Here you are now. What?

Trusting Amazon, Google, et al

Yesterday I decided to order several books, and given that I'm an Amazon associate I opted to do it through my own referral link (getting "cash back" of 5%). Today I look at the report for yesterday, and two of the books I ordered are there, yet another in the order is strangely missing. It apparently fell through the cracks.

Similarly several times in the past I've had people tell me that they followed a link to a certain book, and again it hasn't appeared in the referral account. The cynic would suggest that perhaps Amazon "misses" some commissions, and there are very few options we have to validate it.

Similarly the same faith proposal comes into play for Google - ultimately we are simply trusting Google when they say that X clicked on ads. Why should we trust Google?

In both cases there is a simple choice to drop these two advertising strategies for income, going with something else, but it does make me wonder how much legitimately earned compensation is being denied (or going into some Amazon or Google employee's account) because of the inability to validate real performance numbers.
Permalink Skeptical 
March 7th, 2005
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