eReader IQ loses Amazon funding

eReader IQ loses Amazon funding

I have many times in this blog written that I think

eReaderIQ

is the most valuable resource on the web for Kindleers.

I’ve gotten great use out of it myself (and I am not associated it with it except as a customer, although we have had some correspondence), and it has saved me a lot of money.

The free services include:

  • An advanced search for Kindle books (which is much more sophisticated than Amazon’s own search)
  • Notification when a book becomes available in Kindle format
  • Price tracking, and notification when a book drops an amount you specify
  • Author tracking

How has it been able to do all of these things for free for Kindle users…and to improve the service several times in significant ways?

One reason is that the site has been an Amazon Affiliate. That means that when a customer follows a link from the site and purchases something at Amazon (not necessarily that item), eReaderIQ gets a cut…an advertising fee. That does nt raise the price for the customer, or negatively impact the customer at all.

Well, I was concerned when one of my readers, Vince, alerted me to this

announcement at the eReaderIQ site

It says, in part:

“…my Amazon.com affiliate account has been shut down. I depended on Amazon’s affiliate program to monetize this site. The affiliate revenue was enough to allow me to leave my 9 to 5 job a few years ago and devote my time to maintaining this site and to my wife and kids. <snip>…

I will spend this summer trying to find other ways to monetize this site. If my attempts over the next few months do not work, then, and only then, will I look into making eReaderIQ a subscription-based service.

If it does come to that, the site will remain free to browse, and a free tier will be offered for light-duty users with small Watch Lists.”

Clearly, this is a big blow, and the site, which is really a one-person operation as I understand it, is going to do everything it can to continue its excellent service.

Just recently, eRI alerted me to a book that was on sale…and that led me to discover a

McFarland books for $3.99 (at AmazonSmile*)

sale, which I shared with you. I bought books I might not have bought otherwise, certainly, but I probably saved something like $100.

I know many of my readers use eReaderIQ.

What can you do?

I have donated to their site through PayPal…there a link on the page I linked above for the announcement: announcement at the eReaderIQ site

Next, I’m going to wait to see what happens. I would consider a paid subscription, although I’d probably be more likely to do donations from time to time.

Totally up to you what you do…I did want to give you a heads up on it, though.

Now, some of you are undoubtedly wondering what happened.

I don’t know, and I think it’s reasonable that they don’t say exactly.

I’ve always been a little concerned that they might be linking to too many free books for Amazon’s taste. There was a point where Amazon…discouraged that, but it was some time back. A lot of us changed what were doing then so we didn’t exceed Amazon’s guidelines. I don’t know that that is the case here, but it’s a guess.

There are many people and individuals (including non-profits) which earn quite a bit of their money, sometimes their existential income, as Amazon Affiliates. That’s separate from money which comes through AmazonSmile, which makes donations from Amazon to non-profits you designate, based on what you purchase).

I wish eReaderIQ all the best, and hope they can come up with a way to monetize the site and to continue their service to the Kindle community.

Do you have comments about how eReaderIQ has helped you? I think they read this blog.  Hearing those good stories, could  help, even if you don’t donate. Feel free to let me, my readers, and possibly them know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

14 Responses to “eReader IQ loses Amazon funding”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I was sad to read that they have lost their only source of funding. I was surprised to learn that one person has been behind this website. For all the information available, I would have expected a large team at work.

    I have really appreciated the “heads up” on book price decreases for books on my wish list. I also appreciate the daily e-mails containing deals. I have clicked links and made purchases assuming I was helping fund the site.

    I would gladly make a donation. Unfortunately, I have never signed up with Pay Pal, and for now, that seems to be the only way to do so.

    So much of what is being done on eReaderIQ should be available directly from Amazon, like notification of price reduction on “wish list” books or notification when a book becomes available in Kindle format. I recently unsubscribed from the Goodreads daily deals notification newsletter because it was done better by eReaderIQ. Is Amazon trying to squelch the competition? Or did the owner of the website deliberately ignore warnings from Amazon? Who knows!

    I suppose this is a cautionary tale to illustrate the old adage about putting all your eggs in one basket. I do hope the website finds a new source of funding. And I want to say a big thanks for all the hard work that has gone into making it such a valuable resource for Kindle users.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Well, authors almost always have all of their income from one publisher (at least on a given book), so that doesn’t seem that odd to me. In fact, much of what you describe for eReaderIQ goes for me as well. All of the income I derive from this blog comes from Amazon. I consider that, in part, a principled stand. I made the decision not to sell advertising to other sources, like using Google AdSense. I didn’t want my readers to be subject to someone who might reasonably have other goals. If I link to something at Amazon, I’ve decided it might appeal to my readers. Google might promote something that was irrelevant or perhaps actually antithetical to what I think, and what I think you want. For example, with Amazon, I can choose not to link to a book which has text-to-speech access blocked…or the Kindle Oasis, which only comes with an animal leather cover. I wouldn’t have that same option with some other sources.

      I could also take payments from people to mention their books in this blog…I don’t do that.

      If Amazon severed their relationship with me (knock virtual wood), it would inevitably change the nature of this blog…

      I’m hoping they find some way to continue. I’m not sure they haven’t sold some advertising in the past, although it might have all been Amazon display ads.

      They could charge publishers to promote their books…there are several possibilities.

      I like that they’ve pledged to keep a free level!

  2. Allie D. Says:

    LadyGalaxy, you beat me to the punch! I absolutely think that Amazon is pulling funding competitors – on top of eReader, I believe Shelfari was getting shoved out, also.

    One problem is… well, you know, mentioned on this blog recently that Amazon bought IMDB and then left them pretty much alone – which to me was a good thing. I was afraid they’d screw it up.
    But now, with GoodReads, I’m questioning Amazon’s “hands off” policy. I’ve never been a fan of the setup, but if past behavior is any indicator, Amazon will leave that as-is – and, as part of their own little monopoly, they won’t see any need to change GoodReads – because there will be no competition. (n.b. – This is pure, idle speculation on my part – there is not any REAL wrongdoing that I’m aware of.)

    I would very much miss the daily newsletter from eReaderIQ. BookBasset.com and BookBub.com provide similar daily emails; I’m signed up but generally I skip them – eReader’s selection has been superior. But these two services seem to be worth a try, in the absence of other resources.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Allie!

      Amazon invested in Shelfari, and they have GoodReads. I think that was more a case of them consolidating rather than trying to eliminate a competitor.

      Speaking of BookBub, Len Edgerly had a good interview on this week’s The Kindle Chronicles with one of the BookBub folks…and they talk about their funding model.

      http://www.thekindlechronicles.com/

      BookGorilla is another possibility…I’ll say, though, that the Goodreads deals have impressed me the most. I don’t think I’ve bought a book from a “deals” newsletter like that, though. From eReaderIQ alert me about a specific book I requested, yes.

  3. Tom S Says:

    I had a look at the Affiliate Program ‘Operating Agreement’ at https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/agreement

    Where eReaderIQ (and perhaps similar services) may run afoul is that they are providing ‘Redirecting Links’ within the emails they send. ‘“Redirecting Link” means a link that sends users indirectly to the Amazon Site via an intermediate site or webpage and without requiring the user to click on a link or take some other affirmative action on that intermediate site or webpage.’ It is not clear that eReaderIQ could restore its affiliate status by complying with this requirement, or whether there are some other issues involved (as Hugh Howey suggests in his Goodreads post).

    I don’t understand why Amazon cares about this from a business perspective, but perhaps it embroils them in legal issues about questionable sales practices. I’d like to learn what a lawyer in this area might have to say.

    As I understand it, BookBub derives some revenue through the affiliate program, but mostly from publishers who pay them to promote. They could probably survive without that revenue, or restrict it to clicks that originate from bookbub.com directly.

    • Lady Galaxy Says:

      I’ve always wondered how they managed to get the “deal no longer available” message to appear in the newsletter after it has been sent. Perhaps the redirecting link made that possible? Maybe instead of showing that a deal had expired they should have done as Bufo does and caution folks to check prices before clicking or tapping the buy button as things might have changed.

      I got notice from them yesterday that two books on my wish list had dropped into my price range, so I bought them with my Apple Bonus Bucks. Thank you eReaderiQ.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        The link has to have a preview function, I would think. It’s interesting: the Amazon Associate program requires that you identify a website from which the link will connect to Amazon…it doesn’t directly work through an e-mail.

        I hope eReaderIQ is seeing these comments!

  4. Allie D. Says:

    “I think that was more a case of them consolidating rather than trying to eliminate a competitor.” Yes, that makes more sense!
    Thanks for adding the BookBub link.. I’m not familiar with The Kindle Chronicles, but I’ll take a look.

  5. Jennifer Martin Says:

    Ereaderiq is the first one I check in the morning! And they have so many features. I would hate to see it messed up. Being on a very fixed income I am always on the lookout for deals I can afford. Letting me know when a wanted book drops in price is a huge help. Hard to believe one person does all this! It’s a great site!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jennifer!

      I think eReaderIQ will continue with some sort of tracking like that, but we’ll see how it develops…

  6. News Roundup [June 23, 2016] | No Shelf Required Says:

    […] eReader IQ loses Amazon funding […]

  7. Christian Hupfeld Says:

    Hi Bufo and ILMK readers… Thank you for commenting and for supporting eReaderIQ. I have been relatively silent as to the circumstances behind being kicked out of Amazon’s Affiliate Program. I have read much speculation, and seen many people suggest that a few changes could get me back into the program… This, unfortunately, is not the case.

    I initially had very few specifics as to why I was kicked out. Amazon simply sent me a canned email referencing the sections of their TOS I was in violation of and telling me that my account is now closed and they will not pay me any previously unpaid fees nor will I accumulate affiliate fees in the future.

    I did try to reach an account manager to discuss the closure, twice via their Affiliate Support phone number, and three times via direct email to my affiliate account manager at Amazon, a senior-level account manager, buy the way.

    This resulted in another canned email response, but this time with a couple of specifics. Basically, they did not like that I had affiliate tagged links in my emails, nor did they like them in my Chrome Extension. They also did not like that I retained price history for over 24 hours.

    You would think that I could simply link back to eReaderIQ, then have people click a “Get It” button to go to Amazon, and you would think that I could just get rid of my price history graphs, and they would re-open my account, but Amazon has made it perfectly clear that this is not what they want.

    The 5 attempts I made to reach an account manager were simply asking to speak with a human about this situation. I was not angry. I was not appealing their decision. I just wanted to talk to a person.

    Amazon responded to this request by closing off all my additional affiliate accounts… 2 US accounts and accounts for the UK, CA, FR, ES, IT and DE. Each account closure came about 2 minutes apart and cited that the account is being closed because I have another account which has been closed. Of the 9 accounts I have had closed, only 3 had anything to do with eReaderIQ or Kindle eBooks.

    Basically, Amazon has made it very clear that they want nothing to do with me anymore. I still have not spoken with a human about this situation and don’t think I ever will.

    Thank you all for your support!

    Christian Hupfeld
    http://www.ereaderiq.com

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Christian!

      I really appreciate you taking the time to share the story behind the story with me and my readers. I know none of this can be easy for you, and I think you’ve seen how much some of my readers have valued your contributions to the Kindle community. Sometimes, good things can arise from what appear to be bad situations, and I hope that’s the case for eReaderIQ.

    • Lady Galaxy Says:

      I was glad to see the update that you’ve gotten enough funding to see you through the next few months. I hope you will find a way to keep your site around for a long time to come. It’s unfortunate the folks at Amazon haven’t figured out what a great asset your site is for Kindle users. Thank you for creating and maintaining it!

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