It has been a while since I have managed to put a post together and I definitely need to catch up on some things, but until then I figured that I might as well give anyone who happens to land on the home page a quick “heads up” on some changes that will be happening with Amazon’s affiliate program, Amazon Associates.
Tomorrow (August 1) Amazon will be making some changes to the operating agreement, and they will take effect on this date. The operating agreement is similar to a legal “terms of service” type of document and governs the participation of all publishers in the Amazon Associates program. Most of these changes are very minor and will not have any effect on your daily activities, but there are a couple of them regarding the fee structure that might pique your interest. You can look through all of the details and legalese on the Amazon.com site here, but for your convenience I have already looked through the relevant documentation and will summarize the upcoming changes below.
- In the section under “Program Requirements” that allows Amazon to terminate the operating agreement and withhold advertising fees (in other words, kick you out of the program and not pay you for any previous earnings) if you or someone acting under your direction violates the terms of the agreement, a small addition was made to include the Amazon.in Associates Program, presumably Amazon’s regional site for India, in the list of programs that are applicable under this provision of the agreement.
- In the table that lists the advertising fee rates (this is what most of us call “affiliate commissions”; that is, how much money we can make if we manage to refer someone who actually ends up buying stuff at Amazon) for publishers in the United States, the rate for products under the category “Amazon Instant Video Products” has decreased from 10 percent to 5 percent. However, two new categories have been added, neither one of which previously existed in the table: “Video Game Console Products” at a rate of 4 percent, and “Headphones Products” at a rate of 6 percent.
- Under the Advertising Fee Schedule section regarding “Limitations on Advertising Fee Rates for Certain Products”, a section that limited adverting fees to a maximum of $1.50 each for things in the “Amazon Instant Video Products” category has been removed. Coupled with the other amendment mentioned above, this means that we can now earn more than $1.50 per item for instant video downloads but they have cut our commission rates from 10 percent down to five.
Commissions (or “advertising fees” as they like to call it) for most things at Amazon are paid out according to a volume-based tiered system that increases the adverting fee rate as more sales are made within a given month. Most “newbie” affiliates, for most categories of items, will earn 4 percent on sales that originated from their referral links. However, if we can increase the total number of items shipped or downloaded within a month to at least seven, the rate increases to 6 percent for all eligible items sold within that month. If you can generate many more sales through your links it is possible to increase this rate even further, up to a maximum of 8.5 percent for the highest tier.
It is important to remember that not all items qualify for this tier-based system, however. Some categories of items always pay out a fixed rate for advertising fees regardless of your monthly sales volume. For example, Amazon gift cards always pay out 6 percent of whatever amount the buyer decides to put on the card.