bearing on the authority of the article. In any case, it's often not possible to know which hub the item was purchased through. All that matters to HP is that *something* was purchased.

                I can't see how the purchase of an unrelated article would affect views? Google doesn't care. It only sees a click out to Amazon. And that's probably a good thing.

                Or am I missing something?

                1. wilderness profile image98
                  wildernessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

                  I didn't mean it that way.  The relevance of the advertised product is what counts to Google, but that anything is purchased is what counts to us.  The first means only the authority given to, and received from, the advertised product is what counts, and that in turn means products relevant to the article and that the writer can recommend.  The second means flood the article with ads in the hopes that one will be clicked and something, anything, will be purchased.

                  Obviously incompatible with each other, and that means that somewhere a line must be drawn.  HP has done so, and for the most part I agree with what they've done with just a question about needing to have personal experience with every product advertised.

  5. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 5 months ago

    I think you could make the distinction of what you don't want without referring to it as "spammy" which is a tad inflammatory and often not accurate.  For example "unsupported product referrals: when you refer people to a product ensure you report your personal experience as the basis for the recommendation".

  6. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 3 months ago

    The current rules are that you have to have used the product and describe why you endorse that specific one. Probably to avoid getting dinged as a content farm.

    1. theraggededge profile image99
      theraggededgeposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      That's not what we mean. It's when, say, you have a gardening tool link on a gardening hub but someone buys a saucepan. I'm saying it doesn't affect the hub. Wilderness thinks it might affect the hub's standing in search engines. At least that's what I think he's saying.

      1. psycheskinner profile image81
        psycheskinnerposted 3 months agoin reply to this

        There's no way the search engine should even know what, if anything, the person eventually purchased.

        1. DrMark1961 profile image98
          DrMark1961posted 3 months agoin reply to this

          I agree. If someone reads one of my articles, decides to buy some shampoo for their dogs skin, and at the same time buy something for themselves, it in now way decreases my authority. It does not cost me page vews later.

      2. wilderness profile image98
        wildernessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

        No that's not what I meant.  See answer above.

        1. theraggededge profile image99
          theraggededgeposted 3 months agoin reply to this

          Sorry, it was this bit that confused me:

          "When an article on toilet repair produces a sale of women's underwear or a child's toy, well, it WAS in my best interest to have it.  But if it chips away at authority then it can do far more damage than good - the dollar from selling panties doesn't compensate for losing 1,000 views."

          I thought you meant if someone bought an unrelated item through your hub it would affect your traffic.

          1. wilderness profile image98
            wildernessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

            I didn't make myself clear; apologies.  It isn't what is ordered that might (might!) affect traffic, it is what is advertised.  If it isn't relevant Google doesn't like it and if I advertise panties on a hub about toilet repair it isn't relevant.  Even if it results in a sale, and income to me, the cost from Google dropping traffic is more than I earn from the sale.

            1. robhampton profile image97
              robhamptonposted 3 months agoin reply to this

              Exactly. So someone says "hmm, let me click on this link to see how much Amazon wants for a toilet tank flapper" but then starts browsing for other things. As long as they don't end the session on their browser, it doesn't matter what they purchase. HP editors just want to be sure that OUR LINKS are relevant, so therefore not spam. Who cares what the hell they buy after that

  7. theraggededge profile image99
    theraggededgeposted 3 months ago

    I had an editor contact me because one of my products was showing as unavailable. Because the link does so well, they were happy for me to replace it with a similar item, even though I had no experience with it. Since replacing it with this slightly more expensive, but better rated product, sales have increased massively. So, as Rob says, don't hesitate in contacting the team if you need to. They want it to work for you. And what's good for us, is good for them too.

 
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