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An Open Letter to the Amazon Associates Program

Posted By Darren Rowse 29th of November 2008 Affiliate Programs 0 Comments

Dear Amazon.

I have been using your Associates program for quite a few years now – from the early days when I earned just a few dollars a month to today when I send you tens of thousands of dollars of business each month. I’ve written about why I believe in your program and have no doubt sent you hundreds (if not thousands of affiliates in my time).

By my calculations I’ve sent you around $1,500,000 of sales over the last five years.

I’m very grateful for the $70,000+ you’ve sent me in affiliate payments and am by no means am I your biggest affiliate but I hope that having reached the million dollars in sales mark you’ll forgive me this note to express a concern that I have in the hope that it might help improve your program.

I am increasingly frustrated by your payment system.

While you offer direct debit payments to those situated in the USA – I live in Australia and so have two options for payment – gift certificates and check. Lets take a look at both methods:

1. Gift Certificates – as someone who earns $2000-$3000 in commissions each month from Amazon it is simply not feasible for me to take my payments in certificates. For starters I’d run out of things to buy pretty quickly – particularly because most of your high ticket items cannot be shipped outside of the USA.

This leaves me with the option of either just buying books, DVDs and CDs ($2-$3k worth a month….) or buying things, shipping them to US friends and having them repost them to Australia. It also means having to pay for international shipping on everything I buy – not cheap. Lets just say that all of this rules out the gift certificate option (although I take it once a year if I’m doing a trip to the US).

2. Check – this leaves me with only one option – receiving a check. Let me say that your checks do come quickly. I get them within a couple of weeks of the end of the month – a lot faster than others (nice work) – however a check of over $2000 in Australia needs to be processed and sent by my bank back to the USA before it can be cleared. This takes six weeks from the day I bank it.

This means that money I make from Amazon on the 1st of a month can take six weeks before I get the check and then another six weeks before I can see the money. That’s 3 months!

All in all this is one of the slowest and antiquated payment systems that I have to use. Every other affiliate program or ad network that I use (and I use a few) gives either the option for an international direct deposit or a PayPal transfer, particularly to affiliates who earn over a certain threshold.

The only other affiliate program that insists upon me receiving checks gives me the option to have them split into smaller amounts (so I get 2-3 of them each month) so that the check can be processed locally without the six week delay.

I love the Amazon affiliate program but the payment system is increasingly frustrating me. I’d love to see you do something about it for myself and my fellow non US affiliates and in doing so improve your already great program.

I know you must be kind of busy with your big Black Friday sale – but I’d appreciate your consideration to this.

Darren Rowse – ProBlogger.net

PS: having just added up how much business I’ve sent you ($1.5M made me have to sit down) it strikes me that you’re the largest affiliate program or ad network that I deal with that I’ve never had any personal contact with. Again – I’m sure I’m a small fish in comparison to some of your other affiliates – but other affiliate programs and ad networks give their medium to large affiliates quite a bit more personal attention.

Some assign account managers, others call every now and again to see how we’re going, quite a few offer special premium commissions for larger publishers, quite a few send a gift…. or even a card at Christmas time to say thanks for the business. Amazon…. well you send me checks that take 6 weeks to clear.

Don’t get me wrong – checks are nice and you’ve more than helped me make a dent in my mortgage…. but when web publishers are making the choice of which affiliate program to use on their websites, sometimes the little things count.

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 and LinkedIn.
  1. agoeng says: 03/05/2009 at 12:43 pm

    Thank you for represent us for complain to Amazon, it was really so sad that should wait for long time to clearance the check from Amazon. Me in Indonesia also feel the same problem.
    Hope they change the way to pay. Western Union or Paypal could be the best one in this matter.

    Regards Indonesian Publisher

  2. German says: 06/18/2009 at 10:27 am

    I have a very popular site which ranks within first100K and O get similar amountsin Google payments, bt I only make $5 to $15 a month from Amazon. So, Darren must either own TOP 10 site or be extremely lucky. I believe Amazon pays too little and their website is very user-unfriendly and fails a lot. For instance I was unable to update my address, so I simply closed all the associate accounts keeping just one and using it for all my sites. It will simplify things and hopefully at least this one account will work! I really want to see some competition to Amazon affiliate program.

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