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SiteBuddy.io – Make More Money With Your Money Site

I have had a constant problem with my portfolio – monitoring all of them! 

There have been times where a solid money site has gone 6+ months with an important link that used to make money not working! 

Today I am introducing SiteBuddy for the first time. 

When I first used this tool I was shocked at how much work was needed to fix up even my most important(closely monitored) sites in my portfolio!

What is shocking is that NO ONE has run their site through and not had opportunities to fix things and make more money.  100% of sites that have been run through the tool had opportunities for making more money identified!

We have built a tool to help you monitor your money site for the things that matter…

  • Get notified if you are losing money
  • Make more money (as an amazon affiliate initially)
  • Stay compliant 

Signup at SiteBuddy.io

Make More Money!

It is starting as a tool to help you make more money with your amazon affiliate site but has plans to grow into more! 

Your Money Site Is Losing Money… It Doesn’t Need To!

Monitoring your money sites is hard!  

You work your ass off to get traffic to your site and then end up not efficiently monetizing the traffic.  Here are just some of the problems we all experience…

  • Affiliate links break
  • You link to a product that is now out of stock
  • You link to a deleted product
  • Your affiliate link tag is missing or wrong
  • Sites go down
  • Your affiliate disclaimer is missing on pages

We are generally seeing 2.5-10% of links on quality sites are missing tags and up to 40% of the product people are linking to is out of stock!

See the case studies below for examples.

How Does SiteBuddy Make You More Money?

SiteBuddy monitors your site weekly (not just a one-off scan) to ensure all links to Amazon are…

  • Using the proper affiliate tags
  • Linking to a product in stock
  • Linking to a product that hasn’t been deleted
  • Each page that has an Amazon link also has an earnings disclaimer

See the case studies below for details on the increase in earnings some sites can achieve! 

Team

The team behind SiteBuddy is worth introducing now. 

Conor – Co-Founder CTO – Conor identified the opportunity and has been building this tool. 

Brady – Co-Founder CMO – Brady is deep in the trenches of building Amazon Affiliate sites both at BrandBuilders.io and for his own portfolio. He talks with more money site owners then anyone I know and deeply understands their pain points! 

See the SiteBuddy story here

Our Commitment to Transparency!

We are committed to sharing everything with an uncomfortable level of transparency as SiteBuddy gets built out!

  • Monthly Update – Brady will be sharing a monthly update, signup at SiteBuddy.io to follow along on the journey
  • Real-Time Dashboard – We are all inspired by companies that share EVERYTHING… we will be doing the same here sitebuddy.io/dashboard (coming soon)
  • Public Roadmap – Definitely has some downsides but we want to be sharing the vision for what SiteBuddy will become beyond just an amazon affiliate link monitoring tool. The entire team will be eager to receive feedback 
  • Public Objectives and Key Results – In the monthly update and on the website we will be 

Follow The SiteBuddy Journey – Signup Here

Our Commitment to Always Add Value

  • A Useful 100% Free Tool – Don’t you hate when there is a free tool that comes short of adding any value. If you have a smaller site the free tool will 100% be enough for you forever!  
  • Stupid Guarantee – For pro users, we guarantee you will make more money or its free!
  • Only Actionable Suggestions – Unlike the many tools we use that flood us with data… if there is a problem that SiteBuddy recommends you fix, you can be confident fixing it will result in your making more money!   

How Effective is SiteBuddy – Case Studies

Here are just a few examples. In 100% of the cases for sites we have scanned there have been opportunities for improved earnings. 

NO sites were error-free…see if yours will be the first at SiteBuddy.io

Every site that has used SiteBuddy has been able to earn more money implementing the changes recommended! 

Case Study 1 – 30%+ Of Products Out of Stock and 7%+ Missing Tags!

  • URL – hidden
  • Affiliate Disclaimer – No Issues
  • Affiliate Links – 592 Missing Tags 
  • Products – 285 Out of Stock and 84 Deleted

Fixing these issues should immediately increase the monthly earnings of this site by 10-40% (depending on how much traffic each of the pages in question receives). 

Case Study 2 – 20% of Products Have Issues and 3% of Links Are Missing Tags

  • URL – hidden
  • Affiliate Disclaimer – No Issues
  • Affiliate Links – 592 Missing Tags
  • Products – 285 Out of Stock and 84 Deleted  

Case Study 3 – Spencer Haws Case Study – 27% of Products Have Issues

  • URL – OwnTheYard.com (case study post)
  • Affiliate Disclaimer – No Issues
  • Affiliate Links – 86 Missing Tags
  • Products – 447 Out of Stock and 74 Deleted   

Signup For SiteBuddy.io

Free Regular Account

If You Don’t Make More Money with SiteBuddy.io It Is Free

Saving Time & Making More Money with the AMZ Image Plugin for WordPress

Making sure you stay compliant with the Amazon to protect your Amazon Affiliate earnings is no easy feat. Working efficiently with the Amazon affiliate program and your wordpress site is always something you need to be careful with! Here is a great tool to help you increase conversions and make your website look great to visitors!

As an online business owner, you are constantly finding ways that you can improve your website’s value to readers, increase your monthly income, and essentially convert more users into buying products on Amazon. Part of how you can improve conversion rates and higher sales each month is dependent upon how you format your website and craft each post with the user intent in mind.

One of the things you need on any niche site are quality images that contain your affiliate links without risking your Amazon Associate’s account. If you aren’t already routinely using images to direct your readers over to Amazon, or are burdened by the time commitment involved in doing so, you might be interested in using a plugin like AMZ Image. Below, we will cover all that you need to know about why this is my go-to plugin. Check it out since it will save you a ton of time and help you make more affiliate commissions. 

What is the AMZ Image Plugin?

If you are already using images on your website, then they are probably from stock-photos or you manually download and upload them to your site to make things like Alt-tags, centering the image, and so on. In just about any case, though, there is a pretty hefty time commitment. Not to mention, it is risky to upload pictures from Amazon to your site manually as this can even cause account closure since it’s a breach of their terms. Enter the AMZ Image Plugin, which is 100% Amazon compliant and much faster to use than any alternatives, since you don’t have to leave the WordPress editor to insert Amazon product images. 

Here are some of the main features we find in the AMZ Image plugin:

  • Instant product images for your WordPress website
  • 100% compliant with Amazon’s API
  • Installs right to your WordPress website in a few clicks

Anybody who wants a smoother and more efficient experience while editing posts and inserting images will enjoy using AMZ Image since it makes it as easy as touching a button and selecting your product to put in your images. This will save you lots of time going over to Amazon and doing this manually by downloading the images and uploading them to your site on your own. 

Why Use AMZ Image? Top 5 Benefits

Using AMZ Image is practical for those who are already approved for Amazon Associates, but need a better way to input images on their site that include their affiliate links following the Associate’s Program Operating Agreement. If you are still on the fence as to whether or not this plugin will work best for your business’ needs, let’s consider some of the main benefits that this plugin provides. 

1. Images Increase Conversions

It has been widely reported throughout authorities on the matter that having quality images on your site increases conversions. In one instance, images have been shown to increase conversions by at least 27%. Also, click-throughs have been increased by 95% simply by throwing in some pictures of the product being discussed. 

Think of this as a customer. If you find your way to a niche site, you are probably already in a buying mood and are simply seeking some quality information on the product. If all you see are large blocks of content with no clear description or critical feedback on the product being discussed, you will probably go back to Google and find a different site to reference. 

However, those who have images, bullet points, use bold text, and separate their paragraphs well to make the content easily skimmed through will have better results. Using the AMZ Image plugin is a great way to put up quality images on your content that is attractive and proven to generate clicks.  

2. Saves You Time

If you have already gotten sick of going back forth between Amazon and your website to put up images, then AMZ Image is the tool that you might have been waiting for all this time. As we can see below, adding in an image is as easy as clicking a button on the top of your page builder. Instead of clicking “Add Media” and uploading the image manually, AMZ Image will embed the image on your site for you. 

Even if you are accustomed to using the SiteStripe feature on Amazon directly, this plugin is still faster. This is because it can help you manually adjust settings like adding in a “no-follow” tag, alt-text, and so on, without hefty work adjusting the coding on your site or ever leaving your WordPress site in the first place. These sorts of features are great for those that aren’t as tech-savvy but still want to optimize their site’s potential for success. 

3. Compliant with Associates Program Operating Agreement

One of the top concerns that people have before using a plugin that works with an Amazon niche site is whether or not it will impact their good-standing status as an Amazon Associate. Since AMZ Image utilizes Amazon API and complies 100% with the Associate’s Agreement, you will be able to use this plugin with some peace of mind. 

You will never have to worry about this plugin harming your good reputation as an Associate. The developers of AMZ Image monitor all the latest developments in the Operating Agreement to ensure their plugin will never get your Associate account banned from Amazon. 

4. Updated Version Works with Gutenberg and All Versions of WordPress

If you are using the new Gutenberg page builder and/or the latest version of WordPress, you will not have to worry about compatibility issues with the AMZ Image plugin. The plugin developers stay up-to-date with all the latest WordPress updates to ensure that they can meet the needs of a diverse range of website owners. Especially the ones that use modern tools like the Gutenberg page builder. 

5. 30-Day Money Back Guarantee

If you want to check that the plugin will work on your website, then you are welcome to a 30-day money back guarantee. Just install it on your website to make sure it works before the 30-days are up. This will give many people the peace of mind they need since you have plenty of time to test it out. 

Your Associates Account Must Be Active

Before you head over to your WordPress dashboard to install this plugin, there are some factors that you should be aware of. To use the AMZ Image plugin, you need to have an active Associates account with sales in the past 30-days. Otherwise, you won’t be able to connect your account to the plugin and add in images. The AMZ Image plugin works by connecting directly with your Associate’s Account. 

Otherwise, the plugin would not be able to credit your affiliate account with any sales that are directed towards Amazon from clicking on one of the images. If your account is still under review, make sure that it gets accepted before you start using the AMZ Image plugin for your website. 

Current AWI Users Get an Exclusive Discount (15% Off)

If you are reading this right now, then then you will be able to access a 15% discount on the AMZ Image plugin. Since the plugin already comes at a pretty fair price, this extra discount might help lessen any potential financial burden that purchasing a premium plugin would entail. 

To be able to access this discount, you will need to click “Buy Now” and navigate into the checkout screen. Once you are at checkout, you will notice that the discount is applied automatically for you. 

Want to Learn More About AMZ Image?

As we explored above, the AMZ Image plugin is a great way to save yourself some time as an Amazon Associate by putting images up on your site in an efficient manner that avoids manual downloading and uploading. If you are still unsure about whether or not this plugin is right for your needs, you are invited to check out the official AMZ Image website and learn more about the features and latest pricing straight from the AMZ Image team.

How To Setup Cookie-Free Domains Properly [Updated In 2020]

We all do a website speed test to know our website loading speed and performance score. There are popular tools available like GTmetrix, Pingdom, Page-insight, Bitcatcha, etc. These tools scan our website and point out which things are good and where changes are required.

Here is an example of a report provided by GTmetrix:

gtmetrix-speedtest-report-use-cookie-free-domains

As you can see, besides the image problem and loading time most of the test was passed by that specific page. To fix the image problem you can apply this trick.

Now if we go to the ‘Yslow‘ tab next to ‘page-speed‘, you may see a warning that says to use cookie-free domains. Check this image below.

use-cookie-free-domains-warning

 

If you are getting this problem for the first time then you should know what is a cookie-free domain? Why should you use cookie-free domains? In case you already know about a cookie-free domain then skip to know “How to setup or use cookie-free domains on your WordPress site! “

Additional reading: Best Pay Per Month Web Hosting In 2019 For WordPress Website

What are cookies?

An HTTP cookie is a small piece of data sent from a specific webpage or website. These tiny data are stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser when he is browsing.

 

What is a cookie-free domain?

A cookie-free domain is a very simple concept. It’s actually a domain which does not send a command to visitor’s browser to store cookies from the website. Our website has some static contents such as image, javascript and CSS files. These contents don’t change so often.

That’s why they don’t need to accompanied by cookies, as there is no user interaction with these resources. So by configuring a domain that doesn’t set cookies, we can decrease the size of the total request made by visitor’s browser to our server, while trying to download page resources.

The concept behind this strategy is to reduce server latency by reducing the number of requests which can impact a little on your website performance.

You can watch the video to understand it visually.

Additional Resources: How To Make Money Online Through Affiliate Marketing Program In 2019

How to setup or use cookie-free domains

As you have understood why you should use a cookieless domain, it’s time to know how do we set up one. Setting up a cookie-free domain seems like a hard task but believe me it’s not. All you have to understand the process and do it perfectly.

There are a couple of ways to configure a cookie-free domain. Such as using a separate domain name, set up a CDN and reconfiguring WordPress site. So we will discuss these methods one by and so on.

Here, I will mention the tested methods which worked well for my blog.

 

1. Configure a cookie-free domain separately

In this technique, you will create a completely separate domain name for your website. This separate domain is going to host all the static contents without any cookie command to the browsers. So, first of all, you have to register a domain name.

If you already have then skip to the next step but if you don’t have yet buy a new one. You can also create a sub-domain in case don’t want to buy a new one. If you prefer to use sub-domain, use a static prefix so people can understand by looking at the name. For example: “www.static.rankwp.in

*Remember: If you use your root domain without www version, like rankwordpress.in then using the subdomain as the cookieless domain will not work.

Again, if you are using Adsense advertisements then cookieless domain warning will always occur because your sub-domain is a part of your root domain and Adsense set cookies for every sub-domain under one verified domain name.

Read this tutorial: set up a cookie-free domain for both WordPress and non-WordPress website.

Steps:

After creating the cookieless domain, Use your .htaccess file to configure your web server to serve static contents without cookies. Here you have to put that .htacess file into the root folder of your domain. Here’s how to find and edit the .htaccess file Once you find the .htaccess file paste the following code there.

 # Use Mod_deflate to compress static files SetOutputFilter DEFLATE # Speed up caching FileETag MTime Size # Expires ExpiresActive On ExpiresDefault "access plus 366 days" # Future Expires Headers Header set Expires "Sat, 27 Dec 2018 23:59:59 GMT"

Once you’ve set up the cookieless domain now you need to upload all of your static content to the new static sub-domain (or domain). These contents include CSS, ICOs, Javascript, text and image files. This way you can create a cookieless domain from where static content of your original website will be served.

2. Use a CDN provider to ignore cookies

Using a CDN provider is another good way to solve the cookie-free domain problem. Most of the CDN has the ability to ignore cookies and strip cookies which helps to completely prevent the browsers from receiving the Cookie response header. Since it’s hard to guess which CDN to use.

Just because every CDN has different features and functions so not every CDN is suitable for you to solve the warning to use cookie-free domains. If you are currently using Cloudflare CDN then you need to disable it to disappear the warning to use cookie-free domains.

The reason is that you can’t disable cookies served through CloudFlare CDN. Moreover, they also include their security cookie in your website header. But if you use CloudFlare with a caching plugin, you can change it to another CDN provider to solve the problem.

KeyCDN is the nicest alternative I have ever used with my websites. You can deploy keyCDN to your WordPress site by using a plugin. Just follow the steps below.

  • Go to their website KeyCDN and create an account there. They charge about 0.04$/GB traffic data and you will get one month for a free trial for a new account. Test their service and if you feel better then go for a premium account. ( You don’t have to submit your credit details. )
  • Install the CDN enabler plugin from the WordPress repository.
  • Create a new Pull-Zone inside the keyCDN dashboard and save it.
create-pull-zone-for-cookie-free-domains
create-pull-zone-in-keycdn
  • Copy the CDN URL and paste inside your WordPress plugin.
copy-pull-zone-URL-cookie-free-domain
copy-pull-zone-URL
paste-url-inside-CDN-enabler
paste-URL-inside-CDN-enabler
  • Once your setup is done, clear your website cache and wait a little time to take the effect.

On completion of your set up, you should see the improvement in your website test results on gtmetrix.

3. Re-configure your WordPress site

In this method, you will set up your subdomain’s DNS record as a CNAME pointing to your root domain with the wp-config file. To do that point your subdomain (any) to your /wp-content directory simply by editing your wp-config.php file. Add the following codes into your wp-config file.

define("WP_CONTENT_URL", "https://static.domain.com"); define("COOKIE_DOMAIN", "domain.com");

* don’t forget to replace your domain URL and domain name inside the code. Example: https://static.google.com

4. Use Cookie-Free Domains – WordPress Plugin

One more alternate method is to use a WP plugin called WP2static. You can easily install the plugin from the WordPress repository.

wp2static-plugin

 

 

wp2static-plugin

After installing the plugin activate it. Now go to the WP dashboard and select wp2static from the left bar menu. Configure the settings inside the “Deploy static website” tab. See the image below.

use-cookie-free-domains-wp2static-configuration
wp2static-configuration

Once the export process is done, visit the URL that you have set during the configuration. (https://yourdomain.com/static). Now check that URL in GTmetix. The warning to use cookie-free domains won’t be displayed inside the report.

Final Word

Using these cool tricks you can get around of that annoying cookieless domain warning on gtmetrix or Pingdom. In the comment box please share is this article helpful for you or not. Also, do share with your friends if these tricks work well with you.

 

Amazon Affiliate Earnings (April 2020 Change) – How Much Will You Make

Amazon has drastically changed their Amazon Affiliate Program payouts as of April 21, 2020 and it is not good for many of us! The net worth of people reading this has been cut by millions of dollars. Especially with all that is happening in the world this impacts a lot of people, myself included.  

See April 16th Update Below – table has been adjusted

So… what do we do?

First, we need to understand how significant a change this is to us and our own specific sites, then assess what our options are and act. This post will be a deep dive into how much you can still make as an Amazon Affiliate despite the change and look at how many affiliates are impacted by this change. Plus, what other opportunities this creates and how I am responding.

I didn’t sleep much last night as I was working on a spreadsheet that you can input your Fee-Earnings export into and it will calculate exactly how much your site would be making moving forward given the commission change. 

What is the Impact? After running several sites through the spreadsheet, it is clear that there is a large range in terms of impact from 10%-60%+ of our Amazon Affiliate earnings gone with this one change.

At the bottom I dive deep into the data on what this means in general to the industry, but for you to find out what these changes mean for your own portfolio you can use this free spreadsheet:

UPDATE APRIL 16

Originally when I created this spreadsheet yesterday I took a pessimistic view around some of the uncertainty. But, based on feedback I think the current table (fully explained below) is much more likely to be the case as of April 21st. This should be better news for some and little change for others.

There is still some uncertainty around the update but I didn’t clearly communicate some of the assumptions I made.

It is still not a good story but most sites should be forecasting a smaller impact than the original assumptions. I am sorry for any extra stress my pessimistic assumptions have caused!

We won’t know until April 21st with certainty but I have updated the table to more clearly show what categories have changed and which ones we are assuming will not change.

Impact of this Change: Under the pessimistic model we were seeing most sites clustered around a 50% loss while now we are forecasting a wider range from 10% to 70% impact with the average closer to 35%-40%.

This updated approach does have some challenges…

Challenges/Uncertainty Definitely Exists:

1. Health & Personal Care vs Health & Household – Health & Personal Care Shows up in both tables but is not present as a category in commission exports however Health & Household is present in the Amazon exports. So, do we assume health & household is being changed to 1%? In the table we do. 

2. “Other” Categories – There are product categories that show up in the export that are not present in ANY table. For example Camera, Photo & Video pays out a 4% commission right now but it is not in the old table or the new table. Does that mean it is changing to 3% or not changing? 

3. Some other categories provide uncertainty such as CDs and Vinyl where it is not shown in a table BUT it is paying out at 5% according to the exports which doesn’t line up with “other”. 

Updated Commission Table

On the spreadsheet, you can change the commission percentage if you have a different view.

Product CategoryPreviousNewComment
Amazon Fashion Private Brands4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Amazon Gift Cards0.00%0.00%unchanged
Automotive4.50%4.50%potentially unchanged
Baby & Nursery4.50%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Beauty & Grooming6.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Books & Textbooks4.50%4.50%potentially unchanged
Business & Industrial Supplies6.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Camera, Photo & Video4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Cell Phones & Accessories4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Clothing & Accessories4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Computers, Tablets & Components2.50%2.50%potentially unchanged
Electronic Components & Home Audio4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Furniture8.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Grocery & Gourmet Food5.00%1.00%Confirmed Changed
Health & Household4.50%1.00%Potentially Changed*
Home8.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Home Entertainment4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Home Improvement8.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Kindle Books4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Kitchen & Dining4.50%4.50%potentially unchanged
Miscellaneous4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Musical Instruments6.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Office & School Supplies4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Outdoor Recreation5.50%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Patio, Lawn & Garden8.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Pet Food & Supplies8.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Power & Hand Tools5.50%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Shoes, Handbags, Wallets, Sunglasses4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Sports & Fitness4.50%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Toys & Games3.00%3.00%potentially unchanged
Audible Audiobooks7.00%7.00%potentially unchanged
Blu-Ray & DVD2.50%2.50%potentially unchanged
CDs & Vinyl5.00%5.00%potentially unchanged
Handmade5.00%5.00%potentially unchanged
Jewelry4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Luggage4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Luxury Beauty10.00%10.00%potentially unchanged
Magazines4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Major Appliances4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Mobile Electronics4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Other0.00%0.00%rare but has shown up as 0
Prime Pantry8.00%1.00%Confirmed Changed
Tires & Wheels4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Video Games1.00%1.00%potentially unchanged
Watches7.00%7.00%potentially unchanged
Software Download4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Video On Demand: Rent or Buy2.00%2.00%potentially unchanged
any other unknown4.00%4.00%catch all if anything else didn’t change

*Health & Personal Care vs Health & Household – Health & Personal Care Shows up in both tables but is not present as a category in commission export however Health & Household is present in the Amazon exports. So, do we assume health & household is being changed to 1%?

Reference 1 – Current (soon to be old) Table – https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/node/topic/GRXPHT8U84RAYDXZ

Reference 2 – Changes Coming Table – https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/compare?ref=oa_update_change

How to Use:

  1. Create a copy of the sheet and save it as your own – confirm and adjust the category comparison table if you disagree with any of the commission %’s.
  2. Export your data for the last 12 months from Amazon – See how below
    • Tip – You will need to download your last year’s data and this year’s data to do this properly
  3. Input your data “fee-earnings” to the “Fee-Earnings-Paste” tab on your copy of this sheet
    • Tip – Make sure all rows have been pasted and the formulas in the orange columns carry all the way to the bottom on the 2 Fee-Earnings tabs
  4. Done – See comparison on IMPACT sheet

So WTF Has Happened?

We received this email… with a nice “hope you are well” before really really f’ing up Amazon Affiliates day! 

Hello Associate,

We hope you are staying well during this time. We are writing to inform you of upcoming changes to the Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement, which governs your participation in the Amazon Associates Program. All changes are effective as of April 21, 2020.

Visit the What’s Changed page to see a summary of these changes. You can also find the Operating Agreement, Program Policies, and the Fee Statement if you would like to refer to the current, pre-change versions.

Sincerely, The Amazon Associates Program

The first sentence is a real kick to the nuts while down considering everything happening in the world right now! 

ouch-pain

This is not the first time Amazon has made significant changes. Most recently in 2017 they made a significant (not as big though) change!

Why is this Happening & Why Now?

Here is my theory as to why Amazon is making these changes and why now.

Amazon has recently been making moves, that in hindsight, show they are being affected by several forces and using it to justify grabbing power they have always wanted to…

  1. their current efficiency challenges – Amazon is struggling with a spike in orders and trying to maintain shipping deadlines. They are experiencing a loss of efficiency due to COVID-19 mitigation measures at their warehouses and 100k new hires. The shipping costs (especially air freight) have skyrocketed recently. All of this must be driving up Amazons per-unit fulfillment costs. 
  2. the situation in the world – COVID-19 is reshaping the global power structure and Amazon is a part of that structure
  3. their dominant market share – Currently, they have 38% of all US e-commerce.

All of these help make and justify this as a time to grab more power. Amazon was powerful before, but appear to be using this as an opportunity to become even more dominant.

History has a long record of power grabs occurring during times of crisis, most countries income tax came in as a “temporary” war effort. Amazons power has gotten to the point of being comparable to many countries. 

A few data points show us that this is NOT a coincidence in terms of timing but Amazon being opportunistic…

First, the communication being shorter/off-tone more than usual with the tables not communicating things very clearly. 

New Table:

Very different from the old table. This new table is much harder to map/understand where some categories fall:

Second, in addition to the update above, on April 6, 2020 Amazon removed the possibility of doing Revenue Share with 3rd party vendors like SkimLinks.

Amazon is using its position of dominance to systematically grab revenue specifically from affiliates. 

Do I Blame Amazon?

My general philosophy in the world is we are all a bunch of idiots responding to incentives. Amazon had what it took and the foresight to lose money for 20 years to build an incredibly valuable business with a seemingly insurmountable e-commerce moat. Now they are using that position of power to systematically grab power back from those they gave it to (apparently temporarily) to help grow its business (affiliates). 

It is very unfortunate for all of us impacted but I don’t blame them.

It is now up to us to respond. 

Top 3 Opportunities This Change Presents:

I have been thinking a lot lately about the quote “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” (Charles Darwin)

So what opportunities does this change present when it comes to Amazon affiliate marketing? Is it time to find a different online business model? Time to switch off all affiliate links?

Opportunity 1 – Testing display advertising on Affiliate Pages

Historically the RPM of Amazon compared to display has meant it never made sense to have ads on affiliate pages that could cannibalize revenue. It is worth retesting that theory. No advertising option provides more control for testing then EZoic. Other options to consider would be AdSense or Mediavine.

Testing your options with EZoic or using MediaVine if you have the traffic can be great ways to increase your site’s earnings. What we have seen at MotionInvest.com is that a site is often VERY focused on Amazon Affiliate links and even on posts that are not buyer-focused, but get a ton of traffic from either informational intent searches or social media they only monetize with affiliate links.

We have seen the majority of smaller Amazon Affiliate sites have monetized EXCLUSIVELY with Amazon and that made sense. Now it will take more work but partial recovery should be possible overlaying and testing display advertising to minimize cannibalization of affiliate earnings while adding display. See image below for the estimated impact and hypothetical partial recovery.

  • EZoic has shown to be a very effective solution that has made more money than AdSense and should be explored ESPECIALLY for smaller sites. It really shines through in its ability to test ad layouts.

Opportunity 2 – Switch to a different affiliate program

Some typical Amazon niches, like the pet niche, have affiliate programs for sites like chewy.com, which have been reported to perform better than even Amazon.

This may be time sensitive in your niche … if there are several sites all making the move away from Amazon they will be shifting their content marketing strategy to now focus on the products/problems the new affiliate offering solves. 

Getting your article ranking for the new affiliate(s) products into Google first may provide a ranking advantage. So although the current situation sucks, it might be time to double down on content marketing focusing on your new affiliate products. 

  • If you need some help identifying potential affiliates in your niche and getting content created to rank for keywords that are a good fit for their offerings, contact the team at ContentRefined
  • If you need help finding new affiliate programs and switching over affiliate links, get in touch with Brady at BrandBuilders.io to get help making that happen.

Opportunity 3 (my favorite) Affiliate website to E-Commerce site conversion

If there is an Amazon Affiliate website that is narrowly focused on a specific product and that product can be sourced, then converting it to either an Amazon FBA business or E-Commerce niche site could result in an increase in earnings. Now that these sites will sell at a discount from before the lift you achieve from conversion would be even more significant. Similarly, if you are currently an E-commerce site owner then your cheapest option would be to add feeder traffic in the form of buying a WordPress blog monetized with Amazon associates.

  • To find Amazon Affiliate sites for sale, signup for free to monitor listings at MotionInvest.com

Opportunity 4 – Fight It

It is unlikely a giant that has shown a lot of disregard for Amazon Affiliates would change its mind, but they certainly wouldn’t if they don’t receive blowback.

  • Email Jeff (at) amazon (dot) com and any other high ranking Amazon employees you can find
  • Contact people in the media to make this a story of how Amazon has used its position of power to crush small businesses using this crisis for cover

Other People Discussing This

  • Jesse at Geni.us links has a great guide on the historical trend of affiliate earnings here.
  • Matt from AMALinksPro shares his thoughts here.
  • Richard Patey and I chatted about the changes and he shared his thoughts:

Not only have a lot of sellers’ advertising revenues dropped by 50% due to Covid-19, but now the most popular affiliate revenue has been badly hit. And this is on top of the liquidity crisis. Investors will likely be able to get aggressive bids at lower multiples accepted going forward, valuing future revenue rather than historic. 2020 truly looks to become a buyers market – and savvy active investors who know how to optimize monetization and negotiate on good deals will do very well. I believe other affiliate programs may follow suit.”

Richard Patey

I will add other peoples opinions as they are sure to come in.

Amazon Affiliate Earnings FAQ

There will be some first-timers on this post trying to understand what the Amazon Affiliate program is, what are its requirements and how much can someone make with an Amazon niche site. 

In addition, below I crunch data related to the Amazon Associates program changes showing how much of an impact it will be. 

What is an Amazon Affiliate?

An Amazon Affiliate links to Amazon with a special link that tracks the visitor and then receives a commission for each sale the person they referred to Amazon makes. Typically it is a niche site built on WordPress that relies on blog posts to attract organic traffic from search engines like Google or social media platforms like Facebook. 

  • Signup to become an Amazon Affiliate here

How to Start an Amazon Affiliate Site?

To start an amazon affiliate site you need to follow the basic process of identifying a niche (where there is a need for content and low competition, but a product that you can promote), then pick a domain, build the website, create content and market it by building links. Once your site meets the Amazon Affiliate Requirements you can apply and receive your affiliate link to direct traffic to affiliate products you recommend on Amazon. 

How Much Money Can You Make as an Amazon Affiliate?

There are many case studies online that share some of the impressive earnings. In this section I will summarize some while showing the historical earnings per visitor and how much an Amazon Affiliate site can make based on the previous commission table.  

  • How to Earn $100/day – Have an amazon affiliate site with 1,500 daily visitors and another monetization source that matches how much money you make as an affiliate.
  • How to Earn $1,000/day – Have an amazon affiliate site with 15,000 daily visitors and another monetization source that matches how much money you make as an affiliate.

Case Study 1 – NichePursuits – OwnTheYard

  • Traffic = 69,657
  • Earnings = $3,195.31
  • EPV = $0.046 (how much you make per 1 visitor)

Case Study 2 – BrandBuilders Success Story

  • Traffic = 1860
  • Earnings = $333.2
  • EPV = $0.18

Case Study 3 – NicheSiteProject

  • Traffic = 9,300
  • Earnings = $393.80
  • EPV = $0.042

Our Data at MotionInvest.com

Over a quick study of 20 Amazon Affiliate listings, the average passive income per visitor for sites we sold was $0.067 per visitor.

If you are an Amazon Affiliate site you can expect to earn $0.04-$0.2 per visitor (before). 

How Much Will an Amazon Affiliate Site Earn Now?

Using some of the data I had handy across multiple accounts, here is what we are seeing the impact will be (updated April 16):

Site 1:

  • – 32.24% impact on revenue

Site 2:

  • – 45.47% impact on revenue

Site 3:

Ignore the decline in March (that is just a data timing issue)

  • – 39.59% impact on revenue
% Change for a Sampling of Other Sites
-54.66%
-35.33%
-12.40%
-42.18%
-58.71%
-6.08%
-5.18%
-62.53%
-50.13%

Across the accounts, we see a large range from 10-60+% in earnings loss!   

Let us know in the comments below what you saw when you ran it through the free spreadsheet.

The EPMV, RPM (earnings per 1,000 visitors) of Amazon Affiliate sites should line up to be about $15-50 now while most display focused sites perform at ~$6-$30 (see case study) but can range from $2 to over $100.  

Despite this hit, earning with Amazon will still be more profitable for focused sites then display advertising. 

However, the win will not be as clear moving forward and since the choice is not clear, many affiliate sites should start looking at how to overlay display ads to maximize page RPM now.

How Many Amazon Affiliate Sites Exist on the Internet?

Just how many people did Amazon piss off?

Amazon does not seem to report this number anywhere I could find, but doing a little internet sleuthing revealed there are 694k Amazon Affiliate sites linking to Amazon. By adding URL’s that are linking to amzn.to and linking to amazon.com with “tag” in the link results in 573k + 121k = 694k Amazon Affiliate websites currently on the web. 

How Much Money Do Amazon Affiliates Make and How Much Did they Just Lose?

Some of these numbers get hard to follow (lots of assumptions) but I tried and estimate the value destroyed for affiliates and transferred to Amazon. 

Based on the imperfect data of the number of Amazon Affiliate sites, using a sampling of those sites estimated traffic from Ahrefs and the earnings per visitor we have…

  • # of Sites = 694k sites (see calculation above)
  • Average Traffic per Site = 11,000 (NOTE – some outliers through this off & I removed some of the craziest outliers from the ahrefs data)
  • Earnings Per Visitor (before – from case studies and MotionInvest data) = $0.067
  • Earnings Per Visitor (after – from spreadsheet example impact of ~50% for simplicity) = $0.034
  • Value of an affiliate site = 2-3x earnings
  • TOTAL NET WORTH LOST BY AFFILIATES = $778,668,000!

How Much Did Amazon Make?

Here is an interesting way to look at it: Was value destroyed or just transferred? Did that transfer increase the value more than it destroyed it? 

  • Affiliate sites mutliple = 3x (see how to sell a website for more details)
  • Amazon value multiple = 99.31x  (P/E ratio as of April 14)
  • Value Destroyed = $778,668,000?
  • Value Created = $25,955,600,000?
  • Value Created for Jeff Bezos at 11% owner = $2,855,116,000

This means Jeff Bezos personally could have purchased all Amazon Affiliate sites given his net worth increase just from this change.

If you look at the Amazon Stock price, it has gone up over the last 5 days by 4x the value they created by cutting Amazon’s Affiliate program in half. Their market cap expanded $99,180,000,000 over the last 5 days. 

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Do these numbers make you feel small? 

Where to Buy an Amazon Affiliate website?

Depending on your outlook (affiliate commission can’t go lower than 3%, right?) now could be a great time to get a strategic Amazon Affiliate website. The best place to buy Amazon Affiliate Sites making under $2k/month is at MotionInvest.com 

What will need to happen now for any new sites getting bought/sold is that the historical earnings will need to be adjusted based on the updated commission table. Those updated earnings will be what is used to calculate the fair price moving forward.

How to Export Data from Amazon

Once logged into your account, go to reports.

NOTE – I find it odd that they have MASSIVE Important Notice signs at the top of our accounts right now and then a subtle email telling us ~50% of our earnings have been wiped out. But don’t forget your FTC guidelines. 

Above the graph that shows your affiliate income, you will see a download reports button.

Next, you will choose the timeline you want to export. We will start by exporting last year’s earnings by choosing preset and then choosing last year. Once done, click apply.

You will then click generate report. If you want, you can also choose a specific tracking ID if you only want to export a specific Amazon tag.

We also want this year’s report so we will do the same thing, except under preset, we will choose this year.

Again, we will either choose a specific tracking ID as well of just leave it to all. Then we will click generate reports.

Now you will need to wait until the report(s) are done and it shows that you can download them.

Summary

So yesterday was a bloody day for a lot of my friends, my audience, and my own portfolio. 

Millions of dollars of value has been lost by you and many others. I am sorry and feel the pain! 

In whatever way you are choosing to handle this change I wish you the best of luck! 

For me, I am looking at my affiliate sites and re-evaluating the best way to maximize value in the following ways:

  1. I will accelerate the migration of a couple of sites from affiliate sites to e-commerce sites
  2. For 2 others I will be pursuing finding other affiliate programs and QUICKLY scaling content to target keywords related to those affiliates.
  3. For all sites, I will be testing out an increased mix of display advertising to maximize the earnings per visitor.

If you have any thoughts please share below.

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. 

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