MRM Reviews in the spotlight reviews About MRM Advertising with MRM Contact Us MRM Home Image Map

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Survey Results: Looking Ahead

As we make plans for 2015 and beyond, we have realized that some questions can be answered only by our readers.  A few weeks ago we conducted a brief survey looking for ways to help serve you better.  We want to thank all of you that participated, and we learned so much that we will probably do this again at some point down the road!

Questions 1 & 2:  Would you be interested in a Must Read Romances or Must Read (insert genre) site? 

We have been considering the possibility of expanding the Must Read brand to cover other genres for quite a while now, but we weren't sure which direction to take first.   About two-thirds of you felt that we should branch out, and we have already launched the Must Read Romances Facebook page as well as the MRR blog.  Other suggestions that we are hoping to implement this year are a fantasy/sci-fi page and a page devoted to hardboiled mysteries and thrillers. We will keep you posted as our plans move forward, and hope that these sites will be beneficial to you.  

Question 3:  Do you use Amazon Smile?  If yes, please comment and let us know how and why.    

Roughly one-third of you said that you do make use of Amazon Smile. For those of you who don't know, Smile is a essentially a shadow site of Amazon where .5% of each purchase you make is given to the charity of your choice. While on the surface this program looks like a wonderful thing for charities and a no-brainer for consumers, we admit to having misgivings about the program.  As others have noted, we think there is a very real possibility that for some people Smile will replace part or all of their charitable giving and the net amount  donated to charity will actually be less than it was.  

Our other misgiving is more self serving: in some cases using Smile will replace purchases that were referred by an Amazon Associate like MRM (many of whom are themselves charities). The .5% donated through Smile is far less than the percentage earned by most Associates. How does this happen? If a link from MRM or another Associate brings you to Amazon for an item you decide to purchase, but you then go to your Smile account to make the purchase rather than purchasing from Amazon directly after following the link, the Associate will not get credit for the purchase.  While this does benefit the charity, part of the reason MRM exists is to help support our family and it is something we had to consider.

Fortunately, there is a solution that benefits everyone. Associates can refer customers to Smile directly, and if the customer does not use Smile they will be directed to the regular Amazon site. Going forward, whenever possible, we are going to explicitly direct people to the Smile site. If you don't use Smile this change should be completely transparent, but if you do use it our links will now land you in your Smile account rather than at Amazon.  We feel confident that this is a win for everyone.  You can continue (or begin) to support any charity you wish and we can support you by making the link to Amazon Smile seamless.  We hope that you will see this as a bonus and continue to support deserving charities if you desire.

Question 4:  Do you use Kindle Unlimited (KU)? If yes, please comment and tell us whether you are satisifed with this service.  

A very small percentage of our readers (only 6%) reported using KU, and most of the comments about the program were quite negative. As readers, we have found little value to the program because the selection is limited and many of the books that are included are also available at times for free or very inexpensively as Kindle Countdown Deals. The response of authors to the program has been decidedly mixed, and many are concerned that their earnings are being gutted.  This is disappointing to us.  We feel very strongly about supporting independent authors whenever possible, and feel that the growth of the indie and small presses has been a boon to readers and those blessed with the creative ability to keep us so well entertained!     

From a personal perspective, as Amazon Associates, our take on the program has been decidedly negative.  While authors may see their earnings squeezed when books are "borrowed" instead of bought, Associates promoting books lose out entirely when a book is borrowed and get no referral fee whatsoever.   This situation has the potential to become cyclical in that associates would become reluctant to promote books that are part of the KU program, leading to decreased exposure and promotion of independent authors.  However, since the percentage of our readers using KU is so low, we will continue to promote books enrolled in the program. We may need to revisit the issue in the future if the percentage changes.

In addition to the changes resulting from the survey and after being contacted by several interested authors, we have elected to offer inexpensive advertising on both the MRM and MRR sites.  You can learn more about advertising options here.  These ads will highlight up and coming books as well as established authors and presses.  If you are interested in becoming an MRM or MRR sponsor, please let us know.  

We would like to thank you for being so willing to share your thoughts on our offerings and to help us improve how we serve you.  We appreciate your support; we could not do what we do without YOU!   Please feel free to share any further comments or suggestions in the comments below, or contact us

No comments:

Post a Comment

Contact Form


Email *

Message *