Amazon Associates Program, the Good, Bad and Ugly

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by Michel // September 22 // 0 Comments

Are you thinking of joining the Amazon Associates Program to supplement your income or monetize your website or blog? If so, you might be wondering if it’s worth your time and effort. After all, there are many affiliate programs available online, and some of them might offer better commissions, products, or support than Amazon.

In this article, I’ll review the good (pros), bad (cons), and ugly (competition) with the Amazon Associates Program, based on my experience and research. I’ll also give you some tips on how to make the most of it and avoid some common pitfalls.

What is the Amazon Associates Program?

Amazon Associates Program has been around for a long time. It is one of the oldest and most popular affiliate marketing programs in the world. The program allows content creators and influencers to earn commissions by promoting products from Amazon’s vast array of products and services on their websites, blogs, social media platforms, and other online channels.

You can sign up for free and create special links that direct your visitors to Amazon. When someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase within 24 hours, you earn a percentage of the sale. The commission rate varies depending on the product category, but it ranges from 1% to 10%.

You can also earn commissions by promoting Amazon services, such as Prime, Kindle Unlimited, Audible, Music Unlimited, and more. These services usually pay a fixed amount per sign-up or trial.

The Amazon Associates Program is available in many countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Australia, India, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and more. You can join multiple programs and link them together using OneLink, a tool that automatically redirects your visitors to their local Amazon store.

However, like any other program, it has its pros and cons that you should be aware of before joining. Here are some of them:

The Good (Pros) of the Amazon Associates Program

Here are some of the benefits of joining the Amazon Associates Program:

  • It’s free and easy to join. You don’t need any special qualifications or approval to become an Amazon affiliate. You just need a website or blog that meets their minimum requirements and follows their policies.
  • It has a huge selection of products. You can find almost anything on Amazon, from books and electronics to clothing and groceries. This means you can promote products that are relevant to your niche and audience.
  • It has a high conversion rate. Amazon is a trusted and popular online retailer that offers fast shipping, customer service, and competitive prices. Many people already have an account and a credit card saved on Amazon, which makes it easy for them to buy something with one click.
  • It has a low payout threshold. You can receive your earnings via direct deposit, gift card, or check once you reach $10, $100, or $1000 respectively. Other affiliate programs usually have higher minimum payouts or longer waiting periods.
  • It has helpful tools and resources. You can use various tools to create and track your links, such as SiteStripe toolbar, Product Advertising API, Link Builder Plugin, etc. You can monitor your performance and earnings using the Amazon Associates Central dashboard.

The Bad (Cons) of the Amazon Associates Program

Here are some of the drawbacks of joining the Amazon Associates Program:

  • It has low commission rates. Amazon not long ago reduced its commission rates for most product categories, making it harder for affiliates to earn a decent income. Compared to some other affiliate programs that offer 20%, 30%, or even 50% commissions, Amazon’s rates are now quite low. Even though some commission rates can be as high as 10%, the vast majority of product commissions range from 1-4%.
  • It has a short cookie life span. A cookie is a piece of data that tracks when someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase. Amazon’s cookie window is only 24 hours, which means you only get credited for sales that happen within that time frame. Many other affiliate programs have longer cookie durations, such as 30 days or more.
  • It has strict rules and policies and some of them are not very clear or transparent. You need to follow Amazon’s guidelines carefully or find yourself getting banned from the program, losing your account and any accumulated earnings. Some of the rules include not using misleading or false claims, not using link shorteners or cloakers, not sending direct links through email or social media, not using paid ads or trademarks to drive traffic, etc. Plus you cannot use your own affiliate links to buy products.
  • It has frequent changes and updates that can drive you crazy. Amazon often changes its commission rates, product categories, terms of service, product links, etc., which can greatly affect your earnings and strategy. You need to stay updated and adapt to these changes quickly or risk losing revenue or violating their policies.
  • Product Advertising API use is restricted. The PA API is used to pull detailed information such as product title, description, image URLs, prices, similar products, prime eligibility, offers, and many other details to your website (via plugin). For it to work, you must make a sale and continue making sales within a 30-day window or access to it is blocked.
  • It’s not suitable for some niches or markets. Although Amazon has a global presence, it is not available in every country or region. You may need to sign up for different programs for different markets, such as Amazon UK or Amazon India. Also, some niches may not have enough products or demand on Amazon, such as B2B or digital products.

The Ugly (Competition) within the Amazon Associates Program

Amazon Affiliate Competition is Fierce! If you are thinking of joining the Amazon affiliate program, you should be aware that the competition is fierce. There are millions of websites and blogs that promote Amazon products and earn commissions from each sale. To succeed as an Amazon affiliate, you need to have a unique selling proposition, build a loyal audience, and use a strategy to drive traffic and conversions.

Being an Amazon Associate poses some major challenges and risks. For one thing, you will compete with large-scale Amazon Associates, such as leading search engines (like Google, Bing, Yahoo), Facebook, Pinterest, and Reddit, who use different strategies and advantages in attracting and engaging users to click their links.

These major players use marketing pixels to leverage their Amazon product ads. They can collect user information such as the pages visited, the time spent, the device used, location, and more. This information is then sent to them or other third-party platforms that use it to create user profiles and target ads based on their interests, preferences, and needs. They can enable remarking which show ads to users who have previously visited other Amazon associate sites and expressed interest in some product or service. In turn, they can deliver more relevant and personalized ads to those users, which increase their click-through rates, conversions, and revenue which can leave you out in the cold.

Competition from Amazon itself. As an Amazon Associate, you will have to compete not only with other affiliates, but also with Amazon itself. Amazon has its own private label brands, which it often promotes more prominently than third-party sellers. Amazon also has a dominant position in the online retail market, which gives it an advantage over other platforms in terms of traffic, conversion, and customer loyalty. You might find it hard to rank well on search engines or attract customers who prefer to shop directly on Amazon.

Should You Join the Amazon Associates Program?

The answer depends on your goals, niche, audience, and preferences. The Amazon Associates Program is not perfect, but it has many advantages that make it appealing to many affiliates.

If you want to join a free and easy program that offers a wide range of products and a high conversion rate, then Amazon might be a good option for you. However, if you want to earn higher commissions and have more flexibility and control over your links and promotions, then you might want to look for other alternatives.

Ultimately, you need to weigh the pros and cons carefully and decide what works best for you and your website. You can also join multiple affiliate programs and test them out to see which one performs best and generates more revenue.

Tips for Success with the Amazon Associates Program

If you decide to join the Amazon Associates Program, here are some tips to help you succeed and maximize your earnings:

  • Choose products that are relevant and useful to your niche and audience. Don’t promote products that are unrelated or low-quality, as this will hurt your credibility and trustworthiness.
  • Write honest and helpful reviews and recommendations. Don’t just copy and paste product descriptions or features but provide your own opinions and insights. Explain how the product benefits your audience and why they should buy it.
  • Use different types of links and ads. Don’t just use text links, but also use images, banners, widgets, carousels, etc. Experiment with different formats and placements to see what works best for your website and audience.
  • Track and optimize your performance. Use Amazon’s reports and analytics to monitor your clicks, conversions, earnings, etc. Identify what products, links, ads, etc. are generating the most revenue and optimize them accordingly.
  • Keep learning and improving. Stay updated with Amazon’s changes and updates and adjust your strategy accordingly. Learn from other successful affiliates and follow their best practices. Test new products, links, ads, etc. and see what works better.

Final Thoughts

The Amazon Associates program is one of the more popular affiliate programs and can be a lucrative way to make money online. However, it is also very competitive and challenging. To succeed as an Amazon associate, you need to have a clear plan and follow the tips above. By choosing a profitable niche, creating high-quality content, optimizing your site for conversions, and promoting your site effectively, you’ll have a better chance to beat the competition and earn more commissions with Amazon.

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Michel has actively been online as an Internet and affiliate marketer since 2009. He has experience with many systems and programs that he has used throughout those years, finding some to be great and many not so good. He’s learned what works, and what doesn’t work and is willing to share it with you. And it is always changing!

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