I recently published a post about Amazon’s recent commission rate cut for affiliates. As I highlighted in the post, I think cutting rates during a pandemic-induced period of uncertainty is unfortunate – this is a purely ethical stance. However, looking at this rate cut as a purely business-driven perspective from Amazon’s side, it totally makes sense.

I’m not interested in taking sides on this issue. We all know how capitalism works. It’s more productive to fully accept that the majority of Amazon-scale corporations prefer money over ethics – this is the reality. Thus, if you are an Amazon affiliate who ignored this reality, whether it be out of ignorance or stupidity, you are the one to blame here – not Amazon. As an affiliate, your hard work is only made possible through someone else’s harder work. If Amazon didn’t exist, you’d make exactly $0 a month as an Amazon affiliate. If your Amazon affiliate website did not exist, Amazon would still be pulling in billions a year. You’re playing in Amazon’s court, so you better understand the rules.

When I published the initial post, I knew it was bound to get some hate from frustrated affiliates. There’s nothing wrong with being frustrated in this situation. I’m frustrated as well because I’m also a heavy user of Amazon’s affiliate program. Anyway, last night I received an email from a reader titled “you’re an idiot”. Here is the email below with my comments.

You thinking dropping rates from 8% to 3% is reasonable for a company like Amazon. They haven’t dropped the rates for lawn and garden categories for 5 years, so this is not to be expected, as you seem to think.

The percentage drop is neither reasonable nor unreasonble – it simply is. The macro trend over the last decade has been crystal clear. Commission rate decreases outnumber increases, so the trend is negative – really simple. Making a reference to a single category that hasn’t seen a rate decrease over the past 5 years doesn’t invalidate the macro trend. In a situation like this, pointing out exceptions is pretty much irrelevant.

Oh wait, it’s capitalism, so they can do what they want. That’s true.

Indeed, it is true!

We can all just lie and cheat on our spouse. We can manipulate people for our own good. We can emotionally abuse children without giving a damn about the scars they have to deal with later.

This is a terrible analogy. If you cheat on your spose, there is no upside. If you continue using Amazon’s affiliate program after the rate cut, you still make money. Is making money comparable to ruining your marriage?

We can berate people who are poor and judge those less fortunate than ourselves.

I don’t recall berating anyone. Factually speaking, if you set yourself up for failure, you’ll probably end up failing. In this case, relying heavily on a single income stream that has consistently weakened over a long period of time is “setting up yourself for failure”.

We can be assholes to everyone we meet and belittle them.

If anyone is an asshole, it’s you. After all, this email was titled “you’re an idiot”, while my original post was a logical and rational reflection on the current situation.

We can do all of this and more because none of these things are crimes. Hey, if you can pull of a crime then why not — go ahead and do whatever you can get away without a thought about how it affects the people on the other side. If that’s how you live your life then I feel sorry for everyone who knows you.

So dramatic. The original post clearly highlighted why it’s important to have multiple revenue streams. In fact, I’ve helped out quite a few blogger friends diversify their income streams away from Amazon’s affiliate program over the last seven years. I can guarantee you those friends don’t feel sorry for knowing me. In fact, a few of them have reached over the past week to thank me.

And hey, if you go outside and happen to get Covid19 and end up dying, or someone you care about happens to die (if you care about anyone, which I doubt based on the garbage you wrote — if the virus kills you or anyone you know, well, who cares. They should have known the virus was circling in the community, so you deserved it based on your logic.

I care about a lot of people – my family, my friends, and my readers. This is the precise reason why I published the original post – to reflect on the current situation, and double down on the importance of diversifying income streams.

We’re all aware that Covid19 is ‘out there’ and that we might get infected. That’s true, but we don’t expect it to kill us. In fact the odds are about 3% that it will.

Amazon dropping their rates by 5% during a pandemic when they have not dropped their rates in the past 5+ years is not something anyone would expect. Yes, it’s possible and it happened.

This is nonsense. Amazon has consistently cut rates over time. How do we know this? Because rates used to be higher. We can’t predict the future, but we can use existing trends to inform us about potential events in the future.

An asteroid hitting earth is also possible but do you live your life as if it will happen today? I don’t think so.

The idea that Amazon will continue cutting affiliate rates in response to the positive trajectory of its global domination is based on economically-informed common sense. Comparing this to the chance of an asteriod impact is illogical.

Whatever happens to you is your own fault and you deserve it. Whether that means you get hit by a car, get shot, get cancer, poisoned or have a building fall on you. All of those things are possible in any given moment, so don’t complain the next time something tragic happens to you or anyone you care about (if you do). Everyone deserves the worst possible outcome.

True – the unfortunate situations you listed can totally be out of your control. Safeguarding your income in the case of an commission rate cut is totally in your control. There is no barrier to entry to diversifying your income streams. Create a product, negotiate affiliate deals with manufacturers directly, implement display ads, offer a service, etc. These are all things that you can do and control.

Same idiotic logic you used in your article.

If the logic that led me to diversify income streams is “idiotic”, I’d happily be an idiot all day long.

Now go back to your stupid little life in which you are the king.

Yes, my life is indeed very little compared to the things that are going on in the world right now. Nice closing to the email, by the way. Who’s the asshole again?

P.S. I’m in the market for a new chainsaw. Got any recommendations?