Amazon associates account banned! Can I sell my site?

44 replies
I was stupid, followed some gray hat advice, and... just got an email saying my amazon associates account has been banned.

I accept that it's my fault, and, from what I've been reading about Amazon, they have no mercy here...

99% of my amazon earnings have been coming from this one site, it's been earning on average, just over $1,000 per month... so, I'm a little upset

So, I'm just looking for some advice, on what to do with this site, and also, what's my future with Amazon? I have a couple of other amazon sites I've been working hard on, and would like to stick with Amazon in the future.

So... here's the options I'm faced with.

1. SELL
It would be sad to see it go after so much work, but, this may be the best option.
Would it be ok to sell, I've no problem being honest with buyers. With new hosting and affiliate ID, it should be ok?

2. START AGAIN?
Amazons wording in the email makes it sound like it's ok to do business in the future, Any other accounts you may have or may open in the future which are found in violation of the Operating Agreement may be closed and advertising fees withheld without notification.


So, can I just start again, open a new associates account, and don't do anything shady? I've a couple of other sites I've been working hard on, that are climbing the rankings, so, I would like to be able to stick with Amazon.

3. ANOTHER AFFILIATE PROGRAMME?
This could be an option, but I don't really think any of the others really measure up to amazon... I'm looking at cj, buy.com, walmart, shopping.com... any advice here?

3. DO A DEAL WITH PRODUCT MANUFACTURER
My site focuses on 1 main group of products, in the household appliance niche.

There's one product that does the best, so, I approached the manufacturer, who is also trying to market it online. I was just looking for permission to use their video on their site, and some better quality pics.

They were quite interested, and asked me about promoting their site... we talked a bit about me helping them with their promoting, but it didn't really come to anything. I need to work on my negotiation skills.

So, maybe there's an opportunity to rent/sell the site to them?


So, there you go... lesson learned.

If you're an affiliate, be very careful how you market your site... I'm not going to go into details, it was bad advice, I checked it out online, and it seemed to be ok... but, I guess it wasn't.

I've over $3k in commission that I'm not going to see... I've a feeling that once you earn over a certain amount, they put you under a microscope before releasing the cash. I made close to $2k in Jan... so, that must have done it.
#account #amazon #associates #banned #sell #site
  • Profile picture of the author HarrieB
    Yes, you can sell the site.
    It doesnot matter and you dont have to mention that account was banned if you can show your previous months earnings.

    Just mention that they will have to change the hosting and affiliate id and the site is theirs!!

    If a product is selling good, yes you can contact the seller directly. Its best to always give options to the customers, so in the side coloumns, you can show similar products or deals of the day!!

    You can create a new amazon associate id and it will be good, unless u violate the terms again!
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    • Profile picture of the author Banagan
      Originally Posted by indigeniuous View Post

      Yes, you can sell the site.
      It doesnot matter and you dont have to mention that account was banned if you can show your previous months earnings.

      Just mention that they will have to change the hosting and affiliate id and the site is theirs!!

      If a product is selling good, yes you can contact the seller directly. Its best to always give options to the customers, so in the side coloumns, you can show similar products or deals of the day!!

      You can create a new amazon associate id and it will be good, unless u violate the terms again!
      Cool.

      I want to be honest with people though. I mean, selling an amazon site, that makes $1k+ pm, is going to raise questions.

      The problem was one link on my site... so, once that's gone, it's good to go.

      Why do you think telling buyers this would put them off?

      If I start a new associate account, is it best not to use this site? I mean, will amazon care?

      Cheers
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      • Profile picture of the author HarrieB
        Originally Posted by Banagan View Post

        Cool.

        I want to be honest with people though. I mean, selling an amazon site, that makes $1k+ pm, is going to raise questions.

        The problem was one link on my site... so, once that's gone, it's good to go.

        Why do you think telling buyers this would put them off?

        Cheers
        Why will they take chances with a website which has been banend.. People can take out 10 different things from your one statement- My Amazon account was banned recently.
        GUY#1- What? Are you kidding me? If I have the same inbound links to my website , my account will ALSO get penalized .
        GUY#2- His IP must ve also been blacklisted by amazon and soon Google will also penalize him.
        GUY#3- Since his account was banned, he is not earning much nowadays and his rankings on search engines must ve dropped.
        GUY#4- this guy is a scammer, he was using blackhat techniques, who knows he might fool me also!!

        and so on... Every1 will think differently.
        Tell ppl you have other projects in pipeline. simple!!
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    • Profile picture of the author theimdude
      Originally Posted by indigeniuous View Post

      Yes, you can sell the site.
      It doesnot matter and you dont have to mention that account was banned if you can show your previous months earnings.
      This is being unethical and advice like this is not good as the new owner would have been scammed
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  • Profile picture of the author feliciayapsl
    There's not only Amazon. You can choose other networks like Commission Junction, shareasale, and many others to work with.
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    • Profile picture of the author Banagan
      Originally Posted by feliciayapsl View Post

      There's not only Amazon. You can choose other networks like Commission Junction, shareasale, and many others to work with.
      I've looked at cj... did a quick search for products in my niche... all around 4% commission, and on sites I've never heard of.. cant see high conversions here.

      I've never heard of sharesale... had a quick look there... not really clear ShareASale provides award winning technology and service which will enable you to connect with a network of established Affiliates as well as recruit new ones to your program.

      ... yes, but who?
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  • Profile picture of the author gundammeister
    Originally Posted by Banagan View Post

    I was stupid, followed some gray hat advice, and... just got an email saying my amazon associates account has been banned.

    I accept that it's my fault, and, from what I've been reading about Amazon, they have no mercy here...

    99% of my amazon earnings have been coming from this one site, it's been earning on average, just over $1,000 per month... so, I'm a little upset

    So, I'm just looking for some advice, on what to do with this site, and also, what's my future with Amazon? I have a couple of other amazon sites I've been working hard on, and would like to stick with Amazon in the future.

    So... here's the options I'm faced with.

    1. SELL
    It would be sad to see it go after so much work, but, this may be the best option.
    Would it be ok to sell, I've no problem being honest with buyers. With new hosting and affiliate ID, it should be ok?

    2. START AGAIN?
    Amazons wording in the email makes it sound like it's ok to do business in the future, Any other accounts you may have or may open in the future which are found in violation of the Operating Agreement may be closed and advertising fees withheld without notification.


    So, can I just start again, open a new associates account, and don't do anything shady? I've a couple of other sites I've been working hard on, that are climbing the rankings, so, I would like to be able to stick with Amazon.

    3. ANOTHER AFFILIATE PROGRAMME?
    This could be an option, but I don't really think any of the others really measure up to amazon... I'm looking at cj, buy.com, walmart, shopping.com... any advice here?

    3. DO A DEAL WITH PRODUCT MANUFACTURER
    My site focuses on 1 main group of products, in the household appliance niche.

    There's one product that does the best, so, I approached the manufacturer, who is also trying to market it online. I was just looking for permission to use their video on their site, and some better quality pics.

    They were quite interested, and asked me about promoting their site... we talked a bit about me helping them with their promoting, but it didn't really come to anything. I need to work on my negotiation skills.

    So, maybe there's an opportunity to rent/sell the site to them?


    So, there you go... lesson learned.

    If you're an affiliate, be very careful how you market your site... I'm not going to go into details, it was bad advice, I checked it out online, and it seemed to be ok... but, I guess it wasn't.

    I've over $3k in commission that I'm not going to see... I've a feeling that once you earn over a certain amount, they put you under a microscope before releasing the cash. I made close to $2k in Jan... so, that must have done it.
    If you don't mind me asking, how did you get yourself banned?
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    • Profile picture of the author Banagan
      Originally Posted by gundammeister View Post

      If you don't mind me asking, how did you get yourself banned?
      I'd rather not go into it, needless to say, I checked their tos, and couldn't see any problem... well it was a little vague... and also found info online, which supported it.

      It was just stupid... so, just be extra careful.
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  • Profile picture of the author davidtong
    It'd be beneficial to the community if you shared what you did/how you got banned so others won't get duped with illegal tactics... Otherwise, nobody's getting value in this thread but you...
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    • Profile picture of the author Banagan
      Originally Posted by davidtong View Post

      It'd be beneficial to the community if you shared what you did/how you got banned so others won't get duped with illegal tactics... Otherwise, nobody's getting value in this thread but you...
      Good point, I'm not 100% sure if this is the problem though, so, I need to ring amazon to confirm... they're closed now.

      It involved embedding an affiliate link in an img tag.

      I researched it, and found sites recommending it, for not just amazon.

      I'm thinking that Amazons recent change in tos could have been the problem.
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      • Profile picture of the author sickbaomei
        Hey mate,
        Do you mean "Cookie Stuffing" via the image ?

        Originally Posted by Banagan View Post

        Good point, I'm not 100% sure if this is the problem though, so, I need to ring amazon to confirm... they're closed now.

        It involved embedding an affiliate link in an img tag.

        I researched it, and found sites recommending it, for not just amazon.

        I'm thinking that Amazons recent change in tos could have been the problem.
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        • Profile picture of the author Banagan
          Originally Posted by sickbaomei View Post

          Hey mate,
          Do you mean "Cookie Stuffing" via the image ?
          Cookie Stuffing... ye, had a quick look online, seems to be, although the articles I read didn't mention this... my own fault for not digging deeper.

          Anyway, I won't be doing this again, just looking for advice on moving forward.

          Do you think If I add a new associate ID to my site, it will be ok?
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          • Profile picture of the author Vtoy
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Banagan View Post

            Cookie Stuffing... ye, had a quick look online, seems to be, although the articles I read didn't mention this... my own fault for not digging deeper.

            Anyway, I won't be doing this again, just looking for advice on moving forward.

            Do you think If I add a new associate ID to my site, it will be ok?
            Before you did any Grey or Blackhat stuff, was the site generating revenue without running into any problems? I'd be interested in taking the site off your hands if that's the case. Let me know, if you have Skype, PM me or post it here and I'll add you.

            -Vtoy
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            • Profile picture of the author Banagan
              Originally Posted by Vtoy View Post

              Before you did any Grey or Blackhat stuff, was the site generating revenue without running into any problems? I'd be interested in taking the site off your hands if that's the case. Let me know, if you have Skype, PM me or post it here and I'll add you.

              -Vtoy
              Yes, the site was doing fine. Just one line of code has brought it down.

              It's a high quality site, EMD.com, lots of content, custom video, well designed, monthly searches up to 10k+ a month.

              Selling it would be a last resort, I've put a lot of work into it.

              I'd expect it to get $10 - $15k on flippa.

              Can you pm me your email address, cheers, my post count is too low.
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          • Profile picture of the author lukedidit
            Originally Posted by Banagan View Post

            Cookie Stuffing... ye, had a quick look online, seems to be, although the articles I read didn't mention this... my own fault for not digging deeper.

            Anyway, I won't be doing this again, just looking for advice on moving forward.

            Do you think If I add a new associate ID to my site, it will be ok?
            OP sorry to hijack your thread, but I would like to claify this more.

            Does this mean if you have an image on the site and you 'hyperlink' it to amazon?

            For example:

            Code:
            <a href="http://www.amazon.null/affiliate-link"><img src="http://mysite.null/images/sample-image.gif"></a>
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            • Profile picture of the author Banagan
              Sorry Luke, I'd like to keep this on topic.

              Can I please just get advice on how best to proceed?
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            • Profile picture of the author ninal
              Originally Posted by lukedidit View Post


              Does this mean if you have an image on the site and you 'hyperlink' it to amazon?
              No, that's not cookie stuffing.

              The code you posted is okay. Cookie stuffing is when your sites visitor automatically gets embedded with the cookie without them knowing about it. So even if they DON'T click any links on your site (widgets, image, text links), then go and buy stuff from amazon, the affiliate still gets commission.
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              • Profile picture of the author zonkow
                Originally Posted by ninal View Post

                No, that's not cookie stuffing.

                The code you posted is okay. Cookie stuffing is when your sites visitor automatically gets embedded with the cookie without them knowing about it. So even if they DON'T click any links on your site (widgets, image, text links), then go and buy stuff from amazon, the affiliate still gets commission.
                How does this cookie stuffing happen?
                What are the ways to avoid it?
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            • Profile picture of the author zaco
              Originally Posted by lukedidit View Post

              OP sorry to hijack your thread, but I would like to claify this more.

              Does this mean if you have an image on the site and you 'hyperlink' it to amazon?

              For example:

              Code:
              <a href="http://www.amazon.null/affiliate-link"><img src="http://mysite.null/images/sample-image.gif"></a>

              Hi Luke,

              If you want to link an image, use amazon tools to get the affiliate link including the image,I am not sure if you can use u r own image or no but if you can use their link then you would be safe..


              As for the OP if you expect people to help you then you might help people out, no wonder you got banned and you deserve it
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              • Profile picture of the author Banagan
                Originally Posted by zaco View Post

                As for the OP if you expect people to help you then you might help people out, no wonder you got banned and you deserve it
                Completly out of order.
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                • Profile picture of the author lukedidit
                  Originally Posted by Banagan View Post

                  Completly out of order.
                  Perhaps saying you deserved to get banned was to harsh, but wanting help from the community, yet refusing to help others not learn from your mistake is also dubious.

                  Still, I understand you loss is a lot, so can see where your coming from too.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Banagan
                    Originally Posted by lukedidit View Post

                    Perhaps saying you deserved to get banned was to harsh, but wanting help from the community, yet refusing to help others not learn from your mistake is also dubious.

                    Still, I understand you loss is a lot, so can see where your coming from too.
                    There's nothing dubious about it, and I was quite polite... Sorry Luke, I'd like to keep this on topic.

                    Can I please just get advice on how best to proceed?


                    This info can easily be found with a google, or wf search.

                    I'm just looking for some advice on how to proceed... what's dubious about that?
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  • Profile picture of the author myfriend123
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
      You're right in being honest if you're going to sell the site. "telling people you're moving to other projects" as has been recommended is shoddy and the type of unethical shenanigans that got your account banned. Don't make the mistakes over again.

      Either sell it and be honest or as has been suggested, try different affiliate programs. Most of the things sold on Amazon can be found on other sites that also have affiliate programs. Worth exploring that option.
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  • Profile picture of the author agc
    If the site was making $1000 / mo, it's worth the effort to form an LLC (at a relatives mailing address), open a new amazon account in the new LLC's name, with a relatives contact name as an employee of the LLC, and put it back online.

    And don't screw up again ;-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Banagan
      Originally Posted by agc View Post

      If the site was making $1000 / mo, it's worth the effort to form an LLC (at a relatives mailing address), open a new amazon account in the new LLC's name, with a relatives contact name as an employee of the LLC, and put it back online.

      And don't screw up again ;-)
      Thanks, I've been reading about this online as a solution for California associates.

      Do I really need to set up a LLC?

      Can i not just set up a new associate account, and change host, ip?
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  • Profile picture of the author ninal
    Cookie stuffing is a big deal and is considered fraudulent.

    If you were to sell the site, it's best to tell prospective buyers your earnings BEFORE you implemented the gray/black hat tactic. That's a more accurate report of your actual earnings.
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    • Profile picture of the author Banagan
      Originally Posted by ninal View Post

      Cookie stuffing is a big deal and is considered fraudulent.

      If you were to sell the site, it's best to tell prospective buyers your earnings BEFORE you implemented the gray/black hat tactic. That's a more accurate report of your actual earnings.
      That's a fair point.
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      • Profile picture of the author Vtoy
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Banagan View Post

        That's a fair point.
        If your website is flagged you will run into problems. This happened to me before.
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        • Profile picture of the author Banagan
          Originally Posted by Vtoy View Post

          If your website is flagged you will run into problems. This happened to me before.
          So... what do I need to do, new content? IP, host...

          What did you do yourself?
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          • Profile picture of the author Vtoy
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Banagan View Post

            So... what do I need to do, new content? IP, host...

            What did you do yourself?
            Well, the first thing you need to do is call Amazon. See if they have you blacklisted. If your website is flagged, and you do file for a new Amazon account, they may ban your account for using it on the websites associated with your previous tracking ID.

            Stay safe.
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  • Profile picture of the author Terry Crim
    Some of the advice out there is put out JUST to eliminate competition.

    First thing I would do if I were to sell a site in this situation is to undo all the things I did to get the site banned. Probably contact Amazon and have them look over the site and see if it is in the clear.

    Then go forward with the sales process and add a disclaimer about the situation and what I did to come into complaince and add what amazon replied with after checking the site. That is IF amazon replies.

    Basically do what you can to remedy then full disclosure. Though, that is if you want to be ethical.


    - Terry
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    • Profile picture of the author Banagan
      Originally Posted by Terry Crim View Post

      Some of the advice out there is put out JUST to eliminate competition.

      First thing I would do if I were to sell a site in this situation is to undo all the things I did to get the site banned. Probably contact Amazon and have them look over the site and see if it is in the clear.

      Then go forward with the sales process and add a disclaimer about the situation and what I did to come into complaince and add what amazon replied with after checking the site. That is IF amazon replies.

      Basically do what you can to remedy then full disclosure. Though, that is if you want to be ethical.


      - Terry
      Thanks Terry for the helpful reply.

      And yes, I want to stay ethical.

      I've dealt with Amazon on the phone in the past and they were always quite helpful.
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      • Profile picture of the author Banagan
        Actually, now that I think about it, this line,

        While reviewing your account, we have noticed that your website contains links to Amazon that are not properly labeled, which makes it unclear that you are sending customers to the Amazon website.

        Could this be referring to images that are linked to amazon?
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    • Profile picture of the author Banagan
      Originally Posted by davidtong View Post

      Isn't that's where an earnings disclaimer and t&c page comes in?
      That's what I'm thinking... which I have on my site.

      I guess I just need to talk to them and find out exactly what's going on.
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      • Profile picture of the author ninal
        Originally Posted by Banagan View Post

        That's what I'm thinking... which I have on my site.

        I guess I just need to talk to them and find out exactly what's going on.
        But..... didn't you just admit to cookie stuffing? If you were cookie stuffing then I don't think it's anything else. They can easily track if the links are really being clicked vs customers being just cookie stuffed since the number of clicks per tracking id are shown on the reports.

        What did your reports look like? How many clicks were you generating and what was your conversion rate like?
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        • Profile picture of the author Banagan
          Originally Posted by ninal View Post

          But..... didn't you just admit to cookie stuffing? If you were cookie stuffing then I don't think it's anything else. They can easily track if the links are really being clicked vs customers being just cookie stuffed since the number of clicks per tracking id are shown on the reports.

          What did your reports look like? How many clicks were you generating and what was your conversion rate like?
          I really didn't know it was cookie stuffing, I just found out about this.

          Still, ignorance is no excuse in these situations....

          It's a lot of money gone, surely that's punishement enough, I really just want my account back.

          I'm going to call them later, I hope they're reasonable, but from what I've been reading online, I've got my work cut out for me

          My advice, be very careful what advice you follow, tripple check it.

          Also, if you start earning good money, make sure you're site is air tight, I reckon you're put under the microscope when you're owed a lot of money.

          My conversions were way down, like 1 - 2%... this could have also alerted them?

          My amazon.ca and .co.uk accounts are still there! yippiee!

          Their wording in their email makes it sound like I can participate again, Any other accounts you may have or may open in the future which are found in violation of the Operating Agreement may be closed and advertising fees withheld without notification.


          I've been working very hard on my sites... and really want a future with them... no more gray/black methods!
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          • Profile picture of the author athenistic
            Originally Posted by Banagan View Post

            My conversions were way down, like 1 - 2%... this could have also alerted them?
            That rang an alarm bell.

            To me, this says that you should check your code for cookie stuffing, especially if that conversion rate was better than that at some point before or if it's lower than comparable sites you had built.

            If my sites were cookie stuffing, I'd expect that my conversion rate would look like that, too.

            Were your amazon click numbers really high?

            Are you using any plugins? Any old Amazon widgets or counters? Either of those could cause problems.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jim North
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author Gaz Cooper
      Originally Posted by Jim North View Post

      Here is what I don't understand - the freak behind the persona of Alexa Smith has been exposed to be a fraud (all you have to do is type the words "alexa smith+scam+warrior forum" into Google and you will find a couple of websites that provide clear proof that the person hiding behind different pictures of different girls stolen from various sites - including pornographic sites - is a liar and a fraud) - and is still actively promoting the lie.

      Why should anyone care?

      Well, the freak has over 13,000 posts in 3 years, hands out ethical advise constantly, and is propped up by various other "personalities" who echo almost everything written by the freak behind the name Alexa Smith.

      And the person behind the stolen pictures has, for all of the time posting here, claimed to be a real person - with a sad cancer story to erase any wonder at why such a freak would post all day, everyday on a forum he doesn't own..

      Yet all of it is a lie - so how can anything else be trusted of what this person writes?

      Still the ownership of this forum protects the person who STILL, even when outed, brazenly and shamelessly has stuck to the story that a real person exists behind all of the lies - and posts as such.

      My guess is that the real person behind "Alexa Smith" is a man and the owner of this forum. Who else in this world would post all day, every day in a forum he or she doesn't own?

      The Smith character doesn't even actively sell anything - other than to promote a WSO for yet another moderator who "coincidentally" has a case of cancer of his own!

      Imagine that!

      Cancer is rife in this forum, and all of them need money! ... at the expense of "new blood" constantly primed by the "Alexa Smith" Warrior Forum "welcoming committee"!

      Smith promotes the paid $37 "warrior forum membership" through Private Messages that are constantly sent out out to "new" members - and pushes other "established" Warrior's products on these same "new" members.

      This explains why these "established" Warriors - who have been posting here for years - have NOT said anything to acknowledge the out and out lies that the person behind "Alexa Smith" has played out for over 3 years - lies that nobody can deny who sees the irrefutable proof.

      The ONLY people who lose are the ones who end up believing the perpetuated lies and are separated from their money based on a belief in these lies.

      My guess is that the owner of this forum, Alan Says, is actually the REAL person behind the fictional character of "Alexa Smith" ...

      ... and I'm going to get this message out.
      DUDE you need to get a life

      What a complete waste of energy

      Gaz
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  • Profile picture of the author rakabitor
    CS = fraudulent (disagree with this)
    CS is art or kind of beauty technique to force your costumers (visitors) buying what they need through your affiliate (associates) link.
    but CS should break the Operating Agreement or Terms of Services (agree with this)

    Sorry for my bad :p
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  • Profile picture of the author wolfmmiii
    I don't see anything wrong with selling the site. I would, however, disclose your issue to prospective buyers in the interest of transparency.
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  • Profile picture of the author belajar888
    my amazon account is banned too but the email said this :
    "We have confirmed that the decision to close your Associates account
    and withhold fees is final, and you are no longer eligible to
    participate in the Associates Program. Any other accounts you may have
    or may open in the future will be closed and advertising fees withheld
    without notification."
    what that mean ? can i create new account ??
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Franklin
      Originally Posted by belajar888 View Post

      my amazon account is banned too but the email said this :
      "We have confirmed that the decision to close your Associates account
      and withhold fees is final, and you are no longer eligible to
      participate in the Associates Program. Any other accounts you may have
      or may open in the future will be closed and advertising fees withheld
      without notification."
      what that mean ? can i create new account ??
      belajar888....

      Did you happen to setup sites with brand names or trademarks in the top level domain? Amazon is really being aggressive in stopping associates that are doing this.
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