Oddities in Amazon Associates Operating Agreement

August 27, 2009 at 3:21 am (Consumer affairs, English)

I am thinking of signing up to be an Amazon Associates. Basically, I would link products (mainly, books) that I talk about in my blog posts to corresponding Amazon offerings. If someone clicks the link and end up buying the product in question from Amazon, I get a small referral fee. I get very little traffic on this blog, and I do not plan on pimping stuff very hard or very often, so I doubt I will ever earn more than a couple dollars with this scheme. Mostly, I want to link to books that are mentioned in my post. I actually think Amazon is a pretty useful resource to look up books, particularly the Look Inside feature and customer’s reviews. In fact, I use Amazon extensively to scout books I then borrow from the library. How subversive! :)

Amazon Associates program require that you create an account, and of course, signing up for that account requires that you agree with their Operating Agreement. While reading the Operating Agreement (yep, I have read it, I must be very bored tonight), I notice this specific clause that jump at me as being completely out of whack:

You also acknowledge that we (and our corporate affiliates, such as Alexa Internet, Inc.) may crawl or otherwise monitor your site for the purpose of ensuring the quality and reliability of Special Links on your site (for example, to detect links that are broken or non-functional, links to products that are out of stock or otherwise unavailable, etc.). Therefore, you agree that we and our corporate affiliates may take such actions and that you will not seek to block or otherwise interfere with such crawling or monitoring (and that we and our corporate affiliates may use technical means to overcome any methods used on your site to block or interfere with such crawling or monitoring).

Wow. I mean, just wow. I am floored. There are such gems in these “agreements”, it never cease to amaze me. If they only wants to ignore robots.txt, they could flatly say so and be done with it, but no, they had to make it as broad as possible. These Evil Faceless Corporations really think they can get away with anything, don’t they? Or am I reading too much into it?

Whatever, I will probably end up joining the program anyway. I am such a sheeple.

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