Today I had plans to go for a mountain bike ride before the rain came (check…great ride!) and then turn all distractions off to focus on the ONE important task I had to blast through today. And that task was to finish creating all the “stuff” for my blog income calculator (ok stuff = wireframe, variable list, equations, look up tables, and constant values) and then hand that off to my web developer so he could get cracking on it. Psssst…there’s a sneak peak at the end of this post!
But instead, I checked my inbox one last time to, you know, make sure there were no emergencies. Big mistake. I noticed a reply from a comment I left on Amy Lynn Andrews’ blog about how not to violate Amazon’s operating agreement. That’s a pretty important topic given that we make a substantial chunk of our income off of Amazon (see How We Make a Full Income Blogging and Our Top 10 Earning Pages). And so that was the entry point to the rabbit hole that consumed the better part of my work day.
Although we were discussing a variety of topics, the one I want to share with you is a change to how we are going to manage Amazon affiliate links on both 100 Days of Real Food and here on Pro Blog School. Last fall I literally started a new company in a neighboring state just so I could participate in the Amazon Associates program directly. I decided to use the Pretty Link Pro plugin to manage our 200 some odd product links, but before paying a VA to change ALL of those links wherever they may exist across 500+ pages/posts, I checked with Amazon support first. I talked/chatted with multiple Amazon reps who gave me the green light.
Fast forward to today when I read that Amy had been told just the opposite. I couldn’t easily find my chat records, so I decided to start a new chat with Amazon with the sole purpose of getting the OK verdict in writing. After talking in circles and eventually escalating the chat to a leadership rep, I was frustrated to confirm that using Pretty Link to redirect Amazon affiliate links is NOT OK and in fact violates the operating agreement. Not cool.
So what now? Well I have to:
- Go back through all blog posts and comments where I’ve recommended this and provide an update (done).
- Inform the person I’m providing consulting services to about the change (done).
- Develop an alternative to track clicks on Amazon links (done). I verified with Amazon that using bit.ly to shorten Amazon affiliate links is OK (note Amazon links shortened using bit.ly look like this http://amzn.to/PadU0Z, not like this http://bit.ly/1dDSx3O).
- Develop an easy procedure for my VA to update ALL the Pretty Links spread throughout our 500+ posts/pages to new bit.ly links (in process).
- Hopefully find a way to easily find and replace links site wide for those times when a product is out of stock or discontinued, and I need to provide an alternate URL (future task). I am very leery of using any plugins that mass update the database.
Furthermore, a few days ago I spent most of the day developing (and implementing) a new ad network strategy. This has been on my radar for some time, and since I finally got accepted into a second premium ad network it was “go” time. Woo hoo! I was elated to see the first ads serving, but that smile quickly turned into a grimace as a saw a processed food ad (which is against the ideals of my wife’s website). I had to pause the new network immediately and am still waiting on confirmation that it has been blocked so I can resume. I just. want. to. finish!!!
And Even More…
Needless to say, the income calculator project has seen no love today. 🙁 Oh and did I mention I’m losing probably $70 a day right now due to an issue with Adsense serving blanks when competition is enabled in DFP? I’ve been troubleshooting with two Google reps throughout the day on that. I learned about “web debugging proxy applications” – not by choice, mind you. Aggh! Fun times.
Sorry, just had to vent a little.
But I will say, even a “bad” day like today in blog land is still way better than a “good” day working in a cube farm! I had no commute, got to mountain bike from 9 to 10 AM, got to visit with my kids for a few minutes when they returned home from school, and took a 5 minute break to watch a “music video” my daughter created with a playmate today. Earlier in the week I volunteered at my daughter’s school (OK Lisa dragged me by my ear, but I enjoyed it once I broke away from work!), and yesterday I signed up as a volunteer for Charlotte Rescue Mission. Working for yourself rocks!
By the way, I’m SUPER excited about my blog income calculator because it is one of those things that I WISH I would have had back when I was starting to monetize my wife’s blog. Here’s a sneak peak. Note the numbers are nonsense…this is just a wireframe to give the web developer a picture of what I want.
And just for fun, here are some pics of my new bike setup (and the result of me smacking a tree with gloves on the first ride), including the new super wide bars and short stem recommended by pro downhill racer Gene Hamilton of Better Ride . Leave a comment if you ride!
So do you ever have days like this? And are you able to actually shut everything out and focus on your goal? If so, what’s your secret?
P.S. I’m breaking so many rules with this post…publishing late on a Friday night, no on page SEO, etc., but I don’t care today. Just felt like posting and wanted to get the word out about not using Pretty Link with Amazon (although it’s still a great plugin for non-Amazon links).