Amazon Affiliate Changes: What This Means For You

By John Cruz

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Starting April 21, 2020, Amazon affiliate changes will become a reality and will make this company the greediest in history.

First, they became the most prominent online retailer, and then they created the richest man in the world.

What most people don’t know is how the online retail giant got there in the first place.

No, it’s not because they have the best products with the best service.

It’s not because they are the safest dang company out there either.

And no, it’s not because Jeff Bezos is the smartest man on the planet.

It’s because of the Amazon Associates program that boasts millions of affiliates that go out of their way to promote their products.

It’s because of these same affiliates that Amazon makes the kind of money it does.

These same affiliates are the ones that gave them their name.

And it’s these same affiliates that will be getting the crap end of the stick.

Usually, I am cool with changes within the online business space, as it’s something that will eventually be better in the long run.

At least usually.

But that’s not the case here, just like how WordPress is trying to shove the block editor down our throats.

I’m cool with that kind of change but not the kinds of changes that impact the lives of millions of people.

The kind of change that can make or break someone.

The kind of change that Amazon just rolled out.

The Amazon Affiliate Changes & Shadiness Over the Years

amazon changes

When I started affiliate marketing back in 2014, Amazon Associates was, of course, new to me.

I didn’t know anything besides the fact that you can make a commission just from selling their products.

People were still shopping at Toys R’ Us and other big named stores that are now shut down.

They were somewhat skeptical about online shopping but heard that Amazon was the place to go.

The media did not create all this knowledge.

Or any other means besides the millions of affiliates that gave the company its name.

And even before this massive change, Amazon has slowly tried to weasel its way into our wallets.

Some never saw it coming, but many did.

Even if I was new to the online business world, I still had a perfect understanding of how everything worked.

Amazon knew what they were doing, but they couldn’t just come out and make drastic changes.

They had to screw over its affiliates in a way that won’t come with much complaining.

In a way that is somewhat subtle and just enough to keep us shut.

Bad Cookies

amazon bad cookies

Amazon was somewhat generous when they offered their affiliate program to everyone.

You can make a commission as you would with every other affiliate program, and you also have a cookie that will get you credit for the sale.

Amazon started their cookies with a ninety-day window.

The second someone clicked on your affiliate link; you would get credit for that sale within three months of that click.

So that customers can create an entirely different life, come back and buy that product, and you will still get credit for that sale.

Then it went down to a thirty-day cookie, which means that person has thirty days before your cookie expires, which means you won’t get credit for that sale.

Then it went down to a 24-hour cookie.

These changes already had me saying WTF, but it was still something manageable.

We all know that online shoppers (or all shoppers) need more than 24 hours to think about making any buying decisions.

So what do they do?

They come back a week later and then buy that same product.

Amazon knows this, and that’s why they keep it that way.

But that’s not where the greed stops.

Commission Cuts

amazon commission cuts

Amazon has cut commissions before, and it hurt, but not as bad as it did now.

They went from 12%, down to 10%, and now, a figure that makes me sick.

Even with all the commission changes over the years, this is the worst.

This change is not cool at all.

The one that we need to speak up about or pay for it later, literally.

With sites like Clickbank offering 75% commissions, it makes no sense to settle for 1%.

That’s the current rate for most of Amazon’s products, so let that sink in before you think that everything is okay.

Use of Images

One of Amazon’s affiliate changes was to prevent their affiliates from using images directly from their site.

And not because of copywriting issues or any legal stuff either.

They simply sleaze their way into forcing you to place their stinking ads on your site.

It might seem like they are trying to do things more legitimately, but they’re just trying to make more money.

Screw those annoying ads and replace them with real images that I’m sure those real product owners will enjoy.

Oh, and your site will also be faster without ads anyway.

Weak Products With Fake Reviews

amazon fake reviews

Amazon is full of fake reviews, and most consumers will never know that.

Heck, some of you online marketers don’t even know yourselves, but they are out there.

Not only are they there, but there are a bunch of them.

They get customers to think they are buying a reliable product when it’s garbage.


It’s because of the Fulfillment By Amazon program.

The idea is straightforward and one that I recommend.

As an FBA-er, you order products from China (or wherever you can get cheaper), and then you send it to Amazon.

From there, they will add it to their site and deal with everything else the way they usually would.

They’ll pack, ship, and deal with all the customer service stuff for you.

This business model is incredible, but not so much for consumers.

As FBA’ers, they have tried to game the system by getting positive reviews of their products.

Amazon has tried to stop it, but they can only do so much.

These fake reviews not only get customers to feel they are trusting a product, but it also allows them to be m within the Amazon website.

Lying Affiliates

I know it sounds a bit harsh and almost as if I’m going against my kind, but hear me out.

As an Amazon affiliate, we promote products from their marketplace without putting any thought into things.

We review a product, search for it on Amazon, and grab the links.

What most affiliates don’t know is that they’re getting a product from an FBA seller, rather than a real company.

These products most often come from China and are not what the consumer wanted.

It then leads to negative reviews on a product that seems to be the product, when it’s not.

And guess what?

You, as the affiliate, are the one who recommended that product, without knowing what you were selling.

It sounds unbelievable, but it happens.

The Solution?

amazon solution

We need to change the way we run our businesses.

We need to stop focusing on Amazon if that’s what we’re doing.

Step out of your comfort zone and find the real owners of these products.

Get signed up to other affiliate programs that have the same products and offer more commissions.

For the most part, most affiliate marketers are lazy.

They don’t want to put in the time and energy to partner up with what is the better option.

It’s time we veer away from 1% commissions and build our business around more prominent and better things.

Screw Amazon for screwing us.

I never keep my eggs in one basket, but a ton of my affiliate links are leading to Amazon.

All that is going to change, though, and you should do the same.

Promote Better Products

Just like I mentioned how Amazon has crappy products, it is the same reason we need to be better.

WE need to provide better products to our readers, as that is just the best way to do things.

Stop being lazy, apply for other affiliate programs, and swap out those silly Amazon links.

This change might suck, but I think it has some benefits for you as an affiliate marketer, with one of them being to promote better products.

Educate Your Visitors

good better best

Back in the day, online shopping was already something that required caution.

It then got more relaxed, and consumers started to trust Amazon.

All thanks to its millions of affiliates.

These days, the same consumers take advice from us as affiliates.

And they trust us more than anyone on the net.

Being that they are more comfortable with shopping online, we need to tell them what is their best options.

Tell them about the other awesome little stores that offer better products at better prices, unlike you used to do in the past.

Tell them about all the fake reviews that cover up the crappy products on Amazon.

Lastly, tell them about how a ton of their products is coming from China.

Some affiliate marketers might not know this, but a bunch of the products on Amazon or sold through their FBA program.

These FBA-ers take similar products from China and sell them on Amazon.

They look the same, do the same thing, but are not made by the real company.

Most affiliates know little about this, but it is dangerous.

Do you think your customers won’t trust you?

They will, and they will buy from you, using an affiliate link you provide.

Spread the Word

This update from Amazon is a big deal.

Amazon got its name and trust, thanks to the millions of affiliates that put such high praise on a company that cares about nothing but itself.

The changes that we have endured as affiliates were bearable up until today.

With that change comes the need for us to change and adapt as well.

This change will require some restructuring of your marketing and overall business, but it isn’t going to be that complicated.

Promote the products you recommend, but do it directly from the source that will even pay you more than Amazon ever did.

Promoting a $100 product to make $1 is beyond pathetic and one that I am not willing to accept.

There isn’t much that we need to do as affiliates, but we need to take action in numbers.

If every single one of us does our part, then we can make a difference.

Amazon doesn’t deserve our recommendation, to begin with, and I think enough is enough.

2 thoughts on “Amazon Affiliate Changes: What This Means For You”

  1. The horse has gone through the gate. Amazon is now the great leader because of affiliates. Check with the news on the top retailer in COVID 19. Associates need to take a stand. 1% foolishness. What a greed.

    • I totally agree as well, Nichole. Typing this makes me shake my head but we just need to evolve and adapt and continue on with business like always. Great to hear from you, Nichole!


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