How Not To Get Banned As An Amazon Affiliate
You work hard to get your website working and getting traffic so it's now time to monetize your site. This is an important step so you will need to know how not to get banned as an Amazon affiliate or associate as they call it.
That's right you can be banned from the Amazon Associate program.
The Amazon affiliate program is probably one of the most popular stand-alone affiliate programs available.
Their initial sign-up method is one of the easiest available.
Being one of the easiest programs to join, it's also one of the easiest for new affiliates to get banned for not following or neglecting to review all of Amazon's terms of service.
I've seen many new affiliates get banned from Amazon without knowing why they were locked out.
Only after a quick review of the top 25 reasons new affiliates get banned list do they realize where they made the costly mistake(s).
There are many other policies available for the Amazon associates to read which you can view here but it is full of legalese so I thought a nice regular English version of the top reasons would be helpful.
Here is a list of the current top 25 reasons many new affiliate marketers get banned from the Amazon affiliate program.
Top 25 Reasons You Can Be Banned From Amazon's Affiliate Program
You need to make 3 sales within 180 days from the date you signed up to the program. This is a common reason new affiliate marketers get banned. They will have their skeleton of a website up and are eager to make those commission sales.
So they sign up to the Amazon associates program before they have any content on their website.
No Content=No Traffic=No Sales.
Keep that in mind before you become an Amazon associate. You are better off to wait for 2 reasons.
1-If you have no sales within 180 days, you get banned. You can sign-up again but most, like me, learn their lesson the first time it happens.
2-Not having any affiliate links on your new website will help your website ranking and will get you higher up in the SERPs much faster. Once the search engines have gained your trust and provide traffic then you can start adding your affiliate links.
There was a time you could copy, or screenshot an image from Amazon products and use them on your website if you were an active Amazon associate.
That has changed and now you cannot use any screenshots or copied images from the Amazon site.
You can only use authorized and provided image URLs, API keys or widgets to display products on your website.
This allows Amazon to ensure the images conform to the representation agreements with their merchants and can also add tracking code to all their linked images
You are not allowed to shorten or cloak your affiliate links. There is software you can use to do this. It's a way to take a long URL that has all types of numbers, letters, and symbols and shortens it into a short, identifiable link.
Amazon doesn't like this as many don't show exactly where the buyer is going when they hover their mouse over the link and it is harder for Amazon to see who sent that buyer there.
4-Using Your Own Affiliate Link
You can't use your own affiliate link to buy stuff for yourself nor can you share your affiliate links to family, friends, neighbors or old grade school buddies.
It may be harder for them to track this behavior but they may catch you. Again, if they do they will ban you from the associate program
5-Encourage Use Of Links For Support
Some people get banned for putting a short sentence above the affiliate links saying "Thank you for your support" or "Thank You, your purchase helps support this website."
You can say goodbye to your Amazon associate membership. You cannot encourage your readers to purchase a product to support your website.
This rule differs from the next reason.
This is where you need to display the fact that you can earn a commission from purchases made through the affiliate link on your website.
This is different from reason #5 where you are encouraging people to buy so you can make money.
You are required to have your affiliate disclosure visible wherever you have an Amazon affiliate link on your website.
Most will put this disclosure or a link to it in the sidebar or footer of the website so it is visible from every page or post.
7-Non Public Site
Your link must always be on a publicly available site. If your website is only accessible to members or a password-protected section of your website then you can't have affiliate links. The links must be accessible to the general public.
8-Using Amazon Name Inappropriately
Amazon wants to ensure proper representation of their brand so you cannot use their name in any clickable link you create. You may be safer to use terms like "Buy Here" or "Check It Out Here". Avoid creating your own clickable buttons with the Amazon name.
9-Using Customer Reviews
You can't use any direct quotes from customer reviews taken from the Amazon sites. That means you can't take a direct quote from a customer that reviewed a product on Amazon such as "Julie from New York found this product to be...". You can consolidate reviews in a general manner such as "This product has reported issues with...".
Do not imply that you are Amazon, an employee or representative for Amazon. So don't pretend that you have some type of special access to Amazon as a representative or that you can speak on the behalf of Amazon.
11-Email Affiliate Links
If you have an email list and want to promote products being sold on Amazon you cannot send the affiliate link directly within the email. You will need to send a link that leads to your website that in turn leads to an Amazon affiliate link.
12-Links Within Files or Digital Products
The same goes for eBooks or PDF files, you cannot have affiliate links within products. The product must link people to your website where they can access the affiliate links from a publicly accessible website.
13-Directing Links To Children Under 13
This one can be a tough one if you have a website reviewing toys. You cannot have affiliate links if you on websites that are directed to children under 13 years of age.
14-Providing Star Ratings On Products
You are not to provide star ratings either as an image or words. Some of Amazon's widgets have star ratings build into them and can be used in that manner. So avoid using star ratings, instead, use references such as "This is worth a try" or "Not Recommended" type of terms.
Listing prices that are listed on Amazon are prohibited. That said you can use Amazon widgets that do display the prices from a live feed. So if they do change the price on their site it will also update on your website's Amazon widget.
16-Redirecting Links From Other Sites
Do not use any plugins, applications or some type of internet bots that can divert links from someone else's website. There are options that will divert other people's affiliate links to their own, so don't use any of these redirection tactics or tools.
17-Affiliate Links In Popups
Avoid putting links in pop-ups unless it is specifically related to your content. I say avoid as I can't seem to find examples of where or why a pop up would not be related to your content.
18-Automatic Linking To Affiliate
Do not use an automatic redirect to Amazon affiliate linked products. The customer must have clicked on the affiliate link in order for it to be considered a legitimate referral. There are plugins that will direct people to a link if they do certain actions such as hover over an image.
19-Using Whole or Part Of The Amazon Name in URL
You can't create a new website with full or part of the Amazon name in the URL. Do not try to fool people in thinking you are related to Amazon by creating websites such as "Amazn(dot)com", " AmazonShopper(dot)com", nor "Amzondeals(dot)com" type of names.
20-Automatic Click Generation
I'm not sure why you would do this but you cannot use any type of software, apps or bots to generate clicks on your affiliate links. I can see why advertisers would not want you to create fake clicks. I am not sure why anyone would want to create fake affiliate links that will result in no sales?
21-Providing Rewards For Purchases
You are prohibited from giving a gift, coupon, reward or any type of incentive to people if they click your affiliate link. You may have seen these types of tactics for other affiliate programs where people will say you can get 20% off the purchase price if you use my link or phrases like buy now and you will get a rebate on your second purchase. This is not allowed with Amazon.
Amazon will assess your file and request proof that you have complied with all of their terms. If you do not provide proof or written certification that you have complied to all of their terms then your affiliate membership can be canceled.
23-Violent or Sexual Content
I think this reason explains itself.
24-Inappropriate Use Of Amazon Trademark
There are a couple of sections about this. In general, it means you cannot use Amazon's trademark logo on your website without their permission unless it is part of the widgets or APIs that they allow you to use but copying and pasting their logo onto your site is not allowed without advanced permission.
The other part is using third party trademark property on your websites such as putting the logo from Sony or Samsung. Again you can have those logos on your website if it is part of the Amazon API or widgets where they may fully display them. So no copying or pasting logos of products that are being sold through Amazon.
25-You Can't Use Links On Sites You Don't Control
You cannot display affiliate links in forums or other sites that you don't own or control. That also goes for guest blogs you write, do not put affiliate links within those blogs. You will need to have a link that brings people to your site then have the affiliate links.
The Amazon Associate programs is one of the easiest programs to sign up to but don't let that fool you. They also have many policies where you must be in compliance in order to maintain your affiliate program membership.
Take the time to read through the top 25 reasons you can get banned from the Amazon associate program and when you have it, take the time to read through the whole Associate Program Policies to ensure you are compliant to take full advantage of their affiliate commissions.
Have you ever been banned or warned by Amazon about your Associate compliance?
If you have please post them down below. I would love to hear your story.
Do you have a comment or question? Be sure to place them below and don't forget to share with your friends.
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