We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to give a word of warning to all bloggers. Unless you are a blogger, feel free to simply disregard this post. :)
If you are a blogger, you are most likely part of the Amazon Affiliate program. It is so easy to implement and can be a great source of income. It also makes blogging increasingly user-friendly!
Here are three ways you could be breaking Amazon’s Affiliate Program Rules (without even knowing it):
1. Shortening Your Affiliate URL:
“You will not cloak, hide, spoof, or otherwise obscure the URL of your site containing Special Links (including by use of a redirecting page) such that we cannot reasonably determine the site from which a customer clicks through such Special Link to the Amazon Site.” -Amazon Affiliates Program Participation Requirements, #30
“In addition, you must not use a link shortening service in a manner that makes it unclear that you are linking to an Amazon Site.” -Amazon Associates Program Linking Requirements (middle of 2nd paragraph)
I have been (unknowingly) guilty of doing this in the past. It wasn’t until I recently reviewed Amazon’s Participation Requirements that I realized I was violating it! Either use the full (ugly) URL or use the “Share on Facebook” or “Share on Twitter” options within the Affiliate Site Stripe.
*Update: If you use the link shortener through Amazon itself (available by searching for individual products on Amazon’s affiliate homepage), these shortened links are permitted.
2. Including links in eBooks, e-mails or PDF documents:
“You will not engage in any promotional, marketing, or other advertising activities on behalf of us or our affiliates, or in connection with the Amazon Site or the Program, that are not expressly permitted under the Operating Agreement. For example, you will not engage in any promotional, marketing, or other advertising activities in any offline manner, including by using any of our or our affiliates’ trademarks or logos (including any Amazon Mark), any Content, or any Special Link in connection with an offline promotion or in any other offline manner (e.g., in any printed material, mailing, email or attachment to email, or other document, or any oral solicitation).” -Amazon Affiliates Program Participation Requirements, #6
See what I mean? It doesn’t say you can and it doesn’t say you can’t. In my near panic, I abruptly e-mailed Amazon to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth and this was their response:
“You should not place an Amazon Affiliate link within your book. However, you may add the link to your website within the content of your book.”
“You will not purchase any Product(s) through Special Links for use by you or for resale or commercial use of any kind. Similarly, you will not request or encourage any of your friends, relatives, or associates to purchase any Product(s) through Special Links for use by you or them or for resale or commercial use of any kind. Further, you will not offer any Products on your site for resale or commercial use of any kind.” -Amazon Associates Program Participation Requirements, #29