Update: Google Now Thinning the Ranks of the eBookstore Affiliate Program

Two days go I reported that Google had shut the doors on the ebookstore affiliate program, with no explanation as to why. Yesterday I got an email from Kevin Cronin, the founder of Local Knowledge Online. Google told him that his site is going to be kicked from the program in the middle of March.

Update: Google goofed slightly when they kicked affiliates.  This wasn’t supposed to affect bookstores, just other affiliates.

“We did not intend to deactivate independent booksellers from the Google eBooks affiliate program and are working to reinstate those who were mistakenly notified. We apologize for any inconvenience,” said a Google spokesperson.

BTW, if you’re looking to get technical manuals in the near future, you might want to bookmark this site. LKO is a search engine for professional and technical ebooks. Right now the 2-year-old site covers Google, Kindle, ebrary, and Credo, but Kevin plans to add more sites in the future.

If you’re wondering how a search engine could be a junior partner for a search engine giant, I’d first have to explain what an affiliate is. Let’s say you find an ebook via LKO, and it’s in the Google ebookstore. If you click on the link and then buy the ebook, Kevin will get a small fee from Google. You can think of it as a sales commission, if you like.

There are some variations in the way affiliate programs work, but most are similar to what I describe above. In case you were curious, that is also how Amazon’s affiliate  program works.

At least, that’s how it used to work for Kevin; Google will be cutting him off as of 15 March. Kevin forwarded the email he received, and Google is rather terse in their explanation.

We are constantly evaluating our Google eBook affiliate program, searching for the best mechanisms to create value for our partners and users. With our most recent evaluation, we’ve decided to narrow the scope of the program to a smaller number of partners to create a better experience for our customers.

Google launched this affiliate program in June of 2011 – a mere 8 months ago. And now it looks like they’re taking it in another. Queries to Google have gone unanswered, but PW also covered this story and they were told that the affiliates who generated the least amount of book sales were dropped were dropped from the program. This could well be true; Kevin told me that he received only paltry revenue from being a Google affiliate.

Google is also reportedly planning to open the program again, but only on an invitation basis.

The text of the email is below:

Dear Publisher,

We are constantly evaluating our Google eBook affiliate program, searching for the best mechanisms to create value for our partners and users. With our most recent evaluation, we’ve decided to narrow the scope of the program to a smaller number of partners to create a better experience for our customers.

As a result, your Google eBooks affiliate status will expire as of Thursday, March 15, 2012, and all links will be deactivated. We ask that you please remove logos, links and banners belonging to Google eBooks from your website in a timely fashion. Commissions earned on all eligible transactions through Thursday, March 15, 2012, will be paid out according to the standard Google Affiliate Network payment guidelines. If you have any questions or are interested in learning more, please contact [email protected]. On behalf of Google eBooks, we’d like to thank you for your participation. Please keep in mind,Google Affiliate Network manages hundreds of additional advertisers and we invite you to take advantage of other programs in our network.

Sincerely, Google Affiliate Network

7 thoughts on “Update: Google Now Thinning the Ranks of the eBookstore Affiliate Program

  1. I wouldn’t call The Next Chapter Book Shop a giant.

    https://www.nextchapterbookshop.com/

    Just got off the phone with them. They have heard nothing and hope they don’t as the program has worked well for them.

    It then told them about the $50 Story HD’s at Target. Surprisingly they knew nothing of the ereader. Most of their customers are using tablets and phone apps. After some discussion i think she understood what a perfect device this was for her customers.

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