This is what I lost in a blink of an eye while I violated Amazon Associates ToS three months back.
Thankfully, I have got the money in my bank account, and I have shared the entire journey in a blog post which you can read it here.
After reading the above post a lot of you have requested me to write a detailed article on what all you need to keep in mind while building an Amazon niche site so that you don’t violate the program’s ToS.
Here’s the guide that you all have been waiting for. After reading this article end to end, you won’t need to read the boring Operating Agreement by Amazon for sure.
I have collected a list of 20 mistakes which will get you banned from the Amazon Associates program forever. This is a super easy to understand guide and I assure you after reading it you’ll be 99% under the program’s compliance.
Why not 100%?
Because you never know when is your bad day.
I’d like to suggest you to take a cup of coffee and read it till the end because all the points mentioned in this post are super important and not something you should take lightly.
- 20 Mistakes That Will Get You Banned From Amazon Associates Network
- #1. Make 3 Sales In 180 Days
- #2. You Cannot Use Images From Amazon
- #3. No Link Cloaking
- #4. Using Your Affiliate Links While Making A Purchase
- #5. You Can’t Encourage Your Readers To Buy From You
- #6. Amazon Affiliate Disclosure Should Be Visible on Every Page
- #7. Can’t Use Direct Affiliate Links in Emails
- #8. Can’t Use Direct Affiliate Links in Ebooks and PDFs
- #9. Can’t Post Direct Star Ratings
- #10. No Direct Price Listing
- #11. Not Allowed To Post Affiliate Links on Forums
- #12. Site Should Be Publicly Available
- #13. Stop Using Amazon’s Trademark
- #14. No Use of Affiliate Links in Popup
- #15. Offering Any Type of Rebate
- #16. Operating More than One Associate Account
- #17. Do not Copy/Paste User Reviews
- #18. No Social Media Promotion with Less than 500 Followers
- #19. Auto-Tag Your Visitors
- #20. Paid Search Placement is Prohibited
20 Mistakes That Will Get You Banned From Amazon Associates Network
#1. Make 3 Sales In 180 Days
The title says it all. I’d highly recommend you do not apply to the Associates network until you’re getting at least 50-100 visitors daily on your website.
If you apply and couldn’t make at least three sales in the first 180 days, they will automatically shut down your account.
Note: You aren’t banned from the network yet. You just aren’t yet eligible to work with them.
Pro Tip: If you want to make instant sales you can promote your articles on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Reddit. However, there is no surety that you’ll make those sales. It’s good to give it a shot though.
The good thing is you can re-apply again once you start to receive consistent traffic on your blog.
#2. You Cannot Use Images From Amazon
Would you like if someone copies your article or images?
Well, same is the case with Amazon they’re very strict if you use their images on your blog.
Here’s what the Program Policies states:
“You will not display on your Site or otherwise use any data, images, text, or other information or content you may obtain from us that relates to Excluded Products.”
Don’t try to act smart here by screen shooting the images and putting it on your blog. Sadly, once caught you’ll anyway get banned.
The best solution here is to edit the images exclusively for your blog. Check the example below to understand better.
Another solution is you can use plugins like Content Egg or AAWP to fetch images from Amazon’s API directly.
It’s not just about Amazon if you’ll copy images from any other huge publications you’re anyway at risk. Period.
The following pointer is not clearly mentioned in the Operations Agreement. However, it’s apparently against the ToS.
#3. No Link Cloaking
Amazon wants the user to know that they are being redirected to Amazon when they click on your affiliate links.
Here’s what Amazon Operation Agreement stats about link cloaking:
“You will not cloak, hide, spoof, or otherwise obscure the URL of your Site containing Special Links (including by use of Redirecting Links) or the user agent of the application in which Program Content is displayed or used such that we cannot reasonably determine the site or application from which a customer clicks through such Special Link to an Amazon Site.”
If you’re acting smart by showing your user some other link and redirecting it to Amazon sorry to say Amazon will know it and you’ll get banned within a few weeks.
Basically, you can not use any link shortening or cloaking service. Instead, you can use the Amazon link shortener and let your users clearly know that they are being redirected to Amazon.
#4. Using Your Affiliate Links While Making A Purchase
Amazon doesn’t want you to earn easy commissions. They want you to work hard and get legit customers to buy from you. Well, using your affiliate links while doing shopping is not at all legit.
“You will not purchase any Product(s) through Special Links for use by you or for resale or commercial use of any kind.”
If you ever try to cheat the Associates program by using your links, soon you’ll be kicked out of the program ASAP.
#5. You Can’t Encourage Your Readers To Buy From You
Amazon wants your readers to naturally click on your affiliate links and not by any force.
If you’re trying to force your readers to buy from you, it’s a quick ban from the program. Let me give you an example to understand this scenario better.
Suppose I came to your blog and read the content. While reading the content, I came across a line which says “If you buy from our affiliate links you’ll help us support our business.”
That’s a BAN!
It’s a clear signal that you’re somewhere forcing your readers to buy from you and Amazon doesn’t like this at all.
#6. Amazon Affiliate Disclosure Should Be Visible on Every Page
The e-Commerce giant wants your readers to clearly know that you’ll earn a commission if they buy any products from your affiliate links.
For that reason, you need to mention the Affiliate Disclosure across all the pages of your website.
The best way to do this is either keep a disclosure option in the footer or header of your website like this:
You can also put the text directly into the sidebar to make sure all your readers know about it.
#7. Can’t Use Direct Affiliate Links in Emails
Sending direct affiliate links in your email newsletter is against the program policies. Only do it you want to get banned.
Basically, Amazon doesn’t encourage promoting direct affiliate links through an offline medium like Email, Ebooks or PDFs.
If you make money from email marketing or want to here’s a quick workaround to promote your affiliate products and still not get banned.
Always send your website blog/article links while emailing your subscribers and in the post, you can add your affiliate links. This way, you wouldn’t send any direct traffic to Amazon from an email service provider but your website.
#8. Can’t Use Direct Affiliate Links in Ebooks and PDFs
While ebooks and PDFs can also be accessed offline similar to an email, it’s not allowed to directly promote your affiliate links there as well.
Well, there’s no clear statement mentioned in the Operating Agreements about the ebooks. However, it’s mentioned indirectly. Read below.
“In any printed material, mailing, SMS, MMS, email or attachment to email, or other document, or any oral solicitation.”
So, only use direct affiliate links in ebooks and PDFs if you want to get banned. The solution to this problem is you can use your blog post links in the PDFs or ebooks.
#9. Can’t Post Direct Star Ratings
If you’re using plugins like Thrive Architect to manually add user star ratings, you’re at risk.
“You will not display or otherwise use any of our customer reviews or star ratings, in part or in whole.”
Let’s say you checked the star ratings of the product today which is 4.0/5 and posted it manually on your blog. The very next day some users downvoted it, and the ratings went from 4.0 to 3.7/5.
If you see this closely, you are misleading the user because both the data points don’t match. Amazon is highly aggressive in banning accounts which misleads their users.
If you anyway want to show the star ratings to your users, then you can show it by using plugins like AAWP or Content Egg. These plugins will automatically fetch the latest data from the store and update it on your website thus giving you relief from getting banned.
#10. No Direct Price Listing
Similar to star ratings you cannot use direct pricing on your blog. To make it more clear here’s a quick example:
If you add the price manually in tables or the product descriptions and for any reason, the prices of the products go up the very next day you are under problem.
To solve this problem, you have two ways:
Use plugins like AAWP or Content Egg to dynamically update the pricing of the products in every hour or two.
You can use $$$ to give a gist of the product pricing to your users. Check the image below for better understanding.
This way you’re not misleading the users and thus giving them precise information about the product.
#11. Not Allowed To Post Affiliate Links on Forums
For all the Reddit and Quora fans who are planning to get massive traffic to their affiliate links from this established networks, you won’t last long in the business because Amazon will kick you out as soon as they catch you.
The moment you start sharing direct affiliate links on forums Amazon can track the traffic source and know which tracking ID it is coming from.
The only way you can generate traffic from forum websites is by answering peoples queries and strategically linking back to articles on your website.
#12. Site Should Be Publicly Available
The website/blog where you’re publishing content and promoting your affiliate links should be entirely visible to Amazon.
If you’re trying to promote several products to your audience via a membership site or while selling courses, Amazon will anyway know it and ban you from the network.
#13. Stop Using Amazon’s Trademark
This is the reason why my account got banned from Amazon. I was promoting several products on Twitter. My Twitter handle name was “Best Prime Deals 2018.”
Now “Amazon.com”, “Prime”, “Kindle”, “Echo” and many other companies are owned and run by Amazon wherein we as an affiliate don’t have the rights to use any of these trademarks directly on our website.
My account was reinstated you can say I was lucky but you guys don’t make the same mistake which I did.
Pro Tip: While using button’s text always write “Check price on Amazon.” Never write “Check price on Amazon.com” because you’re doing a trademark violation here.
#14. No Use of Affiliate Links in Popup
This is kind of weird, but it’s still a rule you need to strictly follow if you want to promote Amazon products.
When someone is leaving the page without buying anything from you, popups are a great way to give them a certain percent discount on that product. It’s a decent marketing strategy, but anyhow Amazon doesn’t like it.
To be honest, there’s no solution or workaround that you can apply for this. If you’re using a popup where you’re promoting any products with your affiliate links, today is the right time to remove it ASAP.
#15. Offering Any Type of Rebate
Being a marketer, we always try to increase the sales from every visitor that visits our website. Once such way of increasing sales is offering some type of rebate or incentive to your visitors.
While this works great for Clickbank and other affiliate networks, it doesn’t really work on Amazon whatsoever.
“You will not offer any person or entity any consideration or incentive (including any money, rebate, discount, points, donation to charity or other organization, or other benefit)”
#16. Operating More than One Associate Account
Amazon allows only one Associates account under your name. You cannot create multiple accounts and spam the network as you can do in Google Adsense.
The only way you can create a second account under your name is by registering a new company.
There are certain exceptions with this, but it all depends on the size of your business and how much revenue are you giving to Amazon. I’d highly recommend you to contact their support team to get more insights into it.
If you have multiple Amazon sites, well, you can create multiple tracking IDs (100 to be exact) under one account. You can use a new tracking ID every time you start a new site. This way you’ll be able to track all the sales that are coming from that particular website.
Moreover, you can also check ID wise summary reports.
All Tracking IDs Report:
Single Tracking ID Report:
#17. Do not Copy/Paste User Reviews
Writing a review based on reading users point of view is a great way to direct your review website. However, if you’re copying user reviews from Amazon and pasting it on your website, you’ll have to face the copy content violation.
You are also not allowed to use any user’s name on your website directly. This goes hand in hand with point number #9 & #10.
If you’ve hired a freelance writer make sure you give them the right information on how to craft the content. Otherwise, they’ll make the mistake, and you’ll have to pay the bill.
#18. No Social Media Promotion with Less than 500 Followers
This is a new rule that has been introduced recently. Previously, you were able to promote products on Twitter, Youtube and Facebook with less than 500 followers.
There’s a minimum requirement of 500 followers on any of the social media platform that you’d like to promote your links.
However, this is not the case with Pinterest. With Pinterest, you can directly promote your affiliate links without having a single follower. (I don’t know why have they allowed Pinterest. Anyway it’s better to have something than nothing).
I have seen so many Twitter accounts having less than 10 followers in total and still promoting affiliate links. Chances are they might not be aware of this update yet and soon going to be banned from the network.
#19. Auto-Tag Your Visitors
This is an advanced strategy to skyrocket your Amazon income.
By default when someone clicks on your Affiliate links, a cookie is stored for 24 hrs. This gives you the ability to earn affiliate commissions if the users buy anything in those 24 hrs.
However, some notorious affiliate marketers make use of the Auto-Tag sessions with the help of iFrames with which they increase the link clicks and eventually their earnings.
Don’t try to practice any such activity with your Amazon account if you want to be an Amazon affiliate for the rest of your life.
#20. Paid Search Placement is Prohibited
Throwing some money and getting quick affiliate sales is an easy way out. On the contrary, Amazon prohibits anyone who is bidding on certain keywords and directly posting their affiliate links to generate sales.
“Prohibited Paid Search Placement” means an advertisement that you purchased through bidding on keywords, search terms, or other identifiers.”
The solution to this problem is, you promote articles via paid ads instead of direct affiliate links post your article links while promoting.
All and all be alert while promoting products via paid advertisements.
Look, Amazon is a great way to monetize your niche site. Also, if you compare it with Best Buy, Target and Walmart – Amazon gives you the highest commission among all.
No doubt they have very strict policies, but I don’t think you’ll violate any of those after reading through this article.
I have covered almost all the important policies. Besides that, if you find any of those that I missed out to cover in this article feel free to leave a comment down below and let me know.
Also, if you could share this article with one person whom you think would benefit from reading it that would be great.
Let me know in the comments down below what new topic you’d like me to touch upon on Bloggerscloud. 🙂
Thanks for reading, you’re awesome!