I've read the Amazon Affiliate Agreement a couple of times trying to get two questions answered.
1.) Can I provide an affiliate link to the Amazon home page or does it have to be to a specific category?
2.) I don't use the affiliate program for my own Amazon purchases, nor does my immediate family (i.e. wife and kids). But what about other family members who follow my blog? Will Amazon withhold payment if they see someone with my last name making a purchase if they live in a different state?

Thanks for the help. The Amazon Affiliate Agreement is just full of legal talk.

Best regards,

Karl

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nathaniell Premium
I agree with other commenters here as well, that linking to Amazon's home page doesn't have much benefit to you. Unless you are directing people to specific products, it's unlikely that a significant number of people will just click a link to Amazon to do a search.

Amazon definitely tracks related family members, and won't count those sales. It may even get your associates account banned. Really just depends on how close you are to those family members. Even sending emails back and forth, or having them in your address book might be a signifier of a relationship. Maybe not. Hard to say if they live in a different state. Amazon knows a lot about us that we may not even know.
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KarlDNavy84 Premium
I get what you're saying, but what address books are we talking about here? I have no addresses on file with Amazon except for my own. They don't have access to the address book on my iPhone unless they have tech that can hack into it. And we all know seriously Apple takes its security.

The bottom line is unless Amazon is acting as an extension of the National Security Agency, I'm having a tough time understanding where they are getting their information on who my friends happen to be in order to disqualify those sales. Besides, what good is building up a blog following (a group of virtual friends, at the very least) if you can't market directly to them? Can anyone point me to the place in the agreement where Amazon defines what a friend is and that such sales are disqualified. I can't find that language anywhere. Thanks

Karl
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nathaniell Premium
You can have them purchase stuff if you want and see what happens. I'm just offering my own perspective. People break this rule all the time and get away with it, but not everyone gets away with it, so you're running a risk by doing it.

The agreement is here. https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/policies

Specifically:

(u) You will not directly or indirectly purchase any Product(s) or take a Bounty Event action through Special Links, whether for your use or for the use of any other person or entity, and you will not permit, request or encourage any of your friends, relatives, employees, contractors, or business relations to directly or indirectly purchase any Product(s) or take a Bounty Event action through Special Links, whether for their use, your use or the use of any other person or entity. Further, you will not purchase any Product(s) through Special Links or take a Bounty Event action for resale or commercial use (of any kind) or offer any Products on your Site for resale or commercial use of any kind.
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KarlDNavy84 Premium
Nathaniel,
Thanks for the information. What I'd ask is that you read through my entire blog post and let me know that if in your opinion, my call to action violates that rule above. If it does, fine, I will amend it. If not, my point is having a blog following is of no use if Amazon is going to use this rule to invalidate sales to my targeted audience who I may just happen to know.

https://navysportsnation.com/an-insiders-view-of-navy-football/

Thanks,

Karl
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KarlDNavy84 Premium
If I ever do another review and the same thing happens, I will likely just cancel the Amazon Associate membership. There are other programs out there that pay better, and they actually want to help you get customers.
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nathaniell Premium
I wouldn't rule out Amazon in protest. Even though their commissions suck, lots of big stores do as well. Best Buy was paying 1% last time I checked. Walmart pays about 3-5% as well. So very similar. A check from Amazon is still money in the bank, and lots of people like shopping there.

Your CTA at the bottom of the post is totally fine. Nothing wrong with that! Good to see you included the affiliate disclosure as well.

I would probably change the anchor text to the name of your book, rather than "click here". Something like, you can buy the book [Return to Glory] from Amazon and read it on Kindle or get the physical copy delivered to you.
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DianeScorpio Premium
Hi - there is a "Link to Any Page" feature, which allows you to add the URL of a page to create a link, but I don't know if it would work by adding the URL of the main site. Not sure why you would want to do that, to be honest.

Even if a customer buys a different product other than what you are promoting, you still get a commission.

You are correct in saying that you cannot use your own links or allow friends or family to use them. There are many members here who have stated that Amazon has discovered that relatives have purchased, despite there being no obvious connection. It is said that Amazon knows who is on your contact list.
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KarlDNavy84 Premium
I'm pretty sure you are correct about the notion of linking to the Amazon home page. So this is what I am doing.

My blog covers sports where I went to college (https://navysportsnation.com). So I posted to my FB group about a specific Navy sport and included an affiliate link to the page that takes them to Navy sports apparel. From there, I would think that anyone not related to me should be able to purchase products through that link, especially if they are part of my FB group.
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DianeScorpio Premium
I think that should be ok, but 2 things to be aware of. You still need an Affiliate Disclosure for FB, but you simply have to add a hashtag to the post #ad

And you need to add your FB page to your Amazon account in your account settings where your website is listed.
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GeoffreyC1 Premium
Those are good questions, but I thoughts would be that you can't have an affiliate link just to Amazon, as the whole Idea is that you direct your customers to specific products that are related to your blog.

Also there is no reason why someone going to Amazon via yourr link, but from their own computer, would not get you the commission, as Amazon has no way of knowing who is related to you and who isn't. And even they could, I still see no reason why they would care,. Surely a sale to them is a sale, regardless of the source.
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DianeScorpio Premium
Hi - it is specifically stated in Amazon's terms and conditions that you can't use your own link, or allow friends and family to do so. Not only will you not get any commission, but you could also be banned.
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GeoffreyC1 Premium
Hi Diane thanks for pointing that out as I'd never have thought it. I'm really surprised.
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DianeScorpio Premium
Hello from Nottingham, by the way! Amazon has the strictest set of rules of any affiliate program. You can't show the price of a product, use their customer reviews or star ratings, and you can only use the one product image they supply you with.
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GeoffreyC1 Premium
I never read through their stuff and have prices on, as the training showed that you could. I had better go back and put them in as approximately. Maybe I shouldn't depend on Kyle to show me everything I need to know
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DianeScorpio Premium
Even an approximate price is not allowed! They expect everything on your site to be accurate, and sellers can actually change their prices on a daily basis.

Take a look at a blog post I wrote on the subject.

And you also need a specific Amazon disclosure on each page that has an affiliate link. I have added the training below.

Amazon is constantly changing its rules (and commission rates), so, unfortunately, Kyle's training is out of date.
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GeoffreyC1 Premium
Oh thanks that's great,. Some work then to keep me right. Glad you messaged as don't want to get on wrong side of Amazon.

Difficult to get ppl interested and direct them to a particular product without a price, but rules are rules.
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KarlDNavy84 Premium
I get the family part. That totally makes sense. But a bunch of people I know follow my blog in addition to people I don't know. My approach has been to let them know about my Amazon Associate status. And then I just say that if they like the content they are reading, one way to show their support is to go to a specific page to purchase sports apparel related to my blog. There are two things I don't understand. First, how does Amazon determine who my friends are that follow my blog? I am not emailing the link. I include it in a related FB or blog post. Second, why should someone who likes my content be prevented from supporting my page just because they happen to know me? That doesn't make any sense. Do you have any more clarification on how they define "Friend"? Thanks.

Karl
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DianeScorpio Premium
Hi - unfortunately, Amazon doesn't give anything away when it comes to determining who your friends and family are. I have heard it said, that they can see your email contacts and even your friend's list on Facebook. Whether this is true, or even possible, I don't know.

However, there have definitely been lots of members here who have been astonished that Amazon has somehow found out, even if their customer lives at the other end of the country and has a different name.

As I mentioned to Geoffrey, they are very strict. You need to say this exact phrase on each page when you have Amazon links:

"As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases"

And believe it or not, you cannot say the word "support", as in "buying through our link will support this blog" etc.
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KarlDNavy84 Premium
I have double checked my disclosure statements. They reflect what you have quoted. But I read through all the language on sales that don't qualify for fees, and none of them address customer types. Can you point me in the right direction? I want to read the exact words they are using to define a qualifying customer. Thanks.

Karl
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