We’ll live and let live if you’ve never heard of Kim Kardashian but if you haven’t heard of Amazon, you’ve probably been living under the world’s biggest and most sound-proof rock! One of the largest, if not the largest, e-commerce sites in the world, Amazon is your one-stop shop for every imaginable need from electronics to lifestyle products to gardening needs.
Today, we’ll review Amazon’s affiliate program — Amazon Associates — that has long been a great source of income for sellers and affiliates alike. We’ll tell you what works and what doesn’t and why you should consider giving this affiliate program a shot!
About the Amazon Affiliate Program
Amazon is a company that needs no introduction, nor does its founder Jeff Bezos. This Seattle-based multinational focuses mainly on digital streaming, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and their biggest source of income, e-commerce (it is the biggest e-commerce marketplace online). Along with Apple, Facebook and Google, Amazon is deemed one of the “Big Four” technology companies in the world. It is also the United States’ second-largest private employer as well as the second-largest technology company by revenue.
Initially starting as an online marketplace solely for books on July 5th, 1944, the company eventually expanded to selling all the products it does today and performs all the functions it performs today. It even surpassed Walmart as the United States’ most valuable retailer in 2015 and went on to acquire businesses such as Whole Foods Market. Its “Amazon Prime” feature has over 100 million subscribers all over the world. Today, Amazon streams videos, music and audiobooks and distributes downloads (through Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music and Amazon Audible), plays the role of a publisher (through Amazon Publishing), runs a film and television studio (Amazon Studios) and has a cloud-computing subsidiary (Amazon Web Services). It also produces and sells electronic products such as the Kindle, Echo and Alexa. The company has courted controversy with its extremely competitive work environment, tax avoidance, anti-competitive practices and overreach of technological surveillance.
Amazon Affiliate Offers
If you can’t find it on Amazon, you probably can’t find it elsewhere! Amazon is extremely popular, extremely simple to use and extremely profitable. Being the largest e-commerce platform, as mentioned earlier, Amazon offers over a million different products under 30 or so different categories, ranging from media to baby products to sporting goods to tools to even alcohol. Some of the popular categories are:
- Media: Books, music CDs, software and videotapes
- Apparel: Clothes and accessories for men and women
- Beauty Products: Cosmetics, bathing products, hair and skincare products and accessories
- Baby Products: Diapers, baby clothes and accessories, diaper dispensers, toys and learning material
- Consumer Electronics: Kindle, Alexa, Echo, televisions, remote controls, fans, sound and stereo systems, lights and other appliances
- Sporting Goods: Equipment for different sports as well as kits and gear
Apart from these, the site also sells industrial and scientific supplies, kitchen equipment and items, gardening equipment, musical instruments, toys, games and gourmet food. This provides affiliates a lot of options to choose from while looking to promote products. The choice of niches is wide and varied.
Range of Products
Given its huge size, Amazon has over a million products available for affiliates, vendors and buyers. The commission that affiliates can earn from selling a product varies according to the product itself. Amazon has different commission rates for different niches of products:
- Luxury Beauty and Amazon Coins — 10%
- Furniture, Home Improvement, Pet Products, Pantry, Lawn and Garden — 8%
- Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments, Business and Industrial Supplies — 6%
- Outdoors and Tools — 5.50%
- Digital Music, Grocery, Physical Music, Handmade, Digital Videos — 5%
- Amazon Fresh and Toys — 3%
- PC, PC Components and Blu-Ray — 2.50%
These are just a few of the categories and the corresponding commissions that Amazon offers. However, when you compare these rates, even at the highest (10%), to other affiliate programs such as ClickBank and JVZoo, it can seem like an extremely low rate. And you’re right, it is! Despite the wide range of products, a substantial commission can only be earned by promoting luxurious beauty items that probably have a niche audience already, anyway!
Alternatively, there is the Amazon Bounty program. Through this program, Amazon pays you every time someone subscribes to one of Amazon’s services by using your link. You could earn anywhere between $3 for every new trial right up to $15 if someone chooses to start a business on Amazon. This is great because it’s two birds with one stone; a customer could potentially chance upon your blog post about the latest Nike steals on Amazon, learn about Amazon Prime while they’re at it and choose to get both! Ergo, you get a commission for both!
Quality of Offers
Amazon is one of those rare sites where you can be assured of the quality of most products because the company itself takes the pain to verify the authenticity of the product. Tags such as Amazon-Fulfilled, Amazon’s Choice, Easy Returns, 100% Original, Amazon-verified purchases (in case of reviews), Prime and so on are a few indicators of original products. Additionally, sellers are required to enter into an agreement with Amazon stating that they will not sell products that are not 100% genuine. Amazon also offers easy returns and a 30-day money-back guarantee on most niches, as well as Purchase Protection.
As mentioned earlier, the commission rates may look a little low, but when you actually compare them, Amazon provides better competitive commissions with regards to tools, furniture, computers and luxury beauty items, to name a few niches, than its competitors. You also get a commission for any products within your affiliate cookie (say if someone uses your link to buy earphones and then continues to go ahead and buy groceries, you get a commission for both at their respective rates). Plus, along with the Amazon Bounty, this could translate to a substantial income for affiliates.
Also, let’s not forget or discount Amazon’s amazing advertisement strategies such as deals, sales and discounts. These tactics ensure that people end up buying something or the other, meaning that Amazon converts its leads pretty well. Even if your cookie only remains in the system for 24 hours, it’s a pretty damn tasty cookie that could earn you quite a bit due to frequent upselling!
Amazon Affiliate Payout Terms and Options
Amazon’s model of advertising focuses on volume, as is their fee structure. They seem to use a cost-per-sale (CPS) model with affiliates earning for every sale they make and the number of products that Amazon ships out due to customers using the affiliate link. There are different slabs and a different volume of products to be sold per slab.
Up until 2017, Amazon had a pretty straightforward commission structure, with the commission being proportionate to sales. They scrapped this model, however, and chose to go with flat commission rates, as mentioned earlier. All categories except for wine and gift cards will earn you some amount of commission.
Additionally, Amazon requires a threshold of $10 in your account to pay you if you should choose to be paid via direct bank deposit or via an Amazon gift card; this amount is ten times higher ($100) if you want to be paid via check. Any affiliate without the required threshold balance is paid the next month along with the sales amount of that month. Amazon’s pay schedule is net 60, meaning that an account with enough threshold at the end of February will be paid in late April, 2 months or so later.
Reputation and Trustworthiness
Amazon has garnered such a huge fan base among customers and vendors alike and that should speak volumes about the brand’s reputation and trustworthiness. Amazon’s brand name is a hard one to shadow over, with over billions of customers worldwide. However, people who have been affiliates with the site claim that Amazon is unclear on a lot of its policies and clarification on these is hard to come by, despite their “supportive” customer care.
Why Should You Use the Amazon Affiliate Program?
Apart from being the biggest e-commerce platform today, Amazon stands out for the following reasons:
- Competitive commissions
- User friendliness
- No cost to sign-up as an affiliate
- Ad-tracking and multiple advertisements in various forms
- Approachable and easily accessible customer care
- A broad range of niches to choose from
- Amazon Bounty program
- Affiliate cookies
Though these pros are appealing enough to forget the existence of cons, Amazon has a few drawbacks that we think are worth acknowledging. Firstly, Amazon’s cookie duration. 24 hours! Most of us can’t forget last night’s dinner in 24 hours and here Amazon is, forgetting cookies. However, there is an exception to this — a 90-day cookie, which Amazon gives you if someone adds a product you recommended, using your link, to their cart.
Apart from this, though Amazon offers competitive commissions on certain niches, other niches are just plain disappointing. Honestly, 1% on video games and consoles? Not going to get you very far considering the time and effort spent in promoting the product. Also, the company’s Terms of Service are unclear, in the way they’re written and in the format they’re presented. Affiliate potentials are presented with an agreement instead of instructions and any small error could lead to a ban. Support also turns out to be useless at this juncture, providing contradictory/confusion information!
Becoming an Amazon affiliate is a simple 4-step process:
- Create a website or blog that promotes a product.
- Visit the Amazon Associates homepage and enter the required details.
- Bring in your guns blazing and build an impressive Amazon Associates profile for yourself.
- Create affiliate links for products on Amazon!
Remember, while creating your profile, you’ll have to mention to Amazon how you bring in the required traffic to your website and what methods you use, whether it is via e-mails, CPC, organic traffic, referral traffic, social media and so on. Once your application has been submitted, Amazon provides you with a unique Associate ID and provides you with free access to Amazon Associates Central 24/7 for 180 days. Your application is reviewed only once you’ve referred qualified sales (at least within the 180-day period) to Amazon; if you haven’t made any even after 180 days of signing up, your application is discarded and access to Associates Central withdrawn.
That, ladies and gentlemen, was the A to Z of the Amazon Associates program. Finding a company with more appeal, customers, products and popularity than Amazon would be like looking for Atlantis; a mission impossible! Despite the major grievance about the low commission (which it actually isn’t), Amazon is a great place to start as an affiliate. However, be warned that you need to do quite a bit of research and reading to fully understand Amazon’s terms of service and rules and regulations. Don’t want to be banned now, do we? So put in the time and effort, do your homework and you’re good to go!
Amazon Affiliate Program Review
- Quality of Offers
- Range of Offers
Amazon’s Affiliate Program is easily one of the most popular programs. The company offers one of the largest marketplaces in the world, making it a versatile option for affiliates. Of course, the program also has relatively low commission rates and short cookie lengths. Is it worth promoting? Read our review to find out.
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