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9 Reasons Why I AM An Amazon Affiliate

Posted By Darren Rowse 29th of June 2007 Affiliate Programs 0 Comments

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.
Comments
  1. Yes, it really all comes to how your site “fits” with it. Since you have other blogs like your Digital Photography blog, being an affiliate for Amazon or Chitika is perfect. But with John’s blog, it doesn’t go anywhere with it at all.

  2. I didn’t realize how great the affiliate program with Amazon can work. I’m getting ready to launch a new site, and it looks like I better take a closer look. We’ll see if it “fits”, which I agree is the determining factor in success with such a site.

  3. this is a good feed back of john’s post

  4. I find it very strange that someone who charges his readers to have the no follow tags in their comments removed and who asks people to buy him a beer argues that Amazon doesn’t pay enough to justify using it. Lots of little payments add up to significant amounts. John is increasingly writing advice that I’m increasingly ignoring, not sure why but he seems to be going more and more off track with his posting.

  5. I think I like your point of view better than John’s, especially how you talk about it as a long time investment that builds over time. Seems like there is a lot of potential to this if one works at it and makes sure it is right for his/her blog. Thanks for the tips.

  6. Essentially I feel that you’re both right. It comes down to each blog having a different audience and JC chooses to promote products that help his specific audience as you do to.

  7. Agreed Kumiko – I think either approach can be well worth while depending upon the blogger, their topic, their style and the type of audience that they gather around them.

    Tim – I’m not sure this is really the place for analysis of John’s blogging style. John and I have quite different approaches to making from blogs and while I don’t always agree with some of his methods I do think his post shed some interesting light on his decision not to go with Amazon. I do appreciate you main point – that lots of little earnings can add up to something significant.

  8. I’m not an Amazon affiliate because i have a blog that’s most visited from people in Chile, a country where people is not used to buy online as the US or Europe… and it really doesn’t fit very well with my site.

    Good article though ;)

  9. Hi

    I also run Amazon affiliate programe, Just start about a couple weeks, and know what I just got one item shipped , that is one click order from total more than 100 clicks, but it’s starter ans tell me that finally i can sell a thing true internet. I think that’s my first step and I will read and learn more and more, especially from your posts. ^_^

    Thank you that you always share your information knowledge to us.

    Good luck for all reading this post.

  10. You are so right about holiday time. I earn practically nothing from January to November, but around christmas time, I have pulled in a few grand. Maybe I just got lucky :)

  11. Darren,

    Thank you for this post. This does shed a different side of Amazon Affiliate program. I belong to the affiliate program and after reading your article and tips, it will help me with better placement. It’s good to see that I’m not the only one having difficulty in the early stages of the affiliate program. Hopefully I can obtain the traffic that you have accomplished.

    thanks,
    http://www.40hourstogo.com

  12. I saw and posted on John’s blog earlier today (using Mike Panic in the comments), I agree, it makes NO sense for him to not try it and he’s trying to kill it for all the wrong reasons. In addition to what you’ve covered here, Amazon has joined with a TON of other well known, respected retailers to sell their products online. electronics through J&R, home goods through Target, the list goes on and on.

    They also offer a great Friday sale where a ton of stuff goes on sale way below list.

    Lastly, the best thing Amazon did recently was do away with the quarterly payments. Sure you could build up to a higher commission basis, but I like getting paid monthly, direct deposits to my bank account with no fee to boot!

  13. Thank you so much for this post.
    I have been (slightly) looking into the Amazon Affiliate Program – and not to much success.

    This post really helped me out and pointed me in some great directions.

    Thanks so much!

  14. A great article that presents the other side of the story, too.

    I think JC is much more interested in using the techzone he owns rather than going for Amazon.

  15. I appreciate you giving the other POV. I love reviewing books, and I plan to integrate Amazon into my site. It’s nice to know that a decent amount can be made. I know that every time I log-in to Amazon to buy a book, I spend about $100. I’m sure I’m not the only one (gotta get that free shipping!). Dunno about tractors though…;-) Perhaps I should start blogging about country living.

  16. Tim, agreed about John Chow, he seems to be losing it – those posts about cars and chinese food are just way off.

    I am interested in whether Darren and other affiliates use some kind of geo-targetting solution for affiliates? Or are most people just targetting the US market? Does that mean people from Australia/Europe/Japan can’t buy the products, and is that losing them sales? Just wondering because I use the APF bridge with Joomla, and that DOES allow market-specific affiliate links.

  17. This is interesting Darren. I had read John’s post and kind of agreed with it. I’ve been an amazon affiliate for years and never made a great deal with it, but I’ve only ever promoted books through it. Perhaps I should use it for more expensive items and it would work out much better. Thank you.

  18. Hi

    I have just opened an Amazon.com storefront and I hope it works for me.

    Your article surely inspires me.

    John

  19. Interesting point of amazon, I already buy around 10 books( unix security, engineering books) from amazon but never think to try amazon affiliate. Perhaps I’ll try it out soon :-)
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  20. I shook my head yesterday after reading John’s post about Amazon Affiliates. It is mostly about John and his bank account more and more. It seems like he is laughing in his readers’ faces.

    I decided that my site will do well with Amazon advertising because I read a lot and blog about the books I read. I think Amazon could offer more but something is better than nothing and there incentive to increase earnings. Seems like a good marriage. You have to decide for yourself what works best for your blog subject and what monetizing will work best.

  21. Thank you Darren for encouraging me to retry using Amazon affiliate program I tried it a few months back and the links kept getting broken when I would attempt to paste them into my link on my site. It was beyond frustrating so I’ll give it another try and see if I can get it to work right. Your income from Amazon is enough to motivate me to do it! :)

  22. Nice article Darren, though have yet to see you write a duff one!

    I also set up as an amazon associate a number of months ago, concentrating to begin with integrating an amazon aStore into my website, which was a really easy way of providing site visitors with millions of products to choose from.

    I have also included banners on my blog and written reviews with product links which was really simple to do and provides a valuuable source of income. Though I’m a few thousand off getting to your earnings level every little does help.

    I even built a little site to give new associates a guide to creating aStores and building links, perhaps our readers may find it uuseful? You can find it at – http://Build.Your.Own.aStore.Tutorial.googlepages.com/

    Cheers Darren and keep up the inspiring work!

    Rupert

  23. Hi there,

    I noticed in some posts that you do not hide the Amazon Affiliate Links behind redirects. Don’t you think that it would be better to put them behind a nofollow redirect so the SearchEngines don’t flag your site as “Affiliate Site”?

    Andreas

  24. I try a lot of different things but it seems that no matter how good amazon.com is as a stand alone affiliate, I can’t get anyone to buy anything from the affiliate links.

  25. I wasn’t having any luck with Amazon until I switched from targeted items to the search box. The search box doesn’t just promote one item. My visitors can search for anything they want, and buy it if they’re so inclined. It’s my experience a search box gives the consumer more options, which makes them more likely to buy.

  26. […] Read more about the Amazon Affiliate Program at 9 Reasons Why I AM an Amazon Affiliate. […]

  27. Do people find text links better and more effective, or the text and image links with the picture and price included?

    Also which does better links in the post or in the side bar?

    Those would be two questions I would like some feedback on.

  28. I’ve been an Amazon affiliate for quite some time and have done pretty well with it. I can always find a book on Amazon that is relevant to a blog post that I wrote and I will recommend it at the end of the post. Of course, it has to be a book that I’ve read and like or has received good reviews. I’m a bookworm and do many book reviews, so I tend to get quite a bit of traffic because of it.

  29. I remember John’s post and I sorta read through the lines. I think the real reason John doesn’t mess with Amazon is because his site is already automated to spit out his TTZ media ads and it would just be a pain in the butt for him to find each individual amazon link when his TTZ media ads are already doing that for him (except for the books).

    My 2 cents.

  30. Thanks for the info, I just wonder if you do this 100% through blogging of if you have affiliate websites?

  31. Thanks for the info. I am looking at getting started with Amazon but the low commissions aren’t too attractive. I like the point you made about the high priced products liek tractors and mowers…great idea for higher income!

    Thanks,
    Stuart Stirling
    Internet Marketing Tips

  32. To be honest, I am very close to get rid of Amazon… Bu t I also guess it’s my fault Amazon is not working that well in my weblog. I will read your other posts and see if I can get something out of them now that holidays are approaching….

    Or may be my niche does not like to buy on line! Who knows!

  33. Most affiliate scheme cookies last 30 days, but Amazon’s are much shorter than that.
    This is something people should consider when signing up to Amazon’s affiliate scheme.

  34. i concur 200% with your comments. Amazon is the most effective way to operate an e-commerce, especially in terms of the user experience and confidence. I launched an Amazon store and the key I believe is targeting a highly specific market. Check us out at http://toysnotmadeinchina.org

    Toys Not Made In China
    Julia Bourne-Smith

  35. I loved this post! I’ve never made a ton of money with Amazon, but now with their new product clouds, I find that my visitors are responding a lot more – with clicks AND with those ever valuable sales. Sales are up a lot for me, using the Product Clouds.

    I’m also learning over time how to use Amazon to my advantage – and as with everything, that just takes time to learn. Your post here has encouraged me to take an extra close look at my sites and blogs and figure out how to better utilize Amazon, which is (as you mentioned) a very well trusted Internet brand.

    Thanks for the post, Darren! Your blog is always informative and fun to read.
    Take care,
    Christina

  36. I think Amazon’s affiliate program is awesome because anyone can find something there to link to that’s relevant to their own site.

    I’m really excited about my site Measured Fit, because it actually let me build an affiliate site that is also a useful tool to people already shopping at Amazon. Plus it’s a tool that I’ve been using myself!

    I want to figure out how to get the word out some more. Trying to be patient and let it build over time.

  37. The Amazon affiliate program is one of the safest things in affiliate marketing mainly because of its great conversions.

  38. 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!

  39. I have an Amazon Affiliate account over 4 years now and I never used it…I’m going to look into it more now.

  40. I’m just getting started with my new blog and am playing catch up on all of these methods like Google AdSense, affiliate programs, the whole nine yards. This post definitely prompted me to look into it! I know Squidoo uses some Amazon affiliate help in the lenses on there and I haven’t seen too much success from that yet. It’s nice to have a whole URL to control, but also a lot of work to make sure everything is set up correctly!

    I’ve been really enjoying reading all of your posts that I’ve clicked on so far. Hopefully this will work for me, even if it’s just a few pennies!

  41. After read this post you may have just convinced me into joining amazon’s affiliate program. I am making a substantial amount with other affiliate programs. However this one seems well structured and doable.

  42. If you buy books why not just hook up with the program and save 10 percent. Put a couple links on your website and voila! you can start making money

  43. Actually i dont think amazon can earn money in blogging, but after see what you post here i change my mind.
    But is it ok if im from malaysia ?

  44. Hello,
    Well, first – you should have a brilliant, premium, easy-to-remember domain name and second -some time.
    Since, unfortunately, I have no much time, I would agree to long-term rental of my domain dont.net for using Amazon affiliate program to anyone who is interested. Price is negotiable and very moderate/realistic.

    Please contact me via email orinakbonn (at) yahoo.com

    Thanks,

  45. Actually i dont think amazon can earn money in blogging, but after see what you post here i change my mind.
    But is it ok if im from malaysia ?

  46. great post! i have just signed up for amazon! hope i succeed :) cheers

  47. Thanks for this article. I’ve been signed up with Amazon for about 6 months, and have yet to make my first sale. I don’t have an A-store, just use the affiliate links, and try to use specific products, but it just isn’t converting into sales. I won’t give up, though, because one of these days, I’m going to get a sale on something, and then I’ll know what content I need to do it.

  48. @Felipe Barra
    Felipe, don’t discount the value of being ‘first’ in a market.

    Consider the possibility of slightly changing your focus. On the front page you ‘cover’ two American films for your Chilean audience. That is good. But why not cover Chilean films, too?

  49. Hi Darren, thank you so much for this excellent post. It is encouraging to know that people like yourself and actually doing well as an Amazon affiliate. Your post has talked me into becoming an Amazon affiliate once I built more traffic on my blog. I have written a post titled People Are Actually Making Money As Amazon affiliates based on this post. Thanks again.

  50. I want start make from amazon, but not quite sure about the result later. After reading this article, I’ve my motivation again. thanks.