Why Did Amazon Kick This Conservative Site Off its Monetization Program?
William Jacobson of the website Legal Insurrection posted a detailed account of his site’s recent deliberations with Amazon, and you can’t read his story without realizing that all of the worst rumors about today’s Silicon Valley giants are true.
Whether it’s Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Amazon, there is a concerted and growing effort to marginalize conservative online voices. Sites like Prager University, organizations like the NRA, and now, invaluable resources like Legal Insurrection are the canaries in the coalmine. These tech companies have declared themselves part of the #Resistance, and we should no longer expect that they will treat conservative individuals and/or organizations as anything other than enemies.
On Thursday, Jacobson published correspondence he’s had with Amazon over the last month, demonstrating a frustrating back-and-forth wherein Amazon cuts the site off from its monetization features without bothering to explain why in any satisfying detail. In all ways, it resembles the exchange pro-Trump duo Diamond and Silk had with Facebook, a matter that was only resolved after D&S went public with their complaints. Hopefully the same will be true for Legal Insurrection because as it stands now, Amazon has really let the world know where it stands on conservatism.
On April 28, Jacobson was told that Amazon was ending his participation in the Associates program because “you are promoting your Special Links in an offline manner, such as printed material, mailing, or oral solicitation.” First of all, how would you promote something as long and convoluted as a special Amazon link in any manner other than a, well, link? Seems ridiculous. Second, Jacobson assured Amazon that he’d never done such a thing. But instead of providing him with any evidence that he’d broken the rules, they came back with a different explanation for his termination.
“You are incentivizing others to visit the Amazon Site via your Special Links by offering rebates, cashback, discounts, points, donations to charity, or other incentives, or by stating that customers can support you by shopping through your Special Links,” the site told him.
“Again, this was bizarre,” Jacobson wrote in his post. “We didn’t do any rebates, cashback, discounts, points, donations to charity, or other incentives.”
He explained this to Amazon and again requested proof that he’d broken the rules, but the site’s middlemen told him that the information was “proprietary” and thus could not be shared. Which is manifestly absurd.
As we said, hopefully a bit of publicity and pressure will convince Amazon to either change their minds about Legal Insurrection or to be more transparent about what the site did to fall afoul of the rules. Because as it stands now, one can only assume that Amazon took issue with the content at the site (i.e. with a conservative viewpoint) and nullified the agreement for that reason alone. If that’s the case, the American consumer deserves to know.