Amazon Affiliate Agreements and Terms of Service (TOS)
Whether you are just starting out, or a long-time successful affiliate, you must adhere to Amazon’s TOS rules. Don’t get your Associate’s account banned. After your first three sales your site will be reviewed for compliance — be ready. It can be difficult as there are many rules and they are often applied inconsistently.
If you are a large affiliate bringing Amazon lots of business you are given more leeway and even a special agreement. If you are a newer affiliate Amazon can be very strict. It doesn’t help that the TOS rules are listed in a long complex document. Actually, there are two documents you must follow:
Let’s take a look at the things that WILL get you banned.
Things that will get your Amazon Associate account banned
Amazon affiliate disclosure statement
You must identify yourself as an Associate/affiliate. This is critical and something that must be done. In Prosociate you can automatically add this to your site pages that have Amazon products on it. The text that Amazon lists in the operating agreement is:
[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 Amazon.com].
Visit our post with detailed information about Amazon Disclosure Rules.
You must list the date and time of the last price update.
If you are displaying prices, you must show when the price was pulled from Amazon. You must get the price via the Advertising API (API). Again Prosociate will do this automatically and give you style control over the text. You can see our video that describes these compliance requirements.
Don’t cloak links
You can not hide the fact that you are sending visitors to Amazon. It must be clear that the link the user follows is going to the Amazon site.
No affiliate links in e-mails.
You can not send a user directly from an email message to Amazon. You can send them back to your website where they can then select the link to Amazon. This is best practice anyway as you then have the opportunity to send them to a specific landing page and add a Facebook cookie for future retargeting. You are not allowed to do any offline promotion.
…you will not engage in any promotional, marketing, or other advertising activities in any offline manner, including by using any of our or our affiliates’ trademarks or logos (including any Amazon Mark), any Content, or any Special Link in connection with an offline promotion or in any other offline manner (e.g., in any printed material, mailing, SMS, MMS, email or attachment to email, or other document, or any oral solicitation
Don’t put links in eBooks.
I often use eBooks as lead magnets to capture emails and start an autoresponder series. But these eBooks can not have Amazon links in them. Again the can link back to your website with the Amazon product.
No purchasing from your own link.
Amazon does not pay for sales that you make from your affiliate links. They even do not allow family members to purchase this way. So avoid any purchases from the same computer that you use for setting up and managing your account. Even if the purchases are not from your Amazon.com account.
Don’t design your site to look like Amazon’s
Amazon is very protective of its brand. If you use the same design, layout, and color they will view that as a violation
Only one Associate account.
You are only allowed one account but you can have many tracking IDs (up to 100) to manage your sites and campaigns.
Don’t copy and paste Amazon review or images. All reviews and images must be imported via the Amazon API. Prosociate does this automatically for you.
No promoting of offensive products or to children.
This includes violent, sexually explicit, obscene, fake, discriminatory, etc. material. Amazon is not the place for “edgy” or counter-culture products. Don’t promote to children under 13.
Don’t promote on social media except via Stripe
you use the tools in your Associate account. When you are logged in as an Associate at Amazon you will have access to Stripe. Use the Share pulldown menu to add products to your Facebook and Twitter account.
You can’t offer a financial incentive to purchase from you via Amazon.
No cookie manipulation
No cookie stuffing, auto-tagging or otherwise altering the Amazon cookies. Don’t get cute or tricky. Amazon has lots of resources and they will find and ban you.
Don’t use Amazon trademarks inappropriately.
Amazon affiliates are so successful because of the power of the Amazon brand. They are very protective of this. This includes things like your logo and domain name. You will be banned if your site name is bestamazonproducts.com. Here is a link to the trademark policy.
Those are the top things that will get you banned. Of course, Amazon reserves the right to ban anyone for any reason. The most important thing is to follow the rules above, create great content that attracts an audience and send those visitors to Amazon with total transparency.
Do many people get banned from the Associates program by Amazon?
Unfortunately yes. It is a fairly common thing to happen.
What is the most common reason for being removed from the Associate’s program?
There is no data on this but from anecdotal evidence, the lack of a proper Amazon Associate disclosure is a common reason.
Are bans permanent?
It depends on the reason. Cookie manipulation and other fraudulent activities are not forgiven. A poorly worded or missing disclosure can be overturned.