Another Disillusioned Amazon Associate Here

I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for a number of years now and always been a fan of the Amazon Affiliates program. I’m a die hard and I’ve even stayed a loyal fan when I probably should have moved on after previous changes to the affiliate program. At the beginning for myself, Amazon affiliates is easy to join and they approve almost everyone so that’s what I did.

That was my biggest draw to them back when I first started. My first commission ever was an impressive 3 cents. I jumped up and down all afternoon that day, I was so happy and proud that I had created money through my own efforts online, even if it was less than a nickle. 

Right after that though, I had to start working more than full time hours so I didn’t have time to cultivate good relationships with higher paying programs and networks. So with Amazon is where I stayed.

1-6 items 4%
7-30 items 6%
31-110 items 6.5%
111-320 items 7%
321-630 items 7.5%
631-1570 items 8%
1571-3130 items 8.25%
3131+ 8.5%

For years and years, the Amazon Associates program was the place to be if you were doing affiliate marketing. They had a really good pay structure (pre 2017) and of course they had massive amounts of traffic and people trusted them, so recommending a product or service on Amazon was a solid thing to do.

That translated into a lot of affiliate commissions and a very lucrative way to make at home online.

However, in 2017 they changed the pay structure from it being a certain commission percentage level for the total number of products sold in a given month (as shown in the chart to the right) to a certain percentage of commission assigned to particular categories of products.

The effect of separating the pay structure by product category caused a huge pay cut to millions of associates. It was reported that it was an average cut of 20% – 50% for active associates!

This is just crazy, can you imagine going in to work one day to find out that you are arbitrarily getting a 50% pay cut with no logical explanation. That would likely be grounds for legal action.

However, in the online world it isn’t like that, if Amazon wants to cut affiliate commissions then they can do that without having to answer to anyone. The chart shown below is the pay structure that just ended April 20, 2020. The newest change is now in effect and it’s been slashed again. See the chart below this one. 

Product Category Fixed Standard Program Fee Rates
Luxury Beauty, Amazon Coins 10.00%
Digital Music, Physical Music, Handmade, Digital Videos 5.00%
Physical Books, Kitchen, Automotive 4.50%
Amazon Fire Tablet Devices, Amazon Kindle Devices, Amazon Fashion Women’s, Men’s & Kids Private Label, Apparel, Amazon Cloud Cam Devices, Fire TV Edition Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV Devices, Amazon Echo Devices, Ring Devices, Watches, Jewelry, Luggage, Shoes, and Handbags & Accessories 4.00%
Toys, Furniture, Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets Products, Pantry, Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments, Business & Industrial Supplies, Outdoors, Tools, Sports, Baby Products 3.00%
PC, PC Components, DVD & Blu-Ray 2.50%
Televisions, Digital Video Games 2.00%
Amazon Fresh, Physical Video Games & Video Game Consoles, Grocery, Health & Personal Care 1.00%
Gift Cards; Wireless Service Plans; Alcoholic Beverages; Digital Kindle Products purchased as a subscription; Food prepared and delivered from a restaurant; Amazon Appstore, Prime Now, Amazon Pay Places, or Prime Wardrobe  Purchases 0.00%
All Other Categories 4.00%

They don’t have anyone to answer to…except the millions of disillusioned associates that are now leaving in droves to find other affiliate networks and programs that will treat them better and more fairly reward their online marketing efforts with a reasonable commission pay structure. That decision in 2017 cost them many, many associates and it really helped a lot of the other networks to grow and gain popularity among affiliate marketers.

Now, in 2020 they’ve taken another terrible step, and a move that in my opinion will send the rest of the affiliates packing and looking for better networks as well. This includes myself and droves of other diehards that have always been loyal to Amazon, until now.

Some are referring to this last move as one that will cause a “free fall” for the affiliate program. They’ve slashed the commission rates to a point so low that it has now become a poor use of time to promote products from Amazon. This is the new commission structure shown below as of April 21, 2020. 

We are in the middle of a global pandemic and people are dying left and right and there isn’t one single sector of society that isn’t affected by COVID-19. There are a lot of people out there who do affiliate marketing full time and make the bulk of their income from online activities. These people have just had their incomes slashed at a time when the world is literally in crisis scrambling to sort out the pandemic.

This is a low class move on the part of Amazon. They’re essentially biting the many hands that helped promote them and build them into the giant they are today all at a very vulnerable time for many people.. This is a sad day for them and I don’t think that treating the people who are essentially your sales team but ultimately it really creates huge new opportunities for existing associates that haven’t left them yet.

Commission Junction is probably the biggest affiliate network after Amazon (correct me if I’m wrong) they have many high profile advertisers under their umbrella, such as Wayfair, Etsy and Ebay among so many others. Wayfair has more than 10 million products just themselves! This one fact alone indicates that the opportunities are vast outside of Amazon.

Product Category Changed Fixed Standard Program Fee Rates
Furniture, Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets Products, Pantry 3.00%
Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments, Business & Industrial Supplies 3.00%
Outdoors, Tools 3.00%
Grocery 1.00%
Sports 3.00%
Baby Products 3.00%
Health & Personal Care 1.00%
Amazon Fresh 1.00%

These other companies have very attractive commission structures, with high traffic and consistent shipping reliability. Wayfair for example pays 7%, this might not sound like a lot but remember that Amazon pays 0% – 3% on many of their items under the latest pay structure update.

So, if you are a disillusioned Amazon associate like I am, then don’t give up or get angry! I recommend picking up a few new affiliate networks or programs and working hard on changing and updating all of your Amazon links. 

The sooner that we do that, then the sooner we will being making commissions from companies that are happy to take care of their affiliates properly. 

I invite you to join this dynamic online marketing training community. This is the place that taught me how to do affiliate marketing and how to build websites for the last several years. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, it’s free to get started!


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