Affiliate Marketing

A Guide To Getting Started With Amazon’s Affiliate Program

With Amazon’s wild success, many are looking for how they can capitalize on the platform’s ability to generate so many sales for products in almost every area of life.

However, not everyone has the capital or resources to sell directly on or to Amazon.

The Amazon Associates Program

Amazon’s affiliate program, or Amazon Associates, allows you to get a referral fee for the traffic you send to Amazon. This can be a lucrative agreement for bloggers and other publishers looking to increase the revenue generated by their website.

The Amazon affiliate program is different from selling your products directly on Amazon through Seller Central in that you do not hold any inventory.

Recently, Amazon launched a program specifically for influencers as an extension of its regular affiliates program. If you are an influencer, be sure to review both programs to see which is the best fit for your business needs.

“The Amazon associate program is most viable for people who sell higher-priced items. Selling a $10 book is not too much easier than selling a $400 TV if you have a well-targeted audience that is able and willing to buy.”

Nate McCallister, CEO of Entreresource.com and author of Evergreen Affiliate Marketing

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The Amazon Associates program can be a key component for increasing your overall return on your website. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know to get started with the Amazon Associates Program, including:

  • What is the Amazon Affiliate Program?
  • How much money can you make with the Amazon Affiliate Program?
  • Understanding the rules for the Amazon Affiliate Program.
  • Signing up for the Amazon Affiliate Program.

What Is The Amazon Affiliate Program?

Amazon Associates is an affiliate marketing program. This means that you can get paid money in exchange for promoting the products and services that sell on Amazon.

If you have your own website or blog, this free program can help you make some extra money off the content you produce.

You will place links throughout your website, blogs, and articles that take visitors to Amazon. When a customer follows your link to Amazon and then adds products to their cart within 24 hours, you will get a commission from the sale.

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The customer has 90 days to check out their cart for you to get paid your commission – as long as the customer added the product to the cart within 24 hours of following your link.

To prevent potential fraud and negative customer experiences, Amazon has some very specific rules to participate in the program.

Read the Operating Agreement and Program Policies in their entirety before you implement the program on your site.

How Much Money Can You Make With The Amazon Affiliate Program?

The amount you can make as an affiliate will be determined by the amount of converting traffic you send to Amazon.

The exact commission you get paid on any sale depends on the category of the product (see table below).

It is important to note that the customer doesn’t have to buy the product that you specifically recommended for you to get the commission.

The Product Information on an Amazon product detail page easily shows the category of the product.Screenshot from Amazon.com, October 2021The Product Information on an Amazon product detail page easily shows the category of the product.
A Guide To Getting Started With Amazon’s Affiliate ProgramScreenshot from Affiliate-program.amazon.com, October 2021A Guide To Getting Started With Amazon’s Affiliate Program

Let’s say that I have a blog about gluten-free foods. I might recommend a specific type of bread maker or a gluten-free flour mix.

If a customer follows my Amazon affiliate link and, within the next 24 hours, purchases a TV or Christmas presents for their kids, I will get a commission based on all the sales within that 24 hour period.

If a customer clicks on another associate’s link after yours and before the sale or deletes their cookies, then Amazon will not pay you a commission for those sales.

The more people who visit Amazon from your website, the more money you stand to earn. The amount of money you earn is based entirely on the number of sales you generate.

Keep in mind that the commission table can change from time to time, so it is critical to stay up-to-date on the exact commission you might earn from the products and services you market.

Understanding The Rules For The Amazon Affiliate Program

Regardless of whether you are just starting out in the Amazon Associates program or have been a member for many years, you must follow Amazon’s operating agreement and program policies.

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Amazon can terminate your account at any time if they find you are operating outside of their policies.

Amazon expects you to proactively be reviewing the rules of the program to stay in compliance. While the list below isn’t all-encompassing, let’s review some of the most important rules for the Amazon Affiliate program.

Disclosure Statement For Amazon Affiliates

 Amazon affiliates are required to identify themselves on Amazon. It’s a critical step and must be completed by any Amazon affiliate site.

In the operating agreement, Amazon states:

“You must clearly and prominently state the following, or any substantially similar statement previously allowed under this Agreement, on your Site or any other location where Amazon may authorize your display or other use of Program Content: ‘As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.’

Except for this disclosure, and other than as required by applicable law, you will not make any public communication with respect to this Agreement or your participation in the Associates Program without our advance written permission.

You will not misrepresent or embellish our relationship with you (including by expressing or implying that we support, sponsor, or endorse you), or express or imply any affiliation between us and you or any other person or entity except as expressly permitted by this Agreement.”

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The Date And Time Of The Last Price Update Must Be Listed

When displaying product prices, you must show when they were pulled from Amazon. Prices can be obtained via the Advertising API (API).

Amazon wants the time and date to be included because prices on Amazon can be constantly changing.

Many plugins automate the process including the date and time of the price being listed and give you style control over your text.

“(i) You will include a date/time stamp adjacent to your display of pricing or availability information on your application if you obtain Product Advertising Content from Data Feeds, or if you call PA API or refresh the Product Advertising Content displayed on your application less frequently than hourly.

However, during the same day on which you requested and refreshed the pricing and availability information displayed on your application, you may omit the date portion of the stamp.”

No Pretty Links Or Link Cloaking

Amazon needs to be able to determine where the traffic is going to, and it needs to be clear to the customer that you are directing them to an Amazon site.

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When creating your links it is best to create shorter special links for your Amazon affiliate website by logging into your associates account or generating them from SiteStripe.

(v) You will not cloak, hide, spoof, or otherwise obscure the URL of your Site containing Special Links (including by use of Redirecting Links) or the user agent of the application in which Program Content is displayed or used such that we cannot reasonably determine the site or application from which a customer clicks through such Special Link to an Amazon Site.

(w) You will not use a link shortening service, button, hyperlink or other ad placement in a manner that makes it unclear that you are linking to an Amazon Site.

Emails And Ebooks Should Not Contain Affiliate Links

Sending a user directly to Amazon from an email message is prohibited. Upon returning to your website, they can select the Amazon link to a product you are promoting.

When discussing reviews or other articles about Amazon products, you should be careful when mentioning ebooks.

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A product link in an ebook should go to a blog post or landing page where you can include affiliate links.

“You will not engage in any promotional, marketing, or other advertising activities on behalf of us or our affiliates, or in connection with an Amazon Site or the Associates Program, that are not expressly permitted under the Agreement.

You will not engage in any promotional, marketing, or other advertising activities in any offline manner, including by using any of our or our affiliates’ trademarks or logos (including any Amazon Mark), any Program Content, or any Special Link in connection with email, offline promotion or in any offline manner (e.g., in any printed material, ebook, mailing, private messages on social media networks, or attachment to email, or other document, or any oral solicitation).”

Amazon Content Should Not Be Used Inappropriately

Amazon is incredibly protective of its intellectual property. Amazon owns all content on its site, and they value its intellectual properties.

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It is important to not copy the images, titles, and descriptions of products from Amazon and place them on your website.

If you want to include this information you can do that with SiteStripe or Product Advertising API on Amazon affiliate sites.

Essentially, the API represents your data feed access ID.  You will have to have at least three sales as an affiliate to gain API access.

Amazon is also extremely protective of the use of its trademarks.

It is important before you use any official Amazon marks or any marks that might be Amazon “inspired” that you are clear on the approved and disapproved uses Amazon has outlined.

“You will use Program Content solely in accordance with the terms of the Agreement and within the express scope of the license granted herein.

Without limiting the foregoing, you will (a) use Program Content solely to send end users and sales to an Amazon Site and will not link any Program Content to, or in conjunction with any Program Content, direct traffic to any page of a site other than an Amazon Site (however, parts of your Site that are not closely associated with the Program Content may contain links to sites other than an Amazon Site) and (b) link each use of the Program Content solely to the related Product detail page or other relevant page of an Amazon Site and not to any other page.”

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Don’t Bid On Amazon Branded Terms

You are allowed to run paid ads as an Amazon affiliate; however, you are not allowed to bid on Amazon-branded terms.

“You may purchase paid search advertisements and submit links to Search Engines to appear in response to a general Internet search query or keyword (i.e., in natural, free, organic, or unpaid search results), so long as you comply with the Agreement and those paid or unpaid search results send users to your site and not directly, or indirectly via a Redirecting Link (as defined in the Commission Income Statement), to an Amazon Site.”

Keep Your Personal Information Current

Indicate the address of any affiliate website on which you want Amazon affiliate links. Email, direct deposit, bank, and tax information should be up to date.

This will be how Amazon communicates with you about any issues with your account or new policies.

You Cannot Purchase From Your Own Link

You or your family members may not ever purchase through your own affiliate link. Don’t make any purchases from the computer you use for setting up the account and managing it.

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This applies even if the purchases are not made from your Amazon.com account.

“(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.”

Don’t Mimic Amazon’s Site

If you use the same design, color, and layout as the Amazon website, it will be seen as a violation.

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Rebates Are Prohibited

You are not to offer promotions or financial incentives from those that purchase from your affiliate links.

“(g) You will not offer any person or entity any consideration, reward, or incentive (including any money, rebate, discount, points, donation to charity or other organization, or other benefit) for using Special Links.

For example, you cannot implement any “rewards” or loyalty program that incentivizes persons or entities to visit an Amazon Site via your Special Links.”

Signing Up For The Amazon Affiliate Program

If you are interested in signing up for the Amazon Affiliate program, there are several steps you need to follow. These include:

Step 1: Sign Up For The Amazon Associates Program

Of course, if you want to participate in the program, you need to have a website or blog. If you haven’t done that you will need to do that before you apply for the program.

Your website must meet the program requirements outlined in the Operating Policies.

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Once you have an active website, it is time to sign up for the Amazon Associates program. All you must do is visit the home page and click the button to sign up.

From there, you will either be asked to log in to your Amazon account or create a new one. The process should only take a few minutes.

After you are finished, you can become a part of the Amazon Affiliate team.

Step 3: Enter Your Account Information

You will need to enter all your account information including your name, address, and phone number. This is a relatively straightforward process, and you will need to indicate the main contact of the account. This is probably going to be yourself.

You will also be asked to enter the preferred store ID, which will probably be the name of your website.

Amazon is going to ask you the main goal of your website. That way, you can figure out what types of products and services might be best for your affiliate strategy.

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Step 4: Share Your Website Address

Next, you need to share information about all the websites you will use to promote the product and services provided by Amazon.

For example, you may need to include the URL to your website.

Step 5: Drive Traffic To Your Website

Amazon is also going to ask you how you plan on driving traffic to your website.

How do you typically build your links?

How many visitors do you typically have monthly?

How do you use your website or mobile applications to generate income?

This information is going to be important for helping you construct a well-rounded strategy. You may drive traffic to your website using social networks, SEO, blogs, shopping portals, or even paid search strategies.

Step 6: Choose How You Want To Get Paid

After this, you need to indicate how you want to get paid.

You will also be asked to share your tax ID information. (You can skip this step and choose to come back to it later.)

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Step 7: Start Making Your Links

Finally, you will need to create Amazon affiliate links that you can use to send your visitors to Amazon.

You should have a personal homepage that you can use to track your performance dashboard.

This will also give you a summary of your total clicks, the total amount of money you have made, and give you access to the information you can use to follow trends over time.

It is relatively easy to create a link using the Amazon Associate program.

You simply must click on the product linking area in the top banner, add the ASIN of the product or service, then click the button to generate a link.

Start Creating And Promoting Your Content

The Amazon Associates program is one of the most popular affiliate marketing programs out there.

Your Amazon affiliate links will be most successful if you are providing high-quality content that helps your readers.

Having an existing audience can help you get a faster start with the Affiliate Program, too.

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Featured Image: Visual Generation/Shutterstock

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