July 3

Amazon Closed My Affiliate Account

Minor setback this morning. Amazon closed my affiliate account. The good news: they actually give a phone number to call and someone actually answered. Here’s what I did wrong:

When I signed up for my amazon affiliate account, I listed one Blogspot blog as my only website. This was a blog I was only tinkering with at the time. It only had three posts and I only linked to ONE STINKING AMAZON PRODUCT. I didn’t even use my amazon affiliate ID in the link. That is what got my account shut down.

Because I had continued building my niche site that I am discussing in my journey here, and using this same Amazon affiliate site, there was traffic going to my amazon affiliate ID. Hell, I even made $5 in June. Woo hoo. But, when Amazon did their little check on me, they only checked the one site I listed on my application (long ago) which was the blogger site with three pages. Since that one link didn’t have my affiliate ID, they decided “since we couldn’t determine where your traffic was coming from, we closed your account due to breaking the TOS.”

They were very nice on the phone. They could see exactly what went wrong and that it was rather stupid to close my whole account for one little link but they said they couldn’t open the account back up. I am, however, welcome to open a new account right away. Easy for them to say, now I have to recode all of my links (copy, past, find, replace code, copy, paste…) ugh.

So, today’s lesson:

1. When you apply for an amazon affiliate account, only list one website for yourself for the application. this is what the amazon person told me. Make it as easy for them to verify you as possible. Don’t go listing all your other accounts or they will HAVE to go check them all. One little mistake like this and you have to start all over again.
2. When they do shut your account, they will pay out whatever they owe you. That’s nice. They could keep it. For me, it was only $10 ($5 in May, $5 in June).
3. It takes several months before they check out your application. you get instant TEMPORARY approval when you sign up. So as you add websites to your arsenal, make sure you go back to the amazon affiliate account and add those URLs to the account. It sounds opposite of rule 1 but if you have traffic coming from somewhere, they will need to know where it is coming from.
4. The biggest lesson – always have alternate sources of revenue for your site. One source can go down at any time. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Here’s the amazon email…


We’ve now reviewed your application to the Associates Program. Unfortunately, it did not meet our program requirements. As a result, we have closed the account under which you had been temporarily approved.

We noticed that you are not using tags associated with your store in any of the Amazon Special Links you have created on your Site XYZ.

As a result of this, we were unable to determine the source of traffic. This is in violation of our Program Policies found here: <https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/policies>.

What’s next?
You will be paid for any outstanding fees accrued prior to this notice. You’re welcome to reapply once our program requirements are met.

Thank you for your interest in the Associates Program.


And the Black Clouds Rolled In

Black clouds of Cloudflare, that is. I also experienced my first outage from CloudFlare. Using the company I described earlier to speed up my website, I was able to speed up my site significantly. I think the main way they did it was to route my traffic through CloudFlare. I don’t know much about it. They did all the work after I provided them with full access to my site. Kind of unnerving really… to give a stranger complete access to your stuff. But my page load speed dropped significantly so I’m hoping that makes a difference in end-user happiness and getting organic traffic from Google faster. (again – pre Acabado, would not pay for that service now. Use Acabado)

I got an email saying CloudFlare went down. Which should, by default, mean my site was down. So a little concern there on how often this happens.

Here’s the email from CloudFlare:

Dear Cloudflare Customer,

Today at approximately 13:42 UTC we experienced a global service disruption that affected most Cloudflare traffic for 27 minutes.

The issue was triggered by a bug in a software deploy of the Cloudflare Web Application Firewall (WAF) which resulted in a CPU usage spike globally, and 502 errors for our customers. To restore global traffic we temporarily disabled certain WAF capabilities, removed the underlying software bug, then verified and re-enabled all WAF services.

We’re deeply sorry about how this disruption has impacted your services. Our engineering teams continue to investigate this issue and we will be sharing detailed incident report(s) on the Cloudflare blog.

~The Cloudflare Team

I had noticed difficulty accessing the site a few times that afternoon but I was at my day job so I wasn’t paying close attention. This will not be the first time CloudFlare glitches on me. Now that I think about it, perhaps I don’t need them anymore with Acabado installed? I better check on that since NameServers are involved. Ugh.

More info on Gleam.io and my Go Live Contest

I have mentioned that I’m using Gleam.io to run my go live contest. It is working pretty seamlessly but at $49.95/mo seems quite steep. I’m running a pretty lengthy contest (about 45 days total) so I had to buy two months worth of Gleam service. Altogether, I’ll be a good $500 into the contest by the time it completes. Unless I find more sponsors…

But I do recommend Gleam.io because it was really easy to set up the contest and they allow lots of different configurations to the contest like:

  • I could allow the contestant like write a guest blogpost for points (i assign point value)
  • they can get points for signing up for my newsletter
  • they can get points for commenting on my posts
  • they can get points for tweeting about my site
  • they can get points for sharing the contest on facebook
  • the one I used was a point for signing up for the newsletter and one point for each verified email (gleam verifies) that also signs up for the newsletter. gleam also provides the affiliate tracking id during the signup process

“Wow, thanks for posting your journey with Project 24 in such detail. It really puts into perspective how much work that program is. Keep going. It looks like you’re headed in the right direction. I think when this begins to pay off, it will be huge for you!” – another Friend

Man, I hope so. I stayed up many nights after my family went to sleep working on this stuff. It’s the only way to do it when you work full-time and have a family. I was just telling my wife that although we made $30 in June, and we’re not supposed to see any revenue until the sixth month (we’re in the beginning of month 4 now), I will breathe a lot easier when I start seeing real organic traffic come in and I don’t have to play this mickey mouse social media game every day. 

Like today. It’s 7pm and my site has 35 pageviews. THIRTY-FIVE! WTF?! So, I just spent 15 minutes adding 35 new memes to my meme page and I’m going to hop on the Facebook groups and post a “Happy Independence Day Everyone! Enjoy 3 dozen new memes at xyz.com!” and hope for some friggin’ traffic. – Me

Another BIG TIP for me was following this guy on YouTube who calls himself Ferdy Korp. He posts “how-to” videos and has a 3+ hour tutorial on how to use Divi from Elegant Themes. Not only does he speak with a cool accent (Netherlands) but he walks you step-by-step on building your ENTIRE website. Thanks to him, my stuff looks awesome. Of course, that’s my opinion.

Found another tip for driving manual traffic. Since I did a podcast interview today and collected questions from facebook groups, I know they are watching for the announcement of when the podcast is finished. So I went on and posted a teaser about how well the interview went “Great interview today and got over 70 minutes of helpful information. I Should be done editing in the next few days. Newsletter members will get notified first (try to drum up more newsletter subs) but you are welcome to check my podcast page and see if it has gone live at xyz.com”.

This technique and my updated meme gallery post have already taken me from 35 pageviews to 110 in two hours.

The podcast idea has increased my visitors’ length of stay to 11% now and they are staying on my website for over an hour. Both of my podcasts are about an hour in length. There are no commercial breaks during the podcast. I still have to figure out how to monetize the podcast. For now, I’m just using it to drive traffic to my site.

Is there a way to rotate banner ads based on the length of time shown? Is that allowed??

podcast retention

July 5

Unusually low volume today. I’m hoping it is because it is the day after a holiday? I’m only at 137 pageviews and I released both a podcast episode and a 2000 word article. I notified all the usual groups. I would have thought that releasing two big hitters on the same day like that would net me around 1000 page views.

July 6

I could be spending less time on promoting my site for inorganic traffic and use that time to write more content. I have been motivated by the desire to get off Adsense and move to a more lucrative agency. Knowing that Ezoic requires a site to be four months old and getting 10k page views each month gave me something to strive for..

I’m also writing in my profession so when I complete an article that I think benefits my fellow peers, I link to it in our social media groups. So there’s that. I’ve kinda told myself I’m done writing content for this niche. I’ve hit the 30 articles I need for it and have completed 8 out of 10 youtube videos. I don’t feel good about the vids at all but like the course says, just get something out there for now. It’s basically me standing in front of my bedroom wall and recording on my old laptop with a webcam. Whatever. I got it done.

The podcast has two episodes and THAT I really like doing. I think that is how I will continue to add content to this first niche site, as time goes by. Maybe aim for two podcasts each month. I’ve successfully recorded one hour with the guest each time. Then run it through Audiophonic to clean it up. Then I edit it in Audacity. Add an intro and outtro. Let the guest hear it first to make sure they aren’t going to freak about anything. Then once they give it a thumbs up, I post it.

So, technically I’ve moved on the second site which I’ve already talked about. And my wife has started her first site. So July, Aug and Sept will be spent setting up blogs #2 & #3.

Oh, I haven’t come up with my three sales items for site #1. That’s what’s left on the to-do lists. Project 24 teaches you to have three digital products to sell on your site. Like Guide eBooks or How-To’s or something. I’m still trying to figure that out for my niche.