9 Reasons Why Starting an “Amazon Affiliate Site” is the BEST Thing You Could Do As a Newbie (And How You Should Do It)

If you have been looking for content about Amazon affiliate sites, perhaps you have come across this article:

“9 Reasons Why Starting an “Amazon Affiliate Site” is the WORST Thing You Could Do as a Newbie (And What You Should Do Instead)”

I have a great deal of respect for the folks at Niche Hacks. They run a great site, provide valuable content, and are straight shooters (hard to find in the affiliate world). But … I don’t agree with the premise of this article (though we find some common ground at the conclusion). So let’s look at the other side of the coin when it comes to Amazon Affiliate sites and stores.

About Amazon Affiliate Program

Is the Amazon program perfect …heck no! They are so huge, there are bound to be trouble spots. But that size is the very reason it is the perfect place for a newbie to start. Amazon sales represent 47% of online e-commerce sales. 47%!! They have huge trust from online buyers. Trust is something new sites don’t have so leveraging Amazon’s #1 position is key. And getting an Amazon Associate account is near automatic. Everyone is approved and has 180 days to make 3 sales. If you do not you can reapply. Many affiliate programs do not accept new sites that have little traffic.

Amazon Sales Growth Approaching 50% of online retail

Can you simply set up a site with a bunch of fake crapy reviews of a bunch of Amazon products? Not if you are counting on organic search for your traffic. Can a review site succeed in the right niche, over time, with valuable content and strong SEO. Of course, it can. Just look at Empire Flippers and the Amazon sites that are being sold. This is 100% confirmation that Amazon sites can and do make people money

Are you going to replace your day job in a few months? No.  Can you make more with FBA or your own products? Yes. But here’s the best thing about Amazon Affiliate sites.

You learn as you earn.

Learn Then Remove L

To be a successful affiliate you will need to develop skills. Skills like:

  • Building WordPress SItes
  • Affiliate linking and relationships
  • Niche Selection
  • Keyword Research
  • Content Marketing
  • E-mail marketing
  • On-page and technical SEO

I know of no successful online marketer who is “crushing it” and working on their first site. Yoy are going on a journey as an affiliate or internet marketer. If you jump right into FBA or your own products without the skills above you must have a large budget to outsource these tasks. If your first site is a marginal success as an Amazon affiliate you earn money. An FBA or product owner with just a few sales has lost most of their investment. An Amazon affiliate site is the perfect first stop for a newbie.

Now let’s get to those 9 points of concern that the nice folks at NicheHacks had and our rebuttal.

1. You Have No Control Over an Amazon Affiliate Business

A lack of control is true of any affiliate program. You are not producing a product, you are selling and referring traffic to others. That is what affiliate marketing is. Amazon can and has changed the commissions. Amazon changed the terms of certain products like Kindle Books. They are always tweaking their systems and programs. This is part of the reason Amazon’ is so successful. But is Amazon dropping the program anytime soon? Well with giant affiliates like Wirecutter ( a New York Times Company) and other similar companies, affiliate revenue is a material part of Amazon’s revenue stream. They are literally millions of affiliates across dozens of marketplaces across the world. The Associate program is not going away anytime soon.

2. Amazon Review Sites Rarely Provide Value To Users

This is up to site owner. If no value, no visitors for sure. But building an Amazon review site does not mean you will build a  site of little value. Again look to

  • TheWirecutter.com
  • ConsumerSearch.com
  • GiftIdeaGeek.com
  • TheSweetHome.com

There are many useful sites that generate their revenue from Amazon. Check out these listings at Empire Flippers – seems there is value in some Amazon sites.

Empire Flippers Associate Sales

3. The 24 Hour Cookie Period Limits Your Revenue

Yes, it is short but I would rather have a 24-hour opportunity from the company that does 44% of online retail than 3-7 days at Target, Walmart Jet, etc. And there is the 90-day cookie for items that users put in their cart at Amazon. There are many software tools like Prosociate.com that will automatically transfer items to the Amazon cart. With large ticket items, this carting can be effective. For most items though get them to Amazon and let them shop. And whoever said you have to be exclusive to Amazon? More on that later.

4. It’s Not a Long-Term Business Model

Long-term in what? Internet years, dog years…?  But seriously much of the online world requires you to constantly change and adapt. And with Amazon sites, you always have the option to flip them.

5. You’re Completely Dependent on Search Traffic

You are very dependent on search traffic. But search traffic requires social signals so you better have that too. And you should have an e-book or other give-away to collect email from. The email list will be used for other offers from other programs or your own products now or in the future.

6. Amazon Review Sites Rarely Earn Natural Backlinks

Natural backlinks for most sites are a bit of a myth. The idea that you write this killer content and people just backlink to it because it is so awesome they must share rarely happens. I would bet dollars to dimes that the majority of the backlinks to a powerful site like NicheHacks are “unnatural”. In the sense that they come from outreach, PR,  affiliates or people they somehow have a relationship with.

natural backlinks

7. Amazon’s Affiliate Policies are Complex and Change Frequently

Not so complex really. Here is an easy to understand summary of the Amazon affiliate rules. And yes it is a business and they do change regularly. Amazon recently created new rules for getting the Product Advertising API keys for instance. This can and does happen with all affiliate programs.

8. Amazon’s Commission Rates are Pathetically Low

Yes, they are low. here is the current commision rate card. But you get paid on all sales, not just the product you sent them from your site to Amazon. Again, Amazon represents 445 of online retail. There is a good chance that the customer you send to Amazon will buy something. They do not even need to buy the referring product. Your job is to onramp them at Amazon and let their sales machine do teh job it does so well.

Amazon Advertising Fees - Affiliate Commission Rates

9. You Can’t Promote Affiliate Offers With Email Marketing

Amazon does not allow you to have affiliate links in e-mails. This is true. They do allow you to have them on Facebook and other social media platforms. They even provide tools to do this. But affiliate links to Amazon in emails or on social media is not the most effective sales method.

I find the best way to advertise on social is to send them from Facebook or another social channel back to a landing page on your website. You can then Facebook cookie them, offer the visitor an e-book or other valuable item and get their e-mail. You also had the opportunity to prepare a proper landing page for your offer. This is particularly useful with higher ticket items. You can do the same thing with your email outreach.

Conclusion – Go For It!

In the end, though, I generally agree with the final advice from NicheHacks. Don’t build crappy Amazon affiliate review sites. Find an audience you want to serve and give them great content first and complimentary products second – including Amazon products.  Don’t depend entirely on Amazon. Enroll in other affiliate products from ShareASale, Clickbank, and others. Build an audience and capture their e-mail. Create great content and have a rich mix of products, revenue streams, and traffic sources. What the Amazon Associate program lets you do is get started. You will be an affiliate of the largest online retailer in the world. You will be part of a reliable and trustworthy affiliate program. Amazon makes it possible for you to get started without a huge budget. They enable you to take action.