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Hey guys, Sam here from Reviews Boss, coming back with another review and today, we’re actually looking at an affiliate network. So if you’ve done any research on me or read many articles on this blog already you know that one of my passions in life is affiliate marketing. I’m the first to admit I’m not the greatest affiliate marketer ever, I’m certainly not a guru but it’s kept me in overseas holidays, clothes and electronics and even a University degree, I managed to earn through affiliate marketing.
So it’s been good to me and it’s a passion of mine and if I’m brutally honest, if I woke up tomorrow morning, went and turned on the kettle and a genie popped out or I rubbed on a magic lamp and a genie appeared from somewhere and he granted me one wish for my career or what I’d do for business, I would probably say make me the world’s greatest affiliate marketer ’cause that’s my biggest passion in the digital space.
So yeah, anyway, at the heart of affiliate marketing is the affiliate network. You know, this is where you as an affiliate pair up with offers or products or services that you get a cut on and I’ve reviewed a couple of affiliate networks in the past, I’ve recently reviewed PeerFly, peerfly.com and PeerFly is one of the best starter CPA networks out there, very good, lots of offers, great support from Luke Kling. Luke Kling is the guy who also made FPTraffic and he made Rewst, a twitter tool and he made pages which unfortunately got shut down due to people spamming it. But anyway, Luke’s a great guy and PeerFly is a great network.
And then I also reviewed a while back ClickBank which holds a special place in my heart as the first affiliate network I ever made a sale on. I really do quite like ClickBank still even though there’s some terrible products on there. There’s just something about it, seeing those green bars in your account feels really good. And you know, they have done work in trying to improve the quality of their platform as well.
So anyway, what affiliate network are we looking at today? We’re looking at Amazon Associates. Once again, I don’t claim to be a huge expert on Amazon Associates but in my work I’ve been doing with building up and monetizing Facebook pages and groups which I’m hoping to release some free training and resources around, the biggest source of income for me from that has been through Amazon Associates. So basically official license merge from the sort of entertainment franchises I’m building Facebook pages around and their other products as well.
And I’ve made money in the past from Amazon Associates through SEO websites and me and my brother had a 3D printing website where we reviewed 3D printers. And you know, we made some pretty Amazon commissions off that as well. So yeah, Amazon Associates, what is it? It’s Amazon’s affiliate program. So it’s free to join, it’s fairly easy to join, you just have to go through a process to be able to actually sign up to it which … it’s not, in my recollection, it’s not particularly arduous but something [inaudible 00:03:28] turned down but yeah, it’s … you can get up and running pretty quickly.
If you go and look at the Amazon Associates main website, you can see there’s a few little juicy tidbits that’ll make your mouth water, choose from over a million products to advertise to your customers and earn up to 10% in advertising fees. And I’ll talk about the fees more later because they do vary pretty strongly. And it’s always been a bit of a bone of contention really, Amazon’s fees.
But anyway, yeah, signup is free. It’s been so long since I signed up for my account, I can’t remember the whole process so I’ll dig up a bit more information about that and just type it out. At the moment, I’m just dictating my review to be transcribed but I will dig that information out as well. But anyway, what is Amazon Associates, well, we’ve covered that. Why would you want to use it? Well, why wouldn’t you, I guess, is probably a better question to ask because Amazon just seems unstoppable at the moment. I mean it was not that long ago that Jeff Bezos was announced to be the only person in the world with 100 billion dollars. I mean it’s just crazy. You think at the sort of the start of the 21st century, Amazon was a fairly small little sort of pokey out, now it’s really just about the most powerful company in the world.
You know, they just seem to go from strength to strength and what that means for you as an affiliate marketer is that you can tap into that brand. People trust Amazon. I mean i buy from Amazon all the time, I live in New Zealand but I buy from Amazon. If I look to buy anything, just about especially if it’s electronics or something that’s the same whether I buy it in New Zealand or overseas, first thing I do is jump on Amazon, check for products that ship to New Zealand because that’s easier than using a freight forwarding service and just see what the pricings looking like and the reviews. I bought so much stuff off Amazon over the last couple of years.
You know, and all arguments about the effect of that on local retailers aside, I’ve probably saved so much money doing it and to be honest, I’ve found Amazon’s customer service fantastic. And that’s the beneficial thing about being an Amazon Associate is that you can piggyback off that trust that people have in Amazon and when you go and promote products with your Amazon affiliate links, you know, it’s not like people are clicking through to some shady sort of backwater of the internet, they’re clicking through to just about the biggest site on earth now apart from probably Google, YouTube and Facebook.
You know, it’s just a gargantuan thing, Amazon, and people really trust it. They don’t think twice about ordering off Amazon if they see a product they like at a price they think is fair. So that’s yeah one of the big reasons for using Amazon Associates.
The second is that there are so many different products you can promote. This is especially relevant for me in the work I do with my Facebook pages, trying to build up largely automated Facebook pages that you know, none of them are making me a fortune but if you can build up a Facebook page over the course of the year, say you work on it five minutes a day and by the end of that year it’s making you 250 bucks a month, well, that’s awesome extra income. Get 10 of those automated, that’s less than an hour’s work a day and you’re making almost sort of additional full-time basic salary for yourself. It’s just a good little way to have fun and make some money online at the same time. And Amazon empowers me to do that through it’s huge range of products that are available to promote.
So yeah, Amazon Associates, it’s just a solid, proven affiliate program. It’s been around for a long time. I’ll talk about this more in a minute ’cause there are some things that people hate about it and it’s not all good news but if you want an affiliate program where you can send customers to a very trusted website, where they can get the products they want at prices you know are sharp because that’s Amazon’s built, then you know, you need to get on board this wagon and ride it all the way to town.
So what I’ll do now is, I’m not gonna go through how you sign up. You know, it’s all straight forward, I’ll post a good video [inaudible 00:07:58] or something like that. What I’m gonna … I’m not gonna go through eligibility criteria or anything like that ’cause that’s boring. What I wanna do is look at the things I like about Amazon Associates and the things I don’t like and then tell you whether I think it is truly worth joining or not.
So look, one of things I like as I mentioned, you’re getting in the sort of backdoor in a sense that you can promote links that wind up serving your customer through just about the most trusted name in e-commerce, in online retail. You know, people know Amazon, they trust it, they see it in the news all the time. They don’t hesitate to buy from Amazon if the product is right, the price is right. That’s quite a radical departure from things like ClickBank where, you know, if you’ve ever forwarded a ClickBank product, you’ll know that really the transaction is completed through ClickBank’s payment gateway but for the customer, from their perspective, it largely looks like your transacting through the product vendor’s website. And some of those ClickBank products, for example, they still look like the sales page was made in the early 2000s. Dial up, I mean some of them have not changed since I started doing affiliate marketing really about 11 years ago now, or 10 years ago to be precise.
It’s just incredible. Decades past and some of those sites haven’t changed whereas if you look at Amazon now versus a decade ago, it’s just grown in leaps and bounds. So yeah, Amazon is a great way to promote and I guess borrow from that incredible brand [inaudible 00:09:35] that Amazon does have and the trust and security and all those kind of things that come with it.
Secondly, as I mentioned, huge range of products. Just about anything under the sun you can sell and you know, you can sell stuff from little one dollar trinkets all the way up to hundreds, thousands of dollar products and you know, making commissions of those. And then yeah, the choice is incredible, really. It’s great to see. I mean, in one of the Facebook pages I work on, it’s about a TV show, I think there are about seven or 800 different products I can promote. And yeah, they don’t make huge commissions per sale but you know, it all adds up, every dollar helps. And especially if you’re automating the process and having fun with it but that’s a story for another day.
Other things I like about Amazon Associates, I’ll just blast them out quickly. You know you’re gonna get paid, you know it’s a trustworthy company, they pay well. There’s a couple of different payment options, I can’t do bank deposit, I don’t even know if they offer that. I think they might do but I’m based in NZ so my options are either get paid by Amazon store credit which is really handy if you just wanna do a bit of affiliate marketing and maybe get some money to buy a play station or buy some new clothes or something. Or I can get paid by cheque. You know, they’re gonna be good for the money although there is a caveat there and I wanna discuss that when I get to the negative part of the review.
They’ve got some pretty good tools to help you promote. It’s easy to grab your affiliate links. It’s just easy to get started with really … and I think the biggest thing is just that access to so many products that you can promote. Really, really, really powerful stuff..
But let’s move on to the negatives of Amazon Associates. And there are quite a few, I’m gonna be pretty honest about them. The first and probably the biggest one, the elephant in the room is the commission rates are pretty shit to be honest. They used to be a lot better. I didn’t pay enough attention at the time and this is sort of shame on me as an aspiring affiliate marketer but I didn’t pay enough attention to what changed but my understanding and I will update this in due course when I’ve double checked, when I started on Amazon Associates and for the longest time, there were different rates you would get per category, obviously factoring in that different products had different margin levels.
But you’d also get volume-based rates as well. So it’s almost like turbo charging the rate you’d get. So you could do quite well by say selling 250, 300 cheap widgets that sold like hotcakes and then that would boost up your sales numbers and you’d hit those volume thresholds and then you’d get bigger percentages that would apply across your whole account and so you’d earn more. So you might be selling like pens and then through selling pens, when it came to selling Rolex watches, you’d get a bigger commission percentage.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that anymore. You just have a fixed rate for different product categories. And I’ll read through some of them ’cause they’re not exactly impressive but Amazon gift cards and wine, 0%. Video games and video game consoles, 1%. Televisions, digital video games, 2%. PCs, PC components, DVD, Blu-ray, 2.5%. You know, what’s a bit better, I’ll jump through some of them. Apparel, jewelry, luggage, shoes, handbags, 7%. 10% for Amazon fashion women, men’s, kids, private label, Amazon coins and all other categories, 4%. So basically, the best you can ever get is 10% of the sale.
You know, imagine if you got 10% of a $20 t-shirt, it’s two dollars, I mean you’ve gotta sell, to make $100 a day, you gotta make 50 t-shirt sales. In fact, more than that ’cause I think t-shirts would be under apparel and that’s 7% so what, you’d be having to make about 120, 130 sales a day of that t-shirt at 20 bucks to make 100 bucks a day. Which is pretty crazy and I think that’s one area where Amazon … a lot of the affiliates’ struggle is just how pathetic the commissions are. And I suspect that’s ’cause Amazon makes … you know, if you look at what people say about them, their sort of financial data, they don’t make much in the way of margin themselves. They [inaudible 00:14:20] rely on volume and squeezing out competitors and just that sort of almost slightly … I don’t know how to describe it, sort of just take over the universe kind of thing that Jeff Bezos seems to be doing.
So, the other thing as well is that Amazon Associates rate have come down over time as I mentioned before. The sort of disappearance of the volume multiplier was a big, big blow for many Amazon Associates in fact. I mean, it didn’t affect me too much ’cause the way I was running my affiliate marketing business at the time but I know some affiliates were … they lost 50, 60% of their income over night. And that leads me onto another thing, which is Amazon is pretty notorious at its changing the terms and conditions on the fly.
You know, you just get an email saying, “We’ve changed our terms and conditions for your affiliate program. It’s just coming into effect in a month’s time or this is coming into effect tomorrow.” There is nothing you could say or do about it. So you just deal with it. And I’ll make a comment at the end about why I think things are going that way.
Other things I don’t like about the platform, they’re slow to pay in the sense that there is a big time lag between when you make a sale and when you actually receive the money. I think it’s about two to three months of the top of my head. You basically make your sales in a month and then you’ve gotta wait I think 60 days to get paid or get the payment issued or something around the mark. It’s a long time anyway. You know, when you compare some affiliate programs, I think like JVZoo now, some products on that, for example, offer instant payout.
Even ClickBank’s not that bad, it’s every fortnight or something like that you get paid out. So yeah, the payment’s slow. Once you’re rolling, it’s not an issue ’cause you sort of get past months payments rolling through but certainly … like even if you could build a site today that started making a couple of 100 dollars a day in commissions on Amazon Associates, you’re still gonna have to wait quite some time for that money. So cashflow can be an issue.
Other issues with the platform, other things I don’t like. They’re pretty notorious at just banning you if you make just about any contravention of the Amazon Associates guidelines and you get caught. Yeah, you can wave goodbye to your account and your chances of getting it back are pretty slim and they’re pretty notorious as well at sort of I guess banning people when they didn’t even really realize what they were doing wrong. Which I suppose is just one of those things. But you know, there are so many terms and conditions with this affiliate program, it’s just insane.
And people get caught out for all sorts of crazy things like apparently you’re not supposed to save an image from Amazon of a product, so you’ve got … I mean either you gotta download and edit it a little bit so that you could feasibly claim it wasn’t from there or you’re gonna find another product that can get you in trouble. You can get banned from the program for inserting pricing into your … like if I did a review of … say, I bought a chrome book on Amazon and I said this is the pri- … you know, you can buy it for $500 on Amazon, and then Amazon twig on to that, they can ban you, I think that’s to do with the fact that the pricing changes so much and they don’t want you to say in your review, “You can buy it for $500,” and the price has gone up to 550 and then people get grumpy ’cause I suppose, they just think that’s what Amazon’s supposed to price it at.
So that does make a bit of sense but it catches people out. But yeah, basically the internet is full of horror stories of people getting caught out by Amazon Associates, fairly draconian rules. So you do need to be careful of that as well, it’s something to bear in mind when you work on the platform.
And I think the final thing I wanna mention with Amazon Associates, and it’s almost really in conclusion to be honest is that I get the impression that Amazon doesn’t really want to have an affiliate program. It helped them grow at the start, you know, certainly when Amazon was sort of developing and even up until fairly recently when it was big but it wasn’t so big, it wasn’t this all encompassing sort of superpower on the internet.
That affiliate program really helped drive more sales to them but now the thing is, a lot of people don’t even Google what’s the best toaster or best electric guitar tuner for under $20 or anything like that. They just go straight on Amazon and just search the product directly. They bypass Google altogether. And I think that the long run is gonna have a big effect on people building up. Like there was a real trend in affiliate marketing for a long time and there still is to an extent of doing like Amazon niche sites, you know, bestelectrictoasters.com or electrictoothbrushreviews.net or coffeeplungerheaven.co or things like that, you’ve probably clicked on them if you’ve googled before. And there are some really big brands that are doing this, the Sweet Home I think is one of them or the wire cutter. You know, they are like massive sort of gorillas of the affiliate marketing world, just sort of stomping around, dominating the [inaudible 00:20:06] and they all still do really well.
But I think over time, the smaller SEO-driven, Amazon sites are gonna struggle, unless they’re driving traffic in other ways as well because I think it’s just a combination of the fact that more and more people just go directly to Amazon to buy and the fact that these bigger brands are also then winning more of that sort of decreasing in value, web traffic or search traffic for products and services that you can buy on Amazon.
So I think over time, what Amazon are gonna do is make that affiliate program less and less viable as a sort of meaningful monetization method. It will exist in such a way I think that big brands that really drive them a lot of volume still do pretty well out of it and in fact, i wouldn’t be half surprised if a lot of big big review sites, not the sites you see up on flipper.com sell for a couple of thousand dollars or 10,000 dollars or whatever. Might make 500 bucks a month. I’m talking, you know, ones that could potentially be driving Amazon tens of thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars with top line sales every day.
They’re probably on their own special commission rates and everything but for the average Joe, I think Amazon Associates will over time … I don’t know the timeline or the speed but it just gives the impression it’s gonna slowly grind the little guy down until basically they’re just not necessary anymore and then I wouldn’t be surprised to see the program shut down. Or everything has changed, you know, you can get 2% across the board and you take it or leave it, kind of thing.
So I guess in conclusion, if you are looking at marketing with Amazon Associates, making money through that platform, do it. Because at the moment, it’s still great. As long as you follow the rules, as long as you accept the fact that the terms and conditions change a lot, as long as you accept the slow payment, there’s a goldmine of great products out there that you can really, really do very well from. You just gotta be aware of these downsides.
One positive thing about Amazon Associates I forgot to mention that is really powerful is the way the cookie system works. So if someone clicks your link and they come to Amazon and they buy anything that qualifies for a commission or just about anything within 24 hours of getting that cookie put on their computer, you get a commission on that product as well. So I mean, I promote products through my Facebook pages but actually most of the revenue comes from other products, any way that the people have wound up buying. You know, they’ve clicked through on a merch t-shirt, a merchandised t-shirt that I’ve recommended but they’ve wound up doing all their Christmas shopping.
I mean I had someone obviously click through on a … I think it was about the $5 action figure and they wound up buying a $2,500 watch or something crazy like that. So yeah, Amazon Associates, all in all, at the moment it’s worth joining, I think it’s a good platform. You know, there is a lot positive to say about it and I’ve done very well out of it and I know a lot of people have done exceedingly well out of it. Just bear in mind that it is probably gonna become more and more hard to do well with Amazon Associates over time.
There are a lot of things you need to be aware of in regards to rules and regulations on the platform and everything like that but overall, yeah, it’s worth trying. It’s definitely worth adding Amazon products to your affiliate marketing mix. They are very, very different to ClickBank style products and everything and you know, you can get some really good conversion rates. So yeah, Amazon Associates, it’s good. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination from an affiliate’s perspective but you’d be crazy to miss out on those opportunities.
Amazon Associates Review
Amazon Associates is one of the most popular affiliate platforms in the world, and for good reason.