web analytics

The House that Amazon Built

Some years ago, when the world was young and all, Oh Best
Beloved, the proprietor of a generalist blog (Blogger News Network) that I
contributed content for, and who also paid me by the word for occasional professional
content, came up with a means for his stable of contributors to score free
books and movies. Seriously, that’s how it all started; and how could one say
no to free books and movies, seeing how much new movie DVDs and hardcover books
cost? He worked up an agreement with publicity firm which would provide review
copies of movies … and we would do reviews for Blogger News Network. At a
slightly later date, I began doing this for a couple of different on-line
enterprises; book reviews mostly. Before Barnes & Noble, and Amazon evolved
to the point of getting positively twitchy about duplicate reviews, we were
also in the habit of posting slightly edited versions of our reviews on those
sites. Later, B&N and Amazon came to frown on this practice, and I stopped
doing it – for a reason which will soon become clear.

It came about, Oh Best Beloved, that one day in 2011 after I
had been doing this for a couple of years (for the free book and movie swag,
mostly) I received an email from something called the Amazon Vine, noting that
I had apparently received a boatload of helpful up-votes on my reviews, and
that was sufficient by their somewhat mysterious metrics to be invited to
become a Vine Reviewer. Well, it sounded interesting, and possibly
remunerative, and why not? The publicity company providing movie DVDs hadn’t
offered anything interesting in simply ages – I think show business in general
was going through a bad patch – and the book review places were going through a
similar dry period. So, I accepted the invitation, outlined my preferences: for
books, mostly, computer and office supplies, and stuff for the house and
garden, sometimes gourmet food items. I still have no idea of why Amazon
offered me this interesting little sideline gig, by the way – other than the
boatload of helpful votes on the earlier reviews.

Over the next couple of years, I scored the occasional
interesting book, a cover for the Kindle reader, a surge protector, a
battery-operated motion-sensing flood-light for the back yard … nice, but
nothing really to go bananas over. If there was a high-value item in my Vine
queue, it was usually gone by the time I asked for it. For the first few years
it continued that way. I did consider myself outstandingly fortunate to get a
rather nice 17-inch laptop computer, and a couple of months later, a Canon
Maxify printer. That was about a good as it got for me, being a Vine Voice. It
seems though, about eighteen months ago, that the powers that be at Amazon
rejiggered the Vine algorithms again. Since then, it’s been a veritable flood
of household and home renovation items. A couple of interior light fixtures, an
outdoor light fixture, a couple of ceiling fans, a very nice Moen kitchen
faucet, an Amazon-brand bathroom sink faucet, a beveled-edge mirror, along with
a number of kitchen appliances … the mirror, the bathroom faucet and one of the
light fixtures were set aside and installed as part of the master bath
renovation. The biggest of the ceiling fans went into the living room, and my
daughter and I installed the exterior light fixture ourselves. (Not for nothing
was the Daughter Unit a USMC field wireman.) The other features are set aside
for the kitchen renovation in a couple of years. I am not totally mercenary
about this – I only ask for the items that we can really, genuinely use – but
looking around the house lately, anyone knowing where some of the features came
from could be forgiven for thinking that it’s the House that Amazon Built.      


  1. Good for you. I am glad you have access to useful items. We at AoSHQ send our best and hope you are well.

    • Celia

      It certainly has come in handy, as some of the household things (like the kitchen faucet) were of a value that I never would have considered purchasing.
      I’m working away on Luna City #8 – to be out in late June!

  2. Off Topic, but are there any plans to put the Luna City books on audio books?

    • Sgt. Mom

      I could do a bang-up job of doing the narration myself, but I don’t have access to a studio any more – so not any time in the near future.