Are you ready to tap into the world of Amazon affiliate marketing, but feeling overwhelmed by the rules and guidelines? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! In this blog post, we’re going to demystify the Amazon Associates Program, breaking down the dos and don’ts so you can start earning without stressing about breaking the rules.
But before we get started, let me clarify a couple of things.
Although I have worked as a lawyer specializing in International and EU Law (LLB, LLM, PhD) for over 15 years and helped more than 30,000 bloggers and online entrepreneurs create their blog legal pages and policies with my plug-and-play legal templates, free legal templates, online courses, an affordable legal bundle for bloggers, and an affordable legal bundle for online business owners, this article is meant for informational and educational purposes only.
It does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. I will not be held liable for any damages or losses caused by acting or failing to act on the grounds of the content of this article. Should your circumstances require, I encourage you to seek legal advice through other avenues. Please read my full disclaimer for further information.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in US$.
If you’d rather watch a video breakdown, head on over to my YouTube channel —same insights, different format. Click the video below to watch!
If you’re in a rush at the moment, don’t sweat it! You can always download this post as a PDF and come back to these important do’s and don’ts of the Amazon Affiliate Program for beginners later.
Let’s dive in!
Why Amazon Is the Best Affiliate Program
The Amazon Associates Program is a big hit among bloggers, content creators, and website owners. And it’s not hard to see why. Even though it’s got some strict rules and the commission rates might not be as high as other programs, the Amazon Associate Program is the easiest way to make extra money as an affiliate marketer. In fact, Amazon affiliate links usually have a much higher conversion rate.
The main reason is that people trust Amazon – it’s a brand that’s recognized all over the world.
Plus the great thing is if a customer clicks on your affiliate link to a product page of a particular product you recommend in blog posts, product reviews, or social media posts but then ends up buying similar products or even completely different products, as long as they make the purchase within 24 hours from their click on your unique affiliate link, you will get your referral fees not only on the specific products you recommended but on all purchases they make in that session.
Now, if you want to make the most of this opportunity and keep your Amazon affiliate account in good standing, you’ve got to play by the rules and follow best practices.
Why You Need to Follow the Rules of the Amazon Associate Program
If you don’t stick to the rules of the Amazon Associates Program, you could land in some serious hot water.
If Amazon catches you breaking their policies, they won’t hesitate to shut down your account on the spot. And here’s the kicker: once your account is gone, so are all your potential future earnings from your Amazon links.
Even the earnings and affiliate commissions you’ve already made but haven’t been paid out yet? Yeah, you won’t see a dime of that. That’s a massive blow, especially if you’ve spent a ton of time and effort on your affiliate marketing strategies.
And don’t think you can just get your account back easily once it’s been terminated. Amazon is super strict about its policies, and they expect you to be the same. So, it’s a no-brainer: every affiliate should make it their mission to understand and follow Amazon’s rules to the T.
These rules are outlined in Amazon’s Associate’s Program Policies and Operating Agreement.
So, let’s break down the dos and don’ts of promoting Amazon affiliate links.
DO make 3 sales within the first 180 days
The first tip I have for you when it comes to the Amazon Affiliate Program for beginners is, DO make 3 sales within the first 180 days.
When you sign up for the Amazon Associates Program, Amazon wants to ensure that you’re actively promoting their products and generating sales. To confirm this, they have a requirement that new affiliates make at least three qualifying sales within the first 180 days of joining the program.
When I say “sales”, I mean sales that tick all of Amazon’s boxes. Like, the product has to be bought by someone who clicked on your referral link and then bought the product within 24 hours. Plus, the product has to be paid for and shipped out to the customer.
If you don’t make those three sales within the first 180 days, Amazon might close your account.
So plan the timing of joining the Amazon Associate Program strategically.
First up, you’ve got to think about your website traffic. Before you jump into the program, you want to make sure your blog has a good flow of visitors. The more people you have coming to your site, the better your chances of making sales. If you’re new to this, it might be a good idea to focus on building up your target audience first.
Next, you’ve got to consider how you’re going to get your content out there. This could be through social media, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), digital marketing, or other channels. The more people see your content, the more likely you are to make sales. The type of content that converts better are product reviews and detailed blog posts or YouTube videos. These are the best ways to promote affiliate products and you should include them in your content creation plan.
Also, take into account seasonality. Consider the time of year. If you join the program just before a busy shopping period (like the holiday season), you might have a better shot at making the required 3 sales within 180 days.
DON’T cloak your Amazon affiliate links
Sure, link cloaking and shortening can make messy affiliate links look cleaner and more user-friendly and can help with tracking, but Amazon isn’t a fan of link cloaking. They want to make sure that when someone clicks on an affiliate link, they know they’re going to Amazon.
The easy way is to use the unique affiliate links (text links, image links, product links) provided in your Amazon account. All the codes provided in Amazon SiteStripe of the Amazon Associates website are also okay.
You can also use Amazon’s own link shortener. They basically give you a way to create shorter, more attractive links that still clearly point to Amazon.
You can use tools like Lasso or Thirsty Affiliates. These tools help you manage and track your Amazon links without cloaking them. They basically give you a way to create shorter, more attractive links that still clearly point to Amazon.
You can use this Copyright Notice time and time again for anything you create, your blog, your freebies, your digital products, courses, ebooks, printables, and more. Click here to get your copy for free today.
DO use the exact verbiage provided by Amazon.
Amazon needs you to have a specific affiliate disclosure on your website. The current standard disclosure you need to use is as follows:
“_____ [your blog’s 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.com.”
This is a must for compliance and you have to put this disclosure anywhere you share Amazon Associate content.
And under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines in the US and several regulations in different countries, you need to have a visible affiliate disclosure before any links can be viewed or clicked.
It’s all about being transparent and building trust with your audience and if you don’t comply, you can get a fine. I have a post all about how to disclose your affiliate links the right way.
DO List All Your URLs and Social Media
Next up, make sure to list all the URLs, including every social media account and YouTube channel you own, where you plan to share affiliate links in your Amazon Associates account. This helps Amazon keep track of where its affiliate links are being used.
DON’T Share Your Amazon Links in Emails, Offline, and Gated Sites
But keep in mind that Amazon needs all affiliate links to be placed on web pages that are open to the public. So, you can place your affiliate links on your own website/WordPress blog, within your blog posts, within your video content, in your posts on social media platforms and social networks, and on YouTube, but DON’T share them in emails, offline, pdfs, ebooks, private messages on social media channels, private Facebook groups, and other gated sites and platforms that are not accessible by the general public.
Amazon’s got some specific rules about this and requires that all affiliate links must be publicly accessible. If your affiliate links are behind a wall, that’s not allowed. If you want to share your affiliate links with your email list subscribers, you can include in your email or newsletter a link to a blog post that contains Amazon affiliate links.
DO mark all your affiliate links as ‘nofollow’
The next tip I have for you when it comes to Amazon affiliate marketing is DO mark all your affiliate links as ‘nofollow’. You can use the rel=“nofollow” tag on its own or with other attributes like “sponsored”. This is a common SEO practice to tell search engines not to follow these links or give them any credit.
DON’T use your Amazon affiliate links for your own purchases or ask friends or family to make purchases through them
Don’t use your own affiliate link to make purchases or ask friends or family members to make purchases through them. It’s really important to make genuine sales from a wide range of customers. Amazon has sophisticated tracking systems and can detect such activities, which can lead to your account termination.
DON’T offer incentives or rewards for clicking on your affiliate links.
Next up, DON’T offer incentives or rewards for clicking on your affiliate links. This includes any money, rebate, discount, points, donation to charity, or other benefits. Even mentioning that readers may support your blog by making purchases through your affiliate links is considered an incentive and is against Amazon’s rules.
DON’T use the Amazon logo and Amazon reviews in your promotional content
DON’T use the Amazon logo in your promotional content unless you have explicit permission from Amazon. Unauthorized use of Amazon’s logo can lead to account termination. Amazon owns the copyright to its reviews, and using them without permission can lead to your account being shut down.
DON’T mention prices in your content
Under Amazon’s affiliate program policies, you’re not allowed to list product prices in your promotional content unless you show the most updated price via API. The reason for this is that prices on Amazon can fluctuate frequently, and Amazon wants to avoid any confusion or misinformation.
If a customer sees one price on your website and then a different price when they click through to Amazon, it could lead to a poor customer experience. Therefore, Amazon prefers that customers see the current price directly on their website.
The only way around this is if you make sure that you always display the most updated price but it would be impossible for you to manually keep all prices updated on your website at all times.
The Best Plugin for the Amazon Affiliate Marketing Program
Lucky for us, some plugins like AmaLinks can automatically pull in the current price from Amazon and display it on your website. This is the perfect plugin to make money through the Amazon affiliate program.
One of its best features is the showcase box, which is a pretty product box that includes a lot of useful information about the product you’re promoting.
The showcase box can automatically pull in the current price of the product from Amazon. This ensures that the price is always up-to-date and accurate. The showcase box even includes a timestamp that shows when the price was last updated giving your visitors confidence that the price they’re seeing is current.
So, with the showcase boxes, you’re not just getting a pretty way to display products, you’re also getting a tool that helps you provide accurate and up-to-date information to your visitors. And the best part? It’s all done automatically, so you don’t have to worry about constantly checking and updating prices yourself.
Also, if you want to use comparison tables on your blog, make sure to include both the lowest “new” and, if available, the lowest “used” product prices for Amazon products.
This requirement applies when comparing products from other websites and Amazon.
By doing this, you provide your audience with a comprehensive view of the product’s pricing, helping them make informed decisions.
Parting shot the Amazon Affiliate Program for Beginners DOs and DON’Ts
The Amazon Associates Program is a fantastic opportunity to make great money from your blog. But it’s not just about slapping links everywhere and hoping for the best. It’s about understanding and sticking to the program’s terms, making sales within the specified timeframe, and having a plan in place to ensure compliance.
And if you want to learn more about affiliate marketing compliance to unleash your earning potential and avoid fines and legal issues, then head to this post where I’ll teach you how to write an affiliate disclosure that is 100% legally compliant to build trust with your audience and convert them into repeat customers.
Related Posts to the Amazon Affiliate Program for Beginners [Dos and Don’ts]
- How to Write a Copyright Notice for Your Blog or Website
- How to Write an Affiliate Disclosure for Your Blog Posts
- Why You Should Blog Legally to Protect Your Blog
- How We Made $30,423.77 in a Month Blogging – May Income Report