Amazon is certainly the best affiliate program out there. My favorite reason is that everyone buys from Amazon and I don’t have to sell anything to earn commissions. Just recommending products is usually enough, without pitching…
Still Amazon is really picky and their Associates and Advertising agreement are quite restrictive (hopefully Zonterest users have their back covered since we take care of everything, and we eliminate all the potential mistakes you could do on your own).
So, the following could cost you your Amazon account (and don’t take those lightly as I see many Amazon store builders blatantly advertise some of the following as a Benefit and one of their core feature! Not joking there, I will post some screenshots from a really popular store, which should not look so fresh after reading this.
I might need a few parts to cover all the DONTS, also because Amazon terms are constantly updated (once again we got your back with Zonterest). There’s no particular order, as these are all important potential issues.
#1 Altering a product description
Say, you’re promoting a product on your blog, or even on Facebook. You’re not allowed to alter, edit, even change a single coma from a product description you’re recommending on your website.
#2 Altering product images
You can’t use your own images to promote a product. You must use the images from the seller, and most importantly, you must make sure these images are updated every 24 hours.
These are HUGE no no, still a popular store builder advertise those features as benefits:
I can’t get it, but it seems some software developers don’t care about their clients and their safety.
#3 Using Customer Reviews on your stores
Using Amazon reviews on your website is basically prohibited. As it tends to let your visitors think this is your content.
And Amazon is really picky when it comes to potentially misleading your visitors, or mis-representing a product.
The only way to use reviews would be to use their API and display all the reviews available for any given product, and
maintaining those up to date (what if there are 5 more reviews today? well your must update those in real time).
So, plain and simple: don’t use Amazon reviews on your stores. This could get you banned.
Now, some ask to get banned almost instantly by adding reviews to a product! That’s really risky, as it’s simply prohibited
by Amazon. You can’t add your own content (description, reviews) to an Amazon product, as this could mislead the customer,
and Amazon wants full control on their content.
So you can’t create your own reviews, or ask customers to leave reviews on your website for a given product (which is the same
as altering the product).
Surprisingly enough, we’ve found a store builder out there recommending this to their customers. This is plain silly. Just don’t do it
#4 Playing with Prices
Along the same lines (no mis-direction, representation, no content altering), Amazon is really picky with pricing information.
You can’t display any pricing info in your content (if you write some intro to a product, or within your emails). But the most important
is that you must update the pricing info at least every 24 hours (which means, you must query Amazon for the exact price of a product,
and display it). On top of that, you must notify when the price was updated (must be the current day) :
And you must also add a disclaimer (on Zonterest website, when your mouse hover the DEtails link, it shows the following):
This way, your visitor is fully aware of the current price, and that it’s been checked thoroughly. It’s a way to minimize the risk
of misleading the potential customer with inaccurate pricing information.
#5 Direct Linking restrictions
Amazon prohibits Offline promotion (which include Emails!). This is really important and restrictive. You can’t email a direct Amazon link.
Same, you can’t advertise Amazon products directly in paid advertising (keyword bidding at time of writing). So do not bother using Adwords, Bings, PPV traffic to advertise Amazon products.
And don’t try to shorten your links or cloak them, it’s also forbidden as per Amazon associates terms (Amazon wants to make sure their customer’s experience is top notch, and that the user knows exactly what link he is clicking on, and where he is being redirected to).
Offline promotion also includes ebooks, PDF docs, basically anything that can be consumed while being OFFLINE. I think the reason is also along the lines of their whole terms. Offline promotion can’t be updated and this the information you would be sharing will become inaccurate and outdated at some point. Amazon does not want any user to think they don’t have a product, or that the user thinks he is purchasing a product which has been updated.
Emails can also be opened days or weeks after they were sent, and Amazon does not want this. They want instant, live interaction with their content and product, and it must be as accurate and reliable as possible. And your role as an Associates is to help them with that. If you try to play them instead, they will ban you.
Hopefully Zonterest will help you with all the above. By linking to a fully compliant Amazon stores (not direct linking to Amazon products), your visitors are assured to always have accurate info.