In the movie “Groundhog Day”, Bill Murray is forced to relive February 2nd over and over again until he learns something very important. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a good movie. In real life, this has been a groundhog day that’s the complete opposite. It’s a day that something ended. I’m talking of course, about Associate-O-Matic. This is the day that it has been announced that AOM has been discontinued. There will be no further upgrades and all sales of the software have ended.
It may not be a surprise to most people; the last upgrade was some years ago. Despite our best efforts, there were ultimately too many obstacles to allow Justin and myself to continue. Some were personal reasons, some were just declining sales as newer technologies came to the fore. That’s how the Internet works, of course. Whatever the reason, It’s been a great ride, but now it’s over. AOM has been sold to Carey Baird, who already owns and operates Fresh Store Builder, which is another Amazon platform. All current AOM license holders will be given the opportunity to transition to FSB, and I believe will be given assistance in converting their existing stores, if they so choose. FSB seems like an expanding enterprise; their support should help any AOM users who want to use their services.
For anyone who wishes to retain their AOM sites, the software will of course remain fully functional until such time as Amazon makes changes that would make the program no longer compatible. When or if that happens is anyone’s guess. Maybe years from now. There’s just no way to know. AOM support (which is run by me) will continue for the short-term, but exactly how long is currently uncertain. It may depend on user demand; if there’s no need for support, it will end sooner rather than later. Carey will determine how long that will be. But eventually that plug will also be pulled.
I’ve been a part of Associate-O-Matic since September of 2006, buying the software, setting up my first store, then learning enough about the program to start answering questions in the forum. This led to me getting noticed by Justin, and being brought on board as the head of Support as well has overseeing the forum. I set up this help site, assisted with the transition from tables to a CSS structure and started creating templates to make available to users. Ultimately it culminated in Justin and I becoming co-owners of a new company designed to share in the success and move the software into a new phase. Unfortunately that never happened. I won’t go into details, but it led to us eventually deciding to sell AOM to Carey. I wish we had been able to continue; an exciting new phase with a total revamp of the default template was prepared which will now never see the light of day. I felt there were still several years of life left in the old girl, but it was not to be.
When the news was finally made public on Feb. 2nd 2018 and I saw it on-screen for the first time, I will admit to experiencing a great wave of sadness; I for one, will truly miss AOM. I’ll miss working with Justin, coming up with new ideas and directions; I’ll miss designing and creating new templates, finding new wrinkles to add so that users can have something unique in their stores; I’ll miss helping our customers, finding solutions, providing that little bit of assistance that gets them on the road to being able to use the program to the fullest. I’ll miss the mental challenges that made it all fun, with every day providing something new to consider or solve. I’ll miss the interaction with our customers, who had the faith to try out AOM, sometimes for years and years.
And yes, I’ll miss the money; that’s the reason everyone was using the program in the first place. I stumbled into AOM as a way to make some money on the side while being a stay-at-home dad. I had an 18-month-old to look after, and having a way to earn some extra cash while doing so was an attractive idea. I thought it would be fun and interesting as well. All three of those possibilities were realized in spades. Now that 18-month-old is about to turn into a 13-year-old. AOM has been a big part of my life in between, and I will miss it terribly. As I will miss dealing with many of you.
What’s next? Carey will be focused on helping AOM users transition into FSB; if you’re unsure, I urge you to look into it and consider it carefully. He has a lot to offer and it might be the best way to transition yourself to deal with the new challenges of operating an online affiliate store. Carey is determined, passionate about what he does and obviously puts a great deal of thought into his system. If you decide to stick with your AOM sites as they are, you can certainly do that, but based on past experience, eventually something will change and they will no longer work. When it’s decided to end support, then it will end, period. The burden is mainly mine, and I don’t have any desire to continue offering support forever (without getting paid, I might add); there are other things to do. I’m mulling over my options as well.
This site (AOM Talk) and the template site (AOM Skins) will continue for the foreseeable future. I have no plans to shut them down. This site will remain open more or less as a legacy site, should anyone have any need for it. Likewise the template site will still be around should anyone decide to purchase a theme (although I expect few will). If nothing else, both sites took a considerable amount of blood and sweat on my part to get to their current forms; I have a huge investment of time involved and I’m not ready to just erase it all overnight. Maybe it’s just vanity on my part, but there it is. My own stores have been slowly closing down as their domain names expire. There are some I will keep up for now, just because I want to. A few sales still trickle in now and then, and as with this site, I’ve spent so much effort in creating them I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet.
For years, I’ve always said that whenever Associate-O-Matic ended, I’d be the last one left to turn off the lights. Now here we are and I have my hand on the switch. I wish I wasn’t. I wish things were still going great guns and everyone was happily making money. But instead, here we are. One final thing, and that’s to say thanks to everyone involved. I’d like to thank Justin Mecham first and foremost, for coming up with the program in the first place, and allowing me to join in on the fun. It was great. I’d like to thank Carey Baird for stepping in when he didn’t have to and offering a way for our customer base to carry on without us. There are a few users that were there off and on to provide insight, comment and aid at times. Joe Quarta, Amy Hutton, Carl Ragan, Shannon Walker, Sonnie, and many others I wish I could name. All of you played your part and made my work sometimes easier, sometimes challenging, but never dull.
Lastly, thank you to all the people who took a gamble and plunked down their hard-earned cash to try Associate-O-Matic. Without you, the whole enterprise would never have gotten off the ground in the first place. You paid my salary and had faith that it would pay off for you. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn’t, but I tried to do the best I could for each and every one of you. I owe you all the greatest appreciation.
I wish all of you the very best in all your future endeavors. Thank you all again for all you’ve done for me. In assisting you, the pleasure was truly all mine.