Here's the note I sent to Amazon on 2005-10-05
I wrote to you a couple of days ago (2005-10-05) about persistent timeouts on trying to alter my checking account information through payments.amazon.com. It turns out that I have to disable the "Block Anonymous Internet Requests" feature in my Linksys router to allow payments.amazon.com through.
This procedure sounds like a Very Bad Idea to me, and of course I'm only going to do it for as long as it takes to deal with your secretive host.
So please, on behalf of all Amazon sellers who run through routers, fix your end so that we don't have to diddle our firewalls to talk to you.
And here's my 2006-09-20 update to myself (now available to the world). Amazon never replied to the above note. Now I discover that the new wireless router can't contact payments.amazon.com. It's a Linksys, almost identical to the old non-wireless one. Anyway, I'd forgotten about the payments.amazon.com problem, and blithely tried to get into my seller account. After my PC spent the entire day timing out and generally not being able to contact payments.amazon.com, I dimly remembered the above letter. So I Googled my desktop and found it (the note to Amazon, not my desktop. I'm not that dozy), and confidently went into my router's settings menu to change the problem setting. What a surprise: it was already set to disable. Hmmm. What to do now? I decided I'd temporarily swap out the new wireless router with the old one (which is in the basement gathering dust. Its eBay price is now so low it's not worth the bother of trying to sell it). But before I made the swap, I changed the "Block Anonymous Internet Requests" feature to "Enable." Wouldn't you know, the damned thing started working. So it looks as if the router firmware is interpreting the setting backwards.
Later that same night: Another site went AWOL. On a lark, I changed the router setting back to "Enable." The AWOL site was still unavailable (genuinely down), but get this: payments.amazon.com was still accessible. Changing it back and forth between "Enable" and "Disable" makes no difference to the accessibility of payments.amazon.com
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that this router setting is a total red herring, that payments.amazon.com was genuinely down while I was doing all this, and it came back on line coincidentally with my changing of the setting. Bzzzzzzzzzzt. I don't buy it. To be resolutely inaccessible for several hours, and then suddenly reappear at the precise instant I change the setting? The same setting that made payments.amazon.com suddenly visible (albeit the other way round) with a similar Linksys router a year ago? Come on. And one more thing: both PCs connected through the router behaved the same way at the same time. This is not an issue with the PC configuration (and I used both IE and Firefox, with the same results).
I was really puzzled that I couldn't find any mention of this Linksys/Amazon problem anywhere on the Web. Surely I'm not the only one? Whatever, I'm posting this little summary in the hope that some Googling frustrated Amazon user will find it useful.