Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sold out - I’ve become an Amazon affiliate.

I think there is another reason I’ve been blogging a lot which I didn’t mention in the last entry. I’ve told you before I’m now a Product Manager, actually I’m a the product manager for my companies support portal, where customers can log issues, track them, download information on the product etc. This is a web based product and has not only increased my interest in just how the internet is working these days but also how you can get the most from it.

Sometimes the best way to learn about something is to be there. I’ve had a website for years, and sometimes I even get a lot of visitors but things have changed on the web. Some are emerging trends (e.g, social networking sites like LinkedIn, some are new ways of doing things (like RSS) and some have just got stronger (like Google and Blogging.)

So now I Blog I understand it more. I now see the blog and my website as complementary, and I feel I need to make more of my home on the web. For this reason I’ve decided to become an Amazon affiliate and let people buy books via my website.

There are other reasons too. I don’t expect to make a lot (if any!) money from this but I’m interested to see how it works and if it works. And, picking up my theme of feedback, I’m interested in this as a form of feedback.

I’m not really proud that I’m affiliated to Amazon. They aren’t my favourite website or internet retailer but they are the one I do most business with. Perhaps 80% of everything I buy on the web is through Amazon.

I don’t like them because I don’t approve of their employment practices (anti-union), and I’ve never really gotten over their scam where they used cookies to charged existing customers more than new customers - so much for loyalty! And I guess, like a lot of people I want to stick up for the under-dog a bit.

So, I would actually prefer to do business with Blackwells. When I lived in the USA I used to use Powells. Both of these are good wholesome book retailers. So why don’t I use them?

I don’t use Powells because I don’t live in the US any more.

I don’t use Blackwells because their website isn’t actually very good: they don’t have wish lists, they don’t have multiple addresses available and you can’t check the status of your order so well. On the other hand, I can spend hours browsing in Blackwells shop on Charing Cross Road - unfortunately I don't have the time to do this as often as I would like.

But most of all Amazon is cheaper. I’m prepared to pay a bit more to support the under dog but I’m not prepared to pay more and receive poor services.

And if I’m not prepared to shop elsewhere myself why should I ask people referred from my website to put up with it?

So that’s why.

My intention is to add books to my recommended list when I think they are good. Some of these I’ve already read so I’ll build up the back catalogue and as I read new ones I’ll add them if I think they deserve it.

For a while now I’ve been a fan of the book recommendations of GBN - this is another good place to find books. For those of you who don’t know about GBN they are an interesting company, although I know them more by reputation than by direct experience - maybe I’ll meet them one day.