Amazon Affiliate Rules for Niche Sites – Follow Them or Risk Getting Banned

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my affiliate disclaimer.

If you are just getting started with Amazon affiliate marketing, it is crucial that you read and understand Amazon Associates TOS, that way you’ll keep your affiliate account safe and avoid getting banned by Amazon.

Amazon affiliate program is getting more popular now than ever, at least it seems like that.

At first repulsed by small 4%-8% commissions compared to other affiliate programs, people are starting to see the real power of Amazon, especially when they hear stories from people who make several thousands of dollars per month just from Amazon.

I was once one of those people who didn’t like small commissions, but in the meantime, I realized that Amazon can really be a nice source of income. If done right, even a source of full-time income.

I’ll explain the power of Amazon in another article, but if you are reading this you are probably already involved in Amazon Associates Program and you don’t wanna hear about that stuff anyway.

Unfortunately, despite hearing a lot of success stories, there’s also a good amount of people who lost their hard earned money because they violated Amazon Associate Program’s TOS (Terms of Service; Terms of Use).

To help you avoid that I wrote a list of things you must respect and follow if you don’t want to lose your Amazon affiliate account.

1. Read Amazon Associates Program agreement and requirements

This one should be obvious but I see a lot of people are just skipping this part.

Yes, it’s a lot of text. Yes, it’s not fun to read, but you must read it and follow all the rules.

We are all used to confirming on agreements and TOS without reading it first (because, nothing bad can happen, right?), but, in this case, you MUST read this if you want to be on the safe side.

Some things mentioned in those links will be mentioned in this article, but clarified better.

Some of it isn’t even mentioned in there.

So, your first assignment, read everything from beginning to the end in these pages:

Did you read it? Great, now let me clarify some of the confusing things you’ve seen on the pages above.

2. Identify yourself (your website/company) as an Amazon Associate

As mentioned in the Amazon Associates agreement under section 10:

You will not issue any press release or make any other public communication with respect to this Operating Agreement, your use of the Content, or your participation in the Program. You will not misrepresent or embellish the relationship between us and you (including by expressing or implying that we support, sponsor, endorse, or contribute to any charity or other cause), or express or imply any relationship or affiliation between us and you or any other person or entity except as expressly permitted by this Operating Agreement. You must, however, clearly state the following on your site: “[Insert your name] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to [insert the applicable site name (amazon.com or myhabit.com)].”

Or, in short, in every Amazon niche website where you promote Amazon products you must include this part somewhere on your website (I suggest in the footer area):

“[Insert your name] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to [insert the applicable site name (amazon.com or myhabit.com)].”

So, for example, if your site is called AzonHacks and you promote Amazon.com products, here’s what would be written in your footer area:

AzonHacks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Now, if you promote Amazon.co.uk or any other of Amazon’s worldwide stores, just put that instead of Amazon.com.

If you use some kind of plugin like EasyAzon (which I recommend), and you are actually linking to multiple Amazon websites worldwide (by using EasyAzon’s geo-targeting option), you can put it like this:

AzonHacks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.it, Amazon.de and other Amazon stores worldwide.

3. Use proper Amazon buy buttons

I almost lost my account because of this stupid, banal mistake.

If you didn’t know (and I didn’t), you can’t use any Amazon buy button except the ones provided specifically for Amazon Associates.

There are many nice Amazon buy buttons on Google, so for example, if you Google the term ‘Amazon buy buttons’ and click on images, you will see a wide range of nice Amazon buy buttons.

90% of those button images are not approved by Amazon and you shouldn’t use them on your affiliate/niche sites.

You can’t even create your own Amazon buy buttons.

Let me show what I mean.

First I used this button:

 buy-button-amazon

Has Amazon logo on it, looks nice and legit, right? Well, WRONG!

After speaking with Amazon Associates support to check if my website is ok and to ask will it pass their manual review, I got this response (among other comments):

…However the use of the Amazon Logo is a violation and would result in denial of the application, if present during the time of review. We do not allow the use of Amazon Logos or trademarks for our Associates so I’d suggest removing the trademarks to ensure you’re not denied for that reason…

I was wrong, got it. Let me make my own button, without an Amazon logo in it, but still looking nice and with all those Amazon colors. It looked like this:

custom-amazon-buy-button

Not the most beautiful button but hey, it was nice, clean and it clearly stated the CTA (Call to Action).

I wanted to be sure so I contacted Amazon Associates support again, this time through live chat (which is awesome, I didn’t even know they have that). And the response was in short – no.

You can’t design your own Amazon buy buttons.

THE ONLY Amazon buy buttons you can use are the ones provided by Amazon to participant of Amazon Associates Program, you can find them on the link below:

amazon-buy-buttons-official

Those are one of the most ugliest buy buttons I have ever seen! Probably created in 1996. when Amazon started and have never been updated since then.

But, you gotta do what you gotta do. Amazon is not kidding around so do yourself a favor and use those official Amazon Associates ugly buy buttons (ugh).

*** Not 100% sure, but I guess you could use buttons on your website that are not graphics/images. Something like this below:

Buy on Amazon

That way you didn’t create an image button, you simply used your theme’s option (or from some plugin) to create a button. I’ve also seen it on several Amazon niche sites.

4. Don’t show Amazon product price (unless it’s automatically updated through their API)

When I was doing my research and looking on other Amazon affiliate niche sites I noticed that many (like 99% of them) don’t show the actual product price.

That was weird so I investigated further.

In the Associates Program Linking Requirements there is a section explaining just that:

Product prices and availability may vary from time to time. Because prices for and availability of Products that you have listed on your site may change, your site may only show prices and availability if: (a) we serve the link in which that price and availability data are displayed; or (b) you obtain Product pricing and availability data via the Product Advertising API and you comply with the requirements set forth in the License Agreement that are applicable to that data. In addition, if you choose to display prices for any Product on your site in any “comparison” format (including through the use of any price-comparison tool or engine) together with prices for the same or similar products offered through any web site or other means other than the Amazon Site, you must display both the lowest “new” price and, if we provide it to you, the lowest “used” price at which the Product is available on the Amazon Site. You may not otherwise include price information on your site.

In other words, Amazon doesn’t have permanent prices for their products. Many times they have some discounts going on, there are also multiple vendors selling the same product which may have different prices, they sell new and used products, or they can just decide to increase/decrease the product price without further notice.

To manually write those prices and check them constantly to see if they have changed is impossible.

And showing wrong prices is again considered a violation of Amazon Associates program.

To show prices of products you are promoting, which are constantly up to date, you must somehow connect to Amazon’s API, from which the pricing data will be pulled and regularly updated.

To use Amazon’s API you need to have some technical skills (read: no one has time for that), or use some WordPress plugins like EasyAzon (prices are shown when a user hovers over Amazon link), WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates plugin which is meant to be used for Amazon stores with WooCommerce plugin. There’s also this one – Amazon Product in a Post plugin – but I haven’t used it.

The easier way, or maybe the only way, if you want to show Amazon products in a comparison table, or another similar form where the use of plugins is not possible, is to replace the actual price with dollar signs – $$$$.

So for example, if you sell something in single digits, like for $5 you show the “price” as $. If you sell something for triple digits, you show the “price” as $$$.

Here’s an example:

Product costs $7.99 – Show as $

Product costs $79.99 – Show as $$

Product costs $799.99 – Show as $$$

Product costs $7999.99 – Show as $$$$

You get the point.

Or just don’t mention the price and create a link or a button saying “Click here to see the price” or something similar.

Still, there’s a way of showing products and their prices, and that is by using Amazon ads and banners.

You can find Amazon promotions and appropriate banners in their promotion hub, then there are Amazon native ads too and aStore which is basically Amazon niche store shown under your domain.

5. Sell something within 180 days of joining Amazon Associates Program

I first joined Amazon Associates Program about a year ago, because I am recommending some products on Income Mesh – my other blog

However, since my Amazon affiliate links on that blog aren’t getting many clicks I didn’t make a sale within 180 days (6 months) of joining Amazon’s affiliate program.

Because of that I got this nice email from Amazon:

Hello,

We are writing to notify you that your Associates Program application has been rejected and you will no longer have access to Associates Central.

This action was taken because we have not yet received a referral from your account.  Accounts that have not referred a sale within in 180-days of sign-up are automatically rejected.

You are free to reapply to the Associates Program at any time, but we recommend only doing so if your website receives consistent traffic.   

You can access the application here:

https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/network/main.html

We wish you the best of luck with your website in the future.

*It seems that in the past this period was only 90 days, but from multiple sources dating from 2015 and forward you can be sure that 180 days is correct period of time in which you need to make at least 1 sale.

Some of you may wonder now, why was my Amazon Associates application rejected when I was clearly a part of their program and using their affiliate links.

Well, the thing is, they check your website only after you make your first sale. Until then you have access to all affiliate links and promo material, but you are not actually approved.

Every approval happens after you make your first sale and after Amazon manually reviews your website(s). Meaning, someone (a real person, Amazon employer) will go and visit your website and check if everything is made by their standards and rules.

If you follow the things I am recommending in this article you won’t have a problem with that.

Another scenario which might happen here is that you joined Amazon affiliate program several months ago and you still didn’t make any sales.

To avoid rejection of your Amazon application you must make at least 1 sale in that period.

To make your first sale here’s what you can do:

  • Advertise your website on Facebook, Google Adwords or similar networks and hope someone actually buys something
  • Ask a friend or relative to buy something through your website – This is probably not endorsed by Amazon but hey, a sale is a sale and there’s a little chance they will do something about it or even know that you are connected with it.
  • Rank your website super fast on Google, promote in on forums, blogs etc.
  • Join Amazon affiliate program only after you start getting some traffic

In a case where you still get rejected don’t worry, you may apply again. It will just be a hassle to update your old affiliate links with new ones.

6. Don’t cloak or redirect Amazon links

We affiliates and marketers often cloak and redirect affiliate links just because it’s easier to track them, they are easy to remember and they are usually shorter and better looking than original affiliate links.

Cloaking or redirecting links can be done with shortening services like Bitly.com, or with WordPress plugins like Pretty Link and Thirsty Affiliates.

Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t allow any cloaking or redirecting their affiliate links.

If you check Associates Program Operating Agreement you will find this statement:

  1. You will not modify, redirect, suppress, or substitute the operation of any button, link, or other feature of the Amazon Site.

There you go, don’t do it and stay on the safe side.

If you want to use shorter affiliate links you can do so from the Amazon Associates site stripe (shown when you are logged in, if not you can activate it here – you need to be logged in).

amazon-shortlink

7. Don’t use Amazon affiliate links in email, ebooks or social networks

This one is interesting and kind of a bummer, but it is true.

Amazon affiliate links in emails problem and solution

You may not send Amazon affiliate links to your email subscribers.

This may be a problem, especially if you are (for example) gathering email subscribers (use Thrive Leads for that, together with GetResponse) by telling them that you will notify them when something goes on sale or for any kind of discount or special promotion.

The only way to avoid that is to create a special ‘discounts’ page where you will list all products which are currently on sale.

But remember, you can say that some product is on sale and link to it only while that promotion is active. If you say something is on discount (while linking to it), and that promotion ended, you are in violation of Amazon Associates Agreement. So make sure any active promotions you are linking to are really active. When that promotion ends you must remove that affiliate link, banner or content.

Amazon affiliate links in ebooks (PDF) problem and solution

This may become another hardly solvable problem.

For example, you have a PDF guide (an ebook) which helps your readers to learn something useful while using the product you promote. Unfortunately, you can’t link to that product from the ebook.

One way to overcome this is similar to the ‘links in emails’ problem described above, and that is to create a special page on your website where you will link to products you mention in the ebook.

Of course, you will link to that page from the PDF itself.

Amazon affiliate links on social networks problem and solution

This is somewhat a gray area since not everything is crystal clear.

You CAN share affiliate links on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, you just need to make sure you are not sharing those links on some social pages/account that may not be suitable for Amazon (like social accounts promoting violence, sexually explicit content and similar).

amazon-share-facebook-twitter

There’s actually a whole Amazon social sharing FAQ page you can check below:

Maybe the most important part of that social FAQ is this:

We currently accept only Facebook.com “Fan Pages,” “Verified” Twitter.com pages, a YouTube “channel” or twitch.tv in the Associates program. All other social network sites are not eligible to add Associate links, or for use to create an Associates Account.”

I read in one Facebook group where one guy was telling how he finds viral videos which contain some kind of product available on Amazon (or something similar to product mentioned in the video) and that he puts Amazon affiliate links in the comment section below the video and then manipulate voting on that comment with fake Facebook account so the comment always stays at the top.

He said he didn’t have any problems with Amazon because of it, but it certainly sounds a bit risky.

In any case, while sharing Amazon links on social networks don’t cloak or redirect them in any way.

The safest way to share a product from Amazon on social networks like Facebook and Twitter is to use their share option available from Amazon Associates site stripe.

Or even better, just link to your own Amazon niche website to article about that specific product.

8. Don’t use Amazon product description nor reviews in your page content manually

To be honest, this was kinda appealing for me to do too, but we can’t (at least not by manually copy/pasting it).

Having Amazon product reviews (and ratings too) available right on the page where you are trying to sell a product would be awesome and would probably increase the click rate on your Amazon affiliate links.

There’s even a WordPress plugin for that called ScrapeAZon, but like I said, don’t even bother using it because it will get you (your website) in trouble (or maybe it won’t – read below).

There is, however, a loophole in this rule, which you may take advantage of if you know what you are doing and if you have the right technical knowledge (or at least some handy plugin).

If you check Associates Program Participation Requirements, you will find this:

  1. You will not display or otherwise use any of our customer reviews or star ratings, in part or in whole, on your site unless you have obtained a link to that customer review or star rating through the Product Advertising API and you comply with the requirements set forth in the License Agreement.

I stand corrected. You can use above mentioned ScrapeAZon, I even asked Amazon Associates Support to confirm that, check screenshot below:

amazon-support-chat-scrapeazon

To use this plugin you will need to join Amazon API program available on the link below:

In short – you can use Amazon reviews and ratings on your site but ONLY if that info is pulled from Amazon API, which it is in the case of ScrapeAZon WordPress plugin.

Regarding Amazon product description, you can of course use important pieces of information and put them in comparison tables, or use them in your text and reviews, but you shouldn’t copy and paste large chunks of product description and put it unchanged on your niche site.

9. Other often violated Amazon Associates terms

If you clicked on Amazon Associates agreements and conditions link mentioned at the beginning of this article, you’ll notice that there’s a lot of things mentioned there.

I won’t go and elaborate each point because that would make this article too big. I will rather mention few more important things quickly, and for the rest of them, I suggest that you check those Amazon pages by yourself.

Other important things you shouldn’t do with Amazon Associates Program:

  • You can’t use your own affiliate link when purchasing products from Amazon
  • You can’t link from Sexually Explicit and/or Violent Sites
  • Don’t do cookie stuffing (automatic cookie installation on people’s computers)
  • Don’t use word ‘Amazon’ or it’s other trademarks in your domain name (complete list of Amazon trademarks)
  • Avoid thin content niche sites – Don’t just publish sales articles with bunch of Amazon affiliate links, make some useful content too, where you are not selling anything and just helping or teaching people

Violating anything mentioned above will most likely result in the closing of your Amazon affiliate account and possibly losing all money you have earned till then.

10. Contact Amazon Associates Support for more info

The best part of Amazon Associates Program is their amazing support.

You can contact Amazon on the link below either by calling them, chatting with them live or by sending a support ticket (email contact).

You support ticket will be answered within 24h and you live chat questions will be answered instantly.

If you have any questions whatsoever don’t hesitate to contact them. They don’t bite, I promise.

Keep in mind that manual reviewers who will actually check your site are different from support guys and they may look at your website more thoroughly.

But if you follow my suggestions from this article the chance of getting your Amazon account banned or rejected comes to almost a zero.

Still, although I am here to help you guys, I am not responsible for any kind of problems or damage you end up having because you followed my advice. If you don’t believe me about some things I said here or are not sure about some things in general, ALWAYS check with Amazon. Btw, also check my Azon FAQ page to find more answers. If there is a question you have which is not answered here feel free to contact me.

Wrapping it up

And that is it, guys, I hope you find this article very useful and hopefully it will keep you away from Amazon trouble.

If you want to share your Amazon experience or highlight anything I missed from the Amazon Associates Agreement that you consider very important, feel free to mention it in the comments below.

Also, if you have some interesting stories or experience related to anything I mentioned in this article just drop it in the comments, or if it is something huge you may contact me and maybe we can arrange some kind of guest post.

Have fun making money with Amazon, I know I will.

About the Author Drazen Prastalo

Successful affiliate marketer, pro blogger and online entrepreneur. Loves to write, watch movies and build niche websites. On its way to conquer Amazon and build highly profitable Azon niche sites.

Leave a Comment:

11 comments
Dennis Dunbar says September 16, 2016

Do you know if cloaking using EasyAzon is allowed?

Reply
    Drazen Prastalo says September 16, 2016

    Hey Dennis, Amazon doesn’t allow link cloaking so I wouldn’t use it even if it’s an option within EasyAzon plugin. It’s clearly written in Amazon’s TOS that cloaking is not allowed so don’t do it.

    Reply
Kim Adair says October 8, 2016

I am very happy I found your blog. I have a question hopefully you know the answer. Once we join the Amazon Affiliate program, where do we have to list our websites,in my case multiple websites? I understand if you do know list your website, you will be banished, and all money will be kept!

Reply
    Drazen Prastalo says October 8, 2016

    Hi Kim, I’m also very happy that you found it 🙂

    As far as I know nowhere. When you apply for Amazon affiliate program you mention your main / current website. After that, if you build more sites you can use different affiliate ID, and even if you don’t, Amazon can still see which websites are sending traffic and buyers back to them. You won’t be banished or punished for that, that’s not in their TOS and is not breaking any Amazon aff rules.

    Reply
Nikhil says November 19, 2016

Hi,

Great article. It’s a must read for all Amazon associates.

I would like to point one thing. Since Amazon confirmed that
you’re allowed to use only those old buy buttons, it;s better
to obey them. You’re taking a big risk.

During the review of your account, It can be dangerous. Even some of
the high earners got their account banned for these mistakes.

Thanks

Reply
Haneef Yusoff says December 2, 2016

Hi Drazen

It is a great article, a must read to all who wants to be an Amazon Associate. I spent a big part of today reading the Participation Requirement, Operating Agreement, Linking Agreement an a few links. It is long and hard to understand but some have been summarized by you. Thanks a lot!

I have a few questions.

1-When I signed up as an Amazon Associate, I used a temporary website. Now, I want to change the website to a new one. Can I change to a new site? Am I violating any Amazon TOS?
2-I signed up as a Professional Seller, a Buyer and an Associate roughly on the same day. My friend encouraged me. At that time, I have been researching about Amazon 2 months before signing up all three.. Am I violating any Amazon TOS by signing up all three?
3- I would like to outsource a Developer to build my Amazon Niche site. I am a newbie and not a Programmer. Can you suggest me a company/someone who can do a Custom Amazon Niche Site?

I really appreciate your help.

Thank you

Reply
Josh says December 5, 2016

Hi,
I accidently couple months ago I bought 2 products from my affiliate link, It was because i often test click my links to see it works properly and had the amazon cookie when I bought products.

You think im gonna get banned or a warning, or should I say it to the support?

thanks have a good day.

Reply
    Drazen Prastalo says December 6, 2016

    Just in case contact them through live chat. It’s a few minutes of your time and it might save you from trouble.

    Reply
Ahmed Najnin says December 15, 2016

Well, I am using Easy azon. And it shows the price, Like : listed prices :$$$ Price: $$ you save :$ will it create a problem ? Also I am Using buy button by writing {LERAN MORE!) With (!) this sign will create any problem. Another thing is In my site i have some reviews like : best XYZ under 1000 dollar, but I saw some price goes a bit up like 1010, In this case If i change my title to “best XYZ under 1000 dollar and 1500 dollar” and make some changes on content will it create problem since the permalink is : http://www.example.com/best-xyz-under-1000/ will that create problem ? Lastly , Ha Ha Ha…. Thanks A ton for your valueable information. It helps me a lot . 🙂

Reply
    Drazen Prastalo says December 22, 2016

    Hi Ahmed, the best would be to contact Amazon Associates live chat support and ask them for help directly if you are not 100% 🙂
    If the prices are being pulled from Amazon’s API and updated daily you’ll be fine.

    Anything misleading might lead you to trouble, for example saying that products cost below $1000 and they end up costing more. So be careful about that.

    And you’re welcome 🙂

    Reply
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