Is Amazon about to disqualify thousands of legitimate affiliate sales?

Image representing Amazon EC2 as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBase

Got an interesting email from Amazon today. Let's head it off at the pass by saying "No I didn't".

In 2005 I pointed Google traffic directly at Amazon in order to help promote a book a friend had published. I think it generated about 30 clicks. I've done nothing since. However, I may have Amazon referral links actually in Google's SERPs as that was quite the cash cow back in the early 2000s! I assumed Amazon took care of those (canonical, anyone?) yoinks ago.

Dear Amazon Associate:

You are receiving this email because our reports indicate that you have sent users directly to, or through paid search advertisements that were displayed to users who searched on keywords which you bid upon and purchased in search engine keyword auctions. As a reminder, starting May 1, 2009, we will no longer pay referral fees to Associates who send users to, or through paid search advertisements on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other search engines, and their extended search networks. Of course if you use keyword bidding as a component of your strategy to drive traffic to your own site, you may continue to do so. Associates will continue to be paid referral fees on qualifying sales that result from traffic coming to, or from a customer affirmatively clicking on a Special Link on the Associates’ site(s). If you're not sure if this change affects you, please visit this page for FAQs.

We appreciate your continued support and participation in the Amazon Associates program. If you have questions or concerns, please write to us by using the Contact Us form available on Associates Central.

Let's also say that I know Amazon will be stopping their direct to merchant PPC. They've already told us that.

So, what's this email about? Is it some remnant from ancient history on my account? Is Amazon just using this an an excuse to warn/remind affiliates? Did they send it out on error? I've not done direct to merchant PPC in about four years.

Or are Amazon about to disqualify thousands of legitimate affiliate referrals because their system is broken?

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