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

(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.

3 thoughts on “Did You Know Referring Free Kindle Books Can Be Dangerous?”

  1. The guy that runs OHFB had to change the whole way he was running his site/emails because of it. That was several months ago. That would really be horrible if you lost your commissions for a month. Totally!

  2. Hi Loretta,

    WOW! Good info to know. I’ve only shared free ones a few times, but now I probably won’t share any unless they’re really something special and specific to one of my blogs. Thank you! 🙂


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