Goodbye Amazon sites

I never got around to finishing my BBQ Fest wrapup, so I never told you about this, but one of my very favorite authors was in our team booth last Saturday. Tim Ferriss wrote a book called The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. It has many valuable lessons, but if I could summarize them in one word, it would be this: “Simplify.”

Not long after BBQ Fest, I received an update that I need to run a software upgrade on all my Amazon storefront sites by May 30. The upgrades aren’t hard, taking about 5 minutes apiece – but I have 110 storefronts. That’s a real pain. After thinking about ways to simplify my life, I’ve decided that it’s time for the storefronts to go away. I have an FTP client open and am deleting them as I type this.

For those not aware what I’m talking about, I am an Amazon affiliate partner. About 5 years ago I started creating storefronts for product lines on Amazon, including a tube top store. People would shop in my storefronts, put items in their cart, and then get transferred to Amazon to check out. In the stores’ heyday I could make as much as 8% commission per sale (it varied based on monthly volume). It was never full-time level income but it was a nice little boost on the side. When the startup I was working for laid me off in October 2008, the stores’ income helped keep me going until I found a new place to land 5 months later. They kept me from having to file for unemployment, and they allowed me to stay free until I found the job I wanted, rather than accepting the first thing that came along.

However, the stores were a hassle to maintain. Software upgrades were a nightmare. I didn’t keep the stores up as well as I should, search optimizing them and removing dead links and all that stuff. Plus I had to deal with GoDaddy renewals all the time. And it was a real pain to round up all the related expenses come tax time. If I didn’t have a full-time job I could have run them properly. But I didn’t have time, and by 2012 the income from the stores didn’t justify the amount of work I had to do to keep them going.

So I’m killing them. You may notice that the stores have been removed from this blog’s sidebars. As I said, simplify. I always thought they made the blog look kinda cluttered, but I needed the link juice.

All right. It’s early in the morning. Time to go buy Mountain Dew and figure out a plan for today.

(By the way: That link to the book is an Amazon affiliate link. Which is rather ironic given the subject of this post, I guess.)