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How about fighting fire with fire? Write a script that copies all affiliate links it can find to reddit until the damage is so big they will have to take note and fix the process for everyone.



And screw over countless innocent bystanders in the process?


I think GP believes that if too many people are effected by a dumb policy the policy will be revoked (perhaps true)... if this is the case no one would be screwed over.


If you run a business through Amazon or rely on the money generated by these links, then you're in a very dire position if your account gets suspended until Amazon fixes the issue.

How would you feel if someone had a gripe with your cellphone provider or bank and got your accounts suspended until their issue was resolved? How would that impact your life? What if it took weeks or months to resolve?


The flip side is if no one does a blanket policy attack, then it will be easy for a malicious actor to target individuals for suspension. If those individuals are not tech savy, they then have zero chance of ever getting their money.

In fact, this was a previous attack vector for Google Adsense accounts. Eventually Google added a whitelist for your owned websites. Before that, someone could just snag a few simple lines of Javascript and put them somewhere that would get the account owner banned the following day.

These companies know what they are doing. They have a set of policies in place that allow them to boost their margins by not spending too much money on policy enforcement, while at the same time pruning accounts below some classification threshold daily. They don't pay out but they get to keep the earnings. Small companies do this too when they find their cashflow inverted. It is a very dirty game.


You can't innocently be part of someone else's bad actions. Amazon is doing bad things to the market and wantonly destroying lives.

It's their choice to align with an entity seeking monopoly control of a market, and using their status to arbitrarily ruin lives.

These people are materially supporting that entity, so they're fair game for fallout from retaliation.


No, no, wrong. Just because someone lives in a firetrap doesn't mean you can set their house on fire while they're sleeping.

Your position is completely amoral, evil.


I would argue that's a false analogy: they're much more like manor owners serving a particular liege. They could change allegience easily, they'd just rather benefit from the behaviors, because it benefits them personally. Lesser nobles have always been valid targets in combat.

No one is forced to use Amazon, they're choosing to.


So you're endorsing Feudalism?


Well, I actually do think some kinds of neo-feudalism would be interesting experiments for city or county level governments, with an overarching government based around republicanism (and is probably closer to reality than we like to admit), but that wasn't what my comment was about, at all.

Rather, my comment was that a useful conceptual model for understanding a corporation and its supporting players is feudalism, though there are obvious differences, such as that a "manor" can be picked up and moved to another "kingdom", or even serve two "kingdoms" at once. It was meant as an imperfect analogy to their social relationships, as they actually exist, by drawing on our knowledge of older social relationships, ie, the relationship is closer to a manor owner serving a liege than a tennant in a firetrap, because of the willful support of their business practices, that they are receiving benefits from their service, and the (mostly) voluntary nature of their association.

My point was that merchants using the platform being hurt is no more important than staff supporting the platform being hurt, and that we can't simply abide evil "kings" just because some of their voluntary supporters would lose their privileges (or even be actually hurt) if we stopped them.


We were discuss the ethics of harming an affiliate to gain the attention of a merchant, not about harming the merchant or it's staff. I would agree that it's equally bad to harm both an affiliate or a merchant's staff just to bring attention to an issue with the merchant.

To use your feudalism analogy. It's like destroying a freeman's crop because the lord failed to secure the land. In the end it's the freeman who is harmed and not the lord because the freeman must still pay rent to lord even if he has no crop to sell at market.

The same holds true for getting an affiliate's account banned because the links to Amazon still work and customers can purchase items using affiliate links, the affiliate just receives no credit for the traffic. It's only the affiliate who loses out.

Using your reasoning, it becomes permissible to poison an aquifer to demonstrate that a city doesn't do enough to protect a customer who received a high water bill because a gardener broke their water line digging in the yard.


If you manage to make Amazon screw over enough of them that they can no longer be ignored, everyone wins.


Do they? How many people do you have to screw over until Amazon takes notice? How long does it take for you to screw over those people?

Suppose it takes 2 months to do and during that 2 month period everyone with a suspended account misses out on any sales of their products on Amazon or any commission from referral links. Suppose some of those people rely on the revenue they get form Amazon to pay their bills.

When Amazon resumes their accounts are they now winners?


You just need to do it for prominent bloggers & tech publications.

The downside is that they might just implement a "referrer whitelist"


> And screw over countless innocent by-standards in the process?

This is my same logic for going really slow through TSA checkpoints. It's intentionally to screw over everybody else that's traveling to make a point about how asinine the entire process is.


Who exactly is the point being made to? The travelers who are missing their flights?

The difference between the TSA policy and Amazon's policy is that one is mandated and the other is self imposed. The TSA is tasked with protecting people and has to demonstrate that it's doing that regardless of how effective it is. Amazon's policy is self serving to protect itself from abuse.

So while screwing people in both cases is a horrible thing to do, the former is less likely to affect change than the later.


> Who exactly is the point being made to? The travelers who are missing their flights?

Yes them. Because there's no better way to bring the problem to light then to make people experience it first hand. The more people in line, the more people impacted, the further the message spreads.


So your only opposition to the TSA Security Checkpoints is that they're too slow for you? Or that a rogue agent in the queue can make people miss their flights or cause undue stress upon other travelers?

That's all you're really calling to light.

The quick fix for that is the introduction of additional agents who pull stragglers from the line and detain them until they miss their flights.

If you're hoping that slowing down lines will some how make people feel that the checkpoints are too invasive or violate civil liberties then you're very very mistaken. People might side with you but they won't rally around your cause and as soon as their concerns are met they will vanish and you'll be back where you started.


So you're adding inconvenience in an effort to reduce security for your own convenience; extra security is a little different than a seller account getting suspended, and I'm not willing to sacrifice my security for your convenience.


I disagree with koolba's methods (I think they're a galling combination of ineffectual and sociopathic), but I also don't believe that the TSA helps much with security.


The TSA gives the perception of security to the masses, it doesn't actually provide it. Ideally what you want is for people to be secure and feel it. Thus far we've only managed to do one or the other.


Do you honestly think that any of us has any impact on federal law?

I am a speck, a nothing, nada, zilch. When it comes to federal decision-making. I am a non-entity.

I despise the TSA. I utterly hate the fact that the Patriot act was passed in both House and Senate without so much as a sneeze for a discussion. But what can I do? That's right; sign some worthless petition on change.org lol... change. I haven't believe in that "phrase since mid-2009 when it was apparent that change wasn't going to happen, especially the dems lost their supermajority.

Edit; And there I go.... Politics.


innocent bystanders


Thanks, I rely too heavily on spellcheck.




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