A Guide to Amazon's Rules

Last Update: May 20, 2020

Now, of course, you may be wondering why even talk about Amazon, given that they have recently slashed their commission rates? However, providing you don't rely entirely on Amazon, it is still worthwhile using their affiliate program. They are one of the most trusted brands, they accept new sites and adding their links is relatively easy. Obviously, some of you prefer not to work with Amazon on moral or ethical grounds, which is entirely your choice.

For those who are new to the Amazon program, I thought it worthwhile going over some of their rules and breaking down the legal terms. Ideally, you should read the terms and conditions of any affiliate program you join - after all, you are entering into a legal and financial contract. However, I suspect most people don't bother, and then wonder why their account got banned.

I won't go into detail about their self-explanatory rules, of which, the number one to consider, is not to buy through your own links, or allow friends or family to do so. Believe me, they will find out, and not only will you not get commission, you may also be banned. Plus, do remember, you have to make 3 sales in 180 days, or you will be removed from their program, so don't be tempted to sign up too early. Let's take a deeper look at other terms and conditions.

You Must Have an Affiliate Disclosure

You must clearly state the following, or any substantially similar statement previously allowed under this Agreement, on your Site or any other location where Amazon may authorize your display or other use of Program Content: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

I am not going to re-invent the wheel with this one. Marion has done some excellent training on this, which I suggest you take a look at.

https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/training/affiliate-disclosur...

You Cannot Cloak Amazon Links

You will not cloak, hide, spoof, or otherwise obscure the URL of your Site containing Special Links (including by use of Redirecting Links) or the user agent of the application in which Program Content is displayed or used such that we cannot reasonably determine the site or application from which a customer clicks through such Special Link to an Amazon Site.

So, pretty much as it says. It must be clear to your visitors that the link will take them to the Amazon store. You may have come across the use of Pretty Links within the training here. They are great for most links, but don't use them for Amazon. And on a similar subject, you can't email Amazon links. And if you use them on Facebook or Twitter, you must add the profile links of your social media accounts to to your Amazon account.

You Cannot Copy and Paste Amazon Images

You will not store or cache Product Advertising Content consisting of an image.

When using Amazon product images, you cannot copy and paste them. You must use the HTML code which they supply. So, in other words, there must be no Amazon images in your Media Library, and you can't therefore use them as a featured image.

You Cannot Mention the Price of a Product

You must not make inaccurate, overbroad, deceptive or otherwise misleading claims about any Product, an Amazon Site, or any of our policies, promotions, or prices.

So, you cannot mention the price of a product, either exactly or broadly speaking. The price must be accurate at all times, and sellers on Amazon can actually change their prices on a daily basis. So, as you can imagine, if you mention the price, then it could possibly increase the next day, and your potential customers may not be too happy about this. Neither can you give a broad price range, such as $50 to $60, or say the product is under $100 etc, as one day, it might not be.

You Cannot Use Amazon Content to Promote Other Sellers

You will not display on your Site, or otherwise use, any Program Content to advertise or promote any products that are offered on any site that is not an Amazon Site (e.g., products offered by other retailers).

In other words, you can't use the image from Amazon, if you are also adding affiliate links to the same product when it is available at Walmart or eBay, etc.

Well, there's a quick round-up of some of the most common rules that are broken. I am sure some of you may have questions, but I am not going to go any further into the rights and wrongs of what to do, or discuss any of the specifics in any more detail. This is simply an interpretation of the rules, of my understanding, and you may perhaps read Amazon's terms and conditions as meaning something else.

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28Peaches Premium
Hello Diane,
Thank you for the very detailed input on the topic. Amazon have accepted my application as an affiliate and I am on the step of inserting product links to my posts. With regards to the "not allowed to post price of the product", i did just copied the HTML, did not crop nor created my own product image, however, the thumbnail shows the price. I researched the possibilities on having a thumbnail w/o the price but no luck.
Do you have any idea why is this happening?
Thank you in advance and best regards,
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ChrystopherJ Premium Plus
If you are using Amazon's link to display the product and that includes the price, it is perfectly acceptable, as Amazon are in control of what is displayed, and they can update the pricing dynamically and in realtime, so it is ok and nothing to worry about. What you can't do is copy and paste or type in your own price or price range, which could end up out of date and incorrect.
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28Peaches Premium
Thank you Chrystopher for the input.

Since i read that the product price should not appear in the post, i was thinking of editting the image :D

Thanks again ang hope u will never get tire on helping beginners like me :)
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DianeScorpio Premium
Hi - I am pleased to see you have received the correct answer from Chrystopher. As you have seen, if you use the Text + Image link, supplied by Amazon, that generates the correct price.

And just to add to that, you can't edit an Amazon image other than to change the dimensions of it.
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28Peaches Premium
Thanks again Diane
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RoseLee2020 Premium
Hi Diane!

Just want to be clear about posting our links on FB or twitter (or other social media), pretty links are No No....

But does it mean we can copy and paste directly to our FB or other social media posts the short links that are provided by Amazon?
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DianeScorpio Premium
Hi - yes, you can, Amazon allows you to do that. However, the social media platforms themselves are not so keen on this, so don't add too many.

You also need to add your social media profiles to your Amazon account. And when you post on social media, you need to use a hash tag #ad - this is the equivalent of having an affiliate disclosure.
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RoseLee2020 Premium
Awesome. Thank you Diane! You're such a blessing to us!

Two more questions please, I actually added some amazon affiliate links on my website's primary sidebar particularly their deals and promotions links, is it allowed? Should I put an affiliate disclosure there too?
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DianeScorpio Premium
Hi - yes, it's allowed. If you have links in your sidebar, then you need to make sure you have your full affiliate disclosure on your top menu. Visitors must see it before they see the links.
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RoseLee2020 Premium
Thank you Diane!~^
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LRichards1 Premium
Great write-up after being with WA for awhile I have come to the conclusion that with my niche it would be smart to use Amazon as an affiliate link as well as my own blog that will link to the products that I am selling. It does make since to use exclusively amazon products throughout your blog and I'm sure other affiliates want the same as do I. Thanks for bringing amazon up. When I'm ready I will be sure to sign up with them.
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Mark K Premium
A couple of points worth making

1. the 180 days rule is not a permanent closure. If you do not make the required 3 sales within 180 days, your account will be closed. However, you can reapply again after and try again.

2. You cannot encourage visitors to click your links. This includes in your disclosure. For example, you cannot say something like "I will receive a commission if you purchase something through my links, however, it will not cost you any extra!".

The last bit of that disclosure can be classed as encouraging the visitor.
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DianeScorpio Premium
Good points, Mark, thank you. When re-applying, a new ID will be given, which means swapping all the links over, which can be time-consuming.
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FrankB-1 Premium Plus
Hi Diane,

RE: Amazon Associates
I have not heard anything from Amazon, in terms of their audit. Do they wait until the 180 days have passed, even though I have exceeded 3 sales by a substantial amount? Will they definitely contact me regarding their audit results, even if everything is ok?

Thanks,
Frank
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DianeScorpio Premium
Hi - I can't remember to be honest. I thought it happened shortly after the first 3 sales, rather than having to wait for the full 6 months. You do receive an email saying your account is now approved.

I took a look at your site, and you are not meeting their requirements as regards the Affiliate Disclosure. On each post, that has an Amazon link, you need to have this exact phrase “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” It should be added directly above the first affiliate link within the post.

Are all your sales qualifying purchases? They show up in your reports along with the commission you have earned? In other words, they have not been disqualified for some reason, such as if your family or friends made the purchases?
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FrankB-1 Premium Plus
Hi Diane,

I was under the impression that if I use native Amazon links that I don't have to write “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases” above it. They have an info button on it that says "Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission" if you click on it (see image). I'll go back and add the sentence to each link, just to be safe.

Yes, I have over 3 qualifying Amazon purchases.

I really appreciate your help!

Thanks and stay safe!
Frank
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DianeScorpio Premium
Hi - I have not seen that mentioned before, but as you say, it does seem to imply you don't need the disclosure. However, perhaps add it anyway until you get the final approval.
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FrankB-1 Premium Plus
Hi Diane,

I really like the Amazon native ad format because it includes the auto-updating item price, shows if the item is Amazon Prime, gives a summary of the Amazon reviews, and has the discrete affiliate disclosure declaration. The ads also have basic adaptive imaging capability and look great on any size device in any screen orientation (I have tested it with just about all of them). They really did a nice job with it.

Stay Safe,
Frank
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FrankB-1 Premium Plus
Hi Diane,

I just chated with Pamela, an Amazon Associates customer service rep. Here is what she had to say:

Pamela: Hello, my name is Pamela.10:05:03 AM
Me: Hi Pamela10:05:08 AM
Pamela: How can I help you this morning.10:05:16 AM
Me: I have a question about your native ads. Are you the correct person to speak with?10:05:40 AM
Pamela: I can help you with the Native ads10:05:56 AM
Me: On your native ads there is an info button on it that says "Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission". Is that a sufficient affiliate disclosure or do I have to write the phrase “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases” about the ad?10:08:10 AM
Me: I meant to say above the ad.10:08:32 AM
Pamela: The Affiliate disclosure needs to be on your website. You do not have to specifically place it on the native ad10:09:10 AM
Me: I have the affiliate disclosure on a separate page on my web site. The page has it's own menu item (category) on my top menu bar and footer bar. That page has the phrase “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases”. Is this OK?10:12:38 AM
Pamela: I usually recommend just placing the disclosure in the footer. That way it shows up on all pages. But as long as you have it and it is easy to find and visible you should be ok10:13:50 AM
Me: My other question is now that I have 3 qualifying sales when will my site be audited for final approval?10:15:39 AM
Pamela: It takes approximately 5-7 days for the system to recognize that 3rd sale. Once it does, it will put your application into a manual review. From there it varies depending on how many are in the queue before you and how long it takes the reviewer to verify that your website(s) and application are in compliance with our Operating Agreement.10:17:15 AM
Me: Ok. Thank you for your help, Pamela! Have a great day.10:18:31 AM
Pamela: You're welcome! I hope you have a great rest of your day!10:18:45 AM
Send
Pamela from Associate Support has disconnected

That's interesting information.

As always, I really appreciate your input, Dianne.
You are always so helpful :-)
Frank
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DianeScorpio Premium
Hmm, that's interesting. I have to disagree with what she said about placing it in the footer, that goes against the FTC's guidelines, that it shouldn't be "below the link to the online retailer so readers would have to keep scrolling after they finish reading. Consumers should be able to notice the disclosure easily. They shouldn’t have to hunt for it."

I guess we will never get a definitive answer!
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FrankB-1 Premium Plus
Hi Diane,

That makes a lot of sense. You are tremendously knowledgable! I'll keep the disclosure in both the top menu & footer, just to be sure. :-)

Pamela sent me an email after we had the chat. She reviewed my account and verified that I have 3 qualifying separate sales. She also took a look at my website and said everything looked OK.

I'll just have to wait and see what happens. After all this, I'll probably end up getting banned! :-)

Thanks,
Frank
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