When you think of affiliate marketing, what’s the first thing that pops into your head?
If it’s “Amazon”…you’re not alone.
That’s because Amazon Associates was one of the first – if not the first – affiliate programs ever.
But just because it was the first doesn’t mean it’s the best.
So if you’re confused on whether or not you should monetize your website with Amazon Associates, you’ve come to the right place.
In this in-depth Amazon Associates review, I’ll show you the good, the bad, and the ugly about the program.
Plus, I’ll help you figure out whether or not it’s the one for you.
Let’s dive right in.
What Is Amazon Associates? (+How to Sign Up as an Affiliate)
Amazon Associates is Amazon’s affiliate program.
How it works is simple.
You sign up for the program, generate links, and promote them to your audience.
When someone buys, you get a commission from the sale.
Here’s how Amazon puts it:
The best part is, signing up for Amazon Associates is super easy.
Unlike other affiliate programs, which require you to have an engaged audience before approval, Amazon accepts anyone who signs up.
(More on this later in the blog, plus the caveat.)
So, how do you sign up to become an Amazon Associate?
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:
- Visit this page and click the “Sign Up” button at the bottom.
- Sign in to your Amazon account (or create a new one, if you don’t have one yet).
- Fill in the blank fields with your information. (Note: If you don’t yet have a website, consider building one before signing up to be an Amazon affiliate. You can get started at only $2.95/month.)
Source: Source: affiliate-program.amazon.com
- After you’ve filled in all your details, you’ll immediately be accepted as an Amazon Affiliate. (Yup! It’s instant.)
- Go to your dashboard, generate your links, and start promoting!
Sounds simple, right?
Unfortunately, being an Amazon affiliate isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.
Sure, it’s super easy to join, and it allows you to earn a nice side income.
However, there have been a ton of complaints from Amazon affiliates in recent years.
That’s what we’re here for.
In the next sections, we’ll discuss what’s great and what’s not about the program, and whether or not you should go for it.
TL;DR: Is Amazon Affiliate Marketing Profitable?
Amazon Associates is one of the oldest affiliate programs out there…and for some, one of the best.
For instance, some of its pros include ease of signing up, a user-friendly interface, a 90-day cookie window for people who add items to their cart, established trust with customers, and a high conversion rate.
However, it has cons as well. These include shady terms and conditions, which can get you banned and cause you to lose all your hard work, small commissions, and not much help from the support team.
Should you sign up for Amazon Associate?
I think you should.
However, keep in mind that it won’t be enough to replace your full-time income. You won’t get to quit your job and spend your life at a beach.
What you can do with it instead: create a profitable side income or use it to complement other affiliate products you promote.
Now, let’s go into the details of the pros and cons of Amazon Associates.
The Pros of Amazon Associates
In the previous section, I’ve brushed a little on the pros of becoming an Amazon associate.
Now, let’s get into more detail.
Here are the pros of Amazon Associates.
- You Won’t Need to Cross Your Fingers
Ever sign up for an affiliate program like Wix?
If yes, you probably know how nerve-wracking it can get.
You sign up, give them your details…
…and wait with fingers crossed.
Not everyone gets approved.
If you’re just getting started and don’t yet have an engaged audience, you probably won’t be accepted.
The opposite is true with Amazon Associates.
It’s like a big, free, global party where everyone is invited.
No matter who you are, how much traffic you have, or whether or not you’ve ever promoted a single product in your life…
…you’ll be accepted as an Amazon Affiliate.
Of course, there’s a caveat.
But I’ll save it for later, when we talk about the cons of Amazon Affiliates.
- Amazon Has Earned Its Place in the Online World
Question for you.
When you go online to purchase anything, where would you most likely get it?
- A huge site all your friends, acquaintances, and family members buy from.
- A tiny, obscure site no one has heard about.
Of course, it’s #1, right?
Buying from Amazon is like that.
While your audience might feel uncomfortable buying from a small, unknown seller…
…they won’t think twice when buying from the giant $1.7 trillion e-commerce company. (In fact, if they haven’t been living under a rock, they’ve probably already made some purchases there in the past.)
What this means for you as an Amazon Associate?
- You’ll have a much higher conversion rate.
- You won’t have to spend a ton of time building your audience’s trust.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing, Amazon’s high conversion rate and established trust with consumers will take you a long way towards your goals.
- You Get a Ton of Time to Earn Commissions
In another blog, I talked about “cookie life” or “cookie window.”
When someone visits a website through your affiliate link, a cookie is placed there.
If that person buys while the cookie is there, you get credits for the sale.
Now, the longer the cookie stays, the more money you get.
Makes sense, right?
What makes an affiliate program great is a longer cookie life.
And with Amazon Associates, you get a 90-day cookie window if a visitor adds a product to their cart.
This means you have 90 days (three whole months!) to earn commissions from this buyer, even if he’s on the fence and not the type who clicks “buy” immediately.
- You’ll Benefit from “Oh Yeah!” Buyers
Is this you?
You jump on Amazon to purchase something you need.
Let’s say it’s a garden hose.
As you’re browsing the hose section, your eyes are suddenly distracted by an ad, a related product, or a product shown to you based on your browsing history.
When you see these products, you think, “Oh, yeah! I forgot that I needed this!”
Then you go ahead and buy both the garden hose and the book.
Here’s the awesome news: if your unique visitor lands on Amazon through your link and buys a ton of unrelated products…
…you get credits for all those sales.
In fact, I experienced this with one of my old sites, DogFoodInsider.com.
My affiliate links were for dog food products, but I made a ton of commissions on the side from completely unrelated products.
- Cell phone accessories
- Gourmet food
- Personal care items
- Home items
- Music and musical instruments
- And more!
As you can see, commissions can add up and you can see yourself earning thousands of dollars per month in a short time.
- You Don’t Have to Be a Guru
New to affiliate marketing?
You don’t have to be a tech whiz or computer guru to understand Amazon’s simple, user-friendly interface.
In fact, a lot of affiliate marketers I know (me included) started off with Amazon Associates.
Here’s a look at their minimalistic dashboard:
All you have to do is go to Product Linking, search for the product you want, then click Get Link.
Clicking the Get Link button will take you to this page, where you can customize your link.
Afterward, all you need to do is copy the link and paste it on your website or wherever you plan to promote.
- You’ll Never Run Out of Products to Promote
As I mentioned earlier, Amazon is an e-commerce platform worth $1.7 trillion.
It’s huge, with over 12 million products in store.
So no matter how obscure your niche is, you’ll probably find something to promote on your site from Amazon.
The Cons of Amazon Associates
I know, Amazon Associates seems too good to be true.
And mostly, when something seems that way…
Or at least, not as perfect as it appears.
Here are the cons of Amazon Associates.
- It Makes for a Great Side Income…But Not Much Else
If I ask you, “Why did you decide to go into affiliate marketing?”
You’ll probably answer, “To replace my job and go travel the world.”
Or sit at home in your PJs.
Or whatever it is you dream of doing.
The problem with Amazon Associates is that the commissions you earn from it won’t be enough to fulfill those dreams.
While affiliate marketing for Amazon gives you a nice side income and some ready cash on the side whenever you need it…
…it won’t be enough to replace your salary.
But why? What percentage do Amazon associates get?
Here’s a look at their table of commissions:
Not that big, is it?
Example: you’ll earn a meager $2 for a $50 product.
Of course, prices can add up once your visitor decides to buy many different products.
Overall, you can expect to make $1,000-$2,000 a month with Amazon Associates (that is, if you have a loyal audience and a steady stream of traffic).
Not bad…but also not big enough to allow you to escape your job and live the life of your dreams.
- You’ll Have to Sell Like Crazy During Your First Six Months
Ok, not exactly “like crazy.”
But Amazon has tough demands on newbies in their affiliate program.
Yes, it’s super easy to join Amazon Affiliates.
All you need to do is type in your information and create your profile, and you can immediately get your affiliate links to promote.
However (this is the caveat I talked about earlier), this doesn’t mean you’re accepted as a permanent Amazon affiliate.
What happens is Amazon will give you 180 days to make your first three sales.
In case you were thinking it, these sales shouldn’t come from yourself or your friends and family. (Doing this can get you banned.)
Once you drive traffic to Amazon and make your first three sales, Amazon will review your site to see if it’s worthy of their affiliate program.
Here’s what that’ll look like:
If you can’t make three qualified sales in six months, or Amazon sees your site as low-traffic and low-potential…
…your account will be banned.
- Cookie Life Is Extremely Short
Earlier, I told you that once a customer adds an item to his cart, you’ll get a 90-day cookie window.
However, what if a visitor views a product, but doesn’t add it to his cart?
You’ll only get a 24-hour cookie window.
I know, it sucks.
However, there’s a bright side:
Amazon allows you to create links that automatically add a product to their cart.
- Amazon’s Policies Are Blurry at Best
Check out this scary Amazon Associates review:
So, is Amazon really an evil villain set to make you work for them for free?
The problem is, their policies are complex at best.
Check out this example:
Clear as mud?
What this means is you might unknowingly break their terms and find your account banned.
Plus, while reinstating it is possible…it won’t be a walk in the park.
- You Can’t Expect Much Support from…Well, Support
If you find yourself stuck, who’s the first person you’ll think of contacting?
A member of the Amazon support team, of course.
Which is where things go wrong.
Reviews are mixed when it comes to Amazon’s support team, but what they have in common is that the team is not much help.
Sure, they’re nice and friendly.
However, Amazon is a huge company, meaning that employees may not understand policies in the same way.
When you need help, you can expect to receive different kinds of advice from different employees.
Amazon Associates Review: Is the Amazon Affiliate Program Worth It?
Now, we’ve come to the end of our Amazon Associates Review.
You’ve discovered what’s great about Amazon Associates: established trust, millions of varying products to promote, high conversion rate, a simple sign-up process, and a 90-day cookie window for people who add items to their cart.
On the other hand, you’ve discovered that Amazon Associates isn’t enough to replace your income, and that its terms and conditions are blurry while support isn’t that knowledgeable.
So, here comes the big question.
Should you sign up to become an Amazon Associate?
My answer: yes.
However, you shouldn’t expect the world from it.
Sure, it’s great if you’re new and haven’t established a strong relationship of trust with your audience yet.
And it’s great if you’re only looking for a profitable side income.
OR…you can monetize your site through Amazon Associates besides other affiliate products you promote.
But if you think you’ll get rich from Amazon Associates alone…think again.
All screenshots taken by the author, October 2021.