Amazon's Images as Feature Image? Don't Do It!

Last Update: February 06, 2018

Hello Everyone,

I've been reading and dis-secting Dylan's post about How To Create A 6 Figure Website, fantastic read, by the way... because I like 6 figures. If you do too, you can find his post here:

Anyway, the reason for this post is for people who may not be reading all the comments and responses below that fantastic post. One person mentioned the use of Amazon's images, and that you should not use them without the code, etc. And, I just wanted to reiterate that - unfortunately - yes, this is true.

If you read the TOS, Affiliate Rules, etc., which I even had to do recently to clarify this little nagging doubt in my head, Amazon explicitly states that all images must go directly to Amazon. Seeing that I do have other blogs, and yes, I'm guilty, I've used product images without batting an eyelash... I realize now that this goes against their affiliate rules. So, I did some further research into the matter, because... well, who the heck wants to go back and delete all their feature images.. ugh! But, it is true. I found further info from other blogs and such, and then I finally read it for myself. (If I remember correctly, I believe it's in paragraph "h".)

So, it is correct. If you use Amazon's images without code, such as taking a screen pic, or just saving the image on WA's servers (in your media file), you can be shut down. That obviously goes for Feature Images too. Amazon does not allow the use of any image UNLESS it goes DIRECTLY to Amazon when it's clicked, and it's being served by Amazon. So, unfortunately, that means that you cannot, or you're not supposed to, use their images for your Feature Image on your blog either - because when you click it, it takes you to your blog post and not Amazon.

So, what I'm doing.. for my newest site... and, not saying this is "acceptable" either, but if I must have an image, here's what I'm doing. I go to the mfg. site and snag one there. I make sure that is not the same as Amazon's images. If it is, or if that's all they have, I have also created a pretty sublime (bland) little colored box with fancy text written on it, shown above, that simply says "Product Review," and I've used that as the Feature Image which shows up on my blog roll. So, this way, even if a mfg. has a problem with the use of any images that I snagged, at the very least, you'll receive a legal letter telling you to take it down. This is far better than Amazon seeing it, and just shutting down your whole account without warning. Read your TOS people... yes, they can do that... because they can.

So, bottom line, don't use any of Amazon's product images at all, anywhere, on your site unless it's being served by Amazon and it goes directly to them when clicked. "Don't do it!"


P.S. And, here's yet another reason to join and remain a WA member. All these little tid-bits add up, and can save you a lot of grief later on. Cheers!

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reonna3 Premium
Very notable and thank you for your observation Toni
dagrinsonis Premium
Excellent article. Point taken. Thanks for warning us. Very important to learn things NOT to do when navigating this affiliate world. Donna
techhound Premium
Hey Toni,
You are correct in stating that you cannot use Amazon images. The trouble is, if you ask for help at Amazon, many of their own workers won't give you a straight answer, because most of the time they aren't sure themselves. However, I have seen one answer by an Amazon worker that made sense. The worker stated that the issue has to do with copyrights. When you create a link/image using Amazon's interface, it can know which images are being used. If there is a copyright claim on the image, they can contact you to alert you that it needs to be taken down. If you simply copy the image from Amazon and save it on your hard drive, then upload to your website, they won't be able to contact you. Then, Amazon gets in trouble for "allowing" the use of the image.

Your alternative approach is a bit gray hat only because you are still using the Amazon network as your vehicle of selling. Technically, they could still get in trouble via this method. I am not a lawyer though. What I would suggest with this is contacting the vendor directly and getting permission on an email (so you can verify) or in writing. Then, it's less likely to present itself as an issue. What I can't answer is whether Amazon will accept the practice even with permission from the vendor. Unfortunately, this issue is probably too complex for most Amazon workers to know the answer so except some vague responses from them if you decide to ask.

It does put a wrinkle in the selling process as using images is a big part in getting the message across. There's no easy answer to this. The good news is Amazon is not the only affiliate program.

Best Regards,
MsMoneyHoney Premium
Well, as mentioned, if I'm using a mgf's picture, I'd rather do that and receive a legal notice - like people "normally" do if and when they have a problem with the use of an image. I'd much rather do that, or use my bland picture box, instead of finding out one day that Amazon's links no longer work, and you've been shut out. Amazon, to my knowledge, doesn't give warnings... They just get rid of you and go on to the next.

Also, I don't consider use of a picture on my blog as "gray hat" just because I'm an Amazon affiliate, so, I don't see your point. I'm only an affiliate, and I have accepted Amazon's terms where I will not use any of "their" images for any purpose unless it links directly to them. If the mfg has a problem, then it's between the mfg and me, not Amazon. I've cut them out of that equation since it's "my" blog. Amazon doesn't own my blog. Amazon can't do anything in that scenario as it's none of their business - really.

As for why the code needs to be there, yes, that's true. They need it to be there in order to keep track of it and to control it's use. And, lastly, as far as the "customer service" people, well, no, I won't even waste my time trying to call and speak to them. Omg, Why would I? Imagine the time wasted if we all got on the phone to call various manufacturers to get "permission" to use picture ABC or XYZ to sell "their" product! Um no, that's absolutely ludicrous. Just read your Terms, and if you are an Amazon affiliate, just get rid of any Amazon pictures that are not directly linked to Amazon - including the Feature Image for the blog. That was the reason for the post to begin with, and that's all I'm doing. If I get a legal letter from a mfg., I'll handle it when and if the time comes. Otherwise, I'm not going to give it another thought.

Back to writing!

techhound Premium
As I stated, I am not a lawyer. And you are welcome to use any practices you wish. It's your business. In my opinion, the gray hat area is in using the Amazon platform, irrespective of which pictures you use. It's not likely lawyers will see any distinction when they go after Amazon.

As for taking your chances with vendor images, be aware that copyright infringement is not always dealt with on a cease and desist basis. Sometimes, they drag people right into court. This does happen more often than people care to imagine and when it does, it can get rather expensive. I don't see the harm of sending a simple email that asks permission to use images. But, once again, you are free to interpret in any way you see fit. I choose to err on the side of caution.
Good luck!
MsMoneyHoney Premium
Hi there, just to respond to clarify my post, yet again. My warning is for those who use Amazon's images especially as the "feature image" on their blog. This is, perhaps, where you may be a little confused with my original post? ...not sure. In any case, please allow me to reiterate.

Amazon's platform is only being used when using "their" images. Amazon, at the present time, has nothing in their terms for already approved affiliates that would enable Amazon to control what other images I may use in any given post, what I may not use, what ads to show, how many ads I show, how I phrase things, what I may state, my political beliefs, or whether I wish to go and hug a tree. The only images Amazon cares about are those on "their" servers with "their" approvals to use such in order to control "their" images and to sell products in "their" marketplace. If a lawyer was stupid enough to serve Amazon with legal docs because of a picture they saw on "my" site that is only directly linked to "my" post, that would be a waste of time for sure. The "lawsuit" would go nowhere with Amazon since the image was not obtained from them to begin with, and more importantly, is not linked to Amazon. It would, however, be more appropriate to serve me - which I had mentioned previously.

As for my post, it is specifically the feature image that I am trying to warn people about because many, myself included, have used screen shots or have otherwise saved Amazon images to show the image of whatever product you are blogging about. This is the danger. The feature image shows up on the blog roll for those readers who initially go to the blog roll page (not to mention, Pinterst, Twitter, Fb, etc.), and when clicked on it, it takes the visitor to the blog post and not Amazon. That action, by itself, violates Amazon's terms because that image is now on the servers of the host company and not Amazon.... So, if the host company is smart, they'd be issuing a warning as well or would, perhaps, issue some sort of disclaimer stating that affiliates are pretty much on their own should they choose to use images they probably shouldn't be using.

Many people are not aware of this, because, as you have even stated, many Amazon employees are totally confused on a number of issues themselves let alone "feature images" on a blog roll. Sometimes, I'm not even sure some of them know about blogs. But, I did have this nagging doubt that popped in my head a little while back, and I looked further into it, and yes, I decided to share my warning with others. Want to sue me? :)

In the end, this is why I am now using other images that are not found on Amazon's site for my feature image. I make sure they are different. I may snap a picture myself in the aisle of a store, I may use one from a mfg. website, or I may also use my benign little colored box as my featured image, but no, I will not be using an image I obtained from Amazon unless it's linked directly to their site and by doing so, are then, and only then, using "their" platform from Point A image to Point B product.

In short, to each his or her own, just know the dangers involved and don't take the hefty risk with Amazon knowing that they will just shut you down without warning. Hopefully this clears up any confusion or gray areas, but, hey, let me know if you need further clarification on my intent or why I chose to warn other members via my WA post.

In the meantime, perhaps you may consider sharing your own remedies including a post or tutorial on how you efficiently obtain permissions from multiple manufacturers to use specific images on your blog, etc. and what you may do if they do not respond in time, or if at all, etc. I'm sure that would be an interesting post as well.

techhound Premium
You don't need to get nasty about it. I was just offering up suggestions for people to be aware of. They can still follow your suggestion as long as they realize they should perhaps consider the issue.

You state that you are only involving Amazon if you use their pictures but that is wholly untrue. If you use their platform to sell products as an affiliate but you use a vendor's picture, then you are suddenly tying that vendor into the mix. But whatever. You know it all and there are no risks doing your way, right?

I never once got nasty to you. I didn't even finish reading your post because it's just too impolite,

I just made suggestions for people to consider, that's all.
MsMoneyHoney Premium
Wow, really? ...trying to clear things up for you in your confusion is "being nasty?" ...hmm... and I'm a "know it all?" Do you by chance work for CNN? lol.. No wait, do you have a problem when women share their knowledge? ...interesting... and quite comical. And, yes, now I'm having fun...

I'm the one who is trying to warn people - in my original post. Perhaps, you should re-read it. As mentioned previously, perhaps you could also write a post to offer your own thoughts, concerns, remedies, and "suggestions" rather than try to confuse a post you've read and try to berate others who are simply sharing info.

As for my "suggestion," please let me be clearer. My "suggestion" isn't really a "suggestion." It's a blatant warning - hence my sub-title "Don't Do It!" Once again, my post was simply to warn others not to use an Amazon picture for their feature picture. Again, you seem confused with my intent - and my message. My remedy of using other photos or a colored box for the feature image is just that - "my" remedy. Others can do with it what they like, but my more blatant warning remains the same.

After reading your last message, it seems that you are really quite confused with how the feature image works on the blog roll page. You do know that when clicked, it takes the visitor to the blog post - right? Or, is this the problem? Did you think I meant to use a vendor's image to take them to Amazon? Is this where your confusion lies? ...I'm really trying to pinpoint and clarify here, and I think perhaps, that is where my message has gone astray??? Maybe???

If that is what you had understood, then, no, no-one should be using another picture, vendor's or otherwise, to be linked to go to Amazon. So, if you've have somehow construed that from my post, that is not the case, and not at all what I meant. Affiliates, according to the terms, should only be using Amazon's images to go directly to Amazon.

Hopefully, this clears up any confusion, and, if that was "it," then, thank you for pursuing this further. I do try to write as clearly as I can, but if I didn't, I'm happy for the opportunity to clear things up further for anyone who may have misunderstood my post.

At this point, I'd like to thank those who have read my initial post and took the time to thank me.

Sharing thanks and showing gratitude is one thing we here at WA do when other members take the time to share knowledge or warn people about this or that. As a member, geez... for 3 years now (doesn't seem it!), and knowing that I don't write on the forum as often as I used to, I remain committed to WA. And, I am grateful when other members do take the time to share their knowledge or experience, etc. We all learn, and it's an ongoing process because the internet is always changing. So, yes, it's a constant, and that's why membership here at WA is so valuable. You sometimes read little tid-bits or nuances of information that can only help you in the long-term. ...assuming you read it all. :)

But, going back to my initial post, I had read, somewhere, that Amazon was going to begin cracking down on the use of product images. I am not certain whether this is true or just a rumor because they have been so liberal in the past. But, many people need to be aware of what may happen. So, again, why take that risk? Be forewarned, change and/or remove your feature image if you got it from Amazon, and you "should" be fine - at least with Amazon. :)

Have a Happy Sunday Everyone!

techhound Premium
I am done with this nonsense. Your rudeness knows no bounds. Once again, I only read through the first paragraph and won't read the rest.

For anyone else reading this who feels her approach is risk-free as she states, she even acknowledges in her post, albeit unwittingly, that she doesn't know if it's right to do, which is by definition gray hat. Here is what she says:

'...what I'm doing.. for my newest site... and, not saying this is "acceptable" either, but if I must have an image, here's what I'm doing. I go to the mfg. site and snag one there.'

She also goes on to say that lawyers may serve her with a legal letter telling her to take the pictures down. Any practice where you have to wonder whether lawyers are going to contact you is once again, by definition gray hat.

Here is her exact words:

"So, this way, even if a mfg. has a problem with the use of any images that I snagged, at the very least, you'll receive a legal letter telling you to take it down."

Choose for yourself WA members. These are all warning signs. If you use vendors' images without their permission, that is a risk.

This will be my last involvement with her nonsense as I have no time left to spend on this.
Jessielam Premium
This is great sharing. Thank you so much! useful for me
clemz Premium
Thanks for sharing. Really helpful