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7 Amazon Associates Rules You Could Be Breaking

Written by David

I’m a huge fan of the Amazon Associates program. It's free to join and easy to setup. Plus, the earning potential is very high. If you’re a beginner, I highly recommend it.

Just remember that Amazon, like any affiliate program, has rules.

If you break these rules, they can ban you without warning. And unfortunately, most bans are permanent

Jon Haver from Authority Website Income wrote a post on how he lost $100,000 after his Amazon Associates account was suddenly closed. That's painful to hear. 

The good news?

There are ways to minimize your risk of getting banned. Below are 7 Amazon Associates rules that you shouldn't break. 

Rule #1: Include a Disclaimer

Make it clear that you're an affiliate for the Amazon Associates program. If you don't, you may be banned. 

I always add a disclaimer to the footer of my website. The way, it appears on every page. ​I also include it once on my terms and conditions page

That should make it clear to Amazon that I've disclosed my relationship with them.​ Here's an affiliate disclosure you can use on your own site:

[YOUR SITE] participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Just add it to your website and you're good to go. 

Rule #2: Don't Place Amazon Links in Emails

You can’t place Amazon links in your emails. This is a common mistake people make. I know marketers who’ve done this and were permanently banned.

Pro Tip: Unfortunately, you can't have Amazon links in your emails. However, you can link to squeeze pages (product reviews). This isn't against the rules and can help you earn more money. 

David 
Profit Hero Founder

This rule gets broken by a lot of people. They think Amazon won't find out, but this isn't true!

Also, be careful with your email newsletters. It's possible that your Amazon links are appearing in people's inboxes. This caught me off guard once- scary! 

Rule #3: Don't Cloak Affiliate Links

Like any company, Amazon works hard to preserve their reputation. They want affiliates to represent them professionally and honestly.

This is why they don't allow link cloaking. ​It's clearly stated on their policy page

You will not cloak, hide, spoof, or otherwise obscure the URL of your Site containing Special Links (including by use of Redirecting Links) or the user agent of the application in which Content is displayed or used such that we cannot reasonably determine the site or application from which a customer clicks through such Special Link to the Amazon Site.

This means link cloaking services like Genius or Pretty Link Pro are not allowed. If you use them, you're subject to getting banned without warning. 

With that said, link cloaking isn't inherently bad. It offers many practical benefits, including: 

  • Tracking: When using your own URL, it's easier to track clicks and visitors.
  • Protection: Link cloaking prevents other affiliates from stealing your commissions. 
  • Aesthetics: Ugly URLs aren't visually appealing. Link cloaking easily fixes this.

I wanted to make the benefits clear before moving on. Link cloaking isn't bad. I just don't recommend it for Amazon sites. The risk is too high in my opinion. 

Rule #4: Don't Include Links in eBooks/PDF Documents

I once published an eBook containing my Amazon affiliate links. I cleverly thought it would be a great way to earn extra money.

Little did I know, I was breaking the rules! After reading Amazon's policy page, I quickly removed all my links from the eBook.

Fortunately, I did this before Amazon took notice. This goes to show that anyone, including experienced marketers, can make mistakes.  

Rule #5:​ Only Use Amazon-Approved Buttons 

Another mistake I see a lot is affiliates using customized Amazon buttons. 

Visit five of your closest competitors. Chances are that at least one of them is using an illegal button.

It's a really common (and dangerous) practice, and I'm really surprised people still do it. According to this page, here are the only buttons you can use:

Source: http://amzn.to/2mOS2uA

They're not pretty, I know. But for now, they're all we have. Also, don't mention price on your buttons (or anywhere else). That's also against the rules.

Important Note: A few readers emailed me asking whether we're allowed to use generic buttons, like this one:

This type of button is allowed. Notice how it doesn't include price or the Amazon logo. Here's an example of a button you can't use:

When in doubt, just contact Amazon. Use their live chat support and ask a representative to look at your site. They'll be able to tell you for sure.

David 
Profit Hero Founder

Of all the rules on this list, I see people breaking #5 the most. I'm not sure why, but it happens so often. At least now you know and can avoid breaking it. 

Rule #6: Don't Purchase Items From Your Own Links

Amazon isn't stupid. They can easily tell if you're using your own affiliate links to buy stuff. 

This is one reason I don't tell friends and family about my websites. I don't want them to buy from my links thinking that they're helping me, when in reality, they're hurting me. 

Amazon clearly states on their policy page:

You will not directly or indirectly purchase any Product(s) through Special Links, whether for your use of for the use of any other person or entity, and you will not permit, request or encourage any of your friends, relatives, employees, contractors, or business relations to directly or indirectly purchase any Product(s) through Special Links, whether for their use, your use or the use of any other person or entity.

Making this mistake once probably won't hurt you. However, repeated incidences could get you banned. My advice? Don't risk your account over a few dollars. 

Rule #7: Don't Link From Sexually Explicit Sites​

Don't link from sexually explicit websites. This includes any website that contains or promotes sexually explicit content.

Similarly, don't link from sites that contain or promote violence. Not sure if your site qualifies? Contact Amazon to find out!

The Bottom Line

I hope you found this article useful. If you did, please share it! 

Also, leave a comment below if there's something I missed. I want to make this guide as helpful as possible.

For more beginner-friendly articles on making money with Amazon, check out this page. Thanks for reading! 

About the author

David

Hi, my name's David. I'm the founder of Profit Hero. If you have any questions about making money online, just ask!