Is Amazon Associates a Scam? Here Is My Take On It
There have been numerous times that I have seen comments saying that Amazon Associates is a scam, or its not worth it, or whatever, and I just want to clear one thing up… Its NOT A SCAM. Its definitely not the best affiliate program out there, but its not all that bad in my opinion.
In this Amazon Associates review I’ll be going over some of the most common complaints and what I think of them, and then I’ll be talking about one important thing that everyone seems to forget.
Amazon Associates Complaints
Amazon Tampers With Accounts?
If you do a Google search you will find a number of people claiming that Amazon Associates is a fraud and purposely tamper with Associates’ accounts in order to make every penny they can.
Some claim that they lure you in by giving you higher number of clicks and commissions to start off and to make you work harder. And then when you start making too much money your number of clicks and commissions will all of a sudden drop.
People have complained saying that their affiliate links suddenly stop working. As in, they still refer people to Amazon but they do not give credit to the affiliate, so the affiliate gets nothing for the referral.
And the furthest that Amazon is said to go to ensure they spare every penny they can, is closing associate accounts that are just making too darn much money. Thats right.. this is what people are saying.
But is this true?
I have been an associate for over a year and I cannot speak personally on any of these issues because I have not had them.
But one thing that I know for sure, is that some of these people at the very least have probably violated the Amazon Associate’s operating agreement, aka the terms of service. This lengthy agreement goes over the many things that you must do and not do in order to be an associate. It goes over everything from the links on your site, to the content of your site and more.
Most of it is common sense. For example they aren’t going to allow you to be an associate if your site is just a bunch of click bait. Meaning that you are representing the products you are promoting inaccurately just to try to get people to click your links.
If you have not violated these terms of service and you have had your account shut down, then I don’t know what to tell you. There is no justification for that the way I see it. But like I said, I have not had this problem and cannot speak much on the matter because of it.
Anyway, moving on to probably the biggest complaint you will find…
The Pay Is Terrible!
I can’t really disagree here. Compared to many other affiliate programs, Amazon Associates pays very little, sometimes only paying you a puny 2% commissions. Yes you heard that right! Only 2%. So if you help sell a $100 product you will only get paid 2 measly dollars.
The amount you get paid depends on the products that you are promoting. Here is a list of product types and the commissions that you are able to earn through Amazon…
And as you can see this list does not even come close to including all of the many products that you can promote on Amazon. For all of the products that don’t fit into a category above, which is most of them, they follow this commission pay scale…
This is for all the general products and as you can see it is volume based, meaning that the more products you sell the more commissions you make.
You start off making just 4% commissions on any general product, but once you sell 6 products, you then get bumped up to 6% commissions. You can work your way up to 8.50% commissions at the most.
One thing that is important to note here is that the number of products that you sell is the total number of products, not the number of one particular product. You don’t have to sell 6 dog toys in order to get a raised commission for selling these dog toys. All you have to do is sell 6 products, and they could be all different products.
The Pay Sucks
I’ll keep it real, the pay does suck. I mean come on, 4% commissions starting out for the majority of products??? Who the hell wants to even try to make money with that low of payouts?
Its kind of ridiculous and there is no doubt that Amazon’s commissions are on the low side, but there is one important thing that people tend to forget about, which I will go over…
Why Amazon Associates Is Great
People tend to forget how amazing Amazon actually is getting lots of commissions. They see the low commission percentages and figure that its not even worth trying. So they go along and find other products to promote on other sites.
Amazon Is The King of eCommerce
What people are forgetting about is how great Amazon actually is at selling products. Amazon is THE BEST ECOMMERCE store there is. I don’t think anyone will argue with that. Their growth since their humble beginnings in 1994 has been astronomical in the last decade alone. They are revolutionizing ecommerce. People now follow in their footsteps and try to replicate what they are doing.
Referring people to Amazon is as good as it gets. If you can’t get people to buy products on Amazon after clicking on your affiliate links, then you can’t anywhere else. The trust that Amazon has built up with their great customer relations along with their incredible deals that no one else can beat make Amazon the perfect place for affiliate marketers to refer people to.
I mean, sure you aren’t going to get a sale every-time you refer someone, but what I am saying is that you probably will more often than anywhere else.
They Make You More Money Than You Think
Amazon’s layout is as good as you are going to see anywhere. It is designed for one thing, and that is to sell.
This layout was no mistake. Its carefully engineered to have a clean and simple layout, yet give the readers what they need to know before they buy.
Its a masterpiece. You have the large product image on the left, the customer star ratings right in the middle, the important features below that, and the add to cart button is above the fold, meaning that readers don’t have to scroll down to see it.
And then below this you have a lineup of other items that other customers bought along with the one you are looking at. Amazon’s massive stock of products make them great for upselling customers. They have so many that they can match you very well with other items you might like. I know I have been upsold a few times on Amazon. And the great thing about this is…
You Get Paid For The Upsells!
Thats right. You can refer someone to Amazon to buy an xBox and they might buy an extra controller along with it. You will get commissions for everything they bought, not just the xBox.
I frequently find that I get commissions on products that I don’t promote. Some I can tell are upsells because they are very closely related, but others have absolutely nothing to do with anything.
They Have 24 Hour Cookies
When you refer someone to Amazon.com, there is a small text file that is saved into their web browser that says they have been referred by you. This file lasts for 24 hours. And if they buy anything from Amazon within that 24 hours you will get commissions from the sales.
24 hour cookies is not all that great really, you can find other affiliate programs with longer lasting cookies, but its still good. I believe that many of the unrelated product sale commissions that I receive are often from the cookies doing their job. For example, someone gets referred to Amazon by you and isn’t interested so they leave, but they come back later that day to buy something completely different.
Amazon Associates is Bittersweet
So is Amazon Associates a scam? Heck No. I hope you knew that after reading this.
But it seems like you can never win. There is always a problem, no matter what the affiliate program.
Amazon’s commission payout percentage sucks. I don’t think anyone will try to argue that a 4% commission to start out doesn’t suck. This is the bitter part of Amazon Associates.
But this alone doesn’t mean that the whole affiliate program sucks.
The sweet part of the program is that you are referring people to Amazon, which is an absolute boss at selling things. You just have to refer the people to them and they will do their best to convert them into customers, which you will then earn a commission off of.
And another sweet thing about Amazon is that they have tons of products. According to a report in 2015, Amazon sells over 488 million products in the US alone. I like that I can promote pretty much anything I can think of, all from the Amazon platform. I don’t have to go out and sign up for a million affiliate programs.
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