What exactly is happening with Amazon?
Is this related to Amazon slashing affiliate rates on April 21st?
Will we get paid this month?
Will we lose part of last month's earnings?
Is Hubpages/Maven doing anything constructive to resolve the problem?
Is Hubpages/Maven secure with this loss of income?
It is ridiculous that staff are keeping people in the dark. A little light would be appreciated.
Yes, I have at least ten Amazon sale listed this month and zero revenue.
Just on my affiliate link on Amazon and see this rather important notice. Hope that HP have seen it too.Important Notice
“If you have been using Amazon’s Product Advertising API (PA API), you must upgrade all of your applications making calls to PA API 4.0 to Amazon’s Product Advertising API version 5.0 (PA API 5.0) immediately. As of March 31, 2020, we have completed shut down of PA API 4. After this shutdown, your applications calling PA API 4 will no longer be able to retrieve Amazon product information; and you will receive an error message when your applications make calls to PA API 4.0. Please ignore this message if you have already completed the upgrade or have never used PA API.”
I saw that too and can't figure out how to do the upgrade
If you cannot figure out how to do the upgrade, then it is pretty certain that you do not need to do it. Only those who use the API already have to bother upgrading it. On HP you personally do not work with it.
Yeah Deb I took a deeper look at it and I think for us who’ve been with Amazon a long time it has been taken care of by Amazon.
Matt has been notified and is working on resolving this.
https://hubpages.com/community/forum/34 … r-may-2020
This is more troubling by the day. It certainly seems to be something more than an issue with Amazon correcting their data at this point, but hopefully that is all it is.
Up until May 4 it appeared that sales were still being tracked. At least the products appeared on the sales report even if they weren't credited in our earnings. Now, not even that.
Would be nice to know what is going on.
I'd like an update, too. It doesn't look like a computer glitch somewhere; if they're renegotiating the contract or something, let us know. Even if it disappears completely, I'd like some kind of indication as to what is happening.
I hear that SF is a sleepy kind of town, so it might be a while. But this is getting annoying. HP is turning into a black hole. No light escapes. A locale to avoid.
If they are renegotiating they probably have some sort of NDA in place until the deal is finalised.
Could very well be, but I'd still like to know that it isn't just a glitch. Doubt we've been forgotten as HP makes a good deal off of Amazon too, but would like to hear that.
You are correct and I think it is a much more serious problem for HP than any one person. I am sure they are doing their best against a very large and powerful corporation.
Either way I wish there was a little more transparency. Just let us know what's going on. Amazon affiliate program accounts for (up until early may) nearly half my earnings as well, and I'm not talking pennies here. Hello?? Hubpages?? Anyone there? Give me something more than just "we're aware of an issue and we are working on it " we're being left in the dark on this, just seems wrong.
I agree with what you and Wilderness say, but I'm sure there are many of us just like Rob where Amazon is very often the higher earner. I'm almost always making more through Amazon. I can imagine HP sees a major of its income through Amazon too and this can be bad on them if it does not work out.
Mine is a great earner too but I really cannot see the point of daily updates. Day 1-no reply
Day 2-no reply
Day 3-no reply
etc, etc, ad nauseum
(I have a sister in the US and I emailed her a few weeks after the coronavirus became a problem there to check on her. She did not reply for weeks. What do you do when the other party does not respond?)
The difference is that Amazon is still working, customer support is online with their chat support active too. It's not a daily update, but it's nearly a fortnight and I can see why people would like to know if it still is just a data issue or something else.
Hope your sister is doing well.
I can't see how Maven would be talking to Amazon, especially about a renegotiation. Maven would be way too small to have any sway over Amazon. Amazon has tens of millions of affiliates. I just wish Maven hadn't of touched it in the first place. It was fine as it was with HP where we all just had own own seperate affiliate accounts with Amazon. Smacked of a little greed actually to me. We were making 100% of 8%, then 60% of 8%. Now 60% of 3%. I think after the shock Amazon announcement cutting so dramatically the commission rate, that Maven should let us return to Amazon so we can get our full commission.
We were never making 100% of 8%, we were making 100% on 60% of the clicks. What we had with our individual programs was never 8% all across the board, just some niches.
HP got us a deal where we get 8% on everything based on the volume sold (across HP not individually). What we were getting until the end of April was 60% of 100% of our sales, which is statistically equivalent to 100% on 60% of the clicks.
Yes I agree that 8% was at the top end and that’s the rate through my hubs that I’ve always targeted, so yes different commission rates have always applied to different niches. But I don’t understand how HP could have taken a cut in the commission prior to them moving the links over to here and setting up new Amazon links for everyone.
Prior to that any hub link to Amazon went to my own Amazon affiliate link that I’ve had for ten years and had regular payments directly from Amazon for. But I have heard about HP taking a cut right from whenever we first signed up with HP, so perhaps you’re right as I was too lazy to ever check my monthly Amazon figures.
HP took a cut by placing their tracking ID 40% of the time, so anyone who clicked then would not sure on your account at all. You would not know whether someone bought a yacht after clicking one of your links. But now if someone does buy a yacht you get 60% of the commissions and HP takes the 40%, while in the previous case it was more of a lottery system when it comes to which sales showed up for HP and which showed up on your account.
No that’s not correct. On Amazon you would always know exactly what had sold with a detailed report just as they have on HP. It didn’t matter if your link was to a yacht and they ended up buying a packet of grass seed, Amazon would tell you that it was grass seed.
I took a look through Amazon affiliate forums. Most affiliates saw the rate cuts immediately. Which we did not.
https://engagedforums.com/discussions/A … .121?dbg=6
Dunno if you need to sign in see that thread.
From what Matt said, the problem seems to be a technical one of data gathering. If HP are trying to enforce a prior special agreement, it better be watertight, because Amazon steamrollers governments let alone startups like Maven.
Anyway, if staff were to say it was a purely technical issue, we could expect a quick resolution, if it is a legal issue, it is likely to drag on for ever.
You won't find anything about the HP - Amazon deal on the forums. Yes, the general program saw a cut since the 21st of April. Larger sites have had special deals with Amazon for quite a while, HP was one of the many.
After I saw your post about legal issues with startups like Maven, it made me wonder whether the deal that Amazon had with HP does not really carry over to Maven which could be one of the legal hiccups going on? Either way, not much we can do but wait. Hopefully, it's just a technical glitch, a rather long lasting one.
I have a feeling Matt spends most of the time on the hand crank powering the office light. So we do indeed need to be patient.
I’m getting more concerned about this every day it goes unresolved without any further notices from HubPages staff.
From April 21st to April 30 I noticed that our amazon earnings were not reduced under HubPages as per their new payment plan. That would indicate that HubPages had a special deal with Amazon.
Then it all stopped dead in May. So that seems to show that Amazon is trying to renege on whatever agreement they had. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve experienced this before with other affiliate companies in my business.
A reassurance that they haven't actually lost the Amazon sales data after May 4 would be a step forward.
Well, I suspect that somebody flipped the "pending" switch, as it was thought to be less alarming that all the negatives and zeros. But yes, we are in big trouble if somebody's lost the memory stick. I believe that stick has held all the sales data since 2013 when they updated from floppies.
But seriously, I tend to agree with Lobobrandon that they are resolving the issue (whatever it is) with Amazon in private, and we maybe won't hear much about anything until there's a resolution (whatever that is).
It's a bit like the virus, you wake up each morning hoping it's all over...
Not sure they have upgraded from the clay tablets yet.
Here are some affiliate alternatives for HP and those with their own sites to consider. https://empireflippers.com/best-affilia … -programs/
Personally, I would be happy to steer as many sales away from Amazon and to other retailers as possible. Bezos is perched to become the planet's first Trillionaire in the next 5 years or so, and this is how he treats those who helped him get there.
Hi, how are your BC puppies doing? Any new pictures?
Last one left yesterday, after much drama figuring out how to get him to Miami Dade County. A little girl will be getting Bentley. A family with three boys got Conrad (sitting on his boy's tummy).
Conrad looks pretty mellow there. It is amazing how fast they grow and change at that age. I have not had any little ones, of any species, around here in several months so it is nice to see that.
Last February one of my neighbors gave me this little bird that had fallen out of a nest.
He is all grown up now so I expect him to fly off any day now. On Monday he flew up in the air and the wind carried him away so I thought I would never see him again. After 7 hours he came back to my house! (Dogs do that a lot but parrots often never make it back home.)
It's been my understanding HP doesn't allow us to use other affiliate sites, only Amazon. I've had links removed for other affiliates I have inserted when I first started.
I've been very puzzled by what's going on. When my traffic took a nose-dive after the Stay-at-home order happened, I assumed this was the problem--less travel-related shopping (which is what my top revenue-producing Hubs are about). I've never had consecutive no-sale days and I've not made a penny from Amazon since March 18th, which accounts for 1/2 - 3/4 of my monthly HP income. Granted, the articles that earn that money have had virtually zero traffic since people have been unable to travel/cruise, but I still expect to see a few cents trickling in here and there. I had daily zeros up until over a week ago and now it says "pending". I don't know if my sales picked up and I'll be pleasantly surprised when the numbers do post or if I'm still at daily zeroes? It's concerning this is not being addressed--or if it is, it needs to be relayed to us. There are only two ways to make money by writing here so it'd be good to know what gives?
Gonna post a simplified list of questions in the official forums. Questions that are answerable even if an NDA is involved.
Since we have gone off topic (not complaining), here are a couple of interesting articles that suggest rewriting pages or updating them can have negative consequences. They are a few years old and things may have changed, but worth looking at.
Paul Edmondson's 2018 take on why improving page quality may not help:
https://www.zdnet.com/article/maven-buy … ublishers/
Google's slap in the face SEO trap:
https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-su … ipulative/
Paul is talking about drastic website-wide changes in his 2018 interview. The context I believe was that Paul E was saying that Google has punished us for having too much low quality. We've improved the quality, but Google aren't rewarding us.
One can understand why Google might flag a site which has drastically changed in a comparatively short period, even if it's unfair in some cases.
I think the Neil Patel approach of constant, gradual editing, is what is being proposed by HP in 2020.
This is concerning and I hope it gets resolved soon.
One tip I can offer is to change your best converting links to your own amazon account affiliate links so you can still earn directly from them (assuming the commission rate hasn't been reduced to zero on those products). From memory, I think you can only have two direct amazon affiliate links per hub.
You should check one of those links and see if that works. I do not think that works anymore. Those links are probably dead.
I have a few hubs that get very regular commissions and they all have 2 straight amazon links mingled in with HP amazon links. They convert well and I see sales from those links most days. Maybe it's a glitch.
Hopefully speaking about it won't jinx us! I actually have one hub that only has straight amazon links....about 8 of them.
If it ends up that HP get good deal, or it stays the same as it was, I am actually going to try my best to make sure all Amazon goes through HP and look at each link. But I'm not doing anything until I know what's what. I still have quite a lot of Amazon hubs, although they are the minority overall. It's likely a glitch, as you say.
Can't do that anymore Susana. "Bring your own" Amazon has been eliminated a few months ago on HubPages. Same with AdSense. It's only with the HP ad program now.
I think all amazon links were converted to the HP program even the two that you were once allowed.
Yes, just tried it with one of my Amazon affiliate links. The tag gets stripped out and replaced by a Hubpages one.
I suspect that in the very worst-case scenario, we will get paid at the new low Amazon rates myself.
There is a certain irony that all were all made to join the HP system for Amazon in January, rather than use our own Amazon accounts like in the old days.
If Amazon gave a worse deal than the one for non-HP affiliates, then one would expect a reversion to the old system. But I don't think that will happen. We will get the crappy rates or higher, but not lose Amazon.
That's all idle speculation, of course. But there's a rationale to it.
I was worried enough to check staff on LinkedIn. No one seems to be looking for a new position, lol. Mostly they seem to be working on Maven projects like Sports Illustrated.
Quote from Anne Fonte's profile
"If I am the sled, words are the pack of rabid, humping huskies pulling me. Writing is my thing."
Have to admire that.
I think the best we can expect is 3% across the board on all referrals. Last time Amazon changed up the commissions per category, HP was able to negotiate 8% across the board. I think 3% is now their maximum commission rate.
The other issue could be how long the click is good for purchases. Amazon could limit it to the item clicked on and not extend it to other products in that purchase. It could be that if they click your link but buy a bigger size or competing product you get zip.
Maybe it's virus-related? Amazon have told HP they need to disinfect each link and provide it with a little mask before they will pay out?
I think it is part of social distancing. Amazon is now keeping all affiliates as far away as possible.
I certainly think we are being obliged to learn our place. No one can even we bothered to say that they haven't lost our data. Or that normal service will be resumed at some point.
They put out a survey yesterday asking if I’d recommend HP. How can I rate that 1-10 when I can’t get a response about future earning potential here. It’s not enough to rely strictly on traffic-based ad revenue, especially in this time.
Traffic-based ad and affiliate revenue is HubPages' fundamental business model. If they are contemplating making a change to their fundamental business model, that is something senior management will be planning in private.
It's normal in business not to share matters like that with junior staff, because that would be putting the info out in public and therefore alert competitors. And you have to remember that we are not even staff. We are merely individuals who use their free platform, and pay them a share of our commission for doing so.
What competitors? Reddit, Quora? Doesn't matter. It's our articles that aren't on any other sites (or aren't supposed to be because of copyright reasons) I still think there has been zero transparency on this
It really is poor communications management.
On the one hand, we get an email laying out in horrifying detail the fragile state of Maven's finances, on the other, staff sneak into recondite threads and offer info-free platitudes on the issue which most worries us.
At the very least, you would expect something in the official announcements forum. Spin it heavily enough and even I might be able fall into a Paul Goodman-like state of blissful denial.
My understanding was that there was a deadly virus sweeping around the world and an unfolding economic crisis on a level not seen since at least the 1930's. I tend to see things within that wider context. As far as I can tell, it's generally the restaurants, bars, travel industry, hospitality etc. who are in deep trouble, not the online companies.
As far as Amazon and HP goes, it is what it is. HP are going to get the best deal that they can because it's in their own interests (as well as ours) to do so. If they gave a running commentary in the forums, I'm not sure it would help anyone, just generate more speculation.
It's out of my control anyway, so I try not to fret too much.
Magazines, newspapers and television companies are also in deep trouble because advertising revenue has collapsed. Several newspapers and magazines have suspended publication and some have gone out of business altogether. .
Advertising revenue has collapsed because advertisers aren't advertising - so that's going to impact every channel, including online. And Maven's email proves that - to quote:
"the industry is seeing a dramatic pullback in “sponsorship” budgets and a 40% decrease in programmatic CPMs... we’re anticipating a $30 million reduction in revenue for 2020"
All of HubPages' revenue, apart from Amazon commissions, relies on advertisers. If there has been a 40% decrease in CPMs for Maven as a whole, then it's probably the case for HubPages too.
As you say, there's nothing we can do about it but wait.
https://variety.com/2020/digital/news/f … 203544502/
Exactly and combine that with Amazon's commission rate cut...And add to that the decreased number of impressions, thanks to ad blockers. I can't say we are in a growing industry, unless ad blockers become illegal, which I have little hope of. And then there is ever increasing competition. Sad.
While I understand your frustration ad blockers are here to stay.
Even if a major player like Google Chrome got more strict on ad blockers I highly doubt open-source Firefox will. That and people can make their own variants of Chrome browsers using the open-source base Chromium. Like Brave for example.
The ad blocker thing is neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things, as far as I am aware. Really not worth losing sleep over
We're suddenly in a period of rapid readjustment. Advertising isn't over. Advertisers are cautious because they want to get an idea of where the wind's blowing. A few months ago there was a lot of money in Caribbean cruises, now there is little. But bread-making has become a big deal. Online companies can potentially adjust to the changed economy much easier than bricks and mortar companies. Things are moving quickly. Opportunities as well as disasters and all that...
Traditional television, magazines, newspapers were all dying before the virus, that's not really big news as far as I am aware, but their demise (or transformation) will be hastened.
But yes, this whole malarkey does reinforce how tenuous the gig economy is for the workers.
The ad blocker thing is a huge deal. It means that with the same pageviews, earnings were down 60% from August 2019 to December 2019. Add to that a 60% cut in CPM, starting in April 2020, and a 62% cut in Amazon earnings, and your projections for how to pay a $45,000,000 loan off in 10 years is out the window. When every avenue of revenue is off by 60%...you need to reinvent your business model. A $3M loan probably just covers James Heckman's salary.
Sorry Paul, not trying to upset you. I didn't think anyone read these forum posts.
We could post links to our blogs or websites and relocate Amazon links temporarily to get sales. It often takes several days for editors to check out hubs and remove these links and in the meantime we could have sold stuff. Also we would get full commission. Doesn't look as though we'll get an answer anytime soon about Amazon, so that's what I'm going to do, no matter what the TOS say.
I think stuff is likely still being sold (though it would be nice to get official reassurance) but stats are fixed to pending mode until they know the figures. I'm not going to start messing around with the links myself until I know what's what. Presumably this will be sorted out by the end of the month. If it's not resolved by then, that would be... interesting.
This is what I'm thinking! I may edit my one cash cow article that's now been ZERO since April 21 to see what happens! I'll use my Amazon Affiliate links as I do on my regular blog website.
Pisch Glitch. There is a new sheriff in town, and this is how he rolls.
https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/socc … story.html
Maven SEC filing
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data … htm#ma_002
The ability of the Company to continue as a going concern is impacted by the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and could therefore be dependent upon the Company’s ability to raise additional funds to ultimately achieve sustainable operating revenues and profitability. From October 2018 through April 2020, the Company has raised aggregate net proceeds of approximately $139 million through various debt and preferred stock private placements (see Note 18). The Company believes that based on its current assessment of the impact of COVID-19 it has sufficient resources to fully fund its business operations through April 30, 2021. However, due to the uncertainty regarding the duration of the impact of COVID-19 and its effect on the Company’s financial performance the Company estimates that it may require additional capital in capital markets today, which are less liquid given the lack of clarity surrounding COVID-19.
In other words Maven is hemorrhaging but won't bleed out until April next year on current estimations, even if nothing much improves.
I imagine we all hope something will improve.
Fixing the Amazon issue would be a great start.
Does this mean we're dead in the water over here? I definitely don't mean to get down on HubPages but I'm trying to figure out if this means our time here is dwindling.
They have a year to find a paddle, in my reading. Luckily they managed to borrow 3 million dollars just before the virus hit.
Someone who likes business speak should read through the stuff in the email they sent out to see what they make of it.
They should be able to procure a low interest loan from the SBA, as I assume they have less than 500 employees.
They may also be able to get their employees payroll covered through the CARES Act for two months +25% of payroll towards loan interest/utilities/rent/mortgage as well, as long as they keep those folks onboard and don't furlough or fire them.
What this does not account for is Amazon cutting back their commissions from 8% to 1-3%. Across Maven and HP that could be a substantial cut in revenues.
Company loses some revenue due to virus. Loses ten staff. I'm not sure that is really news. Buying Sports Illustrated was likely problematic, otherwise Maven are an online company where online now dominates, as far as I can see. Obviously it's awful for the people who've lost their jobs. But I don't see anything particularly significant.
Whatever. The real issue is that obviously staff is aware of everyone's concerns yet they choose to ignore the very people that make their platform possible. Where's the transparency? Has anyone emailed them and received a response? It's complete BS that they are keeping us, their money makers, in the dark about what's going on with Amazon. YOU READING THIS MATT? HEY, YO, ANY STAFF OUT THERE READING THIS??? HOW ABOUT AN UPDATE??? .. It's completely stupid to have no update on this issue for this long. wtf?
You're talking as if we're employees who have a right to know what's going on. We're not. We're just another independent contractor in the "gig economy".
If you want the best freelancers you treat them well. I have a lot of time sunk in this place but I also have a lot of other places I can go.
Not realizing that is what killed the other content sites. Realizing it, and knowing SEO and adapting to it, was what kept Hubpages alive.
Maven... Maven knows how to acquire diverse sites -- do they know how to run them well? That would be difficult, wouldn't it, when each site has completely unique needs.
I'm not sure that's true. I thought you were here during the bloodbath after Google's first major algorithm change, which slashed HubPages' traffic by about 75%? We lost some of the best writers from HubPages at that time due to management's chaotic approach. Hubbers' concerns were summarily dismissed. I don't think they intended to treat their freelancers badly but when your company's survival is at stake, people don't always think rationally.
I never said anything about ad blockers. I agree the old media was struggling before the virus, but Maven itself is admitting the drop in advertising is hurting them too - if people want explanations for what's currently happening, that's it. What happens in the future is another question.
I'm thinking this long holiday, rainy, semi-quarantined weekend is a good time to back up all my hubs, just in case.
I just received this response from HP:
"There is an issue with Amazon data. Once Amazon resolves this issue and provides us with earnings data we will update your earnings. This is a sitewide issue."
That would not be hard to update us about that -- if updating us was any kind of priority.
It's not completely implausible though. If Amazon tried to swap us to the new low rates the interface with Hubpages may have caused unintended outcomes.
A technical glitch that cannot be resolved after an entire month?
If Amazon decides to NEVER resolve this issue, there is not a thing that HP can do about it. It may be a month, it may be forever.
True. If there is some kind of negotiation going on, HP will tell us when it's settled. We are not likely to hear anything until there is a final answer.
Yes. And to be honest, most organizations I've worked for would've handled it in a similar way as HP, ie general apology, we're looking into it, etc. I don't see that as particularly significant or aberrant, like others do.
My anxiety stemmed more from the *timing*, coinciding with the Amazon cuts at the end of April makes it reasonable to wonder if it's connected.
If it's resolved before the end of the month, then we should still get paid, even if the amount is unknown right now. If this goes into June, that would be a major issue. But it's all outside of our control. I feel it's not constructive to attack HP. It's more likely that Amazon is the culprit. HP has similar interests to us on this matter, as far as I can see.
Well said. People are getting het up about HubPages doing the wrong thing, when I suspect it's actually Amazon that's being high-handed and HubPages doesn't want to admit they're at Amazon's mercy here.
Yup, this is what I feel too. It's Amazon that has changed something, but I guess in the worst-case scenario we would just be considered as regular affiliates and the percentages would go down.
I posted a query to Amazon on Twitter asking them how to do something but they referred me to their online support page. They sent me an automatic email reply to the effect that they're not providing email support at the moment because they've more important things to do because of COVID19. I guess the current crisis doesn't help as regards negotiations.
The slightly sinister guy speaks:
https://www.geekwire.com/2020/sports-il … ne-credit/
“Our revised budget plan is anticipatory, and gets ahead of the curve in a surgical way,” Heckman wrote in the letter. “We wish we could change the circumstances, but we are now positioned — with a talented, experienced team, diverse revenue streams, and a powerful business platform — to weather the ongoing COVID-19 storm and help independent media companies who are not.”
Certainly this has everything to do with Amazons commission change. They only question is whether they will do the flat top rate across the board for all HP items sold, as previously done, or if they want to break it down by category, with some falling into the 1% range. That would suck.
by Paul Edmondson 9 years ago
We are going to increase Amazon earnings for most of you! Amazon is becoming part of the HP Earnings program. In early November folks will have the opportunity to switch to get paid their Amazon earnings through the HP Earnings program. For new Hubbers, this will greatly simplify...
by Victoria Van Ness 4 years ago
I'm kinda pissed and extremely dismayed. I've been with Hubpages and Amazon Associates for 5 years now and haven't made a dime with Amazon the entire time. I've reached out for help numerous times and not a single person told me that I have to get my Amazon links from the Amazon Associates website...
by Christy Kirwan 5 years ago
Heads up! We’re changing the way we calculate Amazon earnings for participants in the HubPages Amazon Program (external Amazon affiliate users will not be affected).The changes we are making are necessary for the HubPages Amazon Program to work properly on AMP pages. Plus, authors will have more...
by Beth Eaglescliffe 3 years ago
This message is for Matt and the team at HP.Starting May 1st 2020, and all dates following, all my Amazon sales (within the HP earning program) have been recorded as having 0% commission rate. These are not Amazon Fresh items, nor returns. Please can you investigate as this is seriously denting my...
by Fiction Teller 9 years ago
Hi,I have other accounts here (this is my forum account). So far in the two days of Amazon earnings reports in the new HubPages-linked Amazon products, I only see products listed that I directly linked to. Usually I earn commission from products that were bought using my affiliate links...
by luisj305 8 years ago
When I check out my affiliate id under the earnings-settings tab I see an affiliate id that I can't find in my associate account via the amazon webpage the one which shows up is completely different. Therefore I'm unable to receive any earnings correct? Or is this unrelated and it's actually Hub...
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