A Guide to Amazon's Rules
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.
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.