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A warning for anyone using Amazon Affiliates

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by Evostance, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Evostance

    Evostance Junior Member

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    Hi All,

    I just wanted to do a little write up with what went from a success Amazon journey, into what could have potentially been a life/career disaster should I have taken certain life choices.

    Like a lot of people here, I wanted to make a bit of additional money on the side. I already had experience with web development and I knew a little bit about white hat SEO. What better way than to put my existing skills to use, and get a an easy stream of income.

    August 2015

    I registered my domain, and got to work building my site. I settled for the Rehub theme and went from there. After I had a few reviews up, I wanted to make sure I was capturing traffic from all countries, so I wrote myself a little script which detected which country the user was in and sent them to the correct Amazon store. Unfortunately, it was a bit clunky and didn't really work that well.
    After reading the Operating Agreement with Amazon, I found that cloaking links was prohibited, it wasn't something I was doing, but I wanted to check with Amazon exactly how this works. These are my findings: http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackh...ts-clear-up-no-link-cloaking-requirement.html

    As you can probably tell, it doesn't really make much sense. You're not allowed to cloak links because it's not clear the user is getting sent to Amazon, but it's perfectly OK to use something like bit.ly to shorten the links :confused:
    Anyway, I stumbled upon www.geni.us, spoke with Amazon to check it was OK and away I went using it

    My site exploded and I did extremely well. Amazon sent me the money for September and October, which was well into a 4-figure sum
    I manage to triple this figure in November and then almost doubled it in December. Amazon were (seemingly) happy and I was happy, I was doing well.

    January 2015

    This is the month where my big payout was supposed to arrive. My company had been formed, my bank accounts were setup and then I receive an email from Amazon stating the following:

    What?!

    My site that I had been running without any problems with Amazon for 4 months resulted in my Amazon account being instantly shutdown and all my remaining earnings withheld. I had never had any problems in the past with Amazon, their support staff had seen no issue with it, yet when a large payout was due, they decided to close me down. All my hardwork and expenses into the business just gone.

    Since then, I have had multiple conversations with Amazon as to what has happened and how I can rectify the issues. However let me just first highlight something in terms of their support structure for affiliates.

    To my knowledge, Amazon has 2 tiers of support. The first is Customer Support and the second are the account specialists.
    If you've ever called the number in your affiliate help page, used the online chat or emailed them, you've got through to customer support. Now, what happens if you need to contact the account specialists like I did.
    Well, the answer is quite simple: You can't. You can't speak to them and you can't get transferred to them.
    There are 2 options: Get support to pass a message on, or wait for the account specialists to email you with an address you can reply to - by default, you cannot reply to any email from the account specialists.

    Whist this might seem normal, the actual customer support team are in the exact same position. They have no way to find out anything about your account that was actioned by the specialist team. They can't see notes, they can't see the status of your account and they can't even speak to them. All they can do is send a message!

    I have tried multiple times to get the account specialists to contact me, and every time they have done so, it comes from a no reply email address with contains the same message as the last one - hardly helpful.
    After multiple attempts to contact them, I had a support agent tell me she had requested the specialist team talk to me so I could reply - great!

    I then received this email from the same no-reply email address:

    So that's it. My account was completely banned, Amazon refuse to tell me why and they refuse to talk to me. I have since emailed them asking for clarification again, and asked them specific questions, however my contact has gone unanswered.

    Fortunately for me, I hadn't quit my job so I still had a fallback, however given it a few more months, I could well have if Amazon turned out to be a successful venture and this situation would have turned into a complete disaster.

    Lessons learnt:
    1. Amazon payout the revenue for each month 2 months later. This gives them time to validate your account, and ban it if they want
    2. They offer no security in terms of revenue. I waited 2 months to be paid from November, and when payday came, they banned me and withheld my earnings
    3. The customer support teams have no say in what is right or wrong. Just because Joe Bloggs on support says your site is fine, the account specialist team might have another view when it comes to paying up
    4. Affiliates have absolutely not guarantee or protection that their earnings are thiers
    5. Amazon don't have to tell you what went wrong, and will just give you a paragraph from their T&Cs. They offer no additional information nor recourse for reinstating your account
    6. Amazon don't like you using prices, apart from if you use the API, however since your account is in the hands of 1 person, it's highly subjective to if they even bother to check if you're using the APIs

    All in all, I wont' be using Amazon again as I don't think they can be trusted as a stable income or partner. Fortunately for me I hadn't invested a lot into this, but that doesn't disguise the fact that I helped them generate a lot Christmas, and they reward me closing my account and taking my advertising fee's for themselves - a high, 5 figure sum.

    Hopefully this heeds enough as a warning when getting into a partnership with Amazon. They seem happy to payout low amounts, but as soon as they need to make a large payout, they'll find any excuse to ban you leaving you out to dry
     
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    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
  2. UrsuAke

    UrsuAke Power Member

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    Man just go for aliexpress affiliates and try not to break their rules too.

    Personally been with Amazon for over 6 years, never had an issue.
     
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  3. reinie

    reinie Elite Member

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    Sorry for your loss and hassle...

    I had a similar situation last month. One of my sites is about 5 months old earning a decent amount. Suddenly I got an email saying my account was banned because It wasn't providing users with value.

    Needless to say I didn't get paid for my sales, but I don't understand how such a decision was made several weeks into me selling and not upon signup.

    I'm still deciding what I want to do with the site now.
     
  4. MisterF

    MisterF Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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  5. JohnnyRockets2

    JohnnyRockets2 Newbie

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    Go affiliate an u wont have any trouble!
     
  6. Evostance

    Evostance Junior Member

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  7. T2tkid

    T2tkid Elite Member

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    I was banned once, apparently for cloaking the amz. links, now i just use their amz.to or the full link. Never have a problem with them for a very long time.
     
  8. NosokOrg

    NosokOrg Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Yes it is already second same amazon issue post, thank you. Also, Im now try to solve issue with amazon regarding my links, I use my own redirector and they write me that it is prohibited. I have send few emails to them, that I use redirector only to get links short and grab stats by clicks. But now, I understand that I need to put amazon pure links any way.
     
  9. moonshine7000

    moonshine7000 Senior Member

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    Never liked Amazon bullshit TOS to f*uck over affiliates.Go for CJ.
     
  10. sugarbedi

    sugarbedi Newbie

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    I got banned because I spammed amazon affiliate short link on twitter.

    Screenshot (5).jpg
     
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  11. tokkiramen

    tokkiramen Junior Member

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    I was banned too last month with same reason
    You are not in compliance with the Linking Requirements because your site makes inaccurate, overbroad, deceptive or otherwise misleading claims about Products, the Amazon Site, or our policies, promotions or prices.
     
  12. Aatrox

    Aatrox Supreme Member

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    This is really bad. I just started working with them and now I'm scared, damn man. Sorry for your loss.
     
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  13. LostConnection

    LostConnection Senior Member

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    Did you actually think that it was a million dollar idea? Just curious.
     
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  14. Nut-Nights

    Nut-Nights Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    You need to learn how to spam amazon.
     
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  15. xIRaTeD

    xIRaTeD Regular Member

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    Just a matter of interest, how much traffic were you generating to get into the high 5 figure ?
     
  16. sugarbedi

    sugarbedi Newbie

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    well yes I kind of did. :p

     
  17. ScarfaceMontana

    ScarfaceMontana Registered Member

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    Thats always the problem if you are dependent to a company, which every affiliate marketer is.
    Hopefully you did not quit your job and kept it as a backup.
     
  18. Evostance

    Evostance Junior Member

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    I hit a mid-range 5 figure sum with about 1,800 UV's a day on average
     
  19. TayaX

    TayaX Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    That's impressive. There is a certain point you shouldn't go above, where amazon actually lose money based on the fact that people come to your site for a certain product rather than their site directly. When you're in direct competition with them, wether you break the rules or not, it's something that might happen.

    Keep your website, find another provider or affiliate program, sign deals with sellers directly, and just try to profit from the SEO you made.
     
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  20. just-buyin-stuff

    just-buyin-stuff Registered Member

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    I've learned over the years to NEVER trust ANY affiliate company. Any of them can and will f*ck you over in a second and know that lotto type odds are you will do nothing about it.

    That is why you never count on the money until it clears the bank and try to have multiple income streams. If you push a CPA type offer that multiple networks have spread it out. That way if one network gets greedy you don't lose everything. If one network suddenly asks for more traffic be very suspect of them. Any time I've lost funds they beg for more before they rob me.
     
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