This is why you have to wait for payment from Amazon

Last Update: May 13, 2019

I have been very lucky so far with Amazon sales. I had only a few returned items up to this point and they were returned before I was paid so they didn't affect me too much.

This week I had a shock however. I logged in to Amazon Associates and saw I had a negative balance for the day! My first thought was "Oh no, do I own Amazon money?" I made a few sales that gave me a profit of several dollars but I had a returned item for -$9. So the net was -$7. I have made enough this month that I still have a profit, that was just the balance for that one day. Now the catch is that I made this sale of an expensive product with a $9 commission a month ago in April. This refund will count toward my balance in May however because now is when it got returned. So it occurred to me this is why Amazon makes you wait two months to get paid! They don't want to pay Associates for commissions, then have an item returned and then have us owing them the commission back. This way the return is still within the time frame between when the sale was made and when I get paid for that sale. I am making money from Amazon each month, but the payment I get in May will be for sales I made in March.

Now I understand why there is such a long delay for affiliate commissions.

Here is the real irony of the whole story. I posted in April about the fact I expected to break my monthly sales record for Amazon commissions. I even mentioned that I doubted I would have to worry about returned items because I had only had one return so far this year. What do you know. It was one of those very items that prompted that post back in April that is now being returned! It is also one of the single largest commissions on an item I have had. The good news is I still surpassed $50 in April, in fact I exceeded $60, but with this $9 loss and a slower month, I won't be breaking any records in May.

The moral of the story is 'don't count your chicks until they are hatched' as the famous saying goes.

It is all a learning experience. I hope the several posts I added to my site recently will kick things into gear soon. There is often a lag to see the full effect of posting when you have not been doing so on your site.

Jessica

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MaryFRM Premium
Returns are a natural part of dealing with Amazon.
It happens all the time and is not your fault.
You are right - we only can count the money when it's in our wallet.
Cutting the commissions was much more real and important thing that happened recently with Amazon.
I'm sure you are aware.
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Swangirl Premium
Yes. That is unfortunate that they lowered some commissions. Luckily the rate for my category of products is still 8% and did not change. However, if someone buys something from one of the other categories through one of my links then I get a lower commission. Someone ordered shoes just after the new lower rates went into effect and I thought about the difference in commission I was getting.
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RDulloo Premium
So sorry to hear about that return, Jessica. It's probably not a product you promoted right? Maybe something else that they bought along with the product you recommended?

Thanks a ton for sharing this because this is something that I didn't know about. I'm thinking of another niche website that I will be starting in the near future once I get my WA-promoting website stabilized so I will definitely be promoting stuff from Amazon. This is very much appreciated.

And don't worry about it. This is a business. Unfortunately, we cannot force anyone to buy and we can't force anyone to keep the things they buy, especially since we're not the sellers. But we live and learn!

I wish you continuing growth in your business. This is a temporary setback. You are destined for great things and you will be successful!

Reyhana
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Swangirl Premium
Thank you Reyhana! No, this was not an item I review or promote. This was a bathroom ceiling fan!
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Selenityjade Premium
I didn't really think it through, but you're absolutely right! There are always reasons for the things Amazon does. It's not to screw anyone, but simply to make sure they're not screwed. :)

Just like the 180 days to make 3 sales. Since most people who sign up for something never follow through, I suspect Amazon doesn't want a billion inactive accounts taking up space. They give you six months to get active and stay open. More people give up than follow through. We notice this with WA referrals. How many members sign up and never go premium? :)
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Swangirl Premium
Yes. Amazon gets a bad rap sometimes but I have not had problems with them. I would rather wait to get paid then risk owning them money later!
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Selenityjade Premium
I mean, if you realize why they do what they do its easier to understand. People often just assume the worst because of some hassle on their part. Sure, the commissions are on the lower end, but they're a huge retailer. I've only had one problem because they made an error, but when I didn't give up they restored my 'temporary' account, which is supposed to be permanent if they reject you. But because the mistake was theirs, they fixed it. So yeah, Amazon has been fine for me. :)
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laparra1 Premium
Good Morning Jessica,

I like that saying of do not count your chicks before they hatch. I did not know that saying.
We say do not sell the skin before you shoot the bear but as I do not like hunting I do not like that saying.
I am still waiting for any kind of commission, wonder when that will happen. I sent you my latest post, have you used that tool? Greetings from the south of Spain, Taetske
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Swangirl Premium
That seems like a very strange saying for Spain? Do you mean that was a saying where you are from?

I have not seen that post yet. I will look at it.

Thanks Taetske.
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laparra1 Premium
Good evening Jessica,

This about the bear I used to hear in Holland when I was small.

All the best, Taetske
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Swangirl Premium
I see. I didn't think there were bears in Spain. There aren't bears in Holland now are there? Was that a saying from long ago?
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laparra1 Premium
Yes, there are teddies in Spain.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantabrian_brown_bear
In Holland, there were bears until the eleventh century.
I think this saying is still used nowadays but I remember it from when I was small.
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Swangirl Premium
Wow, that is neat they are still there in the mountains. I see the last female that could reproduce was killed in 2004 and now they are introducing more.

They are definitely smaller. Ours are about twice as large on average and the biggest ones are over 3 times larger.

Are there black bears in Spain as well? We have many more black bears and they are much smaller.
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laparra1 Premium
Good Morning Jessica,

It is always the same story. Farmers do not like bears and the authorities try to keep the bears from dying out. Yes, France is so nice to send 2 girls over the border. I have not heard yet that the wedding was a success.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/27/france-release-bears-pyrenees-first-time-decade-secour-lonesome/
No black bears in Spain.

Greetings from the south of Spain, Taetske
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Swangirl Premium
Thanks Taetske. We are lucky here we still have most of our indigenous wildlife (in Alaska). We have brown, black and polar bears (up north...I have never been anywhere near a polar bear). I grew up with everything else though. I saw wild wolves twice which was amazing. You don't usually see them even if you live where they are. I also saw a wolverine once which my parents have never even seen! My Dad lived here since 1959 and he never saw one up close like I got to. I was home alone and it wandered into the yard when I was younger. I never saw a lynx until we moved out here though. They are adorable. I know Europe is trying to save their lynx as well. We have many eagles and large birds too. I love all types of wildlife. A duck from Asia showed up here last week and people are coming from all over to see it. They don't know if it got blown over in a storm. My favorites are the trumpeter swans. I grew up with them and love them. The same pair would come back to our lake every year to nest and raise their cygnets.

It is 10:00 PM and still sunny here. I need to eat dinner! Have a great day.
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laparra1 Premium
Good Morning Jessica,

Nice to have seen all these animals. I remember in our first house in Holland sometimes a small deer would stand in front of the living room window.
In my beginning years on my farm in Spain, a fox would be dancing in the field but with the expansion of the village, foxes had to move to the mountains. Now there are only small animals like rabbits and hedgehogs and also snakes living here.
The big fishpond in the back of the garden would sometimes be visited by a wild duck and the babies, she would take them for their first swim.
I saw on tv when that pretty lynx was set free with its GPS collar
https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/02/20/inenglish/1519122383_567696.html

Greetings from the south of Spain, Taetske
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Swangirl Premium
Oh my goodness! That lynx is tiny! I didn't see any photos like that with people for reference. I saw a documentary on TV about them and they were gorgeous.

I am glad they are trying to keep the population going since they are very endanger. I just read if they went extinct they would be the first feline extinction in 10,000 years.

I always get excited to see a fox. They seem exotic to me since we had mostly coyotes at home. We have gorgeous red fox around here occasionally.
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skmorrow Premium
I had someone order 6 or 7 items the other day and they were all pretty similar, so I am expecting some returns. I do understand why they make us wait for commissions. Returns are no fun, but part of the game I guess.

The good thing is you are making consistent sales. BTW...how's the weather?
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Swangirl Premium
That is a good point. Yes, I guess you might get some returns from that order.

The weather is average for this time of year. We had the warmest March ever here (in the 50s for long stretches). Then April was cooler and we had record setting snow late into the month. Now May is pretty normal. Highs in the 50's and low 60's and leaves all coming out now on the trees. It is so amazingly green here in the summer. I am looking at birch trees out the window now.

Summer doesn't come into full effect until later in June here. July and August are our warmest months. This is our normal spring.
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FKelso Premium
Good to have that one explained. Jessica, do you put a product or more for sale in all your posts?
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Swangirl Premium
I have products reviewed with links in most but not all of my posts. If I don't have a product link I make sure to have an internal link to another post that does have product links.

I see so many people wait to start adding links but it just makes no sense to me. I think it works better to just dive right in and start reviewing products. I don't even have an email list so I am not worried too much about developing trust before offering products for sale. I think most people finding my site find it through keywords, not site loyalty. I think people must trust my site since I started getting sales from the first few months my site was live. As long as I continue to offer very personalized reviews, keep my site uncluttered (no pop ups, no random ads and banners etc) my site will be less commercial feeling and more trustworthy. If we are counting on organic searchers to find our site then we might as well make most posts profitable and have affiliate links. Organic searchers aren't likely to read the whole site anyway. They have found a post because of a specific keyword. If they are searching for reviews of a certain product they want a review of that product, so I say give them what they want. I have a few posts without affiliate links and I will continue to scatter them in at random.
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FKelso Premium
Thanks for the input. I especially like the idea of linking posts with no affiliate links to posts that have them.

I don't have affiliate links in all my posts...more like every other one. Perhaps I should add a few more products? What do you think?
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Swangirl Premium
I will look at your site again and let you know.
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Swangirl Premium
Yes, I would add more links if you want to make more money. It depends on the goal of your site but if the goal is to make an income then I would definitely add more links.

Your site is great and I know you don't want it to look to commercial. If there are not links though, people can't buy stuff. I love the relaxed feel of your site. It is a nice place to curl up and hang out.
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FKelso Premium
Thanks much. Now all I have to do is figure out where to add and what to add. Sigh! Yet another challenge...wish I didn't have to worry about the links at all. In fact, if my other site would take off, I might just keep the cat one ad-free.
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Swangirl Premium
I can understand how you feel. I used to worry about the same thing with my site but there sure is demand for cat products to solve problems.
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LLettau1 Premium
Charge backs are the dirty element of commissions.
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Swangirl Premium
Yes. I really can't complain though. Statically I have hundreds of sales for each return.
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Suzay Premium
It's not really a "charge back.". It's just a return. I sell Merchant account services in my what, non- virtual life. -Wow, I could have used some help explaining that!
Charge back is a refusal to pay. Merchants don't want this because it affects a lot of things, including
or *especially fees, because more c. b.'s = higher risk. = higher fees.
So for most WA and others as affiliates, you don't need to have a Merchant account, because your sales go through someone else's system. Then your portion is extracted and given to you. Easy and breezy, not the sweat of qualifying, and obtaining a Merchant account for virtual business expanding well above 10 grand a month for your private brand, virtual business.
If you do need, maybe we should talk numbers. MOTO (mail, telephone, virtual) anyone, question mark? I get the inside scoop, private message!
Thank you Jessica, and glad you shared that with me, beautiful Swangirl!
Suzay
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Swangirl Premium
I am not worried about charge backs, that was just the word LLettau1 used here.

Thanks though Suzay.
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Brenda63 Premium
Chargebacks are common thing for any products. Good thing you don’t have to deal with a merchant credit card payments, they charge a fee for the chargebacks for return of a product.

Anyhow, good to know about this experience. Keep doing what you are doing.

When I sold life insurance, if the policy was cancelled, I had chargebacks. Instead of receiving small monthly commissions, I signed up for yearly advancement. Big mistake, got a lot of chargebacks. For the next few sales, they took all of my commissions for the chargebacks because I didn’t have a reserve account. I learned to put some of my commissions into a reserve account and signed up for monthly commissions. Similar to what we get here at WA when our referrers pay monthly. That experience was different from my mortgage loan origination business. I earned a percent of commission from the front end of the loan and a percentage on the back end of the loan at closing. No chargebacks.

Jessica, thanks for sharing your experiences. That’s helpful now I know what I need to be prepared for if I get my Amazon Affiliate account set up.
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Swangirl Premium
Thanks Brenda. It is definitly something to keep in the back of your mind when you start counting how much you have "made". Until you get paid, don't count on it. However, statistically I have been just fine. I have only had a couple of returns out of hundreds of sales.

The insurance must have been stressful never knowing how much you could lose.
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Suzay Premium
Brenda, good to cover your back with reserves. Reserve for taxes is a good idea also.
Suzay
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Fitzythird Premium
Wow....April showers bring May returns! Now I'm new, but would now be a time to search out less broad market affiliate programs? For instance, if you're offering waffle irons, instead of driving folks to Amazon, you go to the more specialized and maybe more affiliate friendly sites?
I'm asking this for you as well as for me because your post is gut wrenching! I'm sure you will rise above, but I'm just hoping I would!
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Swangirl Premium
Thank you Fritzy.

This is an often debated topic here. The pros and cons of Amazon.

The catch in this case is that many affiliate programs work this way. This not unique to Amazon. Many make you wait to get paid and subtract returns.

There are many benefits to Amazon though they get a bad rap. There is name recognition and trust by consumers. People are more likely to buy something from Amazon because they recognize the name rather than some merchant they have not heard of. The biggest plus with Amazon is that we get commissions from any item ordered not just the items we review. I have many sales of items I don't review and many that are totally unrelated like shoes and DVDs, books and cell phone accessories. The big ticket items I sold last month where home improvement items (the returned item was a ceiling fan). I don't review any of these products. Amazon is very unique in this regard. If I used a pet food store instead of Amazon, people could not go buy a pair of shoes along with their order of cat food or a ceiling fan for the bathroom when they looked at cat supplements.

I don't like the takeover of the huge companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon but for the affiliate marketer starting out I have to say Amazon is great. I don't get any sales from my non-Amazon links.

Jessica
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Fitzythird Premium
Jessica, thank you! That sums it up and I'm sold. I was just looking at it the wrong way. The unintentional sales is certainly appealing! Thanks again!
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Swangirl Premium
I am glad I could help. I really think Amazon is a smart choice when we are starting in this business. There is another big advantage I have noticed as well. If you make sales of many different products on Amazon you will reach the payment thresehold more quickly. If I sign up for 10 different affiliate programs elsewhere and each of them has a payout thresehold of say $20, I would have to get enough sales on each platform in order to get paid. It could take years to reach that thresehold on all of the different platforms. You would have to make $200 of commissions evenly spread out over those 10 platforms. With Amazon you just have to reach one thresehold amount so you would actually make money faster. They do have their waiting period but honestly most people are not going to reach the thresehold amounts on other sites (some are more like $30 or $50) in the first two months anyway. After that first two months I believe you are better off with all your sales getting pooled into one payment each month.

The catch is that it is never good to put all your eggs in one basket of course. If Amazon shut down your account you would have to reapply. I am working to diversify a bit more but plan to keep Amazon as my base for now. Just make sure to read all the fine print on Amazon Associates. Their terms are very specific but have not given me problems.
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Fitzythird Premium
Makes perfect sense! Thanks for taking the time. Advice taken...
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SondraM Premium
May isn't over yet, so you could still break a record.

That said, the first two weeks have started out kind of slow in my little retail shop. I've heard a few other people make similar comments.
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Swangirl Premium
I wonder why? Beginning of summer and kids getting out of school and parents busy with graduations maybe.
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SondraM Premium
I am not sure since our customer bases will not be made up only of parents.

Granted, we a light snow last week - so I'm hoping this week is the start of spring here. lol

Easter, Mother's Day and just spending time outdoors after being cooped up inside all winter maybe????
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Swangirl Premium
Probably so.
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directJ Premium
that sucks, but also see why they do it, thanks for info and update.
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Swangirl Premium
Thanks! It is only logical.
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Mick18 Premium
Sorry to hear that Jessica. I hope these new posts will bring you more success.
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Swangirl Premium
Thanks Mickey.
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hummingbyrd Premium
Thanks Jessica, that is important info to keep in mind.
Jay
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Swangirl Premium
Yes, I thought of titling this "Don't count your chicks before they are hatched".
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Torgom Premium
Good job. Wishing you lots of sales!!!
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Swangirl Premium
Thank you!
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Suzay Premium
Yes Jessica, Whales of Sales!!
Suzay
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