25 Reasons to Get Banned from Amazon's Affiliate Program

Last Update: November 19, 2018

One of the most painful experience you can have when you are promoting Amazon affiliate program is when your account being banned by Amazon due to breaching one of their terms of services (TOS).

While there are so many grey areas in Amazon TOS, it's good to know the main reasons people get kicked out from Amazon affiliate program so that we could avoid them at our best level.

So here are the most common reasons why you account can get banned/suspended which you want to avoid and not risking your account.

  1. The most common reason Amazon suspend your account (and I believe many of us are already familiar with) is when you are not generating 3 sales in 180 days from the date joining the program. So want to make sure your website has started to generate decent traffic before applying as an affiliate with Amazon. I know, newbies are eager to start earning as fast as possible, but you need to bear this term in mind before even put forward your application.

  2. Using images from Amazon and uploaded them on your website. To certain extent, you not even allowed to have a screenshot of the product and upload the image to your site. You need to use Amazon image urls or get these images via their API keys. I have seen people still uploaded images from Amazon site to their website and display them in their product promotion. If Amazon do their audit check on your site and find this, you could be suspended or banned.

  3. Section 6(v) and (w) in their terms prohibits you from link shortening or link cloaking. So if you have an Amazon link and use bitly to shorten it, it's not okay because Amazon wants to be able to see the page that sent that traffic and also the user should know when they hover over the link exactly where they're going to go

  4. Section 6(u) of the Associates Program Participation Requirements (“Participation Requirements”) says that you're not allowed to use your own Amazon links yourself or to encourage your friends, relatives or anybody you know to use that link to make a purchase. If you do that and you get caught doing that, that's a surefire way to get yourself kicked out of the Amazon program.

  5. Some affiliates got banned because they put at the top of their website just a simple sentence that said by using our affiliate links you help to support this website. You are not allowed to encourage your site visitors to use the links on your site to make a purchase as a way to support the website.

  6. The operating agreement section 5 which requires affiliates to display Affiliate Disclosure on your website and it has to be visible wherever that you're gonna have a link. It's actually a good idea to post this like on the sidebar or footer so it'll appear on every page on your site. Basically the statement says that you are Amazon affiliate and you are earning commission when the visitor making a purchase through the link on your site.

  7. Section one in the preamble says you have to use your link on a publicly available site. If you have a membership site, you can't have affiliate links on there or you sell a course and in the password protected section, you can't have affiliate links there too because those areas are not publicly available.

  8. Next one, you are not allowed to use Amazon's name within the clickable link. Grey area and there are many interpretations on this term. I would suggest use the generic CTA like "Check It Out", "Buy Now" button.

  9. You are not allowed to quote in part or in whole a customer review. For example, if you're writing a product review, you want to consolidate a lot of the common issues or the things that all the customers really like or whatever, just be careful don't do any quoting e.g. Carol from Indiana says this is a great product so-and-so. (Note: I had been banned for this reason LOL)

  10. You can't say that you are representing Amazon. You cannot say something that you are Amazon or lead people to believe that you are.

  11. You cannot use affiliate links in emails. If you have an email list and you want to include affiliate links you need to send them to your website and not directly to Amazon site with your affiliate link embedded in the link.

  12. Likewise you can't have affiliate links in PDF s or in ebooks .

  13. You can't use any affiliate links in sites directed children under 13 years of age. So if your kids have YouTube channel and they're reviewing toys for kids and you want to have affiliate links in there, it's not allowed. How you do that is something you need to figure out.

  14. No posting star ratings whether as a display or even as words. Again, another gray area as we have seen people do give star rating when they do Amazon product review and the site are still active till today. Just be careful!

  15. You can't list prices from amazon.com in your review. And you cannot post affiliate links on a website that you do not control such as in forum. You cannot post affiliate links on a website that you do not control such as on a forum or from website that somebody else own.

  16. Section 6(r) - You can't divert any links from somebody else's website. So you shouldn't try to use plug-in that does that. There are plugins capable of doing that.

  17. Section 6(o) - You cannot put an affiliate link in a pop-up unless that pop-up is directly related to content on your website. That was a little confusing but it's there.

  18. Section 6(q) - You cannot cause amazon to open in a browser without someone when clicking on a link e.g. using a plugin that force visitor to be directed to Amazon site when they do certain action on you site.

  19. 1(g) - You cannot use Amazon or any misspelling of it such as AMZN in the URL of your website. There are a lot of better domain name that represent your business. Just avoid something that has Amazon (in words or sounds) in the url.

  20. Section 6(s) - You cannot generate clicks using any sort of software or robots. This is quite clear. If there are people doing this, I am not sure the motive.

  21. Section 6(g) - You cannot provide a reward or any sort of incentive for people using your link to make purchase. This is clear cut.

  22. Section 6(x) - upon Amazon request, you failed to provide written certification to Amazon that you have complied with all of their terms.

  23. Section 1(a) and (b) prohibits any violent or sexually explicit website. This is quite straight forward.

  24. In the trademark section 9 says you cannot use any trademarks of Amazon or any of its affiliates. (My interpretation is that you are not allowed to use your trademark when you are promoting Amazon as those products you are promoting are not yours).

  25. In the trademark section 8 says using Amazon's trademark without their permission is not allowed. So if you are using Amazon logo on your site, you should get their permission first. Again, there are many people who are doing this and they are still there. Grey!


So there you go. Hopefully these lists would help you a bit to make a self-audit on your Amazon affiliate site and see if you are 100% compliance to Amazon TOS.

I know it's too much to chew at once. You should bookmark the post for your future reference.

My last words,


Joe

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tpsinfo2013 Premium
Ok I've been booted for having static prices on my site. I fixed and re-applied and now I'm looking at Rules #2,4,6

I usually upload the images from the Amazon Affiliate site (thumbnail) Hope that's ok

Also I forever telling people to go to my site to search for the items they want. Hope that's ok

Lastly I added the Affiliate disclaimer - this site is an Amazon Affiliate Site... Hope that's ok
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newmarketpro Premium
- You are not allowed to upload images to your site. Either use the image url or use the plugin that parsing the data to your site.

- I think it's safe just to invite people to go to your site. You can give them your site and not your affiliate links.

-I am not sure if that disclaimer suffices to meet Amazon TOS.
I share the standard one in one of the comments below. You can use that.

all the best.

:)Joe
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cwpickett Premium
When I use the image URL for Amazon all that shows in the post is the code. How else are we supposed to show a picture for the product when a screenshot seems to be the only thing that works? I have tried different ways, but the one code that will link is the text URL. Do you know how to get the image link?
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MaryFRM Premium
I'm still thinking about joining.
In some FB groups, there are "Share the love" posts where bloggers exchange post links, so person A clicks on Amazon link from person's B post and vice versa. The assumption is that you don't really know these people, so Amazon should be ok with it.
It's an easier way to get those 3 sales. After that, I don't see any value in doing this.
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newmarketpro Premium
Thanks for sharing that story Maria.
It's workable especially the group members are not from the same areas and countries but the risk of Amazon finding out is still there.
Thanks.

:)Joe
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ColleenLVSJC Premium
I appreciate your synopsis, Joe. I've been there, done that with Amazon. Had my account closed b/c of inadequate sales within the 180 day period. I was a newbie here. Lesson learned. Once I have ample traffic coming to my site, they told me to reapply. I could have reapplied immediately, but instead, I've found some other niche affiliates that don't require sales quotas.

I expect to sign up with Amazon again at some point, so I've bookmarked your post. Since Amazon's Affiliate Agreement legalese is so much fun to read, your synopsis will be helpful to have on hand. :)

Thank you, Joe!
Colleen
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newmarketpro Premium
Thanks Colleen.
You're right. As an affiliate we should not stick to one program.
And there are many affiliate programs that pay better incentive.
Thanks for your comment.
Appreciated.

:)Joe
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Richiered Premium
I always wanted to work for myself to be free !

I did a fair bit on Amazon and I have to say that they were without exception the worst JV ? "boss" I have ever had ! The rules !!! Jeez Louise !

Let it go, as the song goes, and the commissions are not that great anyway to be honest?

I stand to be corrected, but for me...........

Be free !

Richie
Reply
Bald Eagle Premium
I do agree with this sentiment but they are a well trusted organisation and therefore credibility need not be sold.
Reply
newmarketpro Premium
Agree with your statement Lawrence.
Thanks.

:)Joe
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newmarketpro Premium
Hi Richie,
Thanks for your feedback. I believe other affiliate programs have their own TOS to abide - Clickbank, CJ, Ebay etc. So in any case, as an affiliate we need to choose which program we are comfortable with.
Thanks for your feedback.

:)Joe
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wimone Premium
Joe Thanks !! This is CRITICAL info for most of us. Looks like almost anything gets you banned as Google can interpret rules many different ways. My rule number 1 don't put all you marketing eggs in one big Amazon basket. ! Spread out you efforts in many diverse directions.
Thanks so much Joe :))
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newmarketpro Premium
You're most welcome John.
And thank you for your feedback which I can't agree less, we should have multi source of income.

:)Joe
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AlexEvans Premium
Hi Joe

Good to see you and what a cracker of a post, The ways of Amazon can be a challenge for anyone even on the brightest of days.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge there were a few I was unaware of or had looked the other way on.

Your post is the strength of WA shining through.

Thank you.

Alex
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newmarketpro Premium
Thanks for your kind words and encouragement Alex.
Really appreciate it.

:)Joe
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PaulREvans57 Premium
Thanks for this post, Joe. Hard can I tell if I have been banned?

I have broken the rules, which I have since fixed, but with no Amazon sales for some time, how can I tell if I've been cut-off?

I can still log in to my Affiliate Associate member's area and Site Stripe.
Reply
JKulk1 Premium
You would receive an email. Jim
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newmarketpro Premium
If you can still sign-on to your account, you are still active. If you are banned, you would receive e-mail from Amazon and you can't even log-in to your account.
Thanks for stopping by.

:)Joe
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newmarketpro Premium
True.
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gartnerf Premium
Thanks for the post Joe. Good to know and remember these rules as you build out your site.

I have seen so much controversy about using images from Amazon. If you download them via an API you can use them because all the images are remotely referenced. However, many WP themes don't allow you to render Amazon hosted images very well so I have seen people download the images and then just insert their Affiliate link to the image. It isn't even clear in Amazon's own Affiliate forum if you can do this or not without jeopardizing your Affiliate status.

Thanks for sharing!
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newmarketpro Premium
You're welcome Frank.
While there are still different opinions on the usage of images from Amazon site, the TOS clearly says we are not allowed to upload Amazon images to our site. We can use images parsed through their API or use the images by site-stripe provided by Amazon. For me, it's better safe than sorry. Thanks for your feedback.

:)Joe
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SueKolman1 Premium
THANK YOU JOE for posting this warning!
I had Amazon screenshots on 5 reviews before I found out that it was illegal. And this is news... That we cannot post Amazon's name, nor the prices in our reviews?!
In level 3, lesson 6, we are encouraged by the training to use Amazon screenshots and the Amazon name AND the Amazon prices in our reviews. When I first found out this was illegal, I took issue with some ambassadors.
I was told that the internet changes every hour and WA cannot be responsible for everyone and everything. But new members everyday are going through that training everyday and it's O.K. to have them do something illegal in online marketing?!?

Thank you Joe. This is an eye-opener. I'm starting to rethink this whole thing.
Reply
newmarketpro Premium
Hi Sue,
Thank you for your feedback.
I had the same thinking before that it's okay to use screenshot for Amazon reviews. However, after further reading, it's not allowed although you can read in many blog posts out there, it is permissible.

My thoughts on Amazon name and price in the links is that (1) we are not Amazon representative (2) the price may change from time to time. Unless you are using Amazon API key which will automate the prices, it's not allowed for the reason I mentioned.

Joe:)
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newy219 Premium
I highly doubt it's illegal. It's against Amazon's terms and conditions as they are just playing it safe.

It doesn't mean that a company (the product manufacturer) wouldn't allow you to use an image of theirs if it is promoting their products. It's called implied consent.

If you want to be safe you can ask the manufacturers for permission. But there is a reason Amazon doesn't kick out thousands of affiliate marketers from their program that do it, because they don't know whether you got the image from the manufacturer or from Amazon.

Unless you're bashing a product and using the image then you probably have nothing to worry about, and it's actually quite silly that Amazon would kick you from their program for this (although I'm sure it happens).
Reply
Marley2016 Premium
Joe,

Thank you for this I have told people to read the agreement
many times but feel it is so long people just submit without
ever reading - shame on them - your top points do cover
the majority of things I feel we would just do without thinking :)

Susan
Reply
newmarketpro Premium
You're welcome Susan.
Hope this will also save some of our members time to search and read and try to understand the TOS. There are still a lot of grey areas in Amazon TOS but if can get complied with the main one, that should be good.
Thanks for your time here.

Joe :)
Reply
Marley2016 Premium
Joe,
You are the one who deserves the thanks for reading all that
fine print for those lazy people who do not ::))
And a good reminder for those of us who did (me with a magnifying glass I am old and the glasses would not work)
Susan
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HeidiY Premium
Thank you Joe, you helped me in live chat a few months ago with some suggestions included here. I was inadvertently breaching Amazon’s TOS, quickly went and fixed them and was approved once I made my 3 sales. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been otherwise so I thank you.

Great post.
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newmarketpro Premium
Thank you for your kind words Heidi.
Hope this helps others too.
Thanks for your time for reading and commenting here.

Joe
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lcs123 Premium
Hi, Joe looking at all these don`ts on the Amazon Affiliate program it makes one wonder if it's worth promoting Amazon at all as you might get suspended at any turn of the rd. I am an Amazon affiliate and due to the fact that my sight is not quite active yet I could be suspended at any time I don't think that's fair do you
Reply
newmarketpro Premium
Hi Elizabeth,
I really hope the post did not discourage you in any way. I am sorry if you feel that way. My only purpose is to share what I know and let us aware what's allowed and what's not. I believe all affiliate programs has their own terms.

Joe
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feigner Premium
Thanks for this summary Joe.
I take it these are only applicable for america.
the 180 day rules does not apply in the UK, as far as i know.
I like the one for no incentive and they go and offer promotions and bounties - along with giveaways!
popovers are available for mobile to ' increase conversion' with a script added to the footer.
have fun
Phil
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newmarketpro Premium
Thanks for the feedback.
Yes, this taken for Amazon(.) com and it can be different from other Amazon affiliate sites. Appreciated.

:)Joe
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dpanic63 Premium
WOW Joe

You are right it will be a Bookmark for certain

Cannot believe the bottlenecks Amazon imposes on the business that are there to support them.

Oh Well it will be my LAST affiliate program i associate myself with at this point, and will make sure am up and running FIRST.

Thanks for the great Post.

DIno
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newmarketpro Premium
My pleasure Dino.
All the best.

Joe
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laparra1 Premium
Good afternoon Joe,

Thank you for this good list. Amazon Canada kicked me out quite soon. Amazon U.S still has not even if I have been with them much longer but have no sales, I do not understand why they do not kick me out but do not want to wake up sleeping dogs.

Greetings from the south of Spain, Taetske
Reply
newmarketpro Premium
Have you reached the 180 days?
Not too worry because if you are disapproved because you didn't meet the 3 sales criteria, you can reapply when your site is ready. It's good to see some traffic coming to your site before re-apply.
Thanks for commenting.

Joe
Reply
laparra1 Premium
Joe, I do know about the 180 days.
I have been with Amazon U.S. since March 2017 and every month I get a notification that I have not sold anything. They must like my website, otherwise, I cannot explain this.

Greetings from the south of Spain, Taetske
Reply
smartketeer Premium
Sometimes I'm just glad for not using Amazon :)

Thanks Joe!

This will be helpful to MANY people!
Reply
newmarketpro Premium
Thank you Zed for your feedback.
I want to get your opinion why Amazon affiliate is so popular despite it pays pennies (in most cases).

If you got time. I need to go to your training on website speed optimization. :)

Joe
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smartketeer Premium
Why things like Marlboro, Coca Cola, McDonalds are so popular?

Because the hype never ends ... Because we are keeping it alive ...

Plese do :)
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SteveMand Premium
It is because 44% of all eCommerce done in 2017 was by Amazon (I think it was something like that - it was from Z's post a few days ago!).

They are huge, millions of people buy from them every day - they are the world's biggest online retailer by far hence why people want to use them.

Well that is my opinion anyway!
Reply
newmarketpro Premium
That's what I thought too.
Thanks.

Need to finish the training.

Joe
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Ruyaa Premium
Damn, that's a never ending list lol :D So it's basically illegal to encourage our friends and families to make a purchase - and I thought this would be the perfect solution to generate 3 sales within 180 days :( Thanks for sharing this informative post!
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newmarketpro Premium
Yes, it's the easiest way to hit the 3 sales.
As long as Amazon does not 'smell' it, you are safe. In many cases, they knew.
For me, better safe than sorry.
Thanks for stopping by Ruya.

Joe :)
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YanFellow Premium
Hi Joe - Wow! That's one list! It's (almost) enough to make you want to promote eBay :-)

I've certain;y got a bit tidying up to do, thank you.

Is there an 'Amazon disclaimer' that we can use on our site?
Ian
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SteveMand Premium
There is a standard disclaimer in their Ts & Cs which you must use.
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newmarketpro Premium
You can use this (change the domain name with your site name).

(Your Site 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 Amazon. Certain content that appears on (Your Site Name) comes from Amazon Services LLC. This content is provided ‘as is’ and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Hope that helps.

Thanks Ian.

:) Joe
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YanFellow Premium
thank you, Joe.

So if I put a text widget in the sidebar and called it 'Affiliate Disclaimer' - or would I have to call it 'Amazon Affilate Disclaimer'? - and then pasted in the text, would that keep them happy?
Ian
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newmarketpro Premium
You're right Ian.
You can called it Amazon Affiliate Disclaimer but how about if you are also promoting other affiliate products with the same requirement. You can modify it a bit, just make sure the message has the same effect. You can place it on sidebar or at the footer.
I prefer to put it at the footer and change the font a bit smaller. LOL.

You may also want to test it on your smartphone as you don't want that section to appear on top. You want it to appear at the very bottom where people normally don't go and read. Just make sure it's visible, in case Amazon comes to audit. LOL.

Just some of my techniques.

:)Joe
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YanFellow Premium
I've been following another discussion about the FTC Affiliate Disclaimer and that's another kettle of digestive biscuits altogether! For the FTC, the footer definitely won't do adn I don't think the sidebar will, either.

Some members have disclaimers which are paghes long! Trying to cover all the basses - CYA! :-)
<sigh>

Ian
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YanFellow Premium
Thanks, Steve.
Ian
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anusuya1 Premium
very useful blog. Thank you.
Reply
newmarketpro Premium
Thanks Anusuya.
Joe
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mbouteiller Premium
Wow Joe... this is very useful. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I have it bookmarked.

Monica
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newmarketpro Premium
Glad you find it useful Monica.
Thanks for stopping by.

:)Joe
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marchanna Premium
super useful!
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newmarketpro Premium
Thanks Marc. :)Joe
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NPolidoro Premium
Thanks for this information Joe,
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newmarketpro Premium
My pleasure Nancy.
Joe
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SondraM Premium
Joe, thanks for sharing these tips and your experience. I've seen number 5 so often that I was thinking that I maybe needed to add a similar statement to my website.

You have saved me some heartache and time.
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newmarketpro Premium
Better safe than sorry Sondra.
Thanks for your reading.

:)Joe
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Jessibelle72 Premium
Thanks a lot for high lighting all those areas!
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newmarketpro Premium
Thanks Jessica.
Hopefully by highlighting the main points, it makes reading easier. I know it's too wordy. Thanks for stopping by :)

Joe
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JeannineC Premium
Excellent post - Amazon makes it so difficult to be one of their affiliates, yet bloggers flock there like moths to a flame. I've got a list of 15 reasons not to work with Amazon too. So many reasons, why would anyone work with them? (Don't give me the old "Amazon sells everything" Reason #4, or "free shipping with Prime" Reason 13).
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newmarketpro Premium
You have valid point Jeannine. I believe because so many people are talking about it. There are affiliate programs which pay out bigger commission but may be not getting huge advertisement (by bloggers) like Amazon. And the same thing with G Adsense.
Thank you for your feedback. Appreciated.

Joe :)
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SteveMand Premium
As much as it is sad to admit Amazon is far and away the best affiliate programme as DomW's post explains: Very easy to get kicked off of though if you don't fully know what you are doing so this post will come in useful for many!
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JeannineC Premium
I don't agree with DomW. Yeah, I saw his post. Luckily I work with 150,000+ other publishers who also have seen the light.
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JeannineC Premium
Yup, Amazon's one-day cookie, lowest commission rates in the industry, etc. costs WA members a fortune each day in lost commissions, even without violating any of these rules. So sad.
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YanFellow Premium
Have you a post or something on this, Jeannine?
Ian
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SteveMand Premium
But at the end of the day, whether we like it or not there are more Amazon Affiliates sites than any other merchant because they are the biggest and most profitable affiliate company to be associated with.

People wouldn't create Amazon Affiliate sites if they didn't make them money.
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JeannineC Premium
Actually Steve, I must disagree with two points - 1. they are definitely NOT the most profitable. With their 1 day cookie they cost publishers a fortune in unpaid commissions. I have statistics from tens of millions of transactions which tell me how long it takes for people to convert. Amazon saves a fortune by having only a one day cookie.

2. I think a lot of people build amazon sites because other people recommend it and they don't know any better. Just think of how many posts we see on WA for people who either haven't had their 3 sales in 180 days or haven't made any money and want to quit. Happens all the time, sadly. People in the know find other merchants too.
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JeannineC Premium
I should share it all here. it's mostly been a presentations I've given at conferences (I spoke at 8 different conferences last year!)
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YanFellow Premium
I can see you're not a fan :-) but maybe it would distract from Joe's excellent list and post here.

I don't think many people would disagree with what you say but Amazon links are so easy to set up and there's something on Amazon to suit every niche.

But, I think the biggest pulling power for affiliates is that the name is universally known and trusted. As a consumer, I'd rather buy from Amazon than any other site (I don't because they're not always the cheapest). As an affilaite I'm trying not to put all my eggs there :-)
Ian
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