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:
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.
|Amazon Fashion Private Brands||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Amazon Gift Cards||0.00%||0.00%||unchanged|
|Baby & Nursery||4.50%||3.00%||Confirmed Changed|
|Beauty & Grooming||6.00%||3.00%||Confirmed Changed|
|Books & Textbooks||4.50%||4.50%||potentially unchanged|
|Business & Industrial Supplies||6.00%||3.00%||Confirmed Changed|
|Camera, Photo & Video||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Cell Phones & Accessories||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Clothing & Accessories||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Computers, Tablets & Components||2.50%||2.50%||potentially unchanged|
|Electronic Components & Home Audio||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Grocery & Gourmet Food||5.00%||1.00%||Confirmed Changed|
|Health & Household||4.50%||1.00%||Potentially Changed*|
|Home Entertainment||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Home Improvement||8.00%||3.00%||Confirmed Changed|
|Kindle Books||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Kitchen & Dining||4.50%||4.50%||potentially unchanged|
|Musical Instruments||6.00%||3.00%||Confirmed Changed|
|Office & School Supplies||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Outdoor Recreation||5.50%||3.00%||Confirmed Changed|
|Patio, Lawn & Garden||8.00%||3.00%||Confirmed Changed|
|Pet Food & Supplies||8.00%||3.00%||Confirmed Changed|
|Power & Hand Tools||5.50%||3.00%||Confirmed Changed|
|Shoes, Handbags, Wallets, Sunglasses||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Sports & Fitness||4.50%||3.00%||Confirmed Changed|
|Toys & Games||3.00%||3.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Audible Audiobooks||7.00%||7.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Blu-Ray & DVD||2.50%||2.50%||potentially unchanged|
|CDs & Vinyl||5.00%||5.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Luxury Beauty||10.00%||10.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Major Appliances||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Mobile Electronics||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Other||0.00%||0.00%||rare but has shown up as 0|
|Prime Pantry||8.00%||1.00%||Confirmed Changed|
|Tires & Wheels||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Video Games||1.00%||1.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Software Download||4.00%||4.00%||potentially unchanged|
|Video On Demand: Rent or Buy||2.00%||2.00%||potentially unchanged|
|any other unknown||4.00%||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:
We received this email… with a nice “hope you are well” before really really f’ing up Amazon Affiliates day!
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!
This is not the first time Amazon has made significant changes. Most recently in 2017 they made a significant (not as big though) change!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Case Study 1 – NichePursuits – OwnTheYard
Case Study 2 – BrandBuilders Success Story
Case Study 3 – NicheSiteProject
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).
Using some of the data I had handy across multiple accounts, here is what we are seeing the impact will be (updated April 16):
Ignore the decline in March (that is just a data timing issue)
|% Change for a Sampling of Other Sites|
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.
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.
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…
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?
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.
Do these numbers make you feel small?
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.
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.
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:
If you have any thoughts please share below.
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…
To read the Amazon Associates Program details (highly recommended - but tough read), here are the 2 links:
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!
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.
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
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 🙂 ...
To read a much deeper analysis of this and an interesting chat transcript with an Amazon customer support checkout this great post...
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):
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.
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.
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.
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).
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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...
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…
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.
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.
<p>As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.</p>
margin: -10px 0px 20px 0px; font-size: 80%;
Step 5: Click "Save Settings"
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:
<p>Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates</p>
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"
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.
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
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
2. New Internet Connection & VPN using the Incognito/Privacy Browser Tab
3. New Entity, Email, Address, Name, Bank Details
4. New Websites and Cross Domain Rel=Canonical Link (don’t 301 redirect)
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.
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!
If you have any thoughts or comments on the plugin we would love to hear your thoughts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Go to POP, login and click create new project
Go into the spreadsheet with the articles you’ll be optimizing, choose one of them and copy and paste URL of webpage/post.
Name the project after the title of the post, hit next
Click on new page
Click on Express Report
Type in the keyword for that article (found on the Google sheet)
copy paste the url of the post/page and name the page after the title
After a few minutes you’ll be redirected to a page that looks something like this. Click on Dashboard.
Take a screenshot of the Optimization Score and Adjusted Score to send to your editor later.
Download the report of the recommendations (should download as an Excel file).
Step 11: Click on Content Editor.
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.
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.
Make all changes/edits directly in the Content Editor
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.
This will download a webpage of the article with all the edits you’ve made. Save this file to send to your editor.
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.
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?
See the results when we compared Surfer SEO vs POP vs MarketMuse and the resulting traffic increase each tool was able to achieve.
Go to Surfer SEO
Click Login and sign in using the provided credentials
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.
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.
Copy and paste the URL of the article in the search bar below the graph and hit Compare.
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.
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.
Once you’ve removed non-relevant sites, go back to the top and click the “Audit” button beside the site we are optimizing.
This will give you all the recommendations that need to be made for optimizing the content.
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.
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.
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.
After you’ve optimized the article, go back to the SurferSEO main page and click on “Content Editor” at the top of the screen.
Type in the keyword of the article/post that you are optimizing and hit “Create!”.
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.
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”:
Then scroll down and in the right hand corner, click “Finalize customization”.
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).
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:
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.
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.
Once you’ve made all the necessary changes (if any were needed), copy and paste the edited content back into the Google doc.
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.