Many online marketers have seen the value of using Amazon affiliate websites to increase their revenues. However, a lot of them have also been committing mistakes in building their affiliate sites. As a result they are not able to reach their income potential. If you want to build your digital marketing career through Amazon, avoid committing the following mistakes that affiliates often do.
1. Not Reading Amazon’s Terms of Service
Most people don’t spend the time to read the terms of service when they enter into a contract or agreement with a service company. With regards to entering into a service contract with Amazon, this is a mistake that you should avoid. Carefully read these terms before signing your name on the dotted line.
This document outlines the rules and regulations of Amazon, along with its limits and expectations. Of course, it is a long read but you should take the time to at least read the most important provisions of the document. Just think of the possibility of your company being blocked by Amazon and you not being able to make the kind of money that you want as a result. You will have the impetus to read through this document.
2. Not Following Amazon’s Affiliate Rules
This is the most common mistake committed by most online sellers who are trying to make use of affiliate marketing strategies. If you are trying to make a short-cut with Amazon’s system of affiliate marketing, expect to be found out sooner or later. The best advice we could give you is to follow the rules to the T.
You can only do that if you really understand what those rules are. Therefore, you need to invest some time in learning the do’s and especially the don’ts of Amazon affiliate marketing. It is not easy though because Amazon has detailed its rules in six separate documents.
The titles of these documents are:
- Associates Program Participation Requirements
- Associates Program Operating Agreement
- Trademark Guidelines
- Associates Program Linking Requirements
- Associates Program Excluded Products
- Associates Program Advertising Fee Schedule
This will be a long read if you are just starting to build your affiliate site because most of these documents are 25 pages long. But you really need to study them because Amazon is known to be a strict enforcer of their rules. You don’t want to be banned by the biggest online marketing portal in the world just because you overlooked a rule that you think is of less importance.
3. Not Making Any Sales for 6 Months
Once you are cleared to use Amazon affiliate marketing, strive to make at least one sale a month of your product or service. Don’t make the mistake of hibernating your selling activities because of a diversion of interest to some other profitable activities if you want to maintain your affiliate websites, you must show that you are driving your Amazon selling statistics every month.
4. Using iFrame, Automatic Cookie Install to Auto-Tag Amazon Sessions
Amazon does not want its affiliates to auto tag the sessions of customers. It already saves the cookie information for those who click on your links and who buy the particular item in 24 hours. However, some affiliates worked around this system and use iFrame to auto tag the users. They do this so that it will appear that their links are enjoying more clicks than what is real. If Amazon discovers that you are using iFrame for this purpose, you might be banned and possibly sued by the company. To be safe, don’t ever use iFrame.
- Who is asking for the information?
- What is the nature of the information that you are asking and how will you gather them? For example, are you collecting the names, addresses, emails, demographic information, IP addresses, etc.?
- How do you intend to use this information and where?
- Why are you gathering this information?
- Are you sharing this information and when?
- How can you protect sensitive information such as your customer’s credit card number, etc.?
6. Using Amazon’s User Reviews As If They Are Yours
Avoid copying and pasting the user reviews you found on Amazon and using them in your site and passing them off as generically yours. Your site will be quickly banned by Amazon if it finds out you are resorting to this practice to produce more content and create more copy in your site
In fact, this practice is specifically prohibited by rule number 28. This rule says that you are forbidden to use or display any of Amazon’s customer reviews in part or as a whole. This prohibition is also true for Amazon’s star ratings.
7. Making Your Own Purchases Using Your Own Links
Be mindful of Amazon’s rule number 29 which is detailed in its Participation Requirements. This rule states that you can’t make purchases of your own products using your own affiliate links. In other words, Amazon forbids you to buy for yourself. Apparently, some of its affiliate users are buying their products for themselves so that they could get the corresponding commissions. If you happen to do this by mistake, try not to repeat it again.
8. Promoting Amazon by Using Low-Quality Content
Amazon requires their affiliates to use original and high-quality content in their websites. If you are used to plagiarizing content from other websites and sharing links that are not of high standards as well, you will be flagged sooner or later. Strive to meet the high quality standards that Amazon requires of you at the time you applied as an affiliate. Certainly, copying and pasting content of product descriptions from other sites is a no-no in your digital marketing career.
9. Creating More Than One Account
As an Amazon affiliate, you are only allowed to operate one account. This is to ensure that spam will be curtailed and that their affiliates will feel the importance of following the rules to avoid being banned. Amazon doesn’t want you to think that if you have more than one account, you can always turn to your other accounts if one account is banned.
10. Linking Forbidden Content and Forbidden Sites
Be careful not to use affiliate links from websites that publish materials that are not approved by Amazon. These materials include violent and sexually explicit content. You can see this rule detailed in Amazon’s Operating Agreement. Therefore, before posting any link on your site, check first with Amazon. This will ensure that all your links are safe and are not in violation of Amazon’s standards.
11. Link Hiding or Cloaking and Link Shortening
Amazon doesn’t want its audience to be confused about the way its affiliates are using links that leads to its site because its reputation as a trustworthy organization will be sullied and destroyed. Therefore they don’t want you as an affiliate misdirecting its audience by shortening your links or hiding and cloaking them. The company will ban your site if you shorten your links so that it won’t be so obvious that you are leading your users to Amazon. It prohibits you from making your site’s URL obscure or hidden. Apparently, the company will find it difficult to determine the identity of the site from which your customers click through such links to their site.
12. Manually Mentioning the Price of Your Product in Your Content
Amazon doesn’t want you to manually mention the price of your product in your content. Prices of items sold in this sight always change regularly. Therefore if you mention the price of an item and Amazon changes its price, your content and consequently your site will look outdated. Your site could be banned if you persist in placing price information on your products. There is an option where you can offer your customers price information. This is through a plugin such as Easy Azon or Authority Azon.
13. Using Links in Your Email Marketing
Amazon forbids you from sending affiliate links through emails. For instance, if you are conducting an email marketing campaign to drive up your Amazon selling statistics, you are not allowed to indicate the affiliate links in the email letters that you are sending your customers. Email letters that sell items to customers are considered by Amazon as offline promotion and it bans this practice. Apparently, Amazon is frowning on this method because it is a form of competition to their affiliate marketing strategy.
14. Buying Paid Search Placements
Paid search placements can make your site appear busy by generating more visitor traffic. But Amazon frowns upon the practice of using advertisements that you bought through bidding on search terms, keywords, key phrases and other identifiable parameters. This practice may lead to the banning of your site when Amazon finds out what you are doing.
These are just some of the most common mistakes that Amazon affiliate marketers are committing in the course of their sales campaigns. Always be careful that you don’t commit them and Amazon will always look at your site with approval.