If you don’t like the effect of Amazon on the publishing industry (the company has been referred to as “The Putin of Publishing”), or if you’ve been banned from the world’s largest online retailer due to too many returns and complaints, you probably have already joined the Stephen Colbert/Hachette bandwagon and boycotted Amazon.
Authors including Sherman Alexie (who recently appeared via The Colbert Report) are encouraging readers to order their books through indie sites like Powell’s. But if you really want to stick it to Amazon, that is, make a real dent in their bottom line, you should consider your digital footprint. If you visit the popular blog Gawker (which has more readers than the top-circulation US magazines—25 million), in a way, you’re supporting Amazon. Last July, Gawker reported driving $15 million in transactions on Amazon via its affiliate program in the previous 12 months. (The Amazon Associates program pays up to 8.5% commission on sales that result from advertising efforts on blogs/affiliates.) And Gawker CEO Nick Denton expected that number ($15M) to more than double in the next 12 months. (If it did, Denton may be closer to his ultimate goal: Though Denton doesn’t know Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos personally, he did recently reveal to Playboy his dream of Gawker one day being purchased by Bezos.) Colbert will be on CBS by then, with a less cantankerous persona. And Colbert’s new CBS bosses? CBS recently renewed a content partnership deal with Amazon, making Amazon the exclusive subscription streamer for the network, including all its new shows and its library of shows like I Love Lucy. Good luck with the boycott, Mr. Colbert.