The Amazon Associates Program is one of the most well-known affiliate programs out there. There are lovers and haters of this affiliate program, but truth is, if you do it right, you can rake in a pretty decent income from your Amazon sales even if you're an affiliate marketing beginner.
However, Amazon can be pretty ruthless when it comes to banning affiliates for doing the wrong thing. Often, accounts are permanently suspended, taking with them the possibility of ever being able to make money off Amazon again. Now, most people will do anything to avoid getting banned as an Amazon affiliate, but if you really want to get banned, here are some recommendations:
Don’t Read the Operating Agreement
The Associates Program Operating Agreement outlines the terms and conditions for affiliates participating in the program. The fine print? Who reads that anyway?
A surefire way to get banned is to not read this agreement and have zero idea of what is expected of you as an Amazon Affiliate. The terms are laid out in plain English and are easy to understand. Refuse to follow the guidelines set out by Amazon and you will get banned in no time at all.
Operate More than One Account
Amazon sellers are only allowed to have one account. If you’re keen to get on the banned-wagon, go ahead and create more than one. Some business owners legitimately require more than one account; they can apply to Amazon for a special exception to do so while complying with Amazon’s terms and conditions.
Put Your Affiliate Links on Third-Party Sites
As an Amazon affiliate, you must put your affiliate links only on sites that you own. However, those looking to get banned usually place their links anywhere they can, hoping to generate a few extra bucks by leaving their links in blog comments and the like. Spammy behavior is a great way to get kicked out of the program.
Pass Off Amazon Reviews as Your Own
Reviews of products on Amazon are for people to read on Amazon. When affiliates are looking to get banned, they usually copy and paste these reviews onto their sites like they were their own. You can get away with posting a product picture off Amazon on your site, but try to lift those reviews and you’re getting banned for sure.
Forget to Mention You Are an Amazon Affiliate
If you’re an Amazon affiliate and decide to hide it, you’re going to be on the fast track to getting banned. Amazon makes it very clear to affiliates that you must clearly declare your participation in the associates program on every page of your website that sells an Amazon product.
If you were to do the right thing, you’d place some text in your footer that identifies you as an Amazon affiliate and informs your audience that if they were to purchase from you, you would earn a commission. However, if you were trying to get banned, you would just leave this information out and wait for Amazon to catch up with you.
Link from Sexually Explicit and/or Violent Sites
Certain types of sites are not suitable for Amazon. If you’re trying to sell Amazon products via a site that promotes sexually explicit or violent materials, you will get banned in no time. There are a number of other no-nos on Amazon’s list as well, including sites containing defamatory materials, promoting discrimination or other illegal activities or violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
For a complete list of sites that are not appropriate for Amazon and will get you banned, check out the Operating Agreement.
Promote Counterfeit Products
Selling fake Christian Louboutin shoes for a quarter of the price and hoping to make a quick buck off Amazon while you’re at it? Unlikely. You’re more likely to get banned first. If you’re promoting counterfeit products of any kind or are in violation of intellectual property rights, you are not going to be Amazon’s friend.
Auto-Tag Amazon Sessions
If a customer clicks on your product link, it generates a cookie and Amazon gives them 24 hours to complete a purchase so you can still get your commission. Some affiliates will try to take advantage of this and attempt to auto-tag users on their site to generate clicks that aren’t real so they can get commissions. These shady practices prime your site for banning.
Sometimes, even if you’re not trying to be shady, using an iframe on your site or a bad WordPress theme can get you in trouble. If you’re more inclined to avoid trouble, always download WordPress themes from trusted publishers to make sure they haven’t been tampered with, or you will risk a ban. AffiloTheme provides reliable WordPress themes that are perfect for affiliate marketing.
Buy Paid Search Placements
Amazon will pay out if you’re sending sales their way. However, if you decide to buy paid search advertisements to advertise their products without their permission, you are definitely not getting paid. If you violate this regularly, you can rest assured a ban’s coming your way. Also, if Amazon catches you out redirecting links so they lead to an Amazon product page, they'll definitely find you in violation of their Ts & Cs.
Shady practices rarely go unnoticed by Amazon, and I’m hoping most of you are here are trying NOT to get banned by them. Be sure to do the exact opposite of the get-banned advice above and you should have no problems with Amazon. For more information, check out the list of prohibited seller activities and actions.
If you're new to affiliate marketing, be sure to check out AffiloBlueprint to learn how you can make money selling other people's products. If you're wondering if Amazon is for you, Sam talks about why you should consider Amazon associates.
Are you an Amazon affiliate? We would love to know how your experience has been. Leave us a comment below with your thoughts.