Amazon Affiliate Program Review

amazon-associates-welcome-page

This is an Amazon affiliate program review based on my experience with Amazon Associates.

AMAZON ASSOCIATES
Overall Ranking: 80 out of 100
Price: Free
Owners: Jeff Bezos
Website: affiliate-program.amazon.com

Introduction

If you could tap into just a small piece of the money made daily on the mammoth shopping site Amazon.com, why wouldn’t you?  Actually, with Amazon Associates, you can do just that.  This review will help you determine if this is the right decision for you.

Pros/Cons

PROS:

  • Association of your website with perhaps the largest, most well-known internet marketer on the planet (Amazon.com)
  • As your niche, advertise any of over a million products available on Amazon.com
  • Available banners and links to add to your website
  • Native shopping ads are available to integrate into your pages that are professionally developed
  • Earn from 1% – 10% in advertising fees based on product category (with some limitations/maximum fees, e.g., for very expensive items sold)
  • In addition to advertising fees, there are several other programs that Associates can participate in for additional fees
  • Reports available for your AA traffic, revenue, earnings, conversion rates and link types
  • Free to join

CONS:

  • Not a program for beginners – you need to have a website first before you can affiliate with Amazon Associates
  • No step-by-step training program – need to already be able to understand basic website marketing and concepts
  • Very long, complicated advertising fee schedule that must be studied and understood
  • Very long, complicated Operating Agreement in legalistic language that must be studied and understood
  • Must agree to let Amazon.com periodically crawl your website to look for violations of its policies
  • Penalties that include forfeiting your advertising fees for deviating from their rules
  • Advertising fees are generally less than many other affiliate programs (others may pay up to 75%)

Who Is It For?

Amazon Associates is clearly a program that is designed for intermediate to advanced internet marketers that already have a website presence.  In fact, when signing up you have to identify the top level domain(s) and/or mobile apps that you will be adding their ads to.  Not only that, but once you have signed up, if your affiliate links have not referred a sale to Amazon.com after 180 days, your application and access to Associates Central will be withdrawn.

amazon-associates-toolsTraining/Tools Overview

Amazon Associates provides its affiliates with a wide variety of slick linking tools to advertise products on Amazon.com within their web pages.  These tools can link to specific products on Amazon.com, or specific categories of products, and give the same clean, familiar look and feel as shopping experience on Amazon.com itself.  The tools include promotional and announcement banners that Amazon serves directly to your site.

One very promising tool is the Amazon aStore.  This tool automates the creation of an online store selling products on Amazon.com, without the need for programming skills.  The aStore setup tool then generates a URL to which you can link or embed in your site.  The storefronts are designed to be customizable, so you can choose to advertise all Amazon products, or only those products or categories of products that work with your niche.

Clearly you can rely on Amazon to support and successfully fulfill the orders once they are made through your affiliate link – probably no one does this better than Amazon.com.  The linking and reporting tools are used by many thousands of members and are trustworthy.

Support

Amazon Associates is very clear in their Operating Agreement that you are the one responsible for your website, its contents and for ensuring that you are staying within all of its rules and policies.  While there are help pages and user forums, it generally takes on a business focus – the feel is that Amazon Associates are there to make money (for them, not for you!).  There is no training program or supportive affiliate network there to rely on for a lot of help when you need it.  You cannot (well most of us cannot) contact the site founder (i.e., Jeff Bezos) for help, like you can Kyle or Carson at Wealthy Affiliate!

The signup process is more involved than it needs to be in my opinion.  The user is asked many questions regarding their website, including some that are somewhat invasive and that I did not enjoy answering, especially knowing that in signing up I was giving Amazon.com permission to routinely crawl my site for compliance (and perhaps whatever else they might want to use that I’m not aware of).

amazon-associates-errorInterestingly, the web pages set up by Amazon itself to promote Amazon Associates and to get new users to join contains a number of bugs.  Of course, I was not a member of Amazon Associates when I first researched whether I wanted to become an affiliate with them.  So I encountered and documented these bugs, mainly because I wondered why a company as big as Amazon would offer something on their web pages without testing the pages thoroughly.

For example,  the link for more information regarding the aStore tool goes nowhere (i.e., plops you back out to the home screen).  In order to find out more (before joining that is) I used a Google search to serve up some pages with more information about the aStore.  Another annoyance is that you can get only a page or two into the material before further clicks produce “Access Denied! You do not have permission to perform the requested operation” errors, and other errors suggesting you can’t get further information without joining as an affiliate.  These tactics reinforce my opinion that the site is really not geared for beginners or those that are just testing the waters with internet marketing.

Price

Amazon Associates is FREE (costs $0) to join.  Maybe I should consider this a bargain, given that the obvious benefits of affiliation with a company as huge and recognizable as Amazon, and the fact that they charge a fee for other programs that promote sales (like Amazon Prime).

However, for a program that costs them very little, brings Amazon a lot of business, and provides essentially no training or support to newbies, and pays affiliates quite a bit less on average than many other affiliate opportunities out there, I would call the price only “fair”.

Final Opinion/Verdict

For seasoned affiliate marketing professionals, and those who maybe are not so seasoned but who already have a website and are willing to “study-up” and follow a lot of rules diligently, Amazon Associates provides access to an extremely familiar and trusted name, and a vast storehouse of products, complete with top-notch sales tools and fulfillment services.

However, you have to have a website and some knowledge of the business to take advantage of this opportunity.  Beginners looking to make money via the internet or from home will want to start with another program that can help them develop a website and niche before adding Amazon Associates to their repertoire.  Wealthy Affiliate provides this type of training and tools (and more) – see my review of Wealthy Affiliate here.

Comments?

Let me know what you think.  Post a comment below – I’ll respond!  Or, check out my Wealthy Affiliate profile page and leave me a comment there.

4 Comments:

  1. Great review! It has definitely given me something to think about! I was strongly considering signing up for this. Now I might wait until I get further along with my site and have traffic. I didn’t know about the requirements. Thank you for saving me time and pain with this one!

    I will keep it in mind in the future though, for sure!

  2. Hi Randy,

    I agree with you. Amazons Associates program is definitely for more advanced users. I looked into it myself when I first began researching internet marketing and knew that it wasn’t for me at that point in time. To be honest I still don’t use it. However, It’s great for those who have the knowledge and can make it work.

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