Conservative legal blog Legal Insurrection had its Amazon Associates partnership terminated in April, according to founder Cornell Law professor William A. Jacobson.
In a post on the site, Jacobson detailed how Legal Insurrection was once part of the Amazon Associates program, an affiliate program that allows for website owners to receive money through referral links to Amazon products. On April 28, however, Jacobson claims he received an email from Amazon terminating the site’s partnership.
In the email provided by Jacobson about the termination, Amazon told him the “decision is final and not subject to appeal” and simply stated the account violated the site’s Operating Agreement.
After he tried to appeal the termination, Amazon accused Jacobson of violating the affiliate program rules. Legal Insurrection was accused of promoting the affiliate links and allegedly “incentivizing others” to click the links through special offers. Jacobson dismissed those claims, but was told by a supervisor that he could not know the cause of the termination because of the “proprietary nature” of the information.
In another email, Amazon told Jacobson, “As stated in our previous communications, our decision to terminate your Associates account is final. Any further requests to review your account for reinstatement will not receive a response.”
Jacobson discussed the issue with radio host Tony Katz.
“The lightbulb went on for me, when some point along in the process… Because look, it could just be bureaucratic incompetence, it could just be, you know, sometimes a decision is made and they never want to back off from it, and there could be a lot of very neutral reasons,” Jacobson told Katz. “And then I saw an article about how Amazon had kicked out a conservative Christian group from a different program of theirs,” Jacobson said, referring to the the Alliance Defending Freedom getting booted from another form of partnership — the AmazonSmile program.
“And so, you know, I began to wonder,” Jacobson explained, “We’ve heard the stories, as you’ve mentioned, about PragerU at YouTube. We’ve heard the stories about Twitter shadowbanning. We’ve heard the stories about how biased individuals are at Google. And so that’s my question. That’s the issue I put to Amazon public relations — never heard back — because I don’t believe that Amazon had a policy that says discriminate against conservative websites, but these decisions are made by individuals along the process, and the question is, who was deciding on us? Why were we singled out? Why were we targeted this way? Why did they shut us down with no notice?”
Jacobson went on to say the move makes him “very suspicious.”