That Holiday Gift Guide Might Be More Trouble Than You Thought

If you’re adding a holiday gift guide to your website or blog using Amazon affiliate links, it could just get you in some trouble.

Get a Social Boost - Social Media Management Facebook posted on 11/16/2017  Lately I have been having fun learning how to make gift guides more successful. I have been taking some great gift guide training's and was concerned with some of the teachings when it came to use of Amazon product pictures. I wondered if Amazon policies had changed since I last looked. So, I reached out to Amazon Associates yesterday to get the low down before I went any further. Some of the training on how to produce awesome gift guides are saying it's OK to download product photos from Amazon and use in collage images for blogs/Pinterest, etc. I was hoping things had changed and that we could do that but…. Nope, Amazon policies haven’t changed. You cannot download product photos from Amazon to use on your blog/Pinterest/social media, etc. It could potentially get you banned from your account. Are you willing to risk that? Here’s more info should you be interested: Amazon Associates confirmed yesterday, it is not permitted to download photos and use on blog/images for any reason. You can find the specific info in their policies under program participation requirements (section 8 Content on Site - see A & J plus in the Trademark Section #8). Hopefully this helps. Please feel free to share.

I see this happening every year. Bloggers putting loads of work into gift guides, only to have to go back and practically start over because they don’t want to break the Amazon affiliate terms of service.

You can’t turn that gift guide into a PDF for distribution all around the internet with all those Amazon affiliate links either. That’s another thing they don’t allow.

You can’t email your list with those links live either. Yet another thing not allowed.

Not to mention how incredibly time consuming a good holiday gift guide post can be!

Things You Need to Know About Posting Holiday Gift Guides with Amazon Affiliate Links

What CAN you do?

You can create the gift guide on your website or blog, using the embedded image features from Amazon and you can send traffic to it.

You can create a generic pinnable image with a title and some holiday cheer, just don’t use the images from Amazon.

You can email your list and send them to your website to view the gift guide without linking directly to any products inside the email.

You’re Allowed to Change Your Mind About Recommendations

Often times you hear people in the affiliate marketing world say things like “promote it or don’t promote it,” and “support it or don’t support i,” like you have to be all-in on every single thing that you promote. Sometimes people feel like once they start promoting something they have to promote that program or item fully until it’s over, done, retired, and gone.

You’re allowed to change your mind or your position, you’re allowed to disagree with things along the way, and you don’t have to continue promoting something forever and ever, you’re not trapped in some legal agreement and you’re usually not obligated to the program (usually, unless you’ve signed some long term contract to promote something, which seems an unlikely scenario as an affiliate.) [Read more…]

Did You Know Referring Free Kindle Books Can Be Dangerous?

Warning: DangerAnd I don’t just mean dangerous in the way that your Kindle is full of so many books you don’t know what to read first. I mean dangerous in that you could forfeit all your Amazon affiliate commissions for that month.

Yes, you read that correctly. Referring too many free Kindle books in a one month period can toss up a red flag and you will not receive any affiliate commissions for that month.

Just another quirky little thing I learned about the Amazon affiliate program requirements while working on a blog post. I did a round up of five free Kindle books (a pretty popular type of post around the web, you can find free Kindle book roundups in just about every niche) and I wanted to make sure I did everything correctly. I briefly wondered about the increasing popularity of the freebie promos and wondered it was worth it to promote these as often as some people were posting them… Off to research I went.

Under what determines a qualifying purchase in the Associates Program Advertising Fee Schedule it is noted that

“YOU WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO EARN ANY ADVERTISING FEES DURING ANY MONTH IN WHICH YOU MEET THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
(a) 20,000 or more free Kindle eBooks are ordered and downloaded during Sessions attributed to your Special Links; and
(b) At least 80% of all Kindle eBooks ordered and downloaded during Sessions attributed to your Special Links are free Kindle eBooks.”

(capslock is theirs, not mine | Special Links means your tagged affiliate links)

Now, I don’t know anyone this has happened to at this moment, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. And if it has happened to you, I would be interested to hear about your experience.

Hypothetically speaking let’s say you do an awesome blog post rounding up five free Kindle books for the week. The information in those books is awesome, the topic is popular, and you refer 20,000+ book downloads over the course of a few weeks from that one blog post. That’s a lot of downloads, but if you have a mailing list, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, etc…, and a percentage of those people download all five books on your roundup and then a percentage of those people share your list with their friends, fans, and followers, 20,000 could certainly be reached.

The way I’m reading this, if those free downloads make up the majority of your Kindle book referrals (the 80% figure) then you could end up receiving $0.00 in commissions for that month, even if you referred sales of other physical products.

I figured the general idea of promoting a lot of free Kindle books for some affiliate marketers is to get people to click and be cookied, and I’m also figuring that’s exactly why this little eligibility clause exists, because Amazon wants to avoid those mass referrals and they’re trying to take away the temptation some folks might have to spam the internet with “free, free, free.”

Share your thoughts and more in the comment section below, feel free to discuss hypothetical scenarios and such.

Amazon Updated the iFrames and They’re Definitely Not Awful

Amazon is still my favorite affiliate program. When I earn a commission from them I feel like I’m supporting my own personal book habit and thirst for content to consume (I generally read a book a week through most of the year, sometimes two books a week on holidays! My Kindle is often an extension of my arm.)

Despite my love of their program, I didn’t really love or even like the ready-to-use iframe display they generated for affiliate links. Until today. They updated it recently – and this may be old news, but I just noticed today when I went to grab a link for a blog post on another site.

Look at that…. over there to the right. Much better than the old style. The shop now button is nicer and this updated style reflects Amazon’s site so much better than the old style iframe links they offered. (side note: I generated a link to Nicole Dean’s Blogging for Profit book to use as an example, it’s a fun read if you haven’t picked it up yet)

I might just grab these copy and paste displays from the toolbar more often from now on. What do you think of the updated look?

Are You Unknowingly Breaking the Rules with Amazon Affiliate Links?

Amazon’s affiliate agreement is long and it gets changed and updated pretty often, so it can be easy to accidentally miss something.

warningJust in general there are some common ways of using an affiliate link that are not allowed by the Amazon affiliate program.

For example, you’re not allowed to use your affiliate link in an email or email attachment.

You’re also not allowed to use your affiliate link in PDF reports, ebooks, and other documents.

This is probably the set of violations most often seen, because we’re all so used to just linking to things that we’re talking about. “Hey, I just read this great book, here’s the link…” and it’s so easy to generate a link from any page using the Amazon Site Stripe [Read more…]

Is Your Online Business Safe From the FTC?

We often joke that FTC is going to be shutting down affiliate websites everywhere, kicking in doors and taking huge fines from your bank account in the middle of the night. It’s a joke and it’s funny, except when the FTC is actually shutting down your business and closing down your website by using your own privacy policy against you.

Meet Chip Cooper, Esq… he represents Internet, software, and SaaS clients in the areas of website legal compliance, Internet marketing, intellectual property, and licensing and distribution transactions. In his presentation for the NAMS community this week he went over his “score card” to help you determine if you should be concerned about your legal liabilities. Looking at those score cards has been seriously eye-opening stuff for everyone.

nams-7-legal-gotchas presentation preview

==> Click here to check out the presentation, grab the score card and learn how the FTC can shut down your business if you’re not careful.