Top 15 Amazon Affiliate Program Regulations [DON'T BREAK ANY] I have realized that there are a lot of people getting started with the Amazon Associates Program who don't quite understand the rules of this stern program.
In this thread, I am going to share 15 Amazon Affiliate Program Regulations, that you need to abide by. I know that there are many don't'S in the Amazon Associate program but I think these 15 Regulations are key. I advise you cautiously look into the Rules of the Amazon Associates Program on your own. This is just a quick guide to get you started.
1. Sending Amazon Affiliate Links Via Email
Of all the Amazon Affiliate Program Regulations, this rule will always come at the top. This is because Amazon does not allow anyone to promote their affiliate products offline in anyway. Well, how does that include email? Have you ever realized that whenever you access your emails using a mobile device, you will be able to read all those emails offline? Most email platforms actually allow users to have access to their emails offline once they have been downloaded on any desktop email client or in a mobile device. This means that soliciting sales by sending an Amazon affiliate link via emails will land in you trouble. However, there is a solution for email marketers. The alternative is that you could email the link to the webpage (that is, your webpage) which contains the Amazon affiliate link. That way you are not directly driving traffic to the Amazon affiliate link via email. However, you are actually driving traffic to your webpage.
This loophole is a great advantage for affiliate marketers because you can always build and advertise a Niche Site or an affiliate store.
Niche sites are websites that give lots of information about a certain niche, for example, physical fitness. The creators and owners of such sites often take advantage of advertising affiliate products related to their niche. It does not matter what type of Affiliate Program you use as long as you do not violate any rules. Affiliate Stores, however, are online shops that have been built using affiliate links. These types of websites look like any normal online stores. The difference is that they use affiliate links from a merchant, in this case Amazon. Nowadays there are various software that allows you to build these types of Sites without having to go through most of the hustles involved.
2. Promoting Affiliate Links In Websites That Are Not Publicly Available
Websites that are not publicly available include membership site or any webpage where people have to log in before they have access. So, if you have password protected pages on your website where people have to log in before they can view it, PLEASE do not put any affiliate links there. Otherwise, trouble will follow.
3. Operating More Than One Account
Some affiliate marketers apply for many Amazon accounts in an attempt to maximize profits. Because Amazon hates spam and like their bans to be weighty. They allow one person to operate only one account. If you operate more than one account, expect to get an email from Amazon asking you about this behaviour. This email seems a bit lenient. But it is just an opportunity for you to come clean if you are one of the people with more than one account. When given this opportunity please come clean. You might just receive grace from Amazon. In some cases, you may be allowed to operate more than one account if you ask. So if you have the need to use more than one account, don't be shy to ask.
But instead of owning many accounts there is an alternative. Suppose that you have more than one niche site. Then all you need to do is to create a tracking ID for that particular site. You are actually allowed to create up to 100 tracking ID from one account.
4. Using Automatic Cookie installation
Using automatic cookie installation or Auto-Tagging your Amazon Sessions will land you in trouble with Amazon. By default Amazon already stores cookie information for users who click on your Affiliate marketing links. The cookies on Amazon usually save your affiliate information in case your referrals buy through your links within 24 hours. Unfortunately, some of the Amazon Affiliates have found a way to manipulate the system by auto-tagging users. This manipulation tactic makes it appear as if the Affiliate is generating lots of traffic. This ultimately leads to the Affiliate generating large sums of revenue. Business Insider reports a story in which Shawn Hogan and Brian Dunning designed a software called WhoLinked which enabled them to scam eBay in over $35 Million. These two were caught by a trap eBay set for them and were formally prosecuted. Please avoid any form of auto-tagging in your Amazon sessions as this will land in serious, SERIOUS trouble. I hope you don't want the FBI on your case.
5. Violating Amazon's Trademark Policy
Amazon owns a list of trademarks that are like treasure to them. They have the right to protect these trademarks at all costs. By saying at all costs I mean that you can be banned from using Amazon Associates Program even if you have generated millions of revenue for them as an Affiliate. Amazon actually has a long list of Non-exhaustive Trademarks.It is quite easy for you to violate the Amazon trademark policy by using the trademark information in your domain name or even a Facebook Fan Page. Here is an example of correct and incorrect use of Trade Names.
_Correct use_ XYZ.com/Amazon-fashion-review
_Incorrect use_ AmazonFashionReviews.com
From the above examples, you can readily tell that naming your Facebook Fan Page using any one of the Amazon Trademarks can get you out of business in the blink of an eye. The same applies for using them in your domain name. There is great benefit in using the trademarks from Amazon properly.
6. Promoting on Social Media Pages or Groups That Violate The Rules
Although there are important rules that manage the sharing of Amazon Affiliate links on social media, the gist is that you should avoid all offenses that can get you banned. These include sharing your affiliate links on violent or sexually explicit social media page and/or using Amazon trademark information in your page titles, as we discussed before.
The trick is always simple though. You simply have to use the Amazon Associate Site Stripe. Sharing links without using the Amazon Associate Site Stripe will not land you in trouble but you will not attract any commission if a sale is made as a result of your efforts.
7. Offering Any Form Of Incentives
Incentivizing people to visit links is one of the best ways of generating traffic. However, with Amazon Associates Program, this strategy is a BIG NO NO. The Amazon Associates Agreement categorically, states that:
You will not offer any person or entity any consideration or incentive…_
ClickBank, on the contrary, allows its affiliates to use the strategy to their advantage. Just as a note of caution, before fully engaging yourself in any affiliate program please read the terms and conditions or find some who understands the program to help you.
8. Shortening or Obscuring Your Site URL
Amazon hates affiliate marketers who shorten the URL for any site that contains the special links or affiliate links from Amazon. One of the reasons is that Amazon actually wants to track you. So it is best you're transparent from the very on set. Remember that when applying for the Affiliate account you are not allowed to use popular sites unless you own them. So URL shortening can actually mask the use of popular site s form the onset. Hence, according to 30th Participation Requirement the Amazon explicitly states that they need to "determine the site from which a customer clicks through such Special Link to the Amazon Site."
9. Using Your Affiliate Link To Purchase Products You Promote
Imagine how lovely it would be if you could actually earn money from own purchase. Let me be honest here. I have actually thought of doing a number of times. But by some form luck or divine intervention, I always forgot. After reading Rule 29 of the Participation Requirements I realized that I could have possibly been banned.
10. Using Amazon User Reviews as Your Own
Please DO NOT copy or use any part of other people's product reviews in your own reviews or blogs. Even if you are just using them as reference, DON'T. However, Amazon does not actually say that you cannot use these reviews to get some understanding of the product you intend to promote. But copying the content or part of a review or even using their ratings can spell the end of your Amazon Affiliate business.
It is always nice though to look through other people's reviews to have a general idea of what you are going to be writing about. After all, there is no need to re-invent the wheel, right? There is actually one trick here that I learned from Pat Flynn. When you are looking for strengths and weakness of a product on Amazon, always go through the reviews but pay attention to the 3 stars. He actually says good things come in three's. By this, he meant that the 3-star reviews in Amazon will actually tell what is good and not so good about that product. It is more like a neutral, middle ground opinion between the Likes and the Dislikes. As a final note under this rule, if you often use freelancers to generate reviews please give them a heads-up well in time or be sure to review their work before publishing. Otherwise, they might obliviously copy other people reviews and load them in your comments section.
11. Promoting On Sexually Explicit and/or Violent Sites
We did cover this a little bit early. However, I see no reason why we cannot interrogate it a little more. According to Rule 2 Amazon considers all sites that "promote or contain sexually explicit materials" as "unsuitable." Please do not take this lightly. Even if you may occasionally enjoy a dose of p0rn be sure NOT to leave an Amazon Affiliate link there.
12. Buying Paid Search Placements
I know that advertisement can actually generate a lot of traffic for your website, but in the case of Amazon Affiliate Program just rely on organic traffic. It is in your best interest to find ways to generate organic traffic. Yes, it means a lot of hard work. But we have to realize the fact that the hard work is all worth it in the end. Imagine how wonderful it could be to have an Amazon Niche Site operating for the rest of life. Then you can eventually enjoy those long vacations you have always wanted.
13. Manually Inserting or Mentioning Product Prices in Site Contents
It is a good idea to tell your prospects what they will be paying for any particular product. But if you are using the Amazon Affiliate Program do not mention or insert the price in a post or on your niche site manually. The main reason for this is that Amazon prices are frequently changing. I believe abiding by this rule also protects your reputation as an affiliate marketer. Imagine displaying a price that is actually much higher than what Amazon is charging. Say, because the product is on SALE. Then some of your prospects may be turned off by that mistake. You also risk looking like a con.
If you would like to show prices on your niche site or any form of a post, Amazon expects you to list "both the lowest "new" price and, if we provide it to you, the lowest "used" price at which the Product is available on the Amazon Site." Otherwise, silence is golden!
Here is a solution to the problem for all those who want to show prices. Your best option is to find themes or Plugins that automatically update the prices as given in Amazon and also comply with the rules. Examples of such themes and Plugins include Ultimate Azon, EasyAzon.
14. Using Copy Content To Promote Amazon Affiliate Products
Let us first start of by defining this term "Copy content". "Copy Content" can be defined as: "written content conveyed through online media and print materials. Copy content is primarily used for the purpose of advertising or marketing. This type of written material is often used to persuade a person or group as well as raise brand awareness."There are actually two types of Affiliate marketers that I have come across in the 3 short years that I have been a student of this space. There are those that focus on generating traffic and actually provide useful and mostly FREE high-quality content to their followers. Then, there are those that focus on "BUY, BUY, BUY". That is to say, they focus only on conversion. The latter often use copy content a lot rather than providing informative messages.
The truth is conversion is good for business. Plus you need to deliver a sales letter every now and then to your prospects. But imagine me promoting a product from Amazon and writing a review that starts with the words "This is so sexy". Then thereafter I just spew out a lot of copy instead of actually giving relevant information about the product. That would just make the Amazon brand look bad! Also, Amazon hates it when you say things like "this is my affiliate link, click on it to purchase the product." They would expect you to disclose that you use Affiliate but not to solicit or encourage people to act. Have a look at my Amazon Disclosure. It is in your best interest to give out high-quality information on your niche site. This will be good for both your Amazon affiliate account and your Google Rankings. The truth is that your Google rankings can be affected by a lot of copy content. So just be smart about it.
15. Not Making Sales In The First 180 Days
When I first registered for the Amazon Associates program this was one of the requirements I saw. So go out there and conquer my friend. Make that first sale within the first 180 days! If you fail, however, your account will be de-activated but the good news is that you can always re-apply.
An Amazon Affiliate Website Reached $22k/m in 19 months
Amazon, Affiliate Program, Adsense Setup: Finding Suitable Products, Keywords, Traffic
10 Site Affiliate SEO Case Study