Are you an Amazon Associate? Stop what you’re doing and pay attention to this post!
Most bloggers get started with affiliate sales through the Amazon Associate program. It’s easy to sign up and Amazon sells products that fit any niche, so it’s a natural fit.
However, you need to pay attention to those emails Amazon sends out every once in a while, noting changes to the operating agreement. If you are out of compliance, they will shut down your account without warning and you will forfeit your entire unpaid balance.
Bloggers are being shut out of Amazon and losing all of their November (Black Friday! Cyber Monday!) payouts because of violations. What specifically is the issue?
Section 5: Identifying yourself as an Associate: You must clearly state the following on your Site or any other location where Amazon may authorize your display or other use of Content: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.” Except for this disclosure, you will not make any public communication with respect to this Agreement or your participation in the Associates Program. You will not misrepresent or embellish our relationship with you (including by expressing or implying that we support, sponsor, or endorse you), or express or imply any affiliation between us and you or any other person or entity except as expressly permitted by this Agreement.
Bloggers are reporting that Amazon is revoking their Associate status because they mention Amazon supports them/ their blog. This could mean that any disclosure that includes language such as “Thanks for supporting my blog!” or “Affiliate links help support this blog” could run afoul of this agreement.
The Operating Agreement isn’t the only place with rules for Associates. Don’t forget to brush up on the Program Policies, which state:
You must not encourage customers to bookmark your Special Links. All Special Links must be accessed directly from your site.
So, disclose with their official disclosure- no more and no less. Don’t tell customers to bookmark your link. Also don’t forget that you can’t post prices with your Amazon link, either. It’s also possible that this means you can’t drop links on social media- no affiliate links in Facebook threads or groups, for example, since those links aren’t accessed directly from your site.
Click here to read the most current operating agreement, and go back through your posts on your site to make sure they all have the required disclosure and don’t imply Amazon is supporting your site. Make sure you also check out the Program Policies.