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You’ve signed up to the Amazon associates program. Congrats!
This is the first step towards building a profitable blog. So, well done once again.
But as a beginner Amazon associate, do you know what are the things you should avoid to get banned from the Amazon associates program? Or in other words, do you know what are the mistakes you shouldn’t do as a beginner Amazon associate?
No worries! I’ve put together a detailed guide that explains all you need to know about the top 15 mistakes you should avoid as a beginner Amazon associate.
What is Amazon associates program?
Before knowing about the top 15 mistakes you need to avoid as a beginner Amazon associate, it’s essential that you have a knowledge of what it is.
Amazon associates program is a popular affiliate program among bloggers of all sizes and experience levels. In fact, it’s the first and longstanding affiliate program that was founded more than two decades ago.
Without a doubt, this is the affiliate program of choice for many new bloggers when they decide to monetize their blog with affiliate marketing.
One of the attractive things about Amazon associates is that not only you earn commission for the products you recommend, you can also earn commission for any product that is purchased through your link as well.
Imagine this situation. You published a blog post that talks about volleyball shoes. A reader lands on your site and after reading your post, he/she decides to purchase a pair.
After that, the same person purchases a hand warmer and a cooling glass. Although you’ve recommended volleyball shoes, you’ll be paid a commission for the additional purchases made through your link as well.
That’s the beauty of the Amazon associates program.
Why is Amazon associates program so popular?
Here are the list of reasons for the popularity of the Amazon associates program.
- Amazon is a highly reputed and a trust worthy brand. This is obvious.
- Almost all things are available on Amazon. No doubt that it is a massive marketplace and serves as a home for countless products.
- Their affiliate program is safe, secure, and reliable. It is critical. As a customer, your information should be safe. And from an affiliate marketer’s point of view, your earnings and your cookies should be secure in order to trust the affiliate program. Amazon associates do a fabulous job of protecting all the information of both the entities.
- Suitable for almost all niches. This is a great news for beginner bloggers.
- They know how to convert one time customers into consistent buyers. Yes, it is true. Their product listing pages are a prime example.
We can go on and on and on in listing the reasons for the popularity of the Amazon associates program, but these are the key ones that are responsible for their monumental growth.
Top 15 mistakes you should avoid as a beginner Amazon associate
Now that you have a clear idea of what is Amazon associates program and the key reasons for its popularity, let’s have a closer look at the mistakes you can avoid as a beginner Amazon associate.
This list will help you to stay away from the bad books of the program/getting banned from it altogether.
Affiliate link cloaking and hiding is a clear no no
Have you seen an Amazon affiliate link? it is a long and lengthy URL that comprises the link of the actual product page, affiliate id, and some not so necessary numbers and letter combinations.
Here’s an example.
So to shorten the length of the link, the common method employed in the blogging circle is called affiliate link cloaking. What it basically means is that a blogger will use a link shortening tool to mask the original URL.
Amazon has its own link shortener (amzn.to) to truncate the lengthy URLs, and they doesn’t like you using a third party tool to shorten your affiliate links.
In addition to that, when you cloak your affiliate link, you deny your users to know the true identity of the URL. Amazon don’t want that and in fact, they want your website visitors to know where they are being redirected before landing on their site.
Here’s the statement from Amazon associates program policy that explains it clearly.
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 Program 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 an Amazon Site. (6v)
Not paying close attention to the operating agreement of the program
Every Amazon associate must follow the rules of the operating agreement and the program policies. As a beginner affiliate marketer, it’s critical that you understand and get a grasp of the rules to avoid any future action from Amazon.
Amazon is pretty strict about their terms and conditions and unfortunately, if you don’t follow them, you’ll be banned from the program.
Getting into the program as a complete newbie
Although anyone can apply for Amazon associates, I don’t suggest you to step into the program as a complete newbie. It’s gonna do more harm than good to you.
There is no hard rules to follow, but here’s my experience.
When you are starting out as a new blogger, there is a lot to figure out with regards to blogging. Adding to that, your site is brand new and people aren’t sure what your blog is about.
Also, you need to complete three sales within 180 days of applying to the program. Otherwise your application will be rejected and your account won’t be reinstated. And those three sales won’t happen when you don’t have enough quality content and consistent traffic to your blog.
So, my advice for beginner bloggers/aspiring Amazon associates is to set up your blog properly and publish at least 10 posts before applying.
This gives you an edge over others and you have the highest probability of getting accepted. Remember, Amazon manually reviews all applications before approving, so it is better to be on the safer side.
Providing price details in your blog posts
We all know that Amazon is one of the largest online retailers in the world. There are so many merchants selling their products and the price details can be changed at any given moment. For this important reason, Amazon does not allow its associates to provide price details for any of its products.
When the price is changed for a particular product, you won’t be able to notice it at most times. Let’s imagine this situation. You have a certain price and the Amazon’s product listing page has a different price.
If someone finds it out, that person will lose trust in your blog.
You’ve just lost a future subscriber/reader/fan of your blog. It stinks. Right? I don’t want that to happen to you.
So, it is good not to include price details in your posts. But if you want to add it, you have to install a plugin in your blog that directly integrates with Amazon. Whenever the price gets updated, it will reflect on your post as well.
Here’s the statement that clearly explains this.
Unless otherwise agreed by Amazon, your Site must not have price tracking and/or price alerting functionality. (6y)
Here’s another statement that explains how to legitimately include price details in your posts.
Product prices and availability may vary from time to time. Because prices for and availability of Products that you have listed on your Site may change, your Site may only show prices and availability if: (a) we serve the link in which that price and availability data are displayed, or (b) you obtain Product pricing and availability data via PA API and you comply with the requirements regarding use of PA API in the License.
In addition, if you choose to display prices for any Product on your Site in any “comparison” format (including through the use of any price-comparison tool or engine) together with prices for the same or similar products offered through any web site or other means other than an Amazon Site, you must display both the lowest “new” price and, if we provide it to you, the lowest “used” price at which the Product is available on the Amazon Site. (2b)
Having multiple accounts
Amazon doesn’t allow more than one account for a single user in order to reduce spam activities. You may have 100 different websites but you should have only one account to track the performance of all of them.
You only need different tracking ids for each website to do the job efficiently. Please don’t entertain these thoughts.
- Having multiple accounts is great, because even if one account gets banned, I have another one.
- I’ll get big benefits if I have multiple accounts.
You won’t get any benefit out of having multiple accounts. In fact, it increases your chances of getting permanently banned from the program.
So, make sure that you have only one account and different tracking ids for each of your websites.
Promoting your affiliate links through email marketing
Email marketing is a powerful tool that is available in every affiliate marketer’s/blogger’s arsenal to succeed in affiliate marketing. But Amazon is strictly against promoting your affiliate links through email marketing.
Although that’s the case, you can send an email and promote your blog posts that contains Amazon affiliate links.
Promoting your Amazon affiliate links through offline promotional methods
Much like email marketing, Amazon is strictly against promoting your affiliate links through offline promotional methods such as including them in your E-books, newsletters, PDFs, and any promotional activity that isn’t done online is not allowed.
Leaving your Amazon affiliate links in third party websites
Any site that isn’t owned by you is considered as a third party site in Amazon’s operating agreement. If that’s the case, leaving your Amazon associates affiliate links in other’s blog/website is prohibited.
Unfortunately, this tactic is mostly used by beginners where they would leave a comment on someone’s blog and at the end of it, they will leave one of their affiliate link and hope to get a few sales out of it. They will repeat this process to as many blogs as they can to increase their chances.
This method won’t work, most bloggers will mark your site and your email id as spam, and if Amazon finds out, you’ll be removed from the program instantly.
Here’s the statement that explains this clearly.
You will not use, or enable, or facilitate the use of Program Content within advertising outside of your Site or on or within any application, platform, site, or service (including social networking sites) that requires you to sublicense or otherwise give any rights in or to any Program Content to any other person or entity, nor will you create links formatted with your Associates tag for, or display such links on, a site that is not your Site. (6b)
Not using images and links properly
Here’s a list of ways you shouldn’t use Amazon links and images.
- Downloading images directly from Amazon and uploading it to your blog.
- Taking screenshots of the images that are in the product listing page and pasting/uploading to your blog.
But here’s an easy solution to add images and links to your blog.
When you login to your associates account, you’ll see a SiteStripe at the top of your account dashboard. Right below the SiteStripe, you’ll see three options for getting a link, image, and an image with link. Click on any one of the three options.
Let’s say you want a link for a particular product. When you click on that option, a popup window appears with both the shortened and the full link version of the product page’s URL. Copy the one you want.
Likewise, click the image and the image link options, copy the code, and paste the code in wherever you want in your blog posts/pages of your site.
This is the only way you can use the images and links provided by Amazon, and any other workaround is against the associates program policy.
Purchasing through your own link
It feels so nice to purchase through your own links. Because after all, at the end of the month, You can get the commission for those items as well! Woohoo!
When you have this thought, stop right there!
Here’s the exact statement from the associates operating agreement.
Read it carefully!
You will not directly or indirectly purchase any Product(s) or take a Bounty Event action through Special Links, whether for your use or for the use of any other person or entity, and you will not permit, request or encourage any of your friends, relatives, employees, contractors, or business relations to directly or indirectly purchase any Product(s) or take a Bounty Event action through Special Links, whether for their use, your use or the use of any other person or entity. Further, you will not purchase any Product(s) through Special Links or take a Bounty Event action for resale or commercial use (of any kind) or offer any Products on your Site for resale or commercial use of any kind. (6u)
It clearly states that you should not purchase any product through your associates affiliate link, and you should not encourage or ask your friends, relatives, and anybody related to you in any capacity to do the same.
Copying reviews from Amazon and using them as your own
Generally, copy-pasting anything from other’s site is bad, and if someone finds it out, you and your business in legal danger.
There is no exception to Amazon in this regard. The customer reviews are its own property, and please don’t copy and use them in your site in any way. You are not legally permitted to do that.
But in the review section, you can read the first hand experiences of the customer about a particular product, take some ideas, and adopt them into your content with your own language. There’s nothing wrong about that.
Not including the disclosure statement clearly
This is obvious. You should include your affiliate disclosure clearly and legibly. What I mean by legibly is that you should include it in a highly visible font with a distinct dark color from the rest of the content.
Why dark color? Because there’s a big chance that people can skip over while scrolling and not recognize that you have a disclosure in the content, if you add it in a light colored text.
Also, it is a challenging thing for some people to read the disclosure, if you add it as a light colored text.
Therefore, it’s always a best practice to include the disclosure statement to your content in an easily recognizable format.
In addition to that, Amazon associates program requires you to have a certain disclosure statement that is unique to them. In my experience, including this statement in the footer of each page on your site increases the trust level of your visitors. Let’s not forget that disclosing your affiliation is a must to escape from the wrath of FTC.
So, disclose clearly and confidently, and your visitors will support you holeheartedly.
Here’s the Amazon disclosure statement.
Example.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.
Selecting irrelevant products
Selecting the right products is absolutely essential to becoming successful as an Amazon associate. To choose relevant products, you have to do proper research, promote the ones that are well known in the market, and related to your visitors.
After applying to the program, you need to prepare a list of products that you are gonna promote to your audience. If you are monetizing your site primarily through Amazon associates, this step becomes even more critical.
Your niche plays an important role in developing this list. Once it’s developed, create content around those chosen products. Repeat this process again and again.
Select the products that are demanded high in the market. This will significantly reduce future frustrations, and your audience will thank you for recommending relevant products to them.
Publishing duplicate content
Maintaining a well organized blog with high-quality content is paramount to success in affiliate marketing. So make sure to write quality content that is based on a particular topic in detail, solves a certain problem, and relevant to your niche. Always build your blog around a niche, so that it would be easier for your visitors to relate to your content.
When you implement this process, you’ll move towards success in a consistent pace. If you don’t write content for your site, take other people’s work and publish them as your own, you are setting yourself for failure.
This is called duplicate/thin content. First, Google doesn’t like a website with such content. And second, Amazon employs a meticulous review process to see whether your site contains any duplicate/thin content. and if your site is full of that type of content, you can be 200 percent confident that you’ll be rejected.
So please don’t copy other’s work and stay out of trouble.
I’m sure you won’t do that!
Using Amazon’s marks, symbols, and names
One thing you should be aware that Amazon has a strict and powerful trademark policy. Violating it in any means is a surefire way to get banned from the program. Avoid it at any cost.
Also, if you violate Amazon’s trademark policy, they will ban you even if you have an authoritative site in a particular niche.
Kindly understand that the main aim of this post isn’t to intimidate you. Rather, you can use it as a guidepost to stay away from the top 15 mistakes as a beginner Amazon associate.
Choose the smoothest road, and all the very best in your journey!
Hari loves writing about affiliate marketing, email marketing, and blogging for beginners. When he is not writing, you can find him actively watching tennis, or searching for the next recipe that’ll fulfill his heart.