10 Ways To Get Your Amazon Affiliate Account Banned
Many new affiliate marketers join Amazon Associates (Amazon’s affiliate program) to monetise their website as soon as they have a website (including myself). However, if you are not careful and you fail to comply with Amazon’s rules for publishers, you can easily find yourself kicked out of Amazon Associates.
If you are building your first amazon affiliate website, there are 10 common mistakes most new affiliates make. Avoid these, and you won’t be banned from Amazon’s affiliate program.
The Number 1 Reason New Affiliates Get Kicked Out
You can get kicked out of Amazon for various reasons. It can be the way you write a product review that gets you kicked out, it can be the way you promote your affiliate links, or it can be the lack of sales. In this post I have a look at the most common reasons for getting banned from Amazon Associates and tell you which affiliate programs you can join instead, from Day 1 of your website.
1. Three Qualifying Sales within 180 days
This is probably the most common reason, and many new affiliate marketers struggle to make three qualifying sales within the first 6 months.
Especially in the early days of your career as an affiliate marketer, your biggest issue probably is the little traffic coming to your website. Yet, you can’t wait to make money online, get that first sale. So you add affiliate links (probably as many as you can), hoping that someone would accidentally click on one of them. But it does not seem to work…
Be Patient With Monetisation…
You haven’t really got the gist of keyword research yet, your content may not be as captivating as it should be, you might have not find your voice. That’s absolutely fine, and all you need to do is to keep writing those articles, keep researching keywords and your skills will improve every time you do it.
But it also means that your website won’t see much traffic in the early days. And that’s absolutely normal too. On average, it takes 35 weeks for a new post to reach 90% of it’s traffic potential. Meaning, that nothing will probably happen for the first 10 weeks after publishing a new post. After 8-10 weeks or so, traffic will increase week by week for the next 16-20 weeks.
In order to make three sales, you need around 200 clicks on your links per week – this number was very typical on my website where I first started promoting products from Amazon. Depending on the niche you’re in, it can be more or less than 200. My point is, you need around 70-100 visitors a day to get those 200ish clicks a week. It takes around 3-5 months to get there.
You may get a few sales here and there with less traffic, but if you don’t add the Amazon links until reaching this minimal amount of traffic, you don’t lose out on much money anyways. We are talking about a few dollars here.
Funnily, when I added the affiliate links to my first website, my first sale was a $240 product that earned me $13 in commission.
Key point: don’t rush adding your Amazon affiliate links. It has two benefits:
- You can still link to Amazon products, but you can link to other products as well, outside of Amazon. If your visitors see that you are not pushing Amazon products, they will more likely come back later for ‘an honest, unbiased review’.
- Google deems affiliate links as ads. If you stuff your blogposts with affiliate links early on, before Google starts trusting your site, Google may put you in the ‘spammy’ bracket. It means that it will drive much less traffic to you later on, so your progress will be much slower.
2. Using Your Own Links or Encourage Family / Friends to Click on Your Links
When your website still struggles to see decent traffic and the 180-day mark starts creeping closer and closer, you might start thinking about asking a few friends and members of the family to click on your links so that you can stay in the program.
Or you may attempt clicking on your own links from using a different account…
Well. Don’t. If you get caught by Amazon, you are out. The most frustrating thing about getting banned from Amazon Associates is that you need to replace all your links that you have added.
And you probably have created A LOT of content over 180 days, the number of posts you have published is likely to be closer to 100 than to 50.
Referring to the point I made just a few paragraphs above, don’t rush adding your affiliate links.
But there is another interesting caveat to this.
Although Facebook and Instagram don’t like affiliate links, you can see people posting direct affiliate links on FB and Insta. Oftentimes, you can see links to external pages that include affiliate links. Be careful.
If you post an affiliate link on your FB page, even if its just an external link to your website with the affiliate links, you promote your links to your ‘friends‘.
You don’t just risk being banned from Amazon Associates, but Facebook may shut you down too. Facebook does not like advertisers who don’t pay for advertising…
Writing a Product Review that Gets You Banned from Amazon
Even if you are getting good traffic, if you are not careful how you craft your posts, you can find yourself out in the blink of an eye.
3. Star Rating In Your Reviews
This a rather interesting one. Amazon says that you are not allowed to use star rating in your own reviews when you review a product, and you place an Amazon affiliate link in your product review.
That’s quite interesting…
If you did not know, a ‘star-rating’ for a product review is a major ranking factor for Google: product reviews with star rating rank better than the ones without. You probably have seen them on the search result page. Google recognises the star rating and displays it under the meta-description.
The reason behind this (I guess) that Amazon has its own star-rating system, based on customer feedback. If a product has 4.5 starts out of the 5, you review it and you only give it 2.5 out of the 5 then Houston, there’s a problem.
So you should just simply avoid using a star-rating and stick to the recommended/not recommended or pros/cons verdict in your product reviews.
4. Using Amazon Product Pictures
It may seem like an easy win to feature pictures in your review that you nicked from the Amazon product page.
But Amazon would like to stop you from duplicating the product page, so they don’t allow you to use the images off the product page.
I personally used Amazon product images quite a lot, and I never got banned because of this. So there may be a bit of a leeway here and you can get away with using the stock product photos.
I must add, that the products that I promote from Amazon – most of the time – can be found on other sites too, including the manufacturer’s own website. So Amazon cannot put copyright claim on those pictures and there’s no way they could prove that the pictures I used were from Amazon and not from somewhere else.
The best thing your can do though, is to take pictures of the product you review. This only works if you have a chance to review it in person, but those are the best pictures.
You would gain much more trust and engagement with your audience if there was the black&white truth of you having tried and used the product you had have written the review about.
5. Importing Customer Reviews from Amazon in Part or Full
Part of Amazon’s attempt to stop you from replicating the product page, you are also not allowed to quote full or part of the customer reviews.
So if you say that ‘Customer reviews on Amazon highlighted that this bicycle can only travel backwards’ is totally fine.
But you are not allowed to say that Claire87 from Yorkshire stated that she ‘struggled opening her favourite can of sausage and beans with this £42 tin opener’.
Various Ways of Promoting Your Links That Will Get You Banned
6. Posting Affiliate Links on a Site that You Don’t Own
I mentioned posting on Facebook and Instagram, but it is not just them. Amazon does not allow you to publish affiliate links on sites that you don’t own such as Forums and answer-sites.
If you think they would not notice, you are wrong. Wherever you publish your links, if someone clicks on them, Amazon would be able to locate the website easily.
The same way you can tell by looking at Google Search Console, who has links pointing to your site, Amazon can tell where those clicks come from. And they probably have a much more sophisticated system than what you can see on Search Console.
So, it does not even worth attempting to leave some sneaky comments with an affiliate link in your signature. As soon as someone clicks on it, sends the red flag to Amazon and your affiliate account is suspended right away. If you’re lucky.
What about Pinterest? It seems that Pinterest do allow affiliate links, however you should clearly indicate if you place an affiliate link on your pin by stating: ‘afflink:’ or put an asterisk behind the link.
7. Using Links on Membership Sites
The rules also say that the links you publish must be publicly available. It means that you must not publish links on membership sites, private forums etc. that are not available to the ‘general public’.
It could be really tempting to just simply recommend a product to Jeff8935 who is looking for the ‘best petrol chainsaw for home projects’, but you are not allowed to do that. You can, however, place your link pointing to your website.
‘Hey Jeff8935, I was looking for one too, and found a great one that cuts everything from wood to concrete. You can check out my review here at [your link to the post on your website]’
8. Using Links in Emails
Similar to the previous ones. Even if you had a 100k email list, and you could earn 10k by posting one tiny email recommending a product on Amazon, you are not allowed to do that.
What you can do instead is writing a detailed review or comparison, and making your email list aware of the new post. (which you’d do anyways)
9. Using Links in Pdf’s or Ebooks
Little known reason that could ban you from Amazon if you used affiliate links in pdf’s or ebooks. So if you have a great lead magnet, and its downloaded hundreds of times a months, you are not allowed to leverage that with placing Amazon affiliate links within the document.
The next best thing you can do is to direct your visitors towards a review page of the product or towards a ‘Recommended products’ page where you recommend products off Amazon. (I.e. ‘My favourite tools for any home project’ or ‘Must have tools for DIY fanatics’)
10. Shortened Links
Not surprisingly, Amazon wants people to see that they click on a link that takes them to the Amazon website. Actually, you want this too.
People tend to have less and less trust nowadays in links that are unclear about the destination. URL shorteners like bit.ly are a big no-no when using amazon affiliate links.
You don’t have to say goodbye to the tiny url addresses though: Amazon has its own URL shortener. I always use this shortener, because it tells my audience where they are going to be taken if they click the link (amzn.to) and the link looks tiny enough.
Don’t know about you, but I am a bit reluctant to click on links that are 3-4 lines long and I can’t even see where they end.
How Not to Get Banned From Amazon Associates? – Recap
Hopefully, you have a better picture now, how not to get kicked out of Amazon’s affiliate program.
Actually, if you do your best to write products reviews and make recommendations on the merit of the product rather then based on the commission, you can’t really go wrong.
Don’t do shortcuts, no dodgy spamming everywhere on the internet. Have a decent niche site, research and understand your audience and write your posts with their needs in your mind.
That’s the most effective way to ensure that those who read your post are those, who need the product. Even if you aren’t a trained copywriter, if you do this one thing right – ie. find your audience – a half-decent product review would be enough to make sales.
Be patient with monetisation. You don’t need to have your site littered with affiliate links from Day 1. If you are helpful and NOT earning money, it is totally okay. The few bucks you ‘lose out on’ can come back multiple times, if your article makes it to the first page of the search result even 1 week earlier.
What Affiliate Programs Can You Join Beside Amazon Affiliates?
My #1 recommendation for beginners is eBay’s affiliate program called eBay Partner Network.
It is free to join and the entry requirements are minimal. It doesn’t have a qualifying period, quite the opposite: in the first 3 months they double the commission you earn.
In my first 3 months with eBay Partner Network I earned £150 ($13 with Amazon), and it took quite a time to reach this level, after my commission reverted to normal again.
In hindsight, I wish I had waited a bit longer with joining ePN, so I could have leveraged the double commission better.
There are other beginner friendly affiliate programs out there that you can use alongside Amazon. I highlighted the very few that really worked for me (including Amazon) in this post, check it out if you think that you want to monetise your website as early as you can.
If you are ready to get the ball rolling (or you are already in the play but don’t know how to take it to the next level), have a look around Bootstrap Affiliate. I strongly recommend my post on how to get ranked on Google.
If you are committed to change your life, have a look at the training courses. These helped me a lot in fast-tracking the learning curve.
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