The Amazon Associates Program is one of the most popular affiliate programs to monetise your blog. But it is easy to make mistakes because there are so many rules and so many requirements that it can be pretty overwhelming for new bloggers.
Some mistakes will mean that you will not make as much money as you could be making, but others...
Well, other mistakes will get you banned.
So I have gone through the rules and picked 12 Amazon Affiliate mistakes that will get you kicked out of the program as well as some solutions.
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[Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may include affiliate links. This means that I get a commission if you purchase the product through my link at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.]
Before we go any further, do you want to be more productive with your affiliate marketing efforts? Then get my Affiliate Marketing Tracker and Planner here.
1. Getting your family and friends to buy from your links
You might be tempted to ask friends and family to use your links to make some purchases, specially if you want to make sure you make some sales before the initial 90-day period.
Obviously, Amazon do not want you to take advantage of their affiliate program, so they do not allow this.
Best case scenario if you make this Amazon Affiliate Mistake is that they don't credit the money for those sales to your account, worst case scenario is that they ban you. So don’t do it.
And yes, they do know you're doing it. I am not really sure how they know that you're doing it, but they do.
2. Using Amazon links in emails or other messaging services
Another Amazon Affiliate Mistake is to use your affiliate links in private messages. You cannot use Amazon links in emails, not even if you are promoting one of your own books or products. I have seen some people do this but I wouldn't risk it either.
If you are sending your blog posts automatically to your email list when they are published you must make sure that no links appear in the fragment of the text they get in their email.
And not sharing links through Whatsapp either!
3. Using Amazon links in ebooks or pdfs
It's the same as in the case of the emails. Basically what Amazon wants is for all the links to be public and online at all times. So anything in an email, an ebook, a pdf, a resources library behind a password, etc. cannot have amazon links.
What you do in this case is create a landing page with the relevant resources for each ebook, course, etc and keep it available to the public. Then add the link to the page from the ebook, course, pdf...
If you do this way you can also promote the page on social media and cross-promote the ebook or course.
4. Using a link shortener or cloaker
These plugins help you organise your affiliate links so
- you can remember the products from memory so it’s easy for you to use for your social media or you can mention them in videos and courses.
- the links are organised according to categories
- and they insert the relevant links automatically in your blog posts.
If you still want to use a plugin to save yourself time, there's a new plugin: Tasty Links deals with this nicely, specially if you use the same products repeatedly. It won't change the link but it will automatically add the right links when you type specific words. You can see the video showing how it works here:
5. Not using the Amazon Associates Disclosure in your Terms and Conditions
Amazon is very picky, and asks you to add their own disclosure to your terms. It's easy to copy and paste it with your other disclaimers.
Here's the text
[Insert your name] 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.]
But check that it is the current one cos they make changes to it every now and then.
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6. Not disclosing at all
7. Using your own links to buy your own stuff
That's taking advantage of the program, so obviously you are not allowed to do that. If I have been working on adding links to my blog post or social media and checking them but I need to buy something, I will either wait 24 hours or go to a site of any blogger I know who is an Amazon Associate and click through one of their links.
8. Sharing on social media without following the rules
There seems to be a lot of misinformation about using Amazon Associates links in social media.
Lots of people think that you cannot use them but that is not true.
What you must do is check that affiliate links are allowed in the social media you are planning to use. And then you must add the url to that profile to the list of sites in your Amazon Associate account.
Plus you must add a disclosure in social media. You can do it by using a sentence like this “ This is an affiliate link to Amazon and I will get a small commission if you purchase anything” or if you don't have a lot of space in your post use #ad #afflink or #sponsored in your posts.
9. Using images from Amazon
Yes, apparently you're not allowed to use the images from Amazon cos of copyright and stuff.
If you want to use an image, use the one provided by the Stripe, their plugins or get permission directly from the manufacturer to use one of theirs.
10. Using Amazon buy buttons with direct links
This means you cannot create a button that looks like one of Amazon's buttons or download an Amazon-style button image or with the Amazon logo to encourage people to buy from the site.
The best way to add Amazon Affiliate links to your site is to use Plugins to add Product Ads, Grids and Carousels when you want to use images. If you want to use text links, use the plugin to add a Product Link.
11. Mentioning prices
Because they're always changing and the price you show in your blog post can be misleading: So you get somebody looking at your post and they think "Oh, what a bargain! This laptop is on sale for $50 I'll check it" but the price has changed and now it costs $500. Or you could make a mistake when you type the price and you have the wrong price on.
If you want to display the price, you can use the Price Link in the new Amazon Link Builder plugin, which will add the correct price for you in the link . This blog post explains how to do it.
If you don't want to do that you can add a small disclosure: "This price was correct at the time this post was published [dd-mm-yyy]" .
12. Copy reviews from Amazon and saying they are your own
If you haven't used a product, don't say you have and use somebody else's review as yours. That's not acceptable according to Amazon's terms.
So, if you are doing a roundup post and you haven’t tried all the products you can mention that "I haven't tried this one but thought to include here because it has so many 5 star reviews. Why not check them out for yourself?" or something similar.
Something you can do if you want to compare products is to use a plugin like Amazon Affiliate WordPress Plugin that will allow you to do Comparison Tables, Bestsellers Lists and use Data Fields to highlight certain product details.
Becoming an Amazon Associate is an easy way to add another income stream to your blog. And of course you want to get going as soon as possible and you feel tempted to skip reading all the dos and don'ts. It's also very tempting to take shortcuts so you start making money quickly.
But if you want to be doing this in the long term and keep making passive income from your blog in years to come, it's time for you to spend a little bit of time finding out how everything works and learning what you can and can't do.
If you are a bit lost and don't know where to start, check out my friend Carolina King's course from www.mamainstincts.com that will teach you how you can make money as an Amazon affiliate, even with a small blog.
My blog is not ideal for Amazon, it's still small and I don't have a lot of content, but I have been making consistent sales since I put her tips into practice with my second blog post. So why not check it out?