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Why You Shouldn't Focus on Amazon Associates
Why Amazon won't make you as much money as you think
Amazon Associates attracts a lot of people who are new to affiliate marketing. Unfortunately, this is a major mistake that is going to cause you tons of problems. In this article, I’ll explain why you should avoid building out an Amazon Associates-focused affiliate site.
Why Amazon Associates is so popular
There are a few key reasons why Amazon appeals to people (especially beginners):
Wide variety of products - Amazon sells literally everything. Instead of hunting down offers from different brands, you can find everything you need on one site.
You can make commissions on anything that the customer orders - Many people assume that they are going to make large amounts of money if people order random products alongside the one that you recommend. In reality, this rarely happens but it’s easy to see the appeal.
Name recognition - Amazon is extremely popular and has a high conversion rate. It’s easy to convince people to buy from Amazon since they’ve earned a high degree of trust among consumers.
Why you shouldn’t focus on Amazon Associates
Low commission rate
Amazon Associates is notorious for offering an incredibly low payout on affiliate sales. They offer different tiers for different niches, with the most common rate being 4-5%. For many products, the commission is going to even lower than that already abysmal percentage.
Amazon also frequently cuts their commission rate, so even if you’re satisfied with the payout that you’re currently receiving from them, you can’t depend on them to continue paying the same amount over time. They are going to keep squeezing their affiliate with lower and lower commissions. Originally, you could expect to see your rate increase depending on how many sales you sent them. They then moved to a system where they pay out based on product category, and the tiered system for high performers was capped at a lower rate.
Some popular product categories like video games are capped at 1%. That is an insanely low commission rate and there’s no way you can make a significant amount of money, even if you make up for it with volume.
Amazon pays out their commissions after 60 days. If you look for affiliate programs outside of Amazon Associates, you can find companies that pay out their commissions after 30 days or even less.
This isn’t necessarily a big deal if you’re willing to wait, but it’s always better to have your money sooner rather than later so you can reinvest it in your business and grow faster.
If you spend a lot of time in the affiliate marketing world, you’ll hear people complaining about how Amazon Associates randomly banned them one day with no explanation.
Amazon is a huge company and they simply don’t care about their affiliates. You can spend years building out an Amazon Associates-focused website just to wake up one day and find out that they’ve dropped you from the program.
If this happens to you then you may be able to redirect your links to other affiliate programs. If all of your links are going to products that are only available on Amazon, then you’re out of luck.
Their terms of service are not clear at all, and there have been numerous instances where I’ve seen people get banned without any explanation at all. It’s not worth taking the risk on an affiliate program that doesn’t respect their affiliates.
Lots of competition
Despite the low commissions, Amazon Associates sites are EXTREMELY common. Any type of product category that Amazon dominates is going to be saturated with experienced affiliates who are established and know exactly what they are doing.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing then the last thing you want to do is to go head-to-head with experienced competitors in a saturated niche with low payouts.
Do more research and find niches that have less competition and will earn you more money.
Amazon Associates is a terrible affiliate program. They treat their affiliates like garbage, ban people for no reason, offer low payouts, and there is too much competition.
You’re better off spending more time trying to find affiliate programs using one of the major networks (CJ, ShareASale, Impact Radius, etc.) or finding companies that run their own affiliate programs directly.
I recommend using Amazon Associates as an affiliate program of last resort. If there is a specific product that gets high search volume and has low competition and it’s only available on Amazon, then you can link to it. But don’t focus on Amazon exclusively.
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