The program is one of the oldest affiliate marketing programs online. It’s also one of the largest and best programs. For 12 years now, those who join the program can earn money by advertising millions of items available on Amazon, new and used. Program members can create special custom links to use on their website or blog to sell items. If someone buys a product on Amazon using one of your program links, you will get a commission for that item (4-10%).
The program is wonderful for authors who want to link to their books that are available for sale at Amazon. The can put the links on their own websites and blogs. Most find the program easy to use.
What can’t you do with your Amazon Associate’s account? Amazon has a pretty extensive Terms of Service (ToS). If you do anything that violates those terms, and you get caught, you could be banned from the program.
What should you avoid doing with your Amazon Associate’s account?
Here are some things to avoid according to Amazon’s program policies.
Send Program Links in Email
Amazon states that it doesn’t allow the use of program links in “offline promotion or in any other offline manner.” Many members don’t realize this at first or realize that it applies to email. Since many email venues allow users to check their email offline after they’d been downloaded onto a device or into a program, then email becomes “offline.”
For best practice, don’t include Amazon program links in any emails. Instead, link to pages on your website or blog that include your member links.
Don’t Tamper With Amazon Program Links
Amazon wants all links to their website to be transparent. Amazon’s reputation is on the line so they want to ensure that their program members aren’t misdirecting users in any way. That means you can’t change the program links or shorten them in such a way that it’s not obvious it’s a link to Amazon’s website. The only link shortener you can use is, of course, Amzn.to.
No Links In Ebooks or Documents
Amazon’s program doesn’t allow the use of program links offline and that includes ebooks and PDF documents as they can be accessed offline.
You Can’t Buy Stuff With Your Own Affiliate Links
That would be great but you can’t do it. See rule #29 of Participation Requirements.
You Can’t Have More Than One Account
Amazon allows one associates program account per person. Exceptions to this are rare and violation of this rule will typically result in getting banned quickly. If you had an old account and don’t know the status of it, or have any questions, you’re best off to contact Amazon about it.
It’s an easy mistake as many think they will need a separate account for each website they operate. Not true. You can actually have up to 100 tracking IDs, one per website, from one account. And the program provides some really great reports.
Misuse of Amazon User Reviews
User reviews at Amazon are meant to help people make good decisions on products they want to buy. But you can’t copy and paste them onto your own website or blog. You also can’t use a WordPress plugin to pull user reviews from the Amazon website for display on your own. It will get you banned.
Links from Websites with Content That’s Sexually Explicit or Violent
The wording is vague in the second item of the operating agreement so if you have any questions, contact Amazon or be on the safe side with your content.
Avoid iFrame Auto Cookie Installs
Unless your tech savvy, you might not even get this one. You’ve likely heard of cookies and you may even know that, by default, Amazon stores cookie information on users who click on program links in case they buy the product you linked to with 24 hours.
Some technical folks figured out how to cheat the system here. Don’t try it. Not only can such practices get you banned from the program, you could end up in court.
No Paid Ad Placements
While paying for placement via “advertisement that you purchased through bidding on keywords, search terms, or other identifiers” may help your website grow its audience, its prohibited in the program.
Understand Amazon’s Trademark Policies
Amazon has a lot of trademarks and it’s worth the time to know them and ensure you’re not using them in ways you shouldn’t.
Don’t Mention Price Manually in Website or Blog Content
You can’t mention prices on your website or blog’s content. If you think about it, it makes sense since prices could change at any time on Amazon’s website without you realizing it.
Know How to Promote on Social Media
Amazon’s program prohibits the use of program links on a website you don’t own. When it comes to social media, you can promote as long as you don’t break any of the other rules here and the program link doesn’t end up on a social media page that has explicit sexual and violent content.
Within the program, on the Associates Site Stripe Options, you can enable social media sharing and use that for best sharing results.
All content that includes program links from Amazon must be original content and it should be of good quality because, again, Amazon’s reputation is on the line. When Google comes to index your website or blog for its search engine, it can penalize you too for using copied content and that hurts your ranking.
No Rebates or Offers to Change Prices
It’s not allowed. Don’t do it.
90 Days With No Sales
According to the program, you must make at least one sale every 90 days to remain in the program in good standing. If something happens and you can’t, you can re-apply later to be reinstated. Just be sure you’re following all the rules.