Are you thinking of using the amazon affiliate program to start making money for yourself? Have you seen the rave reviews and videos online that talk about the program and make you want to try it out?
Of course, you will have your questions and doubts about whether this program is actually legit and if you are able to make money even if you start now, late in the game. And I have to commend you for making it here to a review where you can learn more. Many people tend to listen to these videos and articles about how great the amazon affiliate program is and they want to start right away.
They do that without taking into account all the problems they could face, all the costs they are going to have to incur, as well as the risks they will need to mitigate before they start on their affiliate journey. I have seen and heard of people who have spent money to start on a program like this only to lose out on all of it plus their profits because they didn’t know how to sustain it for the long-term.
In this article, I will go over everything there is to know about the amazon affiliate program and whether you should join it or not. Read on to know more about what you are getting into and don’t lose your money by spending on it without first understanding the program and how to create a sustainable business out of it.
Is it worth spending your time on this program?
First of all, let’s begin with this. In my opinion, I think that this program is not worth spending time on at all and you would be better off doing other jobs that can bring you more money.
Amazon has a tendency to keep changing its commission rates and it has been going lower and lower ever since they started. Trying to rely on Amazon for your only income is very risky and not something that I would recommend to everybody. Let’s explore why.
Why you shouldn’t join the Amazon affiliate program
1. Unstable commissions and short user lifespan
From the time that they started, Amazon already had a pretty low commission rate that ranged between 0 – 10% depending on the type of product (gift cards got 0% commissions). Now, this can be understandable because all the products that are sold via Amazon are going to be physical goods that already have a small margin, to begin with. Unlike other affiliate programs where you are able to promote digital products with way higher margins, here you will have to deal with the fact that these small margins have to be shared between Amazon, the seller, and you.
When you also take into account the fact that Amazon tends to keep their prices as competitively low as possible in order to capture most of the markets they’re in, you are looking at really small commissions.
A cookie is what enables an affiliate to keep their promoted customer under their own affiliate name so that if the customer were to purchase from the store some time in the future, the affiliate would still get the commission. This duration differs between affiliate programs and some can even go on for months. However, for Amazon, the duration is only a short 24 hour period. This can severely reduce your earning potential as not everyone will be willing or able to purchase the product at once, but may come back to it at a later date.
2. Constant changes to their commission rates
Since the time they began, Amazon has been notorious for the way they cut back on commission rates. There were even times where this rate was cut in half, and from there it would only tend to go lower.
The worst part of it is that Amazon doesn’t seem to mind continuously doing it. They will send out an email blast to all their affiliates claiming that they will be making a small change to the commission structure, only to end up causing havoc by reducing their rates by at least half. This was more evident during the recent pandemic, where Amazon again cut the rates by more than half during a time when people were struggling to make ends meet.
Here are a few examples – Groceries were cut down from a 5% rate to 1%! And Furniture items were cut from 8% to 3%. Think about how much this would affect your commission rates. You would have to sell more than twice the number of products you are selling now to earn the same amount you were earning before the change.
Unsurprisingly, this has caused massive outrage among the Amazon affiliates and a lot of them have decided to stop promoting Amazon products. If you think about it, there was almost no reason as to why Amazon would cut back on the commission rates during the pandemic, especially because we all saw that e-commerce and online stores faced a big boom in activity and sales during this time.
3. They may stop their affiliate program in the future
Based on these constant changes to the commission rates and other factors, affiliates are starting to notice that Amazon may be slowly trying to phase away from the affiliate program. This would explain such drastic cuts to commission rates, as they want their affiliates to leave them voluntarily. As such, if you were to join now, who knows for long this program will stay viable and active in the future.
4. Amazon websites don’t have much of a future on Google
When you start out on your Amazon affiliate journey, you will need some training and a place to learn everything about how to be successful. Therefore, you will join a training program or take advice from certain articles and websites. Most of these websites tend to give you the fastest and easiest methods to get started, without actually looking into the sustainability factor of the business.
Therefore, when you start to create your website for your business, you will create a website that is solely built around promoting Amazon products and nothing else. Now this will cause problems for the following reasons:
If your whole site is built around Amazon and only selling Amazon products, then you will run the risk of losing everything and making your website obsolete if Amazon were to shut down the affiliate program.
When you are building the site, you only have one goal in mind, make the offer on the page look as good as possible. Therefore, you would focus more on offers, pop-ups, cart recoveries, and so on. However, you will most likely forget or not know to focus on creating relevant and useful content for the website which Google loves. They will always give more priority to these kinds of websites rather than those with just products and offers. On top of that, Google is always putting out updates that change the way SEO works. So, if they were to add a new update that takes away all focus from sites like Amazon websites, then you are going to lose all your hard work.
5. You will be missing out on other affiliate programs that are better
Since the time that amazon came out, there have been multiple other programs that are doing much better and are treating their affiliates more fairly. One of the main reasons why Amazon is so talked about and popular online is because it has been around for a long time. Back then, Google’s algorithm was different and it was easy to just build a store around your Amazon products and then be able to direct loads of traffic to your page.
Now, there are many programs that offer much higher commission rates than Amazon, with even the smaller ones offering over 15%. If you were to go into the digital products section, you can even find products that offer over 50% of their price as commission for you. Since digital products are so easy to accommodate (instant download, no need to check items, etc), it becomes easier to even create a monthly subscription around these products where a customer will purchase your affiliate product every month, and that becomes free revenue for you every month from each customer.
Can the program still be worth it in some cases?
If you think about it, sure, there may be some scenarios where you can use the Amazon affiliate program to your advantage. Of course, me saying this does not mean that I endorse this program. I still wouldn’t recommend it to anyone as it is a risky gamble that you are taking. However, if you are looking to add this to your current affiliate marketing business or you are just looking at a little extra income, then there may be times where this can be useful to you.
Below I will highlight a few scenarios where it might work for you:
- There are unique products in every niche that are not so easy to find. If you have a product like that in your niche, and you can’t find it anywhere else but on Amazon, you can then use your Amazon affiliate link to send your visitors to the Amazon page.
- As you know, worldwide shipping is not something that every business does. Therefore, if you have a lot of customers from certain parts of the world that your normal affiliate business is not able to deliver to, you can find a similar product on Amazon and get it delivered through them because Amazon ships to nearly every country in the world.
- There are certain items that would require additional purchases or you know that people would buy together. For example, if you were to promote air humidifiers, people may also want to buy essential oils with the same purchase. In this case, it would be better to use Amazon because they will allow you to make a commission on ALL the products the customer purchases within their 24 hour period.
What can you use instead of Amazon?
As I mentioned, there are many affiliate programs around that offer better opportunities than Amazon. Here are a few of them that you may want to look into:
1. Product-based affiliate programs
If you have a product in mind that you want to promote that you found on Amazon, then there is a possibility that the brand of that product already has an affiliate program running of their own. To find this you will only need to do a Google search to find the program.
If you have a brand in mind – Google “Brand name + affiliate program”
If you don’t mind the brand – Google “Product name + affiliate program”
You are bound to find some other affiliate programs that will offer you way better rates than on Amazon.
2. Big-name affiliate programs
Just like Amazon, other retailers also have their own affiliate programs such as eBay and Target. These might be a good option for you to look into as they don’t have as many problems as Amazon and have a more consistent commission structure.
You can think of this website as an affiliate marketing hub. A lot of companies that offer affiliate programs will list their programs on this platform. There are many different industries for you to choose from, and you can select which one works best for your brand and niche.
Commission Junction is another affiliate marketing hub similar to ShareASale. The main difference here is that rather than only focusing on physical products, Commission Junction also allows its marketers to promote digital goods and software such as website builders and hosting services.
At this point, so many people have heard about Clickbank. They have been around for a long time and have survived for so long because they are able to provide their affiliates with good opportunities and commissions.
You will mostly only find digital products to promote on this platform. You will need to sift through a lot of their offers though because some of them are quite old and may not be relevant in current times. However, they do upload a ton of new offers every day, so you will be able to find something good that you would want to promote in your niche.
The best part about Clickbank is that certain vendors are likely to go as high as offering a 75% commission rate for some of their digital products. Clickbank’s cookie duration is also high at 2 months, which means that your potential for earning is very high when compared to Amazon.
If you want to build a sustainable business, then Amazon is not for you. There are too many problems with the whole process. As a new affiliate marketer, you need to know more about running an affiliate business, find winning products to promote and learn how to make it sustainable.
The platform that I used myself and which has gotten me to where I am now is Wealthy Affiliate. You will find everything you need to start an affiliate business, web hosting for your website, as well as a friendly community ready to answer any of your questions. Give Wealthy Affiliate a try, as it has the potential to change your life like it did mine.