Should we switch to Amazon affiliates?

So we’re currently Powell’s affiliates, and have been since we started the blog.

The amount of $ we’ve seen from this affiliation has, to this point, been… let me count it up… $0.

One person has bought something through one of our links, and not enough to trip the payout amount.  So we’re still at $0.

Every year or so #1 IMs #2 and says, “Should we switch to Amazon?” or “I think we should switch to Amazon.”  And every year or so, #2 reminds #1 why we started with Powell’s to begin with.

#2:  the catch I found before was: “If you have not earned any advertising fees in the 3 years prior to any given calendar month, then on the first day of that calendar month we may charge you an account maintenance fee that will be deducted from your unpaid accrued advertising fees. That account maintenance fee will be the lesser of $10 or the amount of unpaid accrued advertising fees in your account.”

in our chatlog of 7/18/10, you said, “That is a big catch”

#1 is that still true?

#2 “In addition, you hereby consent to us:
sending you emails relating to the Program from time to time; monitoring, recording, using, and disclosing information about your site and visitors to your site that we obtain in connection with your display of Special Links (e.g., that a particular Amazon customer clicked through a Special Link from your site before buying a Product on the Amazon Site) in accordance with the Privacy Notice; and monitoring, crawling, and otherwise investigating your site to verify compliance with this Operating Agreement and the Operational Documentation. ” Yes the $10 charge is still true.

#1hm tricksy.  Well, I’ll write a blog post on the topic and ask the readers one of these Mondays and see what they think.

#2 ok, you do that

UPDATE:  We made an affiliates link, but could not get their links to work with pictures, only text.  I searched their forum but didn’t find anything useful– the people talking about images are doing something really complicated.  I emailed customer service and 20-odd hours later they emailed back saying we should look at the forum and the link has to be copied exactly, as if we weren’t doing that.  So not helpful at all.  I guess the answer is:  We can’t be Amazon affiliates even if we wanted to be.  Powell’s it is.

So, dearest readers, should we switch to Amazon affiliates, or stick with Powell’s?

Selling My Soul for Online “Education” and Phat Cash

How do I write this post without outing myself?  If you guess who we are, just pretend we’re Batman and don’t tell anyone.  If you’re my boss, #2 wrote this.  I couldn’t stop her.

#2 says:  You won’t out yourself–schools all over the country (including mine!) are embracing online education as a money maker when education funds are being cut.  We already have a number of graduate courses online, just not ones I teach.

My department wants to start an online master’s degree program that will be self-support (i.e., for profit).  We have a small enough faculty that it’s hard-to-impossible to hide in the woodwork, so I’ll have to have something to say about this.  Personally, I’m against the idea.  I don’t think that for our field an online degree is worth anything, and I didn’t go to grad school so I could be in a for-profit industry.  (Having worked there briefly once, I hated it.)

HOWEVER, embracing evil is the only way to get a COLA increase around here, so I agreed to develop and teach an online course.  Not just any online course.  An online graduate course.  They’re giving me cash moneys to do it:  the carrot.

With the carrot is its accompanying stick. If I refuse to teach in the program, what then? Do I get no COLA when everyone else gets one? The department says it won’t be mandatory to participate, but I anticipate much social pressure.

There is no way to get my dept out of doing this. We had interminable meetings. Those against the idea (a few junior people who relatively recently graduated from excellent PhD programs) were steamrolled by the majority in favor, which is how the process is supposed to work anyway, so oh well for me.  The chair is for it.  I didn’t fight at the first signs of this happening because I’m an untenured cog and because I thought I wouldn’t stick around long enough for this plan to come to fruition, but I’ve gotten settled here.  Oops.  If only the job market wasn’t so bad.  If this gets implemented, it may be close to a deal-breaker for me.

I want money.  Especially since there is no travel budget and I’m trying for tenure.  But graduate education does not belong online in most fields (this point is NOT open for discussion right here right now; maybe in another post), and trust me when I say that it does not belong online for the class I’ve been assigned, even if you could make an argument for the core (which in my field, you really can’t).

It’s possible that the whole thing will die because nobody wants to be in charge of it– there is no prospect of release time or extra cash for the person in charge of training and supervising the proposed legion of online adjuncts and the organization of the whole program, at least not in the first year or two.  Eventually supposedly the profit will pay for this person.  The senior people have refused and the junior people would have to be idiots to do it.

It would be one thing if I’d chosen to work at a for-profit like University of Phoenix: I’d know what I was getting into and so would the students and their employers, but I work at a public school.  I didn’t sign up for this.  When I interviewed, I expressed enthusiasm at the thought of starting a(nother) graduate program, but at the time they weren’t thinking it would be for-profit.

Will my professional reputation suffer?  If I’m ashamed to tell my graduate adviser about this, what does that say?


Does your school have online graduate education?  Would you sell your “last tiny shreds of self-respect” for money?