Category: amazon affiliate marketing

5 Best Affiliate Marketing Website Examples – TechBullion

Nowadays, it seems everyone wants to become an affiliate marketer or are affiliate marketers. This is understandable seeing that the annual affiliate marketing spending is projected to hit the $6.8 billion mark by 2020.

Affiliate marketing is one of the top strategies that digital entrepreneurs use to improve their online revenue. If you are trying to get into the world of affiliate marketing what best way to get started if not to learn from those succeeding at it already. 

Content marketing is the backbone of affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketers strongly rely on content marketing to earn niche traffic and convert prospects to a sale. 

Some of the top content types that most affiliate marketers use are product reviews, pillar content pieces, case studies, videos, resource pages, product comparisons, and long tutorials.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a technique where you collaborate with influencers and bloggers to promote your products or services. Commission is paid to affiliates only when they generate a sale.

Affiliate marketing is good for startups because no initial payment is required to generate sales. You pay only after you have earned profits. Moreover, affiliate marketing is also essential for ecommerce businesses especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when businesses require several affiliates to assist their sales.

Besides, you can use different types of affiliate marketing plugins to easily double your chances of conversions.

Now, let’s discuss the top affiliate websites that you can draw inspiration from. The following websites demonstrate a lot of effort, well thought out strategy, and hard work for affiliate marketers. They show how affiliate marketing should be done and their numbers speak for them.

These websites aren’t just concerned with earning high commissions from their affiliates, but provide value to their audience.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

1) Wirecutter

Wirecutter is one of the most authoritative affiliate sites on the internet. 

The founder, Brian Lam quitted his job as an editorial director at Gizmodo in 2011 and founded Wirecutter; a consumer product reviews site.

It became so successful that it was acquired by NewYork Times in 2016.

Wirecutter is known for its thorough, in-depth, and detailed product tests and reviews, they leave no stone unturned, and they are also transparent about their testing process.

Key Stats

Domain Rating: 82

Monthly Traffic/Visits: 3.6 million

Backlinks: 18,300

Site age: 9 years

Social Media: 200k+ followers

Monetization Strategy

They earn affiliate commissions mainly from Amazon and Bestbuy. They insert the links to the affiliate sites on their product recommendations articles mostly tagged as “best of” which dominates their site content.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Create exclusive content: Wirecutter has built trust with its audience due to their thorough and detailed reviews, their reviews are top-notch and they test products intensively before sharing.
  • Prioritize your site content: Wirecutter dominate their site with “best of” things type of articles, they are known to share the best product recommendations, so what do you want your site to be known for?

2) Epic Gardening

This is a trusted resource for anything gardening related. They publish guides, gardening products reviews, and comparisons.

Epic Gardening didn’t just focus on creating content for aspiring gardeners, they used affiliate marketing to promote their business.

Key Stats

Domain Rating: 55

Monthly Traffic/Visits: 957k 

Backlinks: 599k 

Site age: 7 years

Social Media: 170k+ followers

Monetization Strategy

Epic Gardening is part of the Amazon associates program, they insert affiliate links in their product reviews. 

Furthermore, they have their own shop where they sell gardening products.

Key Takeaways

  • Any niche can be monetized because gardening is not your regular affiliate marketing niche. Therefore don’t limit yourself to the most popular niches in affiliate marketing. Be creative and monetize that idea you think is stupid.

3) Home Grounds

This is a resourceful site for home baristas.

Home Grounds provide recipes, gears, and beans reviews to empower people to brew and enjoy quality coffee from the comfort of their homes.

Key Stats

Domain Rating: 67

Monthly Traffic/Visits: 287k

Backlinks: 12, 208

Site age: 3 years

Social Media: 25k+ followers

Monetization Strategy

Homegrounds is a member of the Amazon associates programs, they earn a commission from the affiliate links on their beans and gears buying guides and reviews. They also sell advertising spaces.

Key Takeaways

  • Create high-quality content: From the resources on the Homegrounds site, you can tell right off the bat that they publish high-quality content. 
  • Target Keywords: They don’t just create high-quality content they create relevant content, i.e what people are searching for.

4) Who Is Hosting This?

This is an authoritative web hosting affiliate site that helps website owners get insights into selecting the best web hosting service providers for them.

“Who is hosting this” basically reviews web hosting companies. They have lots of expert guides and extensive resources to help their audience.

Key Stats

Domain Rating: 82

Monthly Traffic/Visits: 276k

Backlinks: 18.3k

Site age: 13 years

Social Media: 5k+ followers

Monetization Strategy

Their major source of income is the commission earned through the affiliate links included in their reviews section, comparison tool or discounts & coupons sections. They also sell advertising spaces for companies.

Key Takeaways

  • Coupons Strategy: They have a section on their sites solely dedicated to coupons and discounts. This is smart because people love to save on their purchases, therefore this is a major motivator for them to make purchases using Who Is Hosting This special links.
  • Special Service Extension: “Who is hosting this” have set themselves apart from other review sites by having their own tool. This tool helps you discover who is hosting a certain website.

This further establishes their authority and attracts their target audiences to their site.

5) This is why I’m Broke

From the site name alone you can tell that it’s going to be a site filled with unique, funny, and weird content that appeals to a wide range of people.

They help people with unconventional gifting ideas for all kinds of people by reviewing a diverse range of gifts and novelty items in an entertaining manner.

Key Stats

Domain Rating: 71

Monthly Traffic/Visits: 728k

Backlinks: 4,800

Site age: 9 years

Social Media: 300k+

Monetization Strategy

Amazon and Etsy are the top affiliate sites for Why I am broke. They sell on Etsy too and make money from Amazon associates program.

A rather strange phenomenon is that they don’t monetize all their pages

Key Takeaways

  • Authenticity: Why I am broke are authentic in so many ways, from the unique structure and angle of their content to their sparse affiliate links.
  • Wishlist Membership perk: Having a wishlist means you intend to come back and get the items on that list. This feature enables Why I’m broke to stay on the radar of their audiences.

Conclusion

All the websites mentioned have one thing in common, they deliver a great load of value to their audiences. 

So don’t get into affiliate marketing thinking about how you can earn tons of money from people, instead focus on how best you can benefit your audience. 

Because doing this builds trust, and when your audience trusts you then the sky is your limit.

Finally, their website design is simple, clean, and easy to navigate. Therefore, don’t get carried away with making your website look sophisticated, just keep it simple.

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Make Your Way To The Top In Amazon With Expert And Entrepreneur Cohen Chorabik – Forbes India

cohen chorabik - 900x600

Starting a company or being an entrepreneur is generating a buzz everywhere recently. Doing something on your own to earn an additional income stream is starting to become more normalized. It gives a sense of control to your work and builds the stability necessary to live in this economy. Times have shifted and for many it’s time to get with the new modern times ahead.
There are numbers of ways to earn money from home. Today everyone, even homemakers, and students are beginning their business online. If you’re also thinking of commencing your own business from home, then Amazon can be just that solution. But you might know how to start, which is a common question. People know that an E-Commerce platform like Amazon provides an excellent opportunity for us where we can sell something our own or do some affiliate marketing, but the questions is how does one do it? 
If you’re trying to grow your online sales though Amazon, you need an expert who can help you out on how to grow your business. There are many ways to make money on Amazon. Cohen Chorabik, young entrepreneur, Chief Marketing Officer of Smart FBA, shows you many ways to earn an additional income by selecting the right market within Amazon.
The young entrepreneur has mastered the Amazon business. He is changing the lives of many entrepreneurs by scaling their business to newer heights. Upon mastering his craft within Amazon, Cohen has scaled this model into one where his clients get the luxury of Amazon selling while letting Cohen and his team do all the work involved.
Why learn to pick the right products, and consistently optimize listings when Cohen’s team can do all the work for you? Your business can flourish at a global level if you are working with Cohen. He has been a full-time entrepreneur for around five years already doing a great job in his field.
He helps individuals and companies in growing various brands and businesses to greater heights of success. With his creative abilities in digital consultancy, supporting the companies in utilizing the Amazon FBA automation and scaling them in their particular fields with his firm ‘Smart FBA.’
As an entrepreneur, he has already made more than two million in revenue in the online world. Amazon has played a pivotal role in his life, and it has been the driving force behind his achievement so far in the online industry and has helped many other businesspeople like him as well.
“It all started with scaling one store. We found a market that we wanted to attack and found out different ways on how to optimize our sales. After that the easy part was scaling since the blueprint was already created for our clients”, says Cohen.
Cohen’s firm Smart FBA accommodates all the developing personal brands as well as the comprehensive companies to advance their business on a world level by assisting them to get certified and sell popular restricted brand names through Amazon FBA. Thought this process is rigorous and time consuming, Cohen’s team handles this entire process from start to finish.
Smart FBA primarily focuses on modern brands that are difficult to get approved to sell and that customers have a high brand loyalty towards. This creates less competition within other sellers, while maximing margins and sales growth for clients selling the merchandise. If you’re looking to scale your online Amazon FBA store, be sure to send Cohen a message on how to get started.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

Click here to see Forbes India’s comprehensive coverage on the Covid-19 situation and its impact on life, business and the economy​

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Golden Leads

Golden Leads, the World’s First Financial Affiliate Network Focusing on Lead Generation, Announces its Official Launch – PRNewswire

NEW YORK, Sept. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Golden Leads will connect financial companies to affiliate marketers in a relationship that entails the payment of an agreed-upon commission for a lead or a sale referred by the affiliate marketer.

“Everyone in the digital marketing industry is familiar with ‘global’ affiliate networks like Commission Junction, Click Bank or Share a Sale, but those are all-encompassing affiliate networks that promote companies and products in all niches and verticals. The reality is that there is a huge difference in the way you promote a bicycle, a weight loss supplement, and an investment product, so we believe companies and affiliate marketers operating in the financial space are better served by joining an affiliate network that focuses on their niche. Now, a couple of years ago, we realized that there was no affiliate network that operated exclusively within the financial space, which is why we decided to start working on Golden Leads. Two years later, we are proud to launch it to the public!” said Jonathan Kund, director of operations at Golden Leads Network.

Affiliate marketing has been growing in popularity lately. Many large e-commerce companies, such as Amazon, have been very successful at launching a large scale affiliate program.

“People don’t realize how much Amazon benefited from launching their affiliate program, called Amazon Associates. Millions of website and blog owners have been recommending Amazon products since then, and implementing hyperlinks on their websites directly to Amazon product pages. Those website owners have been rewarded by Amazon a commission for every sale generated through those links. As a company, having an affiliate program in place is like having an unlimited army of marketers promoting you for free, essentially, because you only pay them when a valuable action is taken (e.g. a sale or a lead),” said Mr Kund.

The idea of rewarding someone for a referral or sale is certainly not new, but the Internet and the variety of digital tools available today make it much easier to implement, track and scale an affiliate or partner program.

“Our goal is to help financial companies, mainly those interested in lead generation, to increase their revenue by connecting them with hundreds or thousands of high-quality affiliate marketers in their industry. Our affiliate marketers tend to own popular financial blogs and social media platforms that they use to promote external companies and products in the financial space, in exchange for healthy commissions. It’s the most organic business relationship one can hope for, involving zero risk on either side,” added Mr Kund.

Golden Leads is now an invitation-only network, which means both advertisers and affiliates have to request an invitation in order to join. Learn more and request an invitation at https://www.GoldenLeadsNetwork.com

Contact name: Jonathan Kund
email: [email protected]
phone: 647-682-3222

SOURCE Golden Leads

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Everything You Need To Know About The Amazon Affiliate Program – Digital Market News

“Amazon Associates” is the affiliate program offered by tech giant Amazon. With the Amazon affiliate program, one can easily monetize their blog or website. This easy program benefits a wide range of people, be it new entrepreneurs, people with side hustles, or even students with their own blogs. The reason why such a variety of people are attracted to the Amazon affiliate program is that it is extremely easy to operate and the money is good too! 

What is the Amazon Affiliate Program?

Amazon Associates is an affiliate marketing program where bloggers and website owners can become a part of the Amazon family and earn from it. These Associates create links on their sites that advertise Amazon products, and when their audience makes a purchase from Amazon.com, the Associates earn referral fees.

Amazon Affiliate Program Rules

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While the process itself is rather easy, there are some requirements that you must meet and rules you need to follow to become an Amazon Associate. 

Top 5 Rules To Remember

  1. Associates need to announce on their website that they can potentially earn from the links recommended throughout the site.
  2. Don’t make any false or deceptive claims when making recommendations.
  3. Since the prices fluctuate on Amazon, it is better to avoid mentioning any prices directly. There can be some exceptions to this rule.
  4. Amazon affiliate links cannot be used in eBooks, emails, or in any other offline promotions.
  5. The Affiliate links should not be shortened or hampered with.

Before signing up with Amazon, make sure you go through their full policy.

4 Steps To Become An Amazon Affiliate

  1. Have Your Own Platform

The foremost necessity for you to join the Amazon affiliate program is that you must have an active blog/website/YouTube channel. Naturally, a website/channel with many active users and quality content will be preferred by Amazon over the ones barely active. 

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You have to describe the purpose of your channel or website when you are applying for the program. So have a clear idea about what purpose your platform serves, what will be your target audience, and how you can bring traffic to your site and promote the affiliate links.

  1. Visit The Amazon Associates Homepage

Next, you have to create your account on Amazon. Simply visit the Amazon Associates homepage and click on “Join Now for Free”. This will lead you to a prompt where you can log into your current Amazon account, or you can create a new one.

Amazon affiliate program

Amazon affiliate program

  1. Build Your Amazon Associates Profile

After signing in, click on “New Customer” and follow the prompts that will pop up.

You will first have to fill in your account details like name, address, etc. Put in your website address or YouTube channel link. 

Enter your store ID, the purpose of your site, and select the Amazon topics that your links can target.

affiliate program

affiliate program

Next, explain how you plan on driving traffic to your site and how you use it to generate income. You will also have to explain how you build links, what is your average number of visitors per month, etc.

The next step is phone number verification. Enter your number and go for the “Call Me Now” to receive a call. You will have to input a 4 digit number and your account will be approved then.

You can finish up with your payment and tax details and you’ll be a part of the Amazon affiliate program. 

  1. Create Your Amazon Affiliate Links

Now that you have your Associate homepage, it will show your performance dashboard. It will show you monthly summary, earning overview, and total number of clicks. You will also find relevant products to link to based on your content.

Amazon affiliate program

Amazon affiliate program

To create your Amazon affiliate program links, you will have to log in to your Amazon Associate account so that you find relevant products. Next, tap on Product Linking, situated at the top of the page, and select Product Links. This is where you can build your links. After this, you have to find the 10-character alphanumeric Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) of the product you want to link to from their catalog. If you don’t know the ASIN, you can manually search for the product. Then confirm that the product you want has been generated. Next, click on Get Link on your right to copy the Amazon Affiliate link that you will be using for promotions. Voila! Your link is ready for use!

The last step is to include this link and other ones on your site. Make sure you abide by the rules you have agreed to previously.

This Amazon affiliate program account will be valid for 180 days, wherein you have to make at least one sale. Otherwise, the account will be closed. So before you jump into the program itself, make sure you have a fool-proof strategy to attract traffic to your site. Your target audience should engage with the links and at least a few of them should be making purchases. Don’t get your hopes too high initially as it may take some time to pick up. Meanwhile, make sure you are publishing the best content and following ethical guidelines. 

If you cannot make a sale within those 180 days, you can reapply for the program after making some adjustments to your channel or site.

All the best!

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Amazon Lawsuits Go After Fraudulent Affiliate Marketers – eSellerCafe

Amazon stopped multiple affiliate marketing fraud schemes across the United States to protect customers from bogus emails and phone calls.

Amazon filed three lawsuits in Georgia, Michigan, and Texas to stop fraudulent affiliate marketing schemes.

The schemes identified in the lawsuits spammed email addresses with Amazon branded-emails to entice those receiving the emails to click on the links.

The traffic was then directed to other online marketers operating phony Amazon-branded surveys. Amazon shut down the schemes at issue in the lawsuits.

In Michigan, the defendants have agreed to a court order prohibiting them from using Amazon’s brand.

In a separate scheme, Amazon also stopped fake Amazon-branded email campaigns run by companies and individuals in Colorado and California.

The bad actors responsible for the emails, Ryan Becker, Jeff Skeldum, Marc Barnum, and Steve Vernikov, said they “acknowledge Amazon’s strong interest in protecting consumers from deceptive advertising and agree to refrain from using Amazon’s trademarks or brand in any internet marketing.”

These actions follow last year’s lawsuit against an Illinois-based affiliate marketer, First Impression Interactive, Inc., and its owners who were responsible for advertising fake work-from-home jobs with Amazon.

As a result of Amazon’s efforts, First Impression and its owners are now prohibited from using Amazon’s brand in any future marketing.

Amazon does not send unsolicited emails or texts. If customers encounter this activity, they can report it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/contact-us/report-phishing.html

“Amazon has no tolerance for schemes fraudulently using our brand, and we are appalled at these bad actors’ attempts to deceive our customers. We are advocating for customers by holding these bad actors accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Amazon spokesperson

Amazon Court Cases Against Affiliate Marketers

  • Case: 20-cv-02338-AT, United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
  • Case: 20-cv-11422-BAF-APP, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • Case: 20-cv-01920, United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • Case: 19-cv-00523-RSM, United States District Court for the Western District of Washington

READ MORE: Amazon Reduces Affiliate Payout on Many Popular Categories Starting April 21

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As Amazon soars during the pandemic, publishers that rely on it now feel left behind – CNBC

After Amazon notified members of its affiliate program that it would be cutting their rates earlier this month, the founders of Income School posted a YouTube video titled “Amazon DECIMATES Affiliate Commissions on April 21, 2020.” 

“I’m trying to imagine what was happening at Amazon headquarters when they were like, boy, let’s see, there’s a worldwide pandemic, a recession looming around the world and publishers’ paychecks are getting slashed from lower ads and everything else happening in this crazy world right now,” co-founder Jim Harmer says into the camera.

“And so this is the time when the world and publishers are really hurting, the publishers that built Amazon’s affiliate program and really built the site to what it is today… It’s right at this moment that Amazon decided, let’s slash everybody’s paychecks 50%, while Amazon itself is skyrocketing. It’s ridiculous.” 

Harmer and Income School co-founder Ricky Kesler are some of the hundreds of thousands of members of Amazon’s affiliate program. The program pays online publishers, YouTube creators and other online businesses a percentage of sales for products they recommend and link to on Amazon. It’s also been important for large online publishers like BuzzFeed, The New York Times and Vox Media that publish buying guides that drive people to make purchases on Amazon.

But last month, Amazon rolled out steep rate cuts to its affiliate program, putting those business models at risk. Those rate cuts meant publishers now make a 1% commission rate for grocery products instead of 5%, or 3% of furniture and home improvement product sales instead of 8%, for example.

Those changes mean less income for creators who are part of Amazon’s program, some of whom told CNBC they were upset the news of the cuts came around the same time as Amazon’s stock reached new all-time highs and a market cap over $1 trillion thanks to increased demand for online shopping during the coronavirus lockdown.

Others said the changes are a stark reminder that diversification of revenue streams for content creators is crucial, so as not to be dependent on the whims of tech giants and their policies. And some were thinking about giving other affiliate programs more attention. More than 18,200 people have signed a Change.org petition called “Amazon Affiliates Want Their Rates Back.” 

Amazon declined to comment on feedback from members of its affiliate program about its timing. A company spokesperson last month declined to comment on whether the decision was a result of the pandemic, and said Amazon regularly evaluates its program offerings to ensure it’s competing with the broader industry and that such rate evaluations are a standard industry practice.

Though the changes went into effect in April, members won’t see the impact immediately. Payments are made monthly, and fees paid out for April, for example, aren’t made until late June.

The changes have prompted some affiliate marketers to think beyond Amazon: Videos on YouTube quickly popped up featuring alternative programs, like those from Target, Walmart or B&H Photo Video. 

Income School’s founders told CNBC many of those alternative affiliate programs don’t have the same robust catalog of products as an Amazon. For example, whereas a boating site can list its picks of oil filters on Amazon, the options might not be available on different sites. 

Doug Cunnington, an affiliate marketer and YouTuber, said he would be considering other affiliate programs, like eBay‘s, since Amazon’s cuts will result in a “pretty big impact” for himself and his business. Cunnington started making affiliate sites in areas like outdoor and home appliances, back in 2013. Then in 2015 he began doing it full-time. He estimates about 50% of his income from the last few years has come from Amazon affiliate program. He also sells a course teaching people how to use the program. 

“It’s definitely a double whammy for me,” Cunnington said. He said he’s trying to view this as an opportunity to branch out. Aside from trying new affiliate programs, he said he’ll likely lean more heavily in teaching about other skills, like YouTube, email marketing or podcasting.

“A lot of folks are devastated,” Cunnington said. But he said as long as sites have traffic, they’ll figure out a way forward. “If someone has a website and they have traffic, they will figure out how to monetize. If you have traffic, you have an asset.”

Erin Nogueira, a content creator for YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, has been doing affiliate marketing for products like beauty and fashion for more than two years. She said she’s found the real money doesn’t come from the social media company themselves, but the affiliate commissions.

“Their stock is at an all-time high,” she said. “They have no reason to take money out of our pocket, and they’re already making so much.” 

She said it isn’t unlike Instagram or YouTube’s changed algorithms and their effects on creators. In the past, social networks have tweaked their algorithms that determine what shows up in a user’s news feed, which has caused declines in views and web traffic. Nogueira said she’ll have to work five times as hard to generate the income she once did after promoting products on Amazon.

Sean Cannell, the Las Vegas-based founder of Think Media, said his first affiliate check from Amazon was just over $2. Now, he estimates his company makes $30,000 in profit from Amazon each month. He frequently posts about which cameras and equipment to buy for those interested in making YouTube videos. 

He said Think Media is part of more than 30 affiliate programs, but that Amazon is the most lucrative. He said Think is fortunate in that it has multiple revenue streams, from affiliate marketing to YouTube to products and educational programs. Cannell said he now expects his revenue from Amazon affiliate to fall by as much as 20%.

But for those who might rely on Amazon’s affiliate program more, he said this is a wake-up call for those who use this as a side hustle or who were leaning on this as a means of quitting a full-time job. For others, “it’s kind of like your business is being destroyed overnight.” 

A co-founder of a lifestyle publication (who requested anonymity because of ongoing legal conversations having to do with affiliate partnerships) said this will impact on online publishers, but that the extent of the impact will depend on the types of products the business normally highlights — with areas like sporting equipment, for instance, seeing less of an impact than categories like furniture.

“I don’t think this is a wake-up call for companies as much as it is a reckoning,” they said. “Any business that’s relied exclusively on Amazon’s affiliate program for revenue has feared this day would come. Now we’re going to see which leaders have effectively prepped for the moment with backup plans.”

They said Amazon’s “generic and arguably cold messaging” didn’t try to tie the rate decrease to any reason or event, which they said left people likely frustrated especially amid all the uncertainty during the pandemic. They said they believed Amazon’s leadership framing the move around concerns would appear tone-deaf. 

“I personally appreciate that Amazon didn’t attempt to justify the decision as a wartime reaction to the COVID-19 crisis,” they said. “I’m sure that pandemic factors had at least some influence on the timing of Amazon’s move. It’s speculation, but perhaps the company is aiming to reduce customer flow in hopes of getting a better handle on the surge in online shopping right now.”

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Diversification Gains Urgency For Business Impacted By Amazon’s Reduced Affiliate Marketing Fees – Forbes

Reduced commission rates on select product categories go into effect today for Amazon’s affiliate marketing program. Those who reply upon the program to monetize their websites are unsurprisingly unhappy; many, however, saw the cuts coming and have one word for those caught off guard: Diversify.

Amazon’s affiliate program, called Amazon Associates, pays bloggers, website owners and digital publishers a referral fee when links from their online content drive purchases from Amazon. While the income generated can be a side hustle for small players just dabbling with the program, the revenue loss will be bigger for online publishers like CNET, Consumer Reports, BuzzFeed and the New York Times.

For some product categories, such as Luxury Beauty, the commission Amazon pays is as high as 10%. The affiliate payout rate for Luxury Beauty remains unchanged while fees paid on Amazon sales in the Furniture, Home, Home Improvement and Lawn & Garden categories now are reduced by more than half—from 8% to 3% as of today. Grocery commission fees were slashed yet more dramatically, from 5% to 1%, effective today.

“This is no doubt a harsh blow, not only for large digital media outlets and publishers, but also for smaller website owners who have spent the last several years building up content dedicated to recommending products purchased on Amazon,” says Kelly Fedio, founder of Digital Shelf Strategy, an Amazon consulting firm.

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“For these smaller businesses, sadly, their livelihoods could very likely get wiped out.”

The new commission structure includes deep cuts to product categories experiencing high demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak, such as Health and Personal Care items whose payout rate plummeted to 1% today, down from 4.5%. For that reason, some speculate it was the global health crisis that prompted the changes even though an Amazon spokesman told CNBC last week the fees were updated as a result of its periodic evaluation practices.

“I don’t think this is only due to COVID. I think this is Amazon routinely reviewing its programs and profitability, and adjusting as necessary,” says Fahim Naim, founder and CEO of eShopportunity, the Amazon consulting firm he founded after serving as a category manager at Amazon.

It was only a few years ago, in 2017, when a similar restructuring of commission fees sparked an uproar from affiliates enrolled in Amazon’s program.

Naim said the fee changes Amazon put into effect today are likely part of a long-term play, though the timing could be better. “Even if it’s the right business decision, they aren’t doing themselves a favor by announcing this during the COVID chaos,” he says. “I’m a bit surprised they didn’t wait another month or two before announcing this.”

Amazon stock hit an all-time high, soaring to $2,283 per share April 14, the same day the commission rate reductions came to light.

Reddit posters registered their dismay over the fee cuts: “What a cruel time to do it, but it is, as you say, capitalism’s way,” wrote okletsdothisthang last week after the changes were announced. “Lots of sites are about to go on sale, too. I know we say these things every time this happens, but to add one last cliche: diversify diversify diversify.”

Fedio, who founded and built her One Savvy Girl outdoor lifestyle brand on Amazon before launching her consulting firm, agrees those who rely on commissions from Amazon should anticipate change and strategize for the long term.

“If you want to survive for the long haul, then you need to adapt to the changes. This should be a stark reminder of the need to diversify, as there are huge risks to a singular monetization method around a platform you don’t control,” she says.

While some businesses will be hurt by the changes and others may move away from Amazon entirely, Fedio says there are other opportunities and affiliate networks to consider. “Amazon is by far not the only game in town,” she says. “Look for opportunities to diversify both with traffic and revenue streams.”

The Amazon Associates affiliate marketing program and other programs may see more changes in the future as subsequent reviews and adjustments are inevitable.

“I expect Amazon to start pushing their offshoot influencer programs harder in the future, so I believe they still understand the importance of external traffic,” adds Naim. “They are probably just trying to right the ship as it relates to the profitability of the program.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos provides more cues for what’s ahead in his annual letter to shareholders released last week.

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Amazon slashes commission rates for program that gives publishers a cut of sales – CNBC

A worker assembles a box for delivery at the Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., April 30, 2019.

Clodagh Kilcoyne | Reuters

Amazon is cutting commission rates for members of its affiliate program.

The company notified members of the program, known as Amazon Associates, that it will slash commission rates beginning April 21, according to an email obtained by CNBC. 

Amazon has for years operated the affiliate program, which allows members to advertise and link to Amazon products in exchange for a percentage of the sales. The program drives significant revenue for online websites who link out to Amazon products in their content. It’s especially important for online publishers like BuzzFeed, The New York Times and Vox Media that publish buying guides that drive readers to buy products from Amazon for a cut of the sales.

Rates are being cut for a number of affiliate product categories. For example, the affiliate cut from purchases of furniture and home improvement products has fallen from 8% to 3%, while the commission rate for grocery products has slid from 5% to 1%, according to a document obtained by CNBC. 

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that the company notified U.S. associates Tuesday of the fee change. The spokesperson declined to comment on whether the decision was a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The spokesperson said Amazon regularly evaluates its program offerings to ensure it’s competing with the broader industry and added that such rate evaluations are a standard industry practice. 

Here are the rates for product categories before the change:

And here are the rates after April 21:

Here’s what Amazon is telling members of its affiliate program: 

Hello Associate,

We hope you are staying well during this time. We are writing to inform you of upcoming changes to the Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement, which governs your participation in the Amazon Associates Program. All changes are effective as of April 21, 2020.

Visit the What’s Changed page to see a summary of these changes. You can also find the Operating Agreement, Program Policies, and the Fee Statement if you would like to refer to the current, pre-change versions.

Sincerely,

The Amazon Associates Program

Amazon’s business has been impacted on a number of fronts as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Hit with a surge of online orders, the company moved to prioritize shipments of essential items in its warehouses, though it has since begun winding down those restrictions. The virus also forced Amazon to temporarily pause its Prime Pantry delivery service, while its Amazon Shipping pilot program will be halted in June.  

Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, Amazon had already made some cuts to its commerce marketing deals. Last month, the company informed digital media firms it would suspend commerce marketing deals, according to The Information

One member of the program, who asked to remain anonymous, said they “cannot afford” the fee cuts that were announced, since a main portion of their income comes from commissions earned via Amazon links. The member runs several Facebook groups that advertise shopping deals across the web, including Amazon products. 

“All the affiliates I talk to make the majority of their money from these categories,” the member said. “It’s going to hurt a lot of people.” 

Bloggers and online businesses voiced their frustrations about the cuts on Twitter and Reddit. In a Reddit forum for affiliate marketing, one member of the program wrote: “These slashes are ridiculous. Together with a high chance of upcoming recession, SEO/affiliate outlook is pretty gloomy, to be honest.”

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Amazon reportedly planning drastic cuts to affiliate commission rates starting next week – The Verge

Amazon is planning to make dramatic cuts to commission rates for its affiliate marketing program, which allows media organizations, e-commerce companies, and small and independent businesses to receive a cut of revenue from a sale if a customer lands on the product page and purchases the item through a provided link. The cuts go into effect on April 21st, according to CNBC, and some product categories will see drops of more than 50 percent.

For instance, commission rates under the categories home improvement, furniture, lawn and garden, and pet products will see a commission rate of 8 percent per sale drop down to just 3 percent. For headphones, beauty products, and musical instruments, commission rates will go from 6 percent down to 3 percent. Many other categories — including grocery, sports, baby products, and outdoors and tools — are all dropping down to 3 or 1 percent, CNBC reports, from 4 percent or higher.

The changes will be a harsh blow to digital media organizations, many of which spent the last few years building out commerce divisions dedicated to recommending products that are largely purchased, at least in the US, on Amazon. Other retailers, like Best Buy and Walmart, also run affiliate marketing programs, but Amazon remains the leader in US e-commerce with nearly half of all online sales. Last month, Amazon and other retailers also began suspending dedicated commerce marketing deals, which are separate from the standard affiliate program, with big digital media firms amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital media companies like BuzzFeed and New York Times-owned Wirecutter are among the more prominent commerce providers in the industry. The Verge’s parent company Vox Media is another, with affiliate partnerships that include Amazon. (For more information, see our ethics policy.)

But there are scores of other news organizations that do the same and non-news companies that have spun up small to medium-sized businesses around online deals and product reviewing. Quoted by CNBC, one person — who runs some Facebook groups dedicated to sharing online deals — says they “cannot afford” the cuts and that the changes will “hurt a lot of people.” The change will hurt not just websites, but also prominent deal and e-commerce YouTube channels and even deal plug-in makers and stores like Honey and Rakuten.

Amazon isn’t citing any one reason for the commission rate cuts, according to the email it sent to program members obtained by CNBC, and the company declined to comment on the situation.

Amazon is one of the few US businesses that has only become more vital during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is hiring hundreds of thousands of new workers to keep up with demand in its warehouses and for its grocery and package delivery platforms.

Yet despite the huge surge in demand for Amazon’s services, the company is struggling to maintain operations like its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery option, which now has a waiting list to use, and is outright pausing some services like its Prime Pantry service for ordering bulk household goods and nonperishables. It only just yesterday said third-party sellers can now resume sending in nonessential products for shipping to customers, after the company restricted its warehouse shipments to essential goods like health and cleaning products and nonperishable food.

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Report: Amazon pulls third-party vendors from affiliate program – Marketing Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon cut third-party vendors including Skimlinks, Sovrn and CJ Affiliate from its affiliate program, AdExchange reported citing unnamed sources.
  • Since the beginning of April, these affiliates will not earn a commission on purchases made as a result of traffic they sent to Amazon. Previously, select vendors received a cut of the total order amount, not just the percentage of the item that they added to their cart from the affiliate, the report explained.
  • Amazon’s affiliate program will maintain its direct relationships with thousands of digital publishers and supply-side ad exchange Transparent Ad Marketplace (TAM).

Dive Insight:

Amazon’s move to trim down its affiliate marketing program could be a cost-cutting measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help the e-commerce giant manage programs that have a reputation as being prone to high levels of fraud or over-collection of commission on the actual sale.

As AdExchanger notes, third-party affiliates can earn a larger percentage of a final sale than simply a commission on a single item. Items sold via affiliates generate a different commission depending on the category. Beauty products can earn a 10% commission, while a video game brings in less than 5%. However, if a customer adds a $5 eyeshadow to a cart that already has $500 worth of items in it, that affiliate that drove the shopper to purchase the eyeshadow could earn $50.

Amazon appears to be tightening up this business model to keep more profits from its sales, especially as consumers search the platform for new products after clicking links from external sources. By cutting off these third-party affiliates, Amazon could increase its own profit margins and potentially increase returns for publishers that send traffic directly to the e-commerce giant. 

The move follows news last week that Walmart cut its influencer affiliate programs with social commerce site MagicLinks and e-commerce giant Rakuten. Additionally, retailers Macy’s, Patagonia and Victoria’s Secret have taken similar steps, per a recent Business Insider report.

Publishers without direct relationships to Amazon will likely take a hit if the pullback on affiliate marketing continues. These developments come as publishers are already hammered on the revenue side as marketers cut ad spend and block ads from running on coronavirus-related stories.

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