Am I breaking 13 Amazon affiliate commandments is not a question people ask themselves when they're in a hurry to make a profit? Unfortunately, Amazon is not very forgiving when you break their rules.

This article is an attempt to summarize the 13 worst things you can do as an Amazon affiliate.

Some of these things are common sense. Nonetheless, when it comes to Internet marketing, common sense is sometimes relatively uncommon. Some of the conditions you probably would never dream of for instance did you know that you can't put affiliate Amazon links in an e-book? No, I thought not!

1. Not reading the terms and conditions

Read the terms and conditions here.I am going to put that here, at the beginning of the article, even though I know you won't bother to read them! You are legally bound, by this agreement, as an Amazon Affiliate. If you transgress these terms, Amazon is within their rights to kick you out of the affiliate program.

2.Becoming an Amazon affiliate Before You Have Traffic

You only have a limited time to make your first sale. If you haven't made a sale within, this time, your affiliate account will be terminated. If you haven't got any traffic, then you won't make any sales. If you don't make any sales, you fall foul of their agreement, and you will lose your right to become an affiliate. You can reapply at a later date but who needs the hassle?

3. Shortening a URL

Facebook recently changed their conditions, so they limit the number of people who can see your posts. You can get round this to some degree if you use only the link, without the preview.

Amazon affiliate links are very long so it would make sense to tidy them up and make them shorter, but this is a violation of their terms and conditions if you use bitly.com. You have to use a special link, the full complete link. Amazon monitors sales from shortened links. Not only do they rescind your right to be an affiliate but they also block the sale. So, it also means the customer is unhappy. If you have your own Amazon store that's not a great place to be.

“You will not cloak, hide, spoof, or otherwise obscure the URL of your site containing Special Links (including by use of a redirecting page) such that we cannot reasonably determine the site from which a customer clicks through such Special Link to the Amazon Site.” –Amazon Affiliates Program Participation Requirements,
“In addition, you must not use a link shortening service in a manner that makes it unclear that you are linking to an Amazon Site.” –Amazon Associates Program Linking Requirements

So it has been established that you can't shorten an affiliate link with Amazon? Not at all! There is the Amazon way or no way. There is a link shortener on each product on Amazon's affiliate homepage.

Another option is to use Amazon's own share on Facebook or share on Twitter options.

4. Purchasing Through Your Own Affiliate Link

You can't encourage or ask your friends relatives and neighbors to purchase through your link. You will see quite a lot of posts within Wealthy Affiliates where members have blogged that they have had commissions deducted, because of this.

“You will not purchase any Product(s) through Special Links for use by you or for resale or commercial use of any kind. Similarly, you will not request or encourage any of your friends, relatives, or associates to purchase any Product(s) through Special Links for use by you or them or for resale or commercial use of any kind. Further, you will not offer any Products on your site for resale or commercial use of any kind.” –Amazon Associates Program Participation Requirements,

5. Quoting Prices

There're two reasons you should stop this practice.

First of all, it will get you banned from Amazon Associates.

It's very tempting to do this especially when they run end of line discounts. These discounts are massive and it is tempting to quote them. Unfortunately, affiliates forget to update their prices within the posts when the offer ends.it is against Amazon's terms and conditions to quote a price under any circumstances.

The second reason you should avoid this is because creating a banner which says "check the price on Amazon here" is more likely to get you a click through. Once they are there within Amazon you will be credited for any sale they make at the time.

6. Not Investing In A premium Theme

Amazon affiliate websites have been popular amongst Affiliate marketers for a long time, partly because they are an easy way to monetize a site.

Unfortunately, in many cases, they are thrown up very quickly. Most affiliates use the standard default WordPress theme. They either use the standard text header or they have a crappy cheap nasty logo.

If you want to make your affiliate site profitable then you have to make it look professional. If it isn't then up your game.

This will help you improve your conversion rate for direct sales. It will also give you more opportunities for link building.

7. Posting 300 word articles.

Back in the day, it was very easy to rank in Google for niche sites. A five-page site, with 300-word articles and lots of affiliate links, would cut it!

Fast forward a few years and this method no longer work. You still see people copying and pasting affiliate reviews from Amazon (which is itself against the terms and conditions). And posting 500-word articles.

A much better the idea is to do authentic keyword research. Make blocks of keywords and group these together to write authority articles of at least 1400 words. Use these articles as a basis to build links. No article should ever be under a thousand words.

8. Not Linking to Amazon Correctly

It's unbelievable how many people get this wrong.I don't know whether people are frightened of being penalized by Google for too many affiliate links? As we've already said, an article should be 1400 words at least in length, and there's nothing wrong with having a longer one. Use at least 12 links within that. Don't forget to link directly to images because images ranked last in Google.

As Matt Cutts clearly says, all affiliate link should be no follow. Making your Amazon links no follow will not incur a penalty from Amazon.In addition to this, it will reduce the amount of times you are in competition with Amazon's product page.

9. Leaving Dates On your Reviews

Having a date on your review is just stupid. If you are reviewing a product in 2012, then the chances are five years later nothing has changed.

If your content is evergreen it is still reverent relevant and the majority of products you produce should be evergreen. However, your readers perceive something to be out of date and old-fashioned if they see it as an old article.

10. Using Exact Domain Names

Exact match domain names work there’s no doubt about that.When you use an exact match domain name you are limiting your site. For instance, if you say nutribullet400.com, you are not necessarily limiting yourself to the Nutri bullet 400 machines. But you are limiting your site to the Nutri bullet brand.

In addition, you might as well plaster all over your site the words this is for profit only! You making it super obvious to your reader that you're in it for the money.

It's far better to go with a brand and then you can expand into other markets from a position of authority once your site is established.

11. Not Leveraging Social Proof

Encourage comments on your work website. Admittedly this is pretty difficult to do in a niche review site especially when it's young.

If you go to your WordPress comments manager you can edit spam comments. I would delete the website link and change the comment, making sure you include the keyword.

You may think this unethical. Once you have done this to 3 times for every post your website looks more legitimate. It's also more likely to encourage quotes and comments from real people.

12. Not Having Affiliate Disclosure

Every single website that promotes a product from Amazon has to have the affiliate disclosure.You don't necessarily have to make it super obvious i.e. the second page next to your "about page". It is legitimate to put it in the footer.

Here’s the text you have to add:

“[your name] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to [insert the applicable site name (amazon.com)].”

13.Limiting your site to Reviews

If you only include reviews on your Amazon site it looks like one large sales page. It's always a good idea to include content without links which is educational.

When I say without links I mean without Amazon affiliate links you can include links to similar products and share a sale, or ClickBank.

For instance, if you are reviewing dowsing sticks or pendulums, include an authority of article on how to use a pendulum or a dowsing stick.

As you will see, from this article some of the transgressions above will get you banned from Amazon. Others will just reduce your profit. However, Amazon commissions are so minuscule you don't want them cut even further.

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GemKnight Premium
I needed this. Thanks!
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RobSciubba Premium
Extremely helpful information! Thank you!
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CathH1 Premium
great info and easy to understand, unlike the amazon t & c's . Thanks for writing this for us :-)
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JLeeRo Premium
This is EXCELLENT information. Thank you!
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Prinz Premium
Great info. Thank you, Kat!
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ECamacho Premium
Thank you so much Kat, this is information is so helpful for us newbies! I greatly appreciate you sharing vital information we are unaware of!

Cheerfully,
Elizabeth
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katkatskitchen Premium
you are very welcome
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JDKnight65 Premium
Thank you much.
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Ralljr Premium
Wow nice info
Thanks
Rall
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paulkaz Premium
Great post, I've marked this as a favourite so I can come back to it again and again. There is so much good advice here, to get the most out of it you need to read it more than once.

Favourite this article everyone!!

I have one question: you said do not write articles of under 1000 words. Is this proven? How can you find so much to write about on a product (eg men's suits)? Also how do you generate your content and get ideas?

Your advice is much appreciated.
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katkatskitchen Premium
Well i cut my teeth on writing articles about 5inch plates, six inch plate etc and each one was 500 words. Once you have done that anything is possible. If you cant do it with one product do 2 and comapare and contrast them
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paulkaz Premium
Wow, I love that! Writing articles on 5 inch plates, it doesn't get more niche than that.

Love your idea on doing a compare and contrast article as well. I would love to see on of your articles on plates, just to see how you would srructure it and what tyoe of content you would put on it.
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katkatskitchen Premium
that was nearly twenty years its not live now, I used to sell it as PLR
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paulkaz Premium
I understand, the way things are done now have probably changed a lot. What advice would you give for someone who wanted to write circa 500 word articles on a subject like grey suits for men.
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katkatskitchen Premium
Grey suits make men with silver hair look elegant, yet they look good on younger men.

what shoes to wear with grey suits
What socks to wear

What type of occasions are grey suits suitable for
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paulkaz Premium
You're amazing, in just a few minutes you have come up with all sorts of angles. Your post may be short but there is a wealth of knowledge and learning in it!
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katkatskitchen Premium
Hope its helpful
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paulkaz Premium
Thanks, it is definitely very helpful.
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paulkaz Premium
Hi, the general advice here on content length for post is to go for 1000 word + articles.

However, if you are writing product articles like the examples you gave above would shorter articles be ok? I was thinking articles in the region of 500 words also especially if there is not much competition.
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katkatskitchen Premium
i don't do less than a thousand words
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paulkaz Premium
Even if 500 will do?
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katkatskitchen Premium
I always write 1000 you are not usually covering your subject in 500 and I doubt it would convert
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pea14 Premium
Brilliant post- thanks so much for this! A few things I definitely need to follow up on!
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NickBanks Premium
Great post. I've got some work to do....
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kmer6 Premium
Thank you Kat, sometimes the obvious is not so obvious.
Ken
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AndiTointon Premium
Wow, it is a bit of a minefield. I realise I have a lot of work to do on my ladies fashion website. I am quickly running out of time to even get a sale but probably won't because I am more likely than not to be breaking some of the rules. That is quite a scary thought because of the amount of work I have put into it. Still, I am really inexperienced and it might be a blessing in disguise to let my Amazon site go until I can really absorb all of the information I need to have to run such a website.
I wish I had been able to read your valuable information before I started it. Nevermind, it is a sharp learning curve and something that I will put down to experience.
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katkatskitchen Premium
You can always reapply
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JLeeRo Premium
I think I am in the same boat. I am a newbie and I am afraid Amazon will cut me off soon for lack of sales. I will definitely re-apply once I have more traffic though.
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SamiWilliams Premium
Thanks for putting this information in an understandable form!
Sami
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JulietAA Premium
Thanks Kat,
For these 13 points, very very helpful
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katkatskitchen Premium
Thank you - you are welcome
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Tfritz Premium
Thanks for the article. I am thinking about becoming an Amazoni affiliate seller in the future. I will know now what to do on. Great information, but the link shorteners to remember.
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Ivine Premium
Hi, very inportant information for all affiliates at Amazon. Irv.
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laurenjean Premium
Wow. Thanks so much! Some eye openers!! Will adjust my affiliate disclosure accordingly.
On Point 3 : Shortening a URL. I use Genius Links which are much shorter than Amazon links yet ensure that my Amazon links click through to relevant affiliate countries.
Are Genius Links another exception to the rule?
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katkatskitchen Premium
i don't know genius links but the rules are quite clear no shortening of the link read it for yourself.
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VinceP1 Premium
The specific wording actually said that you can't shorten links in a way that makes it unclear that the links are going to Amazon. Personally, I would recommend never shortening them to be on the safe side but it sounds like you can as long as you are very careful about how you shorten them.

“In addition, you must not use a link shortening service in a manner that makes it unclear that you are linking to an Amazon Site.” –Amazon Associates Program Linking Requirements
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laurenjean Premium
Hmm... tricky then... because if I don't use Genius links I can only be an affiliate for one country.
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katkatskitchen Premium
Personally never shorten them - makes the rule a lot easier
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VinceP1 Premium
That's a good point. Being an affiliate for multiple countries is a little bit trickier.

You may be able to find some blogs on the topic online, talking about best practices in this case. There may be a way of doing it that is in-line with Amazon's rules.

Certainly, I wouldn't recommend ignoring the rules because the site has been known to ban accounts at the drop of the hat. So, you are better off being safe than sorry.
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Aspiring Premium
Great checklist - thanks for putting it together.
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katkatskitchen Premium
You are welcome
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WilliamBH Premium
Great info .. thank you so much! Cheers, William.
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DarleneB Premium
Thanks, Catherine. I knew you had to have an Affiliate Disclosure on your website but I didn't know you had to add a certain text about Amazon. I'll have to add that to my sites.
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katkatskitchen Premium
Good then you can easily comply.
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GinaGo Premium
Great information we need. Thank you! ~Gina
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lisa970 Premium
Thank you
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startouched Premium
Wow! Excellent article!! Every newbie should read this!!
-Kathy
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katkatskitchen Premium
Thank you
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Traveller75 Premium
Hi
Thanks for the info, I'm not using amazon yet but intend to start.
Wayne
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AdriBelo Premium
I have a question regarding the point 5 (Quoting Prices). What happens if I'm getting the listing's details through their API and I show the prices. I will always be displaying the latest prices and I'm using their own API to gather the information.

So, is that considered a "Violation of Amazon terms"?
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katkatskitchen Premium
read the tocs
you must display the date Additionally, you must either include the following disclaimer adjacent to the pricing or availability information or provide it via a hyperlink, popup box, scripted popup, or other similar method: "Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product." In the above examples, "Details" and "More info" would provide a method for the end user to read the disclaimer.
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gmegs Premium
Excellent Catherine!
... thank you

Amazon does have a "shortened link" they provide rather than the longer one - you can use either.
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katkatskitchen Premium
Thanks Joanne
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DaveSw Premium
Good information.....Thanks for sharing....Cheers! Dave : )
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MPollock Premium
These are the rules, thanks for sharing and caring, My problem with amazon is their commissions are too low.
It is a lot of work to keep up with their game.
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katkatskitchen Premium
yes I wouldn't do it, but if you atre going to do it you may as well do it right
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MPollock Premium
That is for sure.
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BrianFord Premium
Thank's for sharing!! Kate. OUCH
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JudeP Premium
Great info, thank you :)
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katkatskitchen Premium
Thanks Jude
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MKearns Premium
One of the biggest and most restrictive affiliate consortiums out there. The bigger the fruit, the more the rules that are seeded in it. Just have to navigate carefully.
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katkatskitchen Premium
it certasinly is. I am prejudiced I wouldn't work fro that little margin even on 3k products
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