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Amazon Affiliate Requirements – Disclosure and other Rules

A few years ago I shared my story about my Amazon Affiliate Account getting closed and costing me a painful $100k in affiliate advertising program earnings! 

Today I'm sharing a detailed analysis of the Amazon Affiliate Requirements and what you need to do to stay compliant so that your Associates Program account doesn’t get closed. 

Most importantly, I'm sharing a completely free new WordPress Plugin that helps you get your site compliant with Amazon in seconds!


Specifically, I'm going to go over the updated disclosure recommendations for 2020, how the free plugin makes it easier then ever to be compliant, and a detailed audit process that we can execute as affiliate marketers. 

If you have had your Amazon Associate account closed we will get into how to appeal to get it re-opened, and if all else fails, the critical steps to open a brand new one. 

Think about this post as covering 2 parts… 

  • First: Prevention (what to do to not get your account closed) 
  • Second: Recovery (how to get your account re-opened or create a new one) 

Prevention Sections:

  1. 7 Most Common Reasons for Getting Banned by Amazon Associates
  2. Amazon Affiliate Disclosure Template
  3. Complete Amazon Affiliate Requirements (including checklist) updated for 2020

Recovery Section:

  1. Appeal and Reopen Your Closed Amazon Affiliate Account
  2. How to Start a “New” Amazon Associate Account

To read the Amazon Associates Program details (highly recommended - but tough read), here are the 2 links:

My $100k Loss Backstory & Why I Care So Much About This Topic

Very shortly after I left my day job and had planned (in part) on my Amazon Associate earnings as being one of my main sources of income to support my family, I received the dreaded email saying I was no longer welcome to participate in the Amazon Associate program. Yikes!!! I had just made the entrepreneurial jump and then immediately took a HUGE hit. No longer being able to run my Amazon Affiliate websites was going to be an issue for my business. I needed to figure out a way to fix this.

The reason... myself and a partner had just purchased an Amazon Affiliate niche site and one of his other partners was doing some sketchy things with Amazon. 

This impact was PAINFUL and wiped out well over six figures in value very shortly after I left my day job. The silver lining is I'm now able to help other Amazon Affiliate store owners by sharing details about the process on this blog post.

This is what Amazon said in both their emails ...

During our research, we have determined that an account belonging to you (or a person affiliated with you) has previously been closed for violations of the Operating Agreement or one of the other Associates Programs operated by our affiliates.

Based on the analysis I was able to identify that the bad actor was a partner of one of my partners resulting in 3 accounts I was associated with (and all connected) getting suspended.  

From that, the process and tools shared in this post were born.


This post, as well as additional research, has led us to create this list of the 7 most common mistakes that people are making with their Amazon Affiliate sites that could lead to their accounts getting suspended or closed! 


But what I am most proud of is the best, fastest and completely free wordpress plugin dedicated to helping ensure you stay compliant with Amazon - check it out!


7 Most Common Reasons an Amazon Associate Account is Closed


In this post I have tried to stay on the conservative side, however, I fully realize people may choose to dial up the risk in order to generate more clicks/sales since this is affiliate marketing. I understand the need to try and find the right balance between risk and reward, and in this post have tried to present the “ideal” low risk plan.


Now that we’ve had the Amazon audit process up and running for a little while, we are able to analyze the data and see the biggest problems with our sites and the sites we have reviewed. I hope this post provides you with 7 actionable items to consider regarding your Amazon Affiliate website and the Amazon associates program.


See below for the 7 most frequently failed Amazon Audit questions that could result in your associate account being suspended.


ONE - Use of Logo at all or Trademark without Disclosure Statement


Update - Thanks to Matt Allen AMALinksPro for providing feedback and based on his research and interpretation of the Operating Agreement this section has been updated. 


Everyone knows to include an earnings disclosure but what about a trademark ownership disclaimer? 


Amazon Logo and Trademark Disclosure Template:


The correct disclosure to use on every page of your site that has Amazon or an Amazon.com logo is “Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.”


Your Amazon Affiliate Account can get shut down pretty fast if Amazon thinks you’re violating their Trademark and Logo policy. The tricky thing with Amazon is that they actually own the rights to other Trademarks and logos, such as Kindle. 


This question comes from probably the most clear requirement on the Amazon Affiliate Program Rules and Trademark Guidelines. You can find them here, or see the snapshot below.

So basically if you have anything that looks like this on your site then Amazon could shut you down:

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates

  • TIP – Most people have the earnings disclaimer on their site but people (myself included) usually miss having the trademark disclaimer on the required pages.
  • TIP – Although it looks ugly, if you want to be on the very safe side don't include images and do include the Amazon trademark disclaimer on every page and not just the disclaimer page! This free affiliate plugin gets you setup properly in seconds!

So to answer the question ...


Can I use Amazon logo on my affiliate website?


No, although the operating agreement contradicts itself and there is an argument for being able to use it. I would recommend to NOT use any image for Amazon OTHER than the ones provided and only if you are using an Affiliate link. So what are the images provided by Amazon? Just these beautiful ones from 1994 when Amazon got founded 🙂 ...


Buy from Amazon buttons



To read a much deeper analysis of this and an interesting chat transcript with an Amazon customer support checkout this great post...

https://amalinkspro.com/can-i-use-the-amazon-logo-or-the-amazon-prime-logo-on-my-website/



TWO - Incentives


The second most common issue is the following question:


“Does the site offer affiliate advertising incentives (including any money, rebate, discount, points, donation to charity or other organization) for using Affiliate Links on the site?”


Many of the niche website affiliate marketing tricks need to be dialled back when it comes to staying compliant with the Amazon Affiliate Program Rules.

 

We have been finding that some of the sites that we have audited provide incentives, especially in the form of money rebates for using their link. Most of the offers we found were clearly only to incentivize the click and had no substance to people looking to claim the “rebate” or “save an additional x%”.


The clean and simple rule is DON’T do it! Incentivizing people to click on a link to Amazon is a slippery slope and a very easy way to get your account shut down. Including text like “ Click here to get 10 dollars off this product” are no good.


Here are some images of what NOT to do (not images from any sites we have reviewed):

THREE - Incorrect Use of Pricing or Product Images


The third most common issue that people have with their sites is incorrectly using product images and/or prices.

 

Here is the general rule of thumb – don’t include images from Amazon or pricing UNLESS you are pulling them with the Amazon API.


Comparison tables are great but don’t include the price on your site because Amazon products change their prices all the time. Including an old promotion price without realizing that the promotion has expired could also be seen as “inaccurate or misleading advertising” which will also get your account shut down.


Tools such as AMALinks Pro and AAWP will use the Amazon Associates API to automatically pull the price and images.


Below are a couple examples of what not to do ...


Example: You still have this on your site after the promotion ends

Remember: ONLY pull the price or product image using the Amazon API. 


FOUR - Link Cloaking

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 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 the Amazon Site.


– Program Participation Requirements, Section 6. (v) “Content on your Site"

The fourth most common issue with Amazon Affiliate sites is the question “Are any links on the site using a link shortener in a manner that makes it unclear that we are linking to an Amazon Site?”. This is listed as 4th but is certainly the most debated issue when it comes to Amazon.


A lot of people do this! I’ve done it. Basically, Amazon doesn’t want you to make it unclear that you are sending a user to Amazon so they have words in their TOC’s that make it questionable to use link shortening/cloaking services.


So can you use Bitly, PrettyLinkPro or Geni.us Link? The truth is it is not 100% clear! Many many people do and Amazon knows they do so it is likely a lower risk (if you take some additional steps), but still not 100% compliant with Amazon. 


If you do use one of these URL shorteners you need to take an extra step to ensure that it is clear the link will direct people to Amazon.  Here & here is how Geni.us links discusses the use of its tool to stay compliant with Amazon Associates.


The short version is DO NOT use link shorteners like Bitly and PrettyLinksPro. If you are going to use tools like Geni.us links, then use your judgement based on how they recommend you use it.


FIVE - Off Page Promotion (social, email, print, etc)


The fifth most common issue with Amazon Affiliate sites is the question “Does the site engage in any promotional, marketing such as printed material, mailing, SMS, Facebook Ads, Youtube videos, MMS, email or attachment to email, advertising activities on behalf of Amazon or their affiliate sites?”.


This one gets a lot of people flagged because it is very easy for Amazon to check! It is tricky because this essentially makes it impossible to do any kind of email marketing with a link in it.


Even if you are emailing just one friend, be sure to not include an affiliate link in that email.


One solution if you want to make money from Amazon Associates from your email list is to funnel them through a squeeze page (for example a review post for the product on your site).

  • TIP – If you send out the content of your post in an email newsletter automatically, make sure links are turned off just in case you have an affiliate link in the first paragraph of the article.

“Are any amazon Affiliate Links shared on other social platforms/networks such as Twitter or Facebook?”.


This is a tough one because there are some instances where you CAN share your links on social pages and some where you cannot.


Personally, I recommend just to stay away from all of it.


Many bloggers and influencers get this one wrong trying to generate passive income from their audience. 


If you really want to do it, I would go here to learn more about what is acceptable and what isn’t in terms of social sharing.


SIX - Use Star Rating and Reviews


The sixth most common issue with Amazon Affiliate sites is the question “Does the site display or otherwise use any of Amazon’s customer reviews or star ratings, in part or in whole?”.


This is something we see A LOT (and did a lot!).


We see many people using reviews as testimonials, which makes a lot of sense since it gives honest and accurate reviews on a particular product. It also seems tempting because it can add really valuable content to your site which helps your reader.


Another thing that people like to do is use “Star Ratings’. Using star ratings on your site that look like Amazons can be perceived by Amazon as using “their” star ratings and yet another way to get your account closed.


SEVEN - Associate Yourself With Someone Whose Account was Banned


Another tough one to avoid and one we see a lot of sites doing. People will be added as a user to an account and then when that account gets banned, so does theirs. 


Here is what the email from Amazon will say:

An account belonging to you (or a person or entity connected or affiliated with you) has previously been closed for violations of the Operating Agreement or one of the other Amazon marketing programs.

The best way to avoid this is simple: DON'T associate yourself with anyone who has had their account banned. If you associate yourself with someone who has had their account banned, it can result in you becoming banned.

 

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure Template and How to Install


The simplest and fastest way to get the correct disclosure in the proper spot on your website is this free Amazon plugin I had created. 


The most commonly discussed topic in terms of staying compliant with the Amazon Associates Agreement is the need for showing you are part of the Amazon Associates program.  


It is a critical part of staying compliant and therefore I would not be doing you justice if I did not include the current thoughts on how to maintain compliance. 


For an in depth analysis on what Amazon Associate Disclaimer to use, check out Doug form NicheSiteProjects' post here or what Dom Wells wrote at Onfolio here.


There is a surprising amount of debate on how best to handle the Amazon Disclosure requirements.


The Amazon Agreement States:


You must clearly 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.” (Section 5).


Most people therefore include some version of this in the footer or a disclaimer page and think they are good. 


Then… Amazon shared an email in 2019 stating:


This is a reminder of your disclosure obligations under the Operating Agreement. Any time you share an affiliate link, it’s important to disclose that to your audience. They will trust you more if you are transparent about where you are directing them and why. To meet the Associate Program's requirements, you must (1) include a legally compliant disclosure with your links and (2) identify yourself on your Site as an Amazon Associate with the language required by the Operating Agreement.


To comply with Federal Trade Commission FTC regulations, your link-level disclosure must be:


  1. Clear. A clear disclosure could be as simple as “(paid link)”, “#ad” or “#CommissionsEarned”.
  2. Conspicuous. It should be placed near any affiliate link or product review in a location that customers will notice easily. They shouldn’t have to hunt for it.

In addition, the Operating Agreement requires that the following statement clearly and conspicuously appears on your Site: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” For social media user-generated content, this statement must be associated with your account.

(Amazon email Oct 2019)


Associates should also consider the relevant social media platform’s guidelines. For example, Associates may use Facebook's Branded Content tool.

 

So what are you to do now? Where do you place the FTC and Amazon required affiliate earnings disclosure?


The options on where to include the disclosure are shown below along with our recommendation. 

  • Footer Only - Not enough since it won't be above the first affiliate link
  • Top of Sidebar - Not enough since it won't be above your first affiliate link on mobile
  • Hello Bar - One solution, but likely overkill as again, it may not show on all mobile and impact user experience.
  • Identify Each Link - This seems to be what they are after but I would think this HAS to be overkill. Anytime you link to Amazon you include “Commissions Earned”... seems excessive!
  • Top of Each Page - Safest, but be careful to not end up with your search result showing the disclaimer text instead of your first paragraph or meta description. 

How to include your affiliate disclosure but not have Google index it?

Over the last few months I have seen several search results with the top part of the page indexed with the affiliate disclosure. This hurts SEO and provides a poor user experience. The solution to this is to use Google On/Off flags


<!--googleoff: all-->As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.<!--googleon: all-->


To learn more about google on/off flags, check out this Google Search Help article.


Make sure to not end up with this as your search result:

Below is the tool I had created to install the affiliate disclaimer as well as the trademark disclaimer.


Option 1 - Install Disclosure for Amazon Affiliate Plugin


Under 30 seconds to be compliant (free plugin)



This plugin was developed to help us ensure all of our Amazon Affiliate sites are 100% compliant with the FTC disclosure and Amazon earnings disclosure requirements.


The Amazon Associate Disclosure plugin is the fastest and easiest way to get your Amazon Affiliate site fully compliant with both the:


  • FTC and Amazon required Affiliate Disclosure
  • Amazon Trademark disclaimer

It places the pre-loaded disclosure text from Amazon in the right locations on your website with the bonus of tagging it so search engines will ignore the disclaimer and rank your content. 


Benefits of the Amazon Associate Disclosure Plugin


ONE - Simple Fast and No Setting Changes Required


It is rare that you can use a tool that achieves everything you need it to with so little effort on your end. 


With this wordpress plugin in seconds you can have a compliant disclosure properly setup on your site. Simply...


  1. Install
  2. Activate
  3. Done - You are compliant


TWO - Proper Google On Off Tags


Many people have recently and correctly moved their affiliate disclosure to the top of their articles. This affiliate disclosure text is incorrectly now being picked up by Google as the page description. This is a large problem for both search rankings and click through rate. 


The solution is that using this plugin the Google Off / On tags are properly placed so that the disclosure text will be ignored by Google and your great content will be why they rank your page. 


THREE - Fully Editable Text and Customizable Appearance


Although it is not needed and comes installed following your sites design with the text provided by Amazon you can both…


  • Change the text to add additional disclosures or modify the words however you see fit
  • Fully customize the section however you see fit  

FOUR - Control Globally or on the Page/Post Level


Not every one of your posts/pages likely need the disclosure and you may not want them on every website. 


You can easily and efficiently control which of the posts & pages see the disclosure text blocks. 


Both global and local level controls are available.



Option 2 - How To Easily Install Affiliate Disclosure on Your WordPress Site with Ad Inserter


Another popular option to ensure each page has the right disclaimer, which takes a little more work but gives you more flexibility, is shown below. This process uses one of the most popular WordPress plugins Ad Inserter. Like the method above it should work with any existing plugins like Yoast SEO, RankMath or Woocomerce plugins. 


Ad Inserter plugin is originally developed to inject ads to any pages/posts on WordPress sites. It can also be used to automatically add affiliate disclosures to every post. That's what I am going to walk you through belwo.


Step 1: Log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins > Add New and search for "Ad Inserter" then click the "Install Now" button.


Step 2: Click the "Activate" button.

You will be directly taken to your Installed Plugins page


Step 3: Click "Settings"


The Ad Inserter settings page will be opened


Step 4:  Copy the following HTML code and paste it in the block editor

TIP: a lot of sites are currently having their Amazon Associate disclosure appear in the description within search results. The Google Off/Google On tag solves this problem.

<!--googleoff: all-->
<p>As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.</p>
<!--googleon: all-->

NOTES:

 

  • The two Google off and Google on tags are to prevent Google from indexing the text or the code in between.
  • Optional: If you would like to change the space around the disclaimer text or to change the font size. So it looks different from the post content. You can select "Custom CSS" from the "Alignment" dropdown box, then click the "Show" button and scroll down until you see the CSS box. Then paste the following CSS code:
margin: -10px 0px 20px 0px; font-size: 80%;

Step 5: Click "Save Settings"


That's it!


Adding text in the site footer


We can also use the Ad Inserter plugin to add this text to be compliant with Amazon trademark terms.


Step 1: In the Ad Inserter plugin settings page, click on a new Tab. In our case here, Tab #2


Step 2: Paste the following code in the block editor:

<!--googleoff: all-->
<p>Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates</p>
<!--googleon: all-->


Step 3: Select all checkboxes here to display the text in ALL site pages. Then select "Footer" and in alignment dropdown list select "Center"


Step 4: Click "Save Settings"



Complete 35 Question Amazon Affiliate Requirements List (Updated 2020)


Now that you have some context on what Amazon is looking for in terms of compliance, here is a step-by-step procedure you can use to ensure you are staying compliant with Amazon.


If you want to go deeper than the most common issues and be as fully compliant as possible, here is our attempt at turning the Amazon Associates agreements into an actionable list.  


To make this process even easier I have had my team turn this into a 100% free to use Google Sheet that you can make a copy of and edit. 


After reading every word several times and having my team update the procedure we have been using for the last few years to ensure our sites are staying compliant with the amazon associate program, we were able to come up with some actionable steps.  


Here is the complete list of 35 questions to turn the Amazon Associates Operating agreement into an actionable questions list. 


  1. Are there any affiliate disclaimer links that do not include this disclaimer: “Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates"? 
  2. Has the site displayed or used any trademark or logo of any third party seller on the Amazon Site in connection with any of our Affiliate Links without permission from the seller? 
  3. Have any privacy links/affiliates’ trademarks or logos that are included in a Special Link been removed, obscured, altered, or made invisible, illegible, or indecipherable to visitors of the site?
  4. As the user of this site, will you be linked or redirected to any other forms of monetization that include Amazon Affiliate Links other than the Amazon site? 
  5. Does the site engage in any promotional, marketing such as printed material, mailing, SMS, MMS, email or attachment to email, advertising activities on behalf of Amazon or their affiliate sites?
  6. Does this site display content that requires us (the website owners) to sublicense or otherwise give any rights in or to any content to any other person or entity?
  7. Do any pages on the site get redirected to a different URL that are not an Amazon Associate IDs or Tags? 
  8. Are any Amazon Affiliate Links shared on other social platforms/networks such as Twitter or Facebook? 
  9. Within the site’s content, are there any names used within that content, in a manner that implies a person’s or company’s endorsement or sponsorship of, or commercial tie-in with, any product, service? 
  10. Have any keywords, search terms, or other identifiers that include the word “Amazon,” or “Kindle,” or any other trademark of Amazon or its affiliates been purchased or registered or used in domain or subdomain, Associate ID’s or Tags?
  11. Does the site offer incentives to increase the conversion rate (including any money, rebate, discount, points, donation to charity or other organization) for using Affiliate Links on the site?
  12. Is the operation of any buttons, links, or other features of the Amazon Site modified, redirected, suppressed, or substituted?
  13. Are there any Affiliate Links used to link to the Amazon Site from references to items on the site that are not products?
  14. Does the site take any action that could reasonably cause any customer confusion as to our relationship with Amazon or as to the site on which any transactions (e.g., search, browse, or order) are occurring?
  15. Are any Affiliate Links or content used in connection with any spyware, malware, virus, worm, Trojan horse, or other malicious or harmful code, or any software application not expressly and knowingly authorized by users?
  16. Does the site frame the Amazon Site, or any part of it, including by display within an integrated web browser (e.g., WebView) within a Mobile Application?
  17. Does the site post any Affiliate Links or other content promoting the Amazon Site within any pop-up or pop-under windows, transitional page ads, or layer ads around or with the display of any site that does not belong to us? 
  18. Does the site include any Affiliate Links in any content that you place on the Amazon Site?  
  19. Does the site contain functions that might artificially increase advertising fees? 
  20. Does the site request, collect, obtain, store, cache, or otherwise use any account information used by customers in connection with any Amazon Site (including any usernames or passwords of Amazon Site customers)?
  21. Does the site have functions that will attempt to intercept or redirect traffic from or on, or divert advertising fees from, any site that participates in the Program.
  22. Does the site artificially generate clicks or impressions or create sessions on the Amazon Site, whether by way of a robot or software program or otherwise?
  23. Does the site display or otherwise use any of Amazon's customer reviews or star ratings, in part or in whole?
  24. Does your site hide, cloak, spoof or otherwise obscure the URL of your site containing Affiliate Links (including by use of a redirecting page)?
  25. Does your site knowingly collect, use, or disclose personal information from children under 13 years of age.
  26. Is the link used on the site missing an Associate ID or “tag”?
  27. Are any links on the site using a shortening service in a manner that makes it unclear that we are linking to an Amazon Site? 
  28. Are there any links on the site that are related to limited time promotions that are now expired? 
  29. Is there any content that could be perceived as overly promotional or inaccurate advertising?
  30. Do you clearly 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.”?
  31. Does the site have any content relating to products offered on any site other than the Amazon Site, in accordance with the Associates Program Policies? 
  32. Within the site’s content, are there any names used in a manner that implies a persona’s or company’s endorsement or sponsorship of, or commercial tie-in with, any product or service?
  33. Does the site state any testimonials from Amazon or third-parties?
  34. Does the site contain functions that cause any page of the Amazon site to open in a customer’s browser other than as a result of the customer clicking on an affiliate link on the site?
  35. Does the site disclose accurately and adequately, either through a privacy policy or otherwise, how they collect, use, store, and disclose data collected from visitors, including, where applicable, that third parties (including Amazon and other advertisers) may serve content and advertisements, collect information directly from visitors, and place or recognize cookies on visitors’ browsers, and providing information on the visitor’s choices with respect to opting-out from online advertising where required by applicable law?

How to Recover Your Account


Sometimes despite your best efforts, there is a misunderstanding with Amazon. In those cases, here is an approach to re-open your Amazon affiliate account. 

 

Below is a story shared with me by a reader (and with permission sharing). It is the most in-depth process I have seen. 


Make sure to check out his site with more details shared on the steps he took here.


Great post Matjaz and congrats on getting your account re-opened

  • 13.2.2020: email from Amazon that my account was terminated. Reason: -The sources of your traffic are obscured in such a way that we cannot reasonably determine on what Site(s) your Special Links are displayed.
  • 13.2.2020: my first email to [email protected] with the list of my affiliate ids and websites where I’m using them plus my findings of noreferrer attribute.13.2.2020: my second email to [email protected] with two screen recordings showing my two biggest websites and data of clicks/traffic from Google Analytics plus how I’ve fixed noreferrer attribute.
  • 13.2.2020: combined these two emails in an appeal through Associates Customer Service Support page
  • 17.2.2020: got an email from Amazon: We received your appeal regarding the termination of your Associates account. A specialist has reviewed your account, and the decision to terminate your account was found to be correct. As stated previously, under the terms of the Operating Agreement (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/agreement), we may terminate your account at any time, with or without cause. This termination is final and not subject to appeal.
  • 17.2.2020: been on the phone with Amazon Customer Support regarding my problem. No help at all. We don’t have details, and the team that does works only through email. Write to them or appeal again.
  • 17.2.2020: tried to send an appeal through Associates Customer Service Support page only to find out that the Subject option of “Associates account terminated option” now returns not valid or something similar when you want to submit the form
  • 17.2.2020: wrote my combined two emails to the boss himself 🙂 [email protected] … with the subject “Not an appeal, but additional information, please read”
  • 18.2.2020: reapplied to Amazon associates with the same email and data as before, fixed links to new affiliate ids on my biggest website only to find my account closed with no email a few hours later
  • 18.2.2020: wrote my combined two emails to the boss again 🙂
  • 19.2.2020: got a reply with the subject “Your E-mail to Jeff Bezos BC – Re: Not an appeal, but additional information, please read” and message: Thank you for reaching out regarding your concern. We’re currently looking into this issue to make sure the matter is taken care of properly. Please expect a response within two business days.
  • 19.2.2020: got an email from Amazon Associates 1 hour later: This message is to advise you that your Associate account and your previous Advertising Fees have been reinstated. Please accept our apologies for the closure error.  We appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter.
  • To see each step broken down in more detail checkout his post

How to Start a New Amazon Associate Account


So you tried your best not to get banned, you got the nasty letter from Amazon, and even after attempting to plead your innocence, you still are not able to get back into the advertising program. 


So time for the last resort … start a new account!


This is not what you need to do if you are opening an Amazon Affiliate account for the first time. It's only something you want to consider if you are starting a new one after your account got closed.

 

Here are the recommended steps when all else fails:


1. New Computer

  • Tracking the Mac address of a computer that logs in to Amazon Associates is possible. Having a dedicated Chromebook ONLY for logging into Amazon is a reasonable risk mitigation step.

2. New Internet Connection & VPN using the Incognito/Privacy Browser Tab 

  • A dedicated internet connection for checking your affiliate account is a great option. Instead of needing to “buy” another internet connection, use a coffee shop wifi that is not one of your usual work locations.

3. New Entity, Email, Address, Name, Bank Details

  • Having all new details when you sign up is obviously critical. Having a new entity, email, address, name, phone number and bank details along with any other information is critical.

4. New Websites and Cross Domain Rel=Canonical Link (don’t 301 redirect)

  • Sometimes people choose to dial up the risk and 301 redirect a website that has been burned to a new website. Obviously, the 301 redirect can be followed, but isn’t ideal. To be safer and still get the traffic benefit of the old site I recommend a safer approach of using rel=canonical cross domain linking. This process tells the search engine the page that should be ranked is on the new domains BUT if (I think unlikely) someone from Amazon were to visit the burned/banned website it would still appear as normal since it was still live. Here's a great tutorial on cross domain rel=canonical link by Moz here.

This is a last resort ... the recommended path is to be compliant, appeal if you have an issue, and then as a very last resort create a new account for a new entity with new URLs. 


Summary


This post was written to provide you with some tips and knowledge about the most common Amazon Affiliate site compliance offences. Have a look at your site and see if you’re in violation of any of these! If you have any questions feel free to reach out!


Other resources:

  • AMALinksPro & a breakdown of what 7 successful affiliate sites are doing wrong. Special thanks to Matt Allen from AMALinksPro for reviewing this guide and providing some recommended changes to stay safer. He has definitely thought A LOT about the Amazon Associates Operating Agreement! His level of knowledge definitely gives me more confidence using AMALinksPro! 
  • Free Amazon Affiliate Disclosure Plugin


If you have any thoughts or comments on the plugin we would love to hear your thoughts. 

Miles Beckler – “Most Helpful Marketer in the World”

When it comes to finding success in our entrepreneurial journey, you will find that there is a lot of trial and error. In order to succeed, you have to fail, and, in those failures, you will learn and grow. 

Miles Beckler is a perfect example of this growth. Today we are going to walk through his journey toward success as he is being regarded by some as the most helpful marketer in the world.

The Beginning

In the beginning, Miles worked a regular job like most of us have to. He attended community college in 2003 and worked at the student-run radio station. In the midst of this regular job, Miles also began to dab in affiliate marketing on Myspace. 

However, this venture didn’t fail to have its own set of problems as he found links not working and the onslaught of scammers trying to trap everyone interested in making money online.

In 2009, he began a site in the meditation niche with his wife. This was when he began to journey into the world of content marketing. They successfully created an email list and began to amass quite the following. To this day, this site is still one of focus for his family business.

Miles was the behind the scenes guy with this venture. He didn’t care much for content marketing, so he took on the job of keyword research for the site, and his wife wrote the content. The site got its beginning with a simple blog on WordPress.

In 2016, he decided it was time to rebrand and wanted to teach others how they could also successfully grow and scale their own businesses. Instead of forcing himself to learn to love written content, he instead sought other ways he could communicate his message more effectively.

Miles jumped into YouTube and began to create videos to help other entrepreneurial hopefuls find their path to success along their own entrepreneurial journeys.

He made a video every day for 120 days. He grew frustrated by the vast amount of people online claiming to hold the secrets to success on these digital channels. The catch? You had to sing up and pay for their courses in order to learn the secrets of the trade.

After spending his own money on these courses and falling into the laps of some scams and rubbish, he decided he wanted to advertise how to be successful online for free. This was when he leapt into beginning the transition to a full-time position.

His Success

As part of his journey, he had to keep his regular day job but wanted to spend time working online to build his business. Miles would wake up every single day around 4:30 in the morning so he could work on this dream for a few hours before going to his job. He would then return home, take care of a few things, and work another few hours. The fear of failing and losing his money and having to move back into his parents’ home definitely played a role in his motivation. During this time, as he was building his business as well as his confidence, Miles also learned the wrong ways of doing things, which ultimately helped him succeed even more.

Personal Habits and Achievements

In just six months, Miles and his wife were able to replace one income. And after four years of juggling his own agency, Miles was able to pay off over $50,000 in student loan debt and credit card debt and proceeded to continue to grow his business.

Choosing a career in online marketing is definitely not an easy feat, and it is something that requires a fair amount of dedication and patience along with hard work and the right motivating factors to keep pushing you forward. 

Miles says to avoid any get rich schemes because that is not the way to a successful career in marketing. You can’t take shortcuts when looking for passive income and success.

Using his low points, frustrations, trials, and tribulations, Miles found a new gear and used this focus and the fear of having to move back in with his parents to motivate him to do more to succeed even more. 

Shifting Focus

When you learn to shift your focus from helping yourself to helping others, you may also find that this is even more motivation to continue moving forward. Personal habits may stay the same, but the shift has focused, and the reasons for moving forward may be different. 

Lightning in a bottle as he puts it. Miles continues to push forward, knowing that he has over 100,000 people waiting to see his videos and hear how he is doing and what he is doing to succeed. His audience fuels him each and every day. Dominating markets and changing lives is his new focus and motivation.

Risks and Concerns

When it comes to success, energy management is key. As you grow your business, you also have to consider how you are going to structure your team and gain more growth. This requires strategy. However, with this, you will find a wealth of opportunities to make money online. You can get started today, even with no team and a very limited budget. 

The Future

What is Miles Beckler’s angle as he moves forward in a positive direction in his career? He wants to be considered the most helpful marketer in the world. Not many are willing to share their experience and their success stories for free to help others better their lives. But this is exactly what Miles is working so hard to do.

When asked for advice or what he would say to his past self, Miles said that he would have started sooner. He would have found a way to tap into his stream of consciousness earlier. Instead of trying to force himself to blog, he would have instead focused on finding what was easier. He didn’t like written content but loved making videos. We should all follow his lead. 

Remember, you need to spend time falling down in order to learn how to walk. It is all just a part of the learning curve and is to be expected.

For more information on Miles Beckler and his story of entrepreneurial success or to gain access to his free course, then visit milesbeckler.com today and get instant access to helpful tips and advice to start your journey. 

You can also search for Miles Beckler on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

How to Use Page Optimizer Pro POP – Our Procedure

This step by step procedure is how we use Page Optimizer Pro or (POP) to achieve a 60% increase in organic traffic within 2 weeks.

This procedure was created by the team at ContentRefined who are always pushing the science of content marketing, testing new tools and finding ways to help ensure their clients win in Google.  

Step 1:

Go to POP, login and click create new project

How to Use Page Optimizer Pro POP

Step 2:

Go into the spreadsheet with the articles you’ll be optimizing, choose one of them and copy and paste URL of webpage/post.

How to Use Page Optimizer Pro POP

Step 3: 

Name the project after the title of the post, hit next 

How to Use Page Optimizer Pro POP

Step 4: 

Click on new page

Step 5:

Click on Express Report

Step 6:

Type in the keyword for that article (found on the Google sheet)

Hit Next

Step 7: 

copy paste the url of the post/page and name the page after the title

How to Use Page Optimizer Pro POP

Step 8: 

After a few minutes you’ll be redirected to a page that looks something like this. Click on Dashboard.

How to Use Page Optimizer Pro POP

Step 9: 

Take a screenshot of the Optimization Score and Adjusted Score to send to your editor later. 

Step 10: 

Download the report of the recommendations (should download as an Excel file). 

How to Use Page Optimizer Pro POP

Step 11: Click on Content Editor. 

How to Use Page Optimizer Pro POP

You’ll be taken to a page where the content of the article will be uploaded and available to be edited. You can make all edits/changes directly here. 

Step 12: 

Open the report you downloaded in Step 10. In the report, you’ll be given a number of changes/edits to be made to the post. They’ll be listed under different categories in each tab in the Excel sheet. The only tabs you’ll need to focus on are: Recommendations, Variations & LSI, Focus Recommendations, Max Recommendations, Adjusted Recommendations, and Page Structure. 

  • Recommendations/Focus Recommendations/Max Recommendations/Adjusted Recommendation: read through each of these tabs and the recommendations listed. Make as many changes as possible based on the recommendations without affecting the overall quality of the article. 
  • Variations & LSI. Add as many keywords as possible that are recommended without keyword stuffing and/or affecting the overall quality of the article. Adding sentences/paragraphs as needed is fine. 
  • Page Structure. If there are changes needed to the page structure, make the necessary changes/additions. 

Make all changes/edits directly in the Content Editor

Step 13: 

After you’ve made all the changes/edit/content additions that you can, click the Download Edited Code button in the bottom right corner of the screen. 

How to Use Page Optimizer Pro POP

This will download a webpage of the article with all the edits you’ve made. Save this file to send to your editor. 

Step 14: 

Now that you’ve made the edits and downloaded the new file, click Rerun with Edited Source. This will run another report with the new/edited/upgraded content. Hit “Leave everything as is” and run the new report. 

Take a screenshot of the new content score to send to your editor. 

Step 15: 

You’re finished!

Email the Content score screenshots, the recommendations report, and the file with all the changes made to it to your editor.

Page Optimizer Pro Review & Alternatives:

See the results when we compared Surfer SEO vs POP vs MarketMuse. Which tool resulted in the largest traffic increase?

How to Use Surfer SEO – Our Procedure

This step-by-step how to guide will show and explain how to use Surfer SEO to create better, more valuable and in-depth content for clients at ContentRefined.com

See the results when we compared Surfer SEO vs POP vs MarketMuse and the resulting traffic increase each tool was able to achieve. 

Step 1: 

Go to Surfer SEO

Click Login and sign in using the provided credentials

Step 2: 

Go to SERP analyzer at the top of the screen. Type in the keyword of the article/post that you are optimizing and hit “Create!”. The keyword will be provided by your editor in the Google Sheet.

Step 3: 

SurferSEO will take a couple of minutes to process the information for that keyword. After it has done so, you will see it pop up underneath the search bar. 

Click on the keyword below the search bar. 

Step 4: 

Copy and paste the URL of the article in the search bar below the graph and hit Compare. 

How to Use Surfer SEO

Step 5: 

This next part takes a bit of research and a judgment call on your end. The task is to go through the list of competitor sites below and weed out any sites/articles that are not direct competitors with our article. To remove these sites from the SERP analysis, click the eyeball icon beside each one so it’s greyed out. We want sites that are the most similar to your site selected.

How to Use Surfer SEO

Sites you’re looking to keep: articles, reviews, posts that talk about the same topic as our topic.

Sites that you’re looking to eliminate: Wikipedia, government sites, online store sites (amazon), news websites, etc. 

Our article is about an online degree program, so we’re definitely going to get some searches for Universities/colleges and government sites. We want to eliminate those and stick to reviews. You can see that I eliminated the #2 site which was a government site, the #4 site which was a college board website, and a few more below (which you can’t see in the screenshot). Some of the other ones I removed were college and university sites for application pages. These aren’t competitors to our articles informational intent. 

The ones I kept were articles that are third party sites reviewing the schools and programs for the keyword. 

To give you another quick example, if we were comparing an article we wrote on best dishwasher safe pans, the top 3 searches might be from Amazon, Home Depot, and Walmart. We would want to remove these, but then keep any sites that are third party review sites (if that is what your site is). The opposite recommendation is true if you are a HomeDepot competitor. 

Go through the top ~25 sites listed in the analysis and remove ones that don’t fit. 

Step 6: 

Once you’ve removed non-relevant sites, go back to the top and click the “Audit” button beside the site we are optimizing. 

How to Use Surfer SEO

This will give you all the recommendations that need to be made for optimizing the content. 

Step 7: 

Don’t worry about: backlinks, time to first byte, or Load time. But go through all of the other recommendations and without affecting the overall quality of the article, make the recommended changes to the article. 

For example, here it tells us we should add between 13-80 of the word “air” to the article. If it’s possible to do so (without keyword stuffing), add this word 13-80 times. 

How to Use Surfer SEO

Add content, keywords, paragraphs, headings, etc as recommended by the audit.

TIP – if you want to open this in a new page, click the “Share audit with anyone” button at the top and you’ll get a shareable link, which you can open in a new page. 

Step 8:

In order to make the edits, copy/paste the content of the article into a Google doc (share in folder with your editor), and make necessary changes in there. 

Step 9:

After you’ve optimized the article, go back to the SurferSEO main page and click on “Content Editor” at the top of the screen. 

How to Use Surfer SEO

Step 10: 

Type in the keyword of the article/post that you are optimizing and hit “Create!”.

How to Use Surfer SEO

Step 11: 

SurferSEO will take a couple of minutes to process the information for that keyword. After it has done so, you will see it pop up underneath the search bar. 

Click on the keyword below the search bar. 

How to Use Surfer SEO

Step 12: 

You’ll be sent to a page where you can alter the settings for the KW optimization. 

Be sure to select all the sites that are similar to you in the top 10 sites and hit “Save changes”:

Step 13:

Then scroll down and in the right hand corner, click “Finalize customization”.

Step 14: 

On the next page you’ll be able to input the content of the article/post (this should be the content you’ve already optimized). Simply copy and paste the content of the article into the space provided (make sure to remove any words that are in the space already). 

How to Use Surfer SEO

Step 15: 

Once the content is in there, you’ll be able to see the improvements that can be made to the article on the right-hand side of the page. 

NOTE: Please take a screenshot of this page to send to your editor at the end of this SOP. 

Here you’ll have a number of things to optimize:

  • The number of words
  • Number of headings
  • Number of paragraphs
  • Number of bold words
  • Number of images
  • Important terms to use and how many
  • Topics and questions to answer
  • Other relevant terms

If something has a checkmark beside it, it does not need to be changed. If it has an “x” beside it, then it needs to be changed based on the recommendations set out in SurferSEO. 

In this example we need to increase the word count and include a variety of keywords and terms. 

How to Use Surfer SEO

Step 16: 

This is going to be a judgment call on your end. Look at the suggested changes on the right side of the page and see if any of the recommended changes are needed. If for example, all of the changes are not highlighted in red and for the most part, the article seems up to par with SurferSEO, then don’t make any changes. 

If you see some minor changes that are easy to make, then go ahead. 

This is an additional step that will help you see how effective the first set of changes was. However, because this step does not remove the irrelevant sites (like you did in Step 5), it may give you inaccurate data. 

For example, you may have added 30 keywords for one of the suggested keywords, and then after you run it through the content editor, it asks you to add another 50 of that word. In this case, it’s probably not pulling accurate data and you should ignore this suggestion. 

Step 17: 

Once you’ve made all the necessary changes (if any were needed), copy and paste the edited content back into the Google doc. 

Step 18: 

Deliver the edited article back to your editor.

Surfer SEO Review and Alternatives:

There are several alternatives to SurferSEO. See our deep dive comparing SurferSEO alternatives in terms of performance, cost and ease of use.

How to Use MarketMuse – Our Procedure

This step by step guide will show and explain how to use the tool MarketMuse to create better, more valuable and in depth content for our content marketing clients.

See our MarketMuse review and our comparison of Market Muse alternatives such as PageOptimizerPro or SurferSEO in terms of which tool produces the largest increase in traffic.

This procedure was created by the team at ContentRefined.com who use MarketMuse heavily to optimize content for clients resulting in the ability to predictably rank in Google. 

NOTE: Some changes have been made to the appearance of MarketMuse since this procedure was created.  The functionality is the same.

Step 1: 

Go to MarketMuse

Click to sign in with your unique credentials 

Step 2: 

Once you sign in, you will see your dashboard.  On the left hand column, go down to the ‘Optimize’ function.

The screen that opens will look something like this.

Step 3: Take the article that you will be editing and simply copy and paste the focus Topic, the Title and the article in the correct areas. The click the “analyze” button

Hint: The focus topic will be the Keyword which is always in the title of the article  

Step 4:

It might take a minute or two to analyze, but at the Final analysis should look like this. I’ve circled the Content Depth Score, the Average Content Score Target and the Best Content Score. 

NOTE: take a screenshot of this page to record the improvement achieved. 

We generally want our articles to be above the content score target. So for this one, we can clearly see that it needs some work. 

Step 5: 

Read the Article from start to finish

Step 6: 

If you feel like the article is well written and written by a Native English Speaker, then please edit the basic/normal grammar and spelling errors in the article. If it needs more work (ie a complete rewrite please contact your editor). 

Step 7: 

After you’ve read the article and corrected the errors in the articles, you’re going to look on the right side of the page and look at some of the keywords + topics listed.

Step 8: 

Without “ Keyword Stuffing” or inserting Keywords that are unrelated, start going through the article and adding suggested keywords where they fit or adding sections. You will see that it is really easy to get the article up to well above average by just using strategic Keyword placement.

In this screenshot, I simply replaced words like “new windshield” to “Replacement windshield” or “windshield crack” to “windshield damage” and it booted my score to 17, which is above average.

NOTE: It is best to add words to your DOCUMENT instead of right in the MarketMuse box.  Then re-copy and re-paste the entire text. This will ensure that you don’t lose your formatting.

Step 9: 

Now that we’ve got our content up to a reasonable standard by just using different words, take a look at the missing words on the list of keywords. They will generally identify a missing subject from the article. Here you can see that the writer didn’t think to include anything about insurance, which is clearly an important thing to mention if the keyword is the “second most important” on the list. 

Step 10: 

This is where your chance to do some content writing fits in. Simply add in a small paragraph that talks about windshield insurance. It doesn’t have to be extensive. I simply added 4 sentences talking about insurance with your windshield and it bumped it up to 24.

If MarketMuse’s analysis tells you to add more content (i.e. it does not hit the suggested word count), this is also a good strategy to use to add more words. Please try and hit the suggested word count that MarketMuse suggests. 

Step 12: 

You’re done! Please take a screenshot of the final content score and page.

Please try and boost the score as much as you can while ensuring that the article are still fluid. 

We will only deliver articles to a client if they are above the average content score

Step 13: 

Deliver the edited article back to your editor, along with a screenshot of the MarketMuse page from before the edits were made and a screenshot of the MarketMuse page from after the edits were made. 

MarketMuse Review and Alternatives:

Here is a post reviewing the performance of MarketMuse and comparing it to alternatives.

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