Shut down by Amazon and the FTC

Last Update: June 01, 2020

Hi everyone,

I have really missed my friends here at WA!

I have been very, very busy and very discouraged. Luckily, I am too busy with life to dwell on the negative developments in my websites.

First Bing stopped ranking my posts about coronavirus. This was quite a blow because my traffic was growing through February and by March 12th I have over 800 users per day to my nutritient site. It was amazing. After Bing penalized me it all crashed.

Then a few weeks ago Amazon informed me that they shut down my affiliate account. That means they are also not going to pay me over $600 that I earned. It was almost time to get paid (there is a 60 day delay) for the huge sales I made in March. They claim I violated the agreement by writing about coronavirus. Of course when I signed up there was no coronavirus and so there was nothing in the agreement about it. The ban from Amazon affects not just my nutrient site but also my pet site as well. I cannot make sales from any of my sites now with Amazon. I can change all the links but it gets better.

Just last week I find out I am being ordered by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to take down my posts regarding coronavirus as well. They also threatened my other unrelated posts.

So now I can't even find new affiliates since I had to take down the posts all together. They claim it is unlawful to suggest or imply there is any treatment for coronavirus.

This is why I am so upset. I am not some snake oil salesman. I never claimed I had a cure. I specifically said there was no cure and no one knew what would work yet since it was a new disease and there had not been testing. I shared supplements, vitamins and minerals that have been shown in studies to work against other coronaviruses like SARS. I spent many hours putting together citations and links to full articles (not just summaries) so anyone could read the studies for themselves. They did not have to take my word for anything. The research was there for the world to see. I also said I was not a doctor. I was sharing academic research. These are peer reviewed studies published in well regarded scientific and medical journals! This is not some voodoo magic of questionable origin.

Apparently in the United States is it unlawful to publish links to scientific studies and links to read more about or purchase a vitamin or mineral supplement if you so choose.

This is very upsetting because I worked very hard to share only information which was verifiable and had research to back it up. Still, I never said anything would cure anything. These supplements can weaken or kill SARS, Strep, Staph, Swine Flu, Avian Flu and more. They have been clinically shown to work. That is a fact.

I said that in my response to the FTC. I said I have complied and taken down all posts related to coronavirus however the fact that these supplements work against OTHER strains of coronavirus is a fact whether they censor it or not.

They have the nerve to cite my own text from my posts in their warning letter. They cited my own words where I said there was no cure. So clearly I was not saying there was!

I am surprisingly calm considering this is crushing years of work.

I have been very busy since my husband ended up in the hospital with a series of health problems including Type 1 diabetes and double kidney infections that required a tube to be put in his back to drain the surrounding infected area.

Needless to say my websites had to take a back seat as I had to continue my regular job as well as managing the 9 rental units and taking care of him.

I am THRILLED to say he is getting better and almost back to full speed. It was an awful few months however. I had to take him to the emergency room three times in a month for three different things.

We just got two vacancies filled though we had two more water leaks to deal with in the old building during his time as well.

So, that is what I have been up to. Oh and our higher ups decided to get new carpet at the office though we are absolutely broke (the State of Alaska) so we have to move everything out of our offices including hundreds of files by Tuesday. While just getting back to the slightest bit of health, my husband came in on Memorial Day to help my move files.

I miss all of you and hope you are doing great!

I don't want to give up though I don't know how to fight the United States federal government. The FTC cites the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) in their threats as well.

Robert was right. He warned us months ago not to write about any supplements for coronavirus and not to recommend anything for any condition. I thought I was so small that they might not notice me. I was wrong.

I can't imagine giving up WA even though my sites are a shambles now. I am pretty burned out since I am afraid they could come after me for my other posts even if they are not related to coronavirus. I could still change all my links on my pet site of course but that will take a long time.

I hope to work more on my WA promotion site eventually. I am glad we have WA and an affiliate program we can count on.

Please let me know how you are doing!

Jessica

Join the Discussion
Write something…
Recent messages
FKelso Premium
It's good to hear from you again, even though your news is so dreadful. I just don't believe they could do such a thing! Jessica, we love you and don't want you to quit WA, so don't consider that. I would think that this issue would get sorted and taken care of...they are so wrong to be coming down on you. You were trying to help people, not hurt them.

Hope Aaron is feeling much better. You take care of your own self. Don't let this horrible action on the part of FTC and Amazon bring you down. I find it hard to believe that Amazon is not going to pay you what you have earned. Oh, it makes me so angry I'd like to hit someone...but couldn't hit them hard enough to do sufficient damage.

Sending you every positive thought in the book.
Reply
Swangirl Premium
Thank you Fran. Right now Amazon keeping the money is the least of my worries. I just don't want the Attorney General's Office to charge me with anything! I took all of the posts on the site down. I don't know what else I can do. This is so frustrating.

Aaron is still dealing with the issues but learning to deal with everything. He has done amazingly well adjusting to Type 1 diabetes with testing his blood and taking insulin multiple times per day, being very careful about what he eats and all of that.

I am doing ok. I am not any worse at least. I just got signing authority for the water use authorizations which I was not expecting. So things are interesting at work too. We never know when we will be working at home or at the office. It seems to change week by week. I only got to stay home full time for a week or two back this spring.

Aaron has been back to work in the office full time since right after he got out of the hospital this spring. He has been super busy as well so it is hard since he needs time to rest and that is hard to come by. We are managing though and we both understand the struggles of the other so we can support each other.

We went to Homer to see Mom last weekend. It was the first time since our wedding in Hawaii almost 8 years ago that I have spent a night away from home!! I used to travel every year, whether it was out to the cabin, between Valdez and Anchorage or down to see my grandparents out of state, to Ireland etc. I had never stayed home for a year in my entire life before the last 8 years. I felt so stuck and tied down. It was nice to escape for just one night. It took 2 days for me to get ready but it was worth it!
Reply
JeffreyBrown Premium
Greedy Bezos will have time enjoying his corner in HELL!
Reply
FKelso Premium
Well, I certainly hope you get things straightened out. You, of all people, do not need such BS. I am amazed at how you still keep on, staunchly facing your challenges. You are a good example for all of us.
Reply
Swangirl Premium
Thank you Fran! The only thing you can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other as the saying goes. Sometimes it is discouraging though. We are lucky in some ways. We both have good jobs considering the current times and family that love us. We have our building which has been a great money saver and we hope to buy another...if this BS doesn't cost us the money we saved for a down payment (just 3.5 percent for an FHA loan).
Reply
FKelso Premium
I hope all goes well. You have surmounted so may trials that I am sure you can overcome this one too. Glad you have each other. Pogo is sweet, but he doesn't talk much.
Reply
Swangirl Premium
We take great comfort in our 4 fur kids too. We just found out our oldest (the spunky calico who is either 16 or 17), has the earliest signs of kidney disease so she needs to be on low protein and low phosphorus food (there are theories that the phosphorus is more important than the protein but for now we are sticking with the vet's advice). It is early enough that she may never develop kidney failure, need fluids etc. Hopefully we caught it early enough. She seems entirely healthy otherwise. I lost my first cat to kidney failure so I was very upset when I found out.
Reply
ValerieJoy Premium
Jessica, I am so sorry to learn about your experience with Amazon and FTC. I can imagine that you would have felt devastated after all the work you have put into your websites. It is unbelievable that this would happen to you.

I was also sorry to read about your husband's health. I do hope he will soon be fully recovered.

I know it's easy for me to say, but try to focus on doing all you can to stay strong. This time will pass and just think about the story you will be able to write in future, about how you overcame this unpleasant and unfortunate event!!

You can do it, Jessica :)

With kind thoughts and sending wishes for bright times ahead.

Valerie
Reply
Swangirl Premium
Hi Valerie,

Aaron is doing much better. It is quite a learning curve but he is tackling it well.

We will be ok one way or the other!

Thank you!
Jessica
Reply
ValerieJoy Premium
Hi Jessica,

Thanks so much for your message.

It's great to learn that Aaron is much better.

I wish you both lots of happiness and good health.

With Best Wishes.
Valerie
Reply
Swangirl Premium
Thank you Valerie. I hope you are well too.

Jessica
Reply
RichBrennan Premium
I found it hard to press the 'Like' button for this post, Jessica.
Totally shocked at reading this.
Yet another reason to avoid Amazon after they stabbed their affiliates in the back in April.
As for the FTC, it amazes me that they can do this when all of your blog posts are in the public domain and the can see evidence that you didn't flout any rules.
That is bureaucracy at it's worst. Don't check anything, just send out cut and pastes from official documents and tick it off as job done.
Please remember though, this is not game over. As hard as it is to come to terms with at the moment, it seems it's time for a change of direction. Rinse and repeat everything you've learned and achieved at the results will start to come in again.
Warmest wishes coming your way for renewed success.
Cheers
Rich :-)
Reply
Swangirl Premium
Thank you very much. Yes, I am annoyed but I won't give up. It is great to know I can apply everything I learn here to limitless niche ideas.
Reply
Swangirl Premium
Now I am being investigated by our State Attorney General's Office even though I took down all the posts on Covid months ago. They don't even care that I took them down.
Reply
JeffreyBrown Premium
No worries, Rich--Bezos won't have any place to spend his Billions when he is in HELL!😈
Reply
RichBrennan Premium
That's appalling. Do you still have evidence that could clear you? It may be worth contacting site support to see if they can call up your sites from the dates in question so you can give show them the 'offending' posts.
Cheers
Rich :-)
Reply
Swangirl Premium
I have all the posts. They are just in Draft instead of Published. They just don't care. They ask impossible questions like "How do you know how many sources to cite?"

They have their own rules that nobody can really adhere to now.
Reply
RichBrennan Premium
Sounds like they've got their heads up their arses.
It's an awful situation for you to be in and it's frustrating not to be able to help other than offer words of support and encouragement.
Can you please keep us posted on what happens. It may just help someone who finds themselves in a similar situation.
I honestly hope and pray it all works out ok for you in the end :-(
Cheers
Rich x
Reply
Swangirl Premium
Thank you. I will.
Reply
JosonInc Premium
Re-group is the word that comes to mind. When all else fails, re-group learning from whatever mistakes, if any.

I used to have great and easy access to my Amazon Affiliate account, moved a lot of products from them to my sites but now... my logins are met by 'the email address that you used does not have an account connected to it' or something to that effect.

Never changed anything. Did not get any notification that I lost my account.

The best to you Jessica.

You will figure it out!

Joe
Reply
Swangirl Premium
Thank you Joe. I am sorry you are locked out. Honestly, I have not even looked at my account since this happened since it is so depressing. I am fine if I just stay away from it. I know I need to remove all the Amazon links but I just can't deal with it right now.

I am busy with our real estate business, my job and my husband's health. It is summer in Alaska and we are trying to get out and walk every day. I think those are good reasons to let my Amazon mess sit for now. I am definitely regrouping. I have more ideas for the future too.

Jessica
Reply
JosonInc Premium
You are making the right moves by diverting your attention from the Amazon issue. Walking and enjoying your surrounding will take away the headaches. Happy to hear you are re-grouping.

Some good news! I have persisted in APPLYING anew to Amazon affiliate and used totally new email address and after several tries I am now back in. Of course I have to use the new ID to all my old Amazon posts. I will do this at my own time.

By the way, I have watched a ton of youtube on Alaska and I am fascinated by the great wilderness frontier. You are very blessed to have that kind of place to live.

Wish you the best.

Joe
Reply
Swangirl Premium
Glad you got back in. Summer here is so gorgeous we just can't let a single day go to waste! Winter is gorgeous of course too but it is much harder to get outside due to cold, snow and darkness. The long hours of daylight in summer make everything easier here. We will not get full darkness for a month and a half now. It only gets to twilight. It is sunset here at 11:30 now and in a few hours the sun will be up again.

My husband and I both grew up in remote parts of the state and miss it so much! Around the city here you need to go to a park, pay for parking and be out by a certain time at night to go hiking. We miss the ultimate freedom where you can just walk in any direction you want and there is hardly any private property and no one around to stop you. I grew up in the middle of the largest national park in the country. Wrangell St. Elias National Park. My husband grew up in the Talkeetna Mountains near Denali.
Reply
JeannineC Premium
Sorry that happened to you, but yeah, right now the FTC is being really strict on anything Covid related because so many people are posting garbage. They can't take the time to read through and check each one - there are just too many - so basically everyone has to not post about these topics.

I hope this is good news for you - Commission Factory, based in Australia, now has 550 programs listed within the Affiliate Programs tab here on WA. Hopefully you can find some alternatives to Amazon so you can then monetize your remaining content. Once again the evil monster named Amazon hurts another blogger. Seriously, pivot away from them. They could care less about you. Obviously!
Reply
Swangirl Premium
Thank you. They did read my site however. They extensively quoted my content back to me in their warning letter. They don't allow any such discussion whether you say there is a cure or not. Whether you cite studies and scientific sources or not, you are treated like a crackpot. It is a horrible censorship.

I will switch out the links eventually but for now I am focused on my job, our real estate business and my husband's health. It is summer in Alaska so we are finally able to get outside and it is glorious!!
Reply
JeffreyBrown Premium
Yes--censorship is becoming more and more prevalent among the tech giants, but it will eventually bite them hard!
Reply
Top