Amazon affiliate program, known as Amazon Associates, is perfect for anyone who is getting started with affiliate marketing. The program's "pre-approval" system allows you to join almost immediately, and will provide you with an easy-to-use affiliate linking tool bar (SiteStripe). But beware! Just like any other business partner programs, there are rules to follow. Ignore the Amazon operating agreement, and you'll be risk at being kicked out. So here's how to join Amazon Associates, what you should be aware of, and how to make money as Amazon Affiliate.
Before I begin, the information below is based on Amazon.com (US) Associates agreement. Each regional Associates program (such as Amazon EU) sets out slightly different rules, just so you know.
What Do I Need To Become An Amazon Associate?
There are two things you need in order to be able to join Amazon Associates;
- Your true identification: Particularly you need to have your phone number ready, which Amazon will use to make an automated phone call to verify PIN number. You will also need to submit your tax identification number wherever in the world you live (W8-BEN TIN number if you live in the US).
- Your own website or mobile app: Website must be your own, not a web space within a third-party blog-publishing service. If you haven't owned a website, you can create one for free from here - it won't take you a few minutes!
You can join in from https://affiliate-program.amazon.com. Amazon Associates program is entirely free.
One Associate Account For Multiple Websites
First question it asks is a list of websites or mobile apps (if you are a software app developer) where you intend to promote Amazon products. So if you have a number of websites in totally different niches, you can list them all here. You don't have to open separate Associate accounts.
Answering Questions - Your Promotion Methods
Amazon will ask you to ask you how you're going to promote the products, and how you drive traffic to your website. They're easy to answer and it won't take a few minutes to complete. But don't forget, it's an application - you're applying for an affiliate position. You should have a courtesy to show that you're not messing about, so be honest and sensible with your answers.
"What are your websites or mobile apps about?"
Be brief, but don't be abrupt by just saying "Health and Fitness" or "Work From Home".
In fact there are three supplementary questions underneath the box ("What can users do on your website or mobile app, who is it for, and what kind of products do you intend to promote?") So you can answer each one, for example;
Health and Fitness tips & advice primarily for men over 40. I intend to promote affordable home gym / exercise equipment, fitness-related books and nutritional supplements.
Traffic & Monetization
The first question "How do you drive traffic to your website(s)?" has 12 checkboxes - if you have just started building your site and have yet to promote it anywhere, "SEO" is the most appropriate answer. If you are a Wealthy Affiliate member and display your new website in your profile, you can check "Forums" and "Blogs" also.
You can answer all the questions honestly. For example the question "How many total unique visitors do your websites get per month?" - nobody expects thousands of visitors to a brand new site. So don't be afraid to choose "Less than 500" if that's the case, Amazon Associates will still pre-approve your application.
How Does Amazon Associates Review Your Application?
So I've said your affiliate application will be "pre-approved". It means you will receive a confirmation email from Amazon Associates almost immediately, and you can start placing Amazon affiliate links in your website. The real approval process will start when you've actually made 3 x qualified sales; when 3 people have have accessed to Amazon site via your affiliate link and made a purchase. Amazon will make sure that;
- Your website has a quality, original content - 10 posts, at least.
- Your website is publicly available (not closed group or paid access).
- Your website is - simply put, good and ethical. It does not contain anything like sexually explicit, hate, violence, discriminations, illegal, deceptive... Check the detail from here if you're not sure.
- You have to make at least 3 x sales within the first 180 days. Personal orders (purchased by you or anyone in your household) don't qualify!
The application review process can be viewed from here.
When and How Do I Get Paid?
When Amazon sees your sales are qualified and your website is suitable, it will start making the commission payments to you.
If someone accesses to Amazon via your affiliate link, any items that the person adds to the shopping cart in the next 24 hours will be subject to your affiliate commission entitlement. The commission rate depends on the product category, varying from 1% - 10%. You can check the fee schedule from here.
Payment will be made at the end of each month, within 60 days, i.e.
- Commissions made during January will be paid out in late March,
- Commissions made during August will be paid out in late October, and so on.
Your payments can be made by check, by Amazon gift certificate, or by Direct Deposit (U.S. bank account only).
Can I Use Product Images From Amazon?
This is the question I get asked most frequently by new affiliates.
The best way to place a product image from Amazon is to use SiteStripe feature. How to use it is explained in my previous post (How To Create A Website For Affiliate Marketing).
You shouldn't just download images from Amazon site and place them on your site. Although Amazon does not specifically disallow you to do it - that's because Amazon doesn't own the copyright of the images. Each product holder does, and they allow Amazon to use the images. But by all means Amazon advises you not to freely use the product images on your site.
Another way to display Amazon's product images on your site is to place a link directly to Amazon's image URL. I'll show you how to do it. The Associates' help desk confirms it's ok to do this.
- 1Firstly right-click the image and get the image URL. Depending on the browser, it should say "Copy Image Address", "Copy Image Link", or something similar. The example above is an image of product Echo Dot. This particular image URL is https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61-9XrDukkL._SL1000_.jpg
- 2Place an HTML code in your webpage - if you're using WordPress 5 (Bebo/Gutenberg), go to "Add Block" > "Formatting" > "Custom HTML".
<img src="INSERT THE IMAGE URL HERE" width="300">
<img src="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61-9XrDukkL._SL1000_.jpg" width="300">
- 3Insert the above code with the image URL in between, just like the example above. If you want the image to be larger or smaller, change the width accordingly. Do not set the height. (Because you don't have to. But if you do, skewing an image is something that's prohibited by Amazon so you need to be careful in resizing in the same proportion!)
- 4That's it. This is how it will look.
Having said that, it's definitely more advisable to embed the code from SiteStripe, because when a user clicks the image, they'll be directed to Amazon site via your affiliate link. Whereas the image is not clickable if you link it this way (you could make it clickable but Amazon does not specifically approve it, so why should you, rather than using SiteStripe?)
How To Make 'Good' Money As Amazon Affiliate
Use Native Shopping Ads
Place Native Shopping Ads (you can access it from the "Product Linking" menu in your Associates account) somewhere within your blog content. The ad space is responsive to all device types (mobile, tablet) and the feature will show the most relevant products to your visitors.
Write Comparison Reviews
Writing a product comparison review is the best way to get people to visit Amazon via your affiliate link. Yes, you often find those when you Google search, such as "10 most popular digital radios" "15 best vacuum cleaners under $100".
While product reviews convert the best, it's actually a hard work. You need to update the pages very regularly because new items come in constantly and the bestsellers can become obsolete quicker than you think.
Keep Up With Holidays And Sales
Like any other shops, Amazon runs special campaigns ahead of holidays - Christmas, Valentines Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving Day... You can get ready well ahead of each holiday and promote products early.
Black Friday / Cyber Monday period is the best time to make money, so you can plan ahead - months ahead if you want, and write as many promo articles just before the period starts.
4 Things To Do To Get Your Affiliate Position Revoked
#1 Promoting Products "Offline"
You're not allowed to promote Amazon products and earn commission anywhere other than in your website or apps. To clarify, you cannot place your affiliate links in;
#2 Using A Link Shortener
#3 Messing Around With Amazon Logo/Banners
Plenty of banners are supplied by Amazon - don't try to modify the design of any of them. You may be good at graphic designs, but don't create your own Amazon banner. Or play with the logo - by adding a patterned background, for example.
#4 ...And With Trademark!
Not just the logo or banners but the whole trademark issue - be careful not to do anything to mislead users when mentioning Amazon on your site. Don't misspell the brand (e.g. Ammazon, Amazoon). Don't even think about using the brand name as part of your site title (e.g. "Discount Amazon 4U") or domain name (e.g. www.amazonebargain.com)
Do You Want To Know More In Detail?
The information above is based on the latest US Amazon Associates policies (updated December 1st, 2018) at the time of writing. You might want to double check the documents yourself, i.e.
- https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/policies and
And please note, each regional Amazon Associates program (Amazon.com, Amazon EU, etc) issues its own policy documents and sets out different rules. For example, Amazon Associates EU has recently confirmed to me that you can place your affiliate link in your email newsletter, whereas Amazon.com clearly prohibits it according to the policy.
I will try to update this post as often as I can, but if you have spotted errors or have any questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment below.