5 Myths About The Amazon Affiliate Program
Internet marketing is one of those industries that’s riddled with myths. It’s inherent. The nature of the business.
You’ve got a mixture of people who are either trying to sell you something, trying to become an authority, or simply trying to help!
You’ve also got an increasing amount of people active in Facebook groups and the like, and that results in information being thrown about left, right, and centre. There’s no way that all of it can be true.
As such, various myths have come up about a lot of different aspects of Internet Marketing. A lot of them surround Amazon and its affiliate program.
I’ve been guilty of believing in a lot of these, but I’m experienced enough to know how to find the truth and dig out the worthwhile facts from the useless. Others, the beginners amongst us, aren’t so lucky.
As such, I put together this post detailing some of the myths I’ve found surrounding the Amazon associate program. Hopefully it will clear things up for you, and could even sway you towards your first Amazon commission. Or maybe even your ninth. It depends how many you’ve already had.
Myth 1: The 24 Hour Cookie Is Bullshit
I’m sorry, but it’s really not. Amazon is such a big company that expecting to have more than a 24 hour period where you can claim to have created the sale is ridiculous. I sometimes shop at Amazon 4 or 5 times per month, and if you think the first website I visited was responsible for the other 4 visits, you’re mistaken.
Amazon only wants to pay you for a sale you referred (makes sense right?), and while 24 hours isn’t exactly a long time, I can’t help but feel that if a customer didn’t buy within this period, you probably didn’t do a good enough job selling them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are times that I’ve sold a customer on something and they’ve not completed the purchase until later. That said, there are also plenty of times I’ve referred someone to Amazon and they’ve bought 10 unrelated items that I earned a commission for without promoting. Christmas time is a great example of this.
Myth 2: The 4% Commission is Bullshit
Ok, first of all, if you can sell 31 items in a month (that’s 1 per day people), you get 6.5%. So let’s forget about 4.
Second of all, you have to think about the big picture when it comes to Amazon. These dudes are the biggest online retailer in the world. You’re getting so much value out of promoting them.
9 times out of 10, you get the sale simply by sending them visitors and letting them do the work. Remember what I said in the point above about getting paid for stuff you didn’t promote? You’re welcome.
Third of all, you have to realize how they work.
I would say that at least 50% of products sold on Amazon are either Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA), or Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM). This means that a third-party is responsible for the product and Amazon is taking a relatively small cut (about 10%).
Certainly, when I look at the best sellers for each category or subcategory, in most cases 3 of the top 5 are FBA or FBM. Do you know what Amazon’s take is for those products? It’s not a high amount, and they still give you a percentage of that.
Amazon has a profit-margin to look after too, so bear that in mind.
Myth 3: The 90 Day Cookie
This one actually IS bullshit. There’s no such thing as the 90-day cookie.
Here’s how people think the 90-day cookie works:
You get a 90-day cookie by using a special link, or by getting the customer to add a product to their cart.
Here’s the reality:
If someone adds a product to their cart, from ANY link, you get an extra 89 days for them to check it out and still earn you a commission.
When someone goes to Amazon via your normal 24-hour cookie link and adds a product (ANY product) to their cart within that 24 hour period, you can still get paid if they buy it at some point in the next 89 days.
However, any other products they buy don’t earn you a commission. Once that 24 hour period is up, anything that wasn’t added to the cart isn’t yours. See how different that is from a cookie?
The good thing though, is that even if they click through to Amazon later from another affiliate’s link, you still get the credit for those products added to cart via your link.
The interesting thing is that many products or bloggers will tell you that the only way to get a 90 day cookie (which doesn’t exist remember) is to add a product to cart, and the only way to add a product to cart is by using the special API they provide.
You can create an “add to cart” link simply by using some basic code. I’ve made an example link here.
The thing is, I really doubt these add to cart links have a higher conversion rate than linking someone directly to a product page instead.
What would you rather do when browsing for a product? Be linked to the product’s page so you could view reviews, features, pricing etc, or be linked to this?
Get over the 90-day cookie thing, just eat 90 cookies instead.
Myth 4: Google Hates Amazon Affiliate Sites
Google likes good sites, it hates bad sites. Where did the lines get blurred?
Many people build bad Amazon sites, I’ll give you that. Amazon sites are great for beginners, and the result is that you will find a lot of sites that seem to forget the basic premise of affiliate marketing (help people).
On top of that, there are a lot of “e-commerce” Amazon sites out there that will redirect a buyer to Amazon when they try to use the checkout button. Sites like this are often void of any unique content, preferring to scrape product listings and utilize thin pages.
Google really doesn’t have much issue with affiliate links. It has an issue with sites or pages that are heavily laden with links sure, but the issue isn’t’ the links themselves, it’s the fact that it knows a site full of links probably doesn’t offer much value.
Here’s an example for you. Google the search term: ‘How To Start A Podcast’ (or click this link you lazy bugger).
You’ll see that one of the first results is Pat Flynn’s smartpassiveincome.com. The post is absolutely full of affiliate links, many of which point to Amazon.
It ranks though right? Because it’s a damn good post offering tons of value.
You can also Google the following: ‘Best Straight Razor’ (Ok..here’s the link).
You’ll see one of the results is Luxuryshaves.com, a site I used to own before selling it. That post also has a whole bunch of affiliate links (all Amazon), and yet it ranks 3rd in Google (at the time of writing this post).
What Google (and Amazon for that matter) hates, is low quality sites that are literally just rehashed, spun, or duplicate product reviews that don’t offer anything new to the reader.
Remember Google’s mandate; to provide users with the best search queries. They don’t really care if those queries have affiliate links.
Myth 5: Amazon Sites Are Hard To Get Links For
A lot of people maintain that the only way to rank Amazon sites is to use PBN’s. While PBN’s are certainly an easy way to get links, it’s very much possible to go white-hat with Amazon sites. Just add content that brings value as well.
The way to gain links and rankings in the white-hat way is to have content people would want to link to. It’s also the best way to get sales too. Coincidence? Maybe, but it’s also a good opportunity.
70% of customers now spend their time educating themselves rather than talking to salespeople. 70%!
How do you think those customers educate themselves? They use Google to find blogs like yours with “How To” guides and more.
If you can add content that answers people’s questions and solves their problems, then you can get links. If you can also add ego-bait and roundup posts, then you can also get links.
If you can get links, you can rank. Why does it need to be different when Amazon is involved?
Sure, you might not get many links to your “Best infrared torch” page, but you can still boost your site’s overall authority, which will pass through to your money pages.
Amazon isn’t for everyone, but I have some serious gripe with a lot of the common complaints about it. It’s hands-down the easiest affiliate program in the world to get commissions from, and has such an abundance of products, that you could research niches until the cows come home and still not have scratched the surface.
It’s great for beginners, but for those who know how to rank sites with ease, it’s a no-brainer.
I hope this post has given you some more insights into Amazon, and the light-hearted tone didn’t come off too much as a rant. I love Amazon’s affiliate program, and I’m sure you will too.