Amazon’s affiliate program is really useful if you want to make some extra money and a great way to support your website. However, if you break any rule of Amazon’s Terms of Service (TOS), you can lost all of the hard work you have put into it.
If you have decided to read all TOS, be prepared to spend a loooong night. All rules are even spread out over six different documents. Crazy! So, we have analyzed and selected the most common mistakes that can get you banned from the program.
1. Send Amazon affiliate links via email
Using affiliate links in email can quickly get you banned. If you still want to make money from Amazon using email marketing, instead of sending traffic to Amazon you should add a link to your webpage that includes your affiliate links. However, your webpage subscribers can get new post notifications directly on their email inbox. If you use your Amazon USA link on the first paragraph, users will get a clickable link on their email inbox.
2. Auto-tag, iframe, automatic cookie install
Amazon by default stores cookie information for users who click on your links and end up on Amazon. If they click on the link and just browse on Amazon, cookie lasts 24h. If they add the product to cart cookie lasts 90 days. Of course there are many ways to cheat with that however we truly recommend don’t try to joke with Amazon! If they think you are doing something suspicious, you will not only be banned but possibly go to court. We recommend you at least to avoid using iFrame’s on your site.
3. Affiliate link shortening or hiding
Amazon doesn’t appreciate link shortening that doesn’t make it obvious that you are sending users to its webpage. This Internet giant is very concerned with affiliates misdirecting audience, as the reputation of the Amazon depends on how affiliates are referring the site to visitors. You will not cloak, hide, spoof, or otherwise obscure the URL of your webpage containing Special Links such that we cannot reasonably determine the site from which a customer clicks through such special link to the Amazon Site. However, you can use Amazon’s link shorter version: Amzn.to.
4. Including links in eBooks or PDF documents
You can’t include Amazon affiliate links on your E-Book or any other PDF documents. According to the Amazon account agreement, “In any printed material, mailing, SMS, MMS, email or attachment to email, or other document, or any oral solicitation”. If you do that, you will get banned.
5. Using your affiliate link for items you buy
It would be good to do all of your shopping online via Amazon using your affiliate link. Unfortunately, at the TOS is clearly written that you can’t do this: “You will not purchase any Product(s) through Special Links for use by you or for resale or commercial use of any kind.” Don’t get banned folks!
6. To have more than one account
It is important to know that Amazon only allows one account per individual. If you create more, you will get banned instantly. Some new affiliates do this mistake often. However, some business owners may qualify for an exception depending on the nature and scale of their business, so feel free to contact Amazon and ask for some leniency.
7. Promote Amazon with copied content
If you expect just copy and paste large chunks of product description on your webpage — think again!Amazon wants to be sure that Affiliates are sharing links only on high-quality webpages. So, if you are copying everything from Amazon or don’t have any meaningful texts & pictures, they won’t look at you seriously. To conform quality standards you must make sure that your webpage contains only fresh and correct content. However, you can use critical pieces of information and put them, for example, in graphs or use them in your reviews.
8. Link from sexually explicit or violent sites
At the operating agreement, Amazon strictly forbids using affiliate links on webpages that contain or promote sexually explicit materials. While this can sound as an uncertain term, it’s better to stay on the safe side. So, check in first before posting your links on a webpage that could be on the border line of explicit or violent content.
9. Buy paid search placements
“Prohibited Paid Search Placement” means an advertisement that you purchased through bidding on keywords, search terms, or other identifiers. While paid placement of this kind can do a lot to make your webpage more successful, it can also get you instantly banned. So, be extremally careful while generating traffic for your webpage using paid ads.
10. Offering incentive
Providing incentive is one of the tricky ways marketers use to increase sales. While this works for digital product marketplaces, there is no place for it in Amazon affiliate program. You will not offer any person or entity any consideration or incentive (including any money, rebate, discount, points, donation to charity or other organization, or other benefit). The agreement clears it all. Offer rebate only if you want to get banned.
11. Mentioning price in your content
Amazon changes the prices of products regularly, so putting prices right in your text means that your webpage can become a big “lier” very soon. So that, Amazon is ready to get you banned as soon as you will decide to discuss any price of its products in your content.
Here is what it says about price display in Amazon Operating Agreement:
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 the 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. You may not otherwise include price information on your site.
The true is you can mention the price in your content but you must put the disclaimer under the price mentioning when was price last updated. You can do that automatically using Content Egg, EasyAzon plugins or WordPress theme for Amazon Affiliates like AuthorityAzon or using non WordPress solution like Fresh Store Builder. Those products will automatically update price from Amazon using product advertising API.
12. No sales in 180 days
Once you sign up for Amazon Affiliate program, you need to sell at least 1 product within 180 days. If there has not been a referred sale, your Associates Central access will be withdrawn. However, the good news is, you can re-apply to become Amazon affiliate anytime later.