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9 Reasons Why I AM An Amazon Affiliate

John Chow today posted a post outlining why he’s not an Amazon Affiliate. It’s a good post in that it gives an insight into his approach to affiliate marketing. The best point John alludes to is that Amazon doesn’t ‘fit’ with his blog. He makes more from other better targeted affiliate programs than Amazon.

However the Amazon Associates Program is well worth considering for some bloggers. I use it and this month it’ll earn me over $2500 USD – not my biggest income stream, but not the ‘pennies and dimes’ that some say it has the potential to earn.

To bring a little balance to the debate over the Amazon Affiliate program I thought I’d give a few reasons that I am an Amazon Affiliate:

1. Amazon is a trusted Brand – I surveyed some of my readers a year back and asked them to give me a list of online stores that they had made purchases from in the last 12 months. Amazon came up number 1 as the most popular shopping destination mentioned. Readers know Amazon and are familiar with it – they trust it and do spend significant money there.

2. Commissions – John writes that he’s not satisfied with a 4% commission. He’s right in some ways, 4% isn’t that much when you’re selling a $10 book – however when you’re selling a Get a Price on the $5000 Camera or a $25,000 Tractor (I know someone who does quite well out of ride on mowers and tractors) it certainly adds up. Not only that, the 4% rate that John talks about is the base rate. Unfortunately it is as high as it goes on consumer electronics – however on most other products there is a sliding scale where the more you sell the higher your commission goes to. Sell more than 6 items in a month and your commission goes to 6% – sell over 630 and you’re up to 8% (the rate I’m on). The 4-Hour work Week that John uses as an example earned me around $1 a book. Still not a lot – but I did sell 100 or so of them (after my interview with it’s author) which not only earned me $100 but also helped push the numbers of sales up for the month, moving me into the next earning bracket.

Us Q107 Pricingtiers Unbox

3. People Buy More than One Item – the great thing about Amazon is that you don’t just earn a commission on the product that you people to, but anything that they buy once they’re at Amazon. I did an experiment earlier in the year where I published a review of a digital photography book on my blog and placed a tracking code in the link to see how much the review earned me specifically. What I found was that the product in the review did quite well – but the sales of other products that people made once they got to Amazon was actually much greater than the sales of the actual book. People went on to buy all manner of products (other books, electronics, cosmetics etc) – I earned a commission on each one of them – now that’s passive income. You earn a commission on anything that a person buys within 24 hours of you sending them to Amazon.

4. Easily Integrated – There are more and more plugins and tools that have Amazon Affiliate integration built into them to help you easily place links in your blog posts. I use ecto for Mac which has a tool that searches for products and links them in in just a couple of clicks. WP has plugins also. The affiliate links already mentioned in this post took seconds to integrate in.

5. Payment Options – Amazon pays their affiliates in a number of ways. One of the things that I like is that they give you the option to be paid in products instead of cash. I don’t do this every month (I couldn’t spend that $20,000+ a year at Amazon… well maybe I could) but occasionally do and use it as prizes for blog readers. I recently offered DPS readers $500 of Amazon products in a forum signup competition. The prize is paid for out of my affiliate earnings.

6. Small Payments Add Up – In my early days of making money from blogs I didn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing my income streams as much as I (and other full time bloggers) now do. I needed to earn money somewhere and even the small amounts that Amazon brought in were better than nothing. Over time these payments began to add up. In the early days I didn’t even earn enough for a minimum payment amount and had to wait a few months before they’d pay me – but those pay outs were milestones that I celebrated. If I’d not gone with Amazon because they didn’t earn me a lot I might not have gone with any ad networks or affiliate programs – sometimes you have to take what you can get.

7. It’s an Investment that Matures Over Time – My approach with Amazon is to treat it a little like a savings account or an investment that you put a little into each week and which matures in it’s earnings over time. What do I mean by this? I add links to Amazon over time and find that in doing so I’m creating more and more doorways into the Amazon store. Each time I do I increase the chances of sending someone to Amazon and seeing returns on those visits.

8. The Holidays are Boom Time – While I’m really happy with the way my Amazon Affiliate income is growing ($2500 a month is so far beyond what I’d ever expected from it in the early days) it’s worth noting that things really fire up in the lead up to Christmas and the holiday season. Over the last few years I’ve noticed significant jumps in Amazon earnings in December (as much as 100%). The key is to plan ahead (make sure your links are all up to date a couple of months out) and run a few Christmas specific posts in the lead up to the Holiday rush (start to prepare as early as October/November).

9. Wide Array of Products
What initially attracted me to using Amazon’s Affiliate program was the breadth of products that they had in their system. This is a great thing if you’re niche is narrow or quite obscure as many bloggers find it difficult to find affiliate programs to match their blog’s focus. Blogs like John’s and mine here at ProBlogger do have an array of options for affiliate programs (which is why I don’t use it a lot on this blog and make most of my earnings from Amazon from product related blogs) but many bloggers don’t have the luxury of being able to choose high paying affiliate programs because they simply don’t relate to our topics. Amazon then becomes one of the more attractive options.

So is the Amazon Affiliate Program for you?

I can’t answer that question for everyone – I won’t pretend that it works brilliantly on every blog but I know quite a few bloggers making significant earnings each month from the program. Blogs with a strong product focus can do quite well through the program if links to Amazon are well integrated into posts (see some of the links below for tips). I would advise moderation in using the program – don’t place them in every post you write unless they are relevant. Links placed in genuinely helpful reviews do better than links and banners in sidebars.

The best way to see if it converts is to give it a go.

How to Make Money from Amazon Affiliate Program

I’ve written numerous tips on how to optimize a blog for earning money from the Amazon Associates Program. I hope that some of these posts help you increase your earnings from the program:

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the advice, sounds like amazon offers a pretty good affiliate program i might consider them in the future.

  2. Great article! Amazon has come along way, and so has technology.

  3. Home Worker says:

    I really appreciate the information on this post.
    I am seriously contemplating to include Amazon in my affiliate programs, and your perspective helps.

    Thank you very much.

  4. Maddie says:

    Great post, I just signed up with Amazon and I believe there is potential, I just hope I can utilize all the tools for positive results. Here’s to a successful 2009!

  5. Jessica says:

    I have an amazon account but never used it. I will consider using it based on your article.
    http://www.kemarie.com

  6. Jane says:

    I am not pleased with the 4% comissions.

  7. Carmen says:

    I signed up for an account at Amazon and you need to sell alot to make money. When your dealing with multiple streams of income everything counts.

  8. J Smith says:

    I have never really thought about Amazon, partly because of the low commission. But I guess it does not hurt to have it up.

  9. kristin says:

    Are you abel to choose one specific product, something that you’re reviewing, and put a link that would give you commission directly to the product?

  10. Hi Darren,

    What a good article you wrote here. My blog also focus on affiliate Amazon for newbie, so it use a local language.

    Thanks, this inspiring me to write on my blog.

    Viet

  11. Thank you for your review of the Amazon Associates program. We appreciate you sharing your opinion and doing the research needed to fairly evaluate Amazon Associates. We have seen fit to link to this article in our independent Amazon Associates reviews section. Anyhow, Keep up the good work spreading truth.

  12. Hi! Just wanted to let you know how helpful your site has been for me as a new blogger. Thank you!

  13. Jeremiah says:

    Great article! Thank you very much for the layout and the additional resources at the end of the article. I run an amazon affiliate site that focuses on xbox 360′s and other video games, but after reading your article, I think I will add a blog to my list of affiliate sites. Thanks again.

  14. Thank you for the article. I am in the process of integrating the amazon store within my site.

  15. Cheap Ipods says:

    I will be using amazon as it does not hurt or cost me anything but time to put up the links.

  16. The 4% and 24hr cookie are not that great but it I agree that it doesn’t hurt or cost anything to post the links. Commissions add up over time.

  17. Rana Sinha says:

    Thanks for the article with good points. I’m in the process of adding something else to Google Ad-Sense on my blog. http://originalwavelength.blogspot.com/

  18. kunal says:

    Hi, Thanks for the great post. I have 2 questions:
    1) I use wordpress. Can you recommend a plugin that makes adding amazon affiliate links easier?

    2) How do you track amazon affiliate sales and activity?

    Thanks,
    Kunal

  19. Hwa says:

    Thank you for your service. I think your humble tone of voice seems to attract many people to your site.

  20. Great post! One way I always think about it too, is if any website on the internet knows about conversion it’s Amazon with their huge amount of data they have.

    4% commission is kinda low but considering if you can get triple the conversion rate from Amazon instead of anywhere else then it’s well worth it and you will make more money in the end.

    You also gotta love their product recommendations as well. I don’t know how many times that I’ve been shopping and ended up buying more than I wanted just because of those.

  21. Toys says:

    I have all but quit using Amazon. I have heard nothing but negative most places and I have had no luck with them. After reading your post, I guess it is possible to still make money. I am planning to try it again and tweak the way I do it. Thanks for the information!

  22. Anna says:

    Amazon has been my second-best earner after Adsense. I am still in the start-up stages of IM in general but I do get a check from Amazon every month. I agree fully with the reasons you give and I have found that the small commissions is far outweighed by the points you list above. I make far more with Amazon than I do with any other affiliate program though they might have higher commissions.

    This is partly because my main site is very product related – to physical products. I also attribute the success of this program mainly to these points which you brought up above: #3, #4, #9, and a little bit of #1.

  23. There’re too many affiliate programs available to anyone who are looking for such money making opportunities.You may overwhelm by too many choices and need time to study which program to join ! However,with those useful pointers from Darren as an affiliate marketer for Amazon will help you to decide whether you should consider Amazon as one of your best choice !

  24. I have not tried it yet but I am planning to :)

  25. I’ve been using an amazon plug in for ages with no real success. Given the use of a 24hr cookie I think there are better ways to monetize a site.

  26. Amazon-20 says:

    I’ve been an Amazon affiliate for many years. At first it was great but now Amazon treats affiliates more like competitors than a feeder of business. Amazon’s performance after a transaction is “handed off” to them is horrible. In any given month they “loose” from 60% to 80% of my customers’ orders at check out. These are not conversion rates on a link but actual orders at check out.

    To make matters worse. Amazon does not share information. Amazon takes people from MY website but leave me “holding the bag” when there are problems. Who do customers contact with their complaints? Me! All I can do is suggest they contact Amazon and my reputation, not Amazon’s is hurt.

    Another reason not to become an Amazon affiliate is their new policy on advertising. As of May 2009, Amazon will not pay ANY commission to affiliates who use search advertising. Yes, you heard me right. They will pay no commissions to any site that even indirectly markets anything that Amazon sells.

    If I knew then what I know now, I would have invested my time and money somewhere else.

  27. Shalini says:

    Darren, I a new to your site, and am thoroughly impressed. You provide excellent and thorough information. I am going to check out Amazon, but would guess that they are screening applicants these days. Thanks for an interesting post. Many people could make ends meet with $2500 each month.

  28. it seesm you are making good money. Some other posts are really negative and i was put off and thought about ebay affiliates. Ill give it a go..

    many thanks.

  29. Nice article!! Amazon is really great place to get start your affiliate marketing. You can earn a good amount.

  30. You have convinenced me to sign up for the program. You really do not have much to lose.

  31. Amanzon is big company, and trusted brand. So people like to buy there. thanks.

  32. Jim says:

    Hey,

    Great post, I promote products on my site as an Amazon
    affiliate and I’m really disappoint by them, the decision to
    stop affiliates from using PPC, low commission rates, the
    24 hour cookies… on and on.

    But the Amazon name is so powerful it’s hard to pass up, mainly because I don’t’ have a specific product to sell. The money I make as an affiliate is negligible.

    But lets not forget, when I started building this site I was making nada, but this has changed, now the income I
    generate, is increasing little by little. I’m in a highly
    competitive market, and I must have been crazy to even
    attempt to build a site in this massive market.

    To make any money with the big A I think the key is massive
    traffic to your site and build it over time, this is what I’m trying to do, my site is mostly content driven, and I’m in this for the long haul.

    I write or buy articles via elance, have them rewritten and add to them, I use joomla CMS which is very powerful compared to the MS front page editor I have used in the past.

    If I stay with amazon, and continue to build this site will I be
    successful, that’s the burning question? I don’t have the
    answer. Who in the world wants to spend all this time on a
    site without any substantial return.

    Staying focused is something I had to learn, I will continue to
    build, test, change, and stick with them because I know the action I take will produce the results I’m searching for.

    Good Luck Folks, no make your own luck. Stay focused, and try not to get frustrated.

    Cheers,
    Jim Novak

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