24 Oct

Top 7 Reasons Why Your Amazon Associate Account Might Be Closed – How to Avoid

A couple weeks ago I shared my story about my Amazon Affiliate Account getting closed and costing me a painful $100k! Read the full story here – Amazon Associate Account Closed!

After that post and sharing the very detailed affiliate site compliance audit procedure one of my employees had developed we completed audits on many readers sites (ironically the audit procedure was completed the same week I got suspended!). Building Amazon Affiliate Sites was/is a big part of my business and getting back into their program and staying approved once I am in is a high priority for me.

This post and additional research has led us to create this list of the 7 most common mistakes we are all making with our Amazon Affiliate sites that could lead to our accounts getting suspended or closed!

 

Concerned About Your Sites and If You are Compliant with Amazon?

Option 1 – Use my teams procedure and audit your site for free – Click Here

Option 2 – Have my team complete a site audit on one of your sites – Click Here

 

In this post we have tried to stay on the conservative side, however, I fully realize people may choose to dial up the risk in order to generate more clicks/sales. I understand the need to try and find the right balance between risk/reward and in this post have tried to present the “ideal” scenario.

Now that we’ve had the Amazon audit process up and running for a little while, we are able to analyze the data and see the biggest problems with our sites and the sites we have reviewed. I hope this post provides you with 7 actionable items to consider regarding your sites and Amazon Associates…

See below for the 7 most frequently failed Amazon Audit questions…that could result in your associate account being suspended.

 

  1. The first and most common issue the first question – It reads “Are there any affiliate disclaimer links that do not include this disclaimer “Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.” ?”

Your Amazon Affiliate Account can get shut down pretty fast if they think you’re violating their Trademark and Logo policy. The tricky thing with Amazon is that they actually own the rights to other Trademarks and logos such as Kindle. They are also very vigilant about Amazon logo colors and design schemes and will shut you down if you attempt to alter them in any way.

The disclaimer link on your site is going to look something like this:

1-amazon-associate-disclaimer

This question comes from probably the most clear requirement on the Amazon Affiliate Program Trademark Guidelines. You can find them here, or see the snapshot below.

2-amazon-associate-toc

So basically if you have anything that looks like this on your site:

3-amazon-logos

*Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates

Which you probably will since it’s an Amazon Affiliate site- then amazon could shut you down if you don’t add in that disclaimer.

  • TIP – Most people have the earnings disclaimer on their site but people (myself included) seem to miss having the trademark disclaimer
  • TIP – Although it looks ugly if you want to be on the very safe side include Amazon Associates Earnings and the logo disclaimer in the footer so it is on every page!

 

  1. The second most common issue is the following question “Does the site offer incentive (including any money, rebate, discount, points, donation to charity or other organization) for using Affiliate Links on the site?”.

We have been finding that a lot of the sites that we have audited provide incentives, especially in the form of money rebates for using their link. Most of the offers we found were clearly only to incentivize the click and had no substance to people looking to claim the “rebate” or “save addition x%”.

The clean and simple rule around this – DON’T do it! Incentivizing people to click on a link to Amazon is a slippery slope! It’s a very easy way to get your account in trouble with Amazon. Including text like “ Click here to get 10 dollars off this product” are no good.

See images of what NOT to do (not images from any sites we have reviewed):

4-dont-use-rebates

 

  1. The third most common issue that people have with their sites is the following question “ Are there any links on the site that are related to limited time promotions that are now expired?” .

Here is the general rule of thumb – Just don’t include pricing on your site at all. Comparison tables are great but don’t include the price on your site because Amazon products change their price all the time. Including an old promotion price without realizing that the promotion has expired could also be seen as “inaccurate or misleading advertising” which will also get your account shut down.

Example: You still have this on your site on September 20th

5-dont-be-out-of-date

The Amazon Affiliate Bootcamp guys  (go here for a really great step by step guide to having a successful Amazon Affiliate Website ) show a really good strategy where you can allude to pricing without actually putting a price down.

6-be-careful-with-stars

 

  1. The fourth most common issue with Amazon Affiliate sites is the question “Are any links on the site using a shortening service in a manner that makes it unclear that we are linking to an Amazon Site?”.

A lot of people do this! I’ve done it. Basically, Amazon doesn’t want you to make it unclear that you are sending a user to Amazon so they have words in their TOC’s that make it questionable to use link shortening/cloaking services.

So can you use PrettyLinkPro or Geni.us Link? The truth is it is not 100% clear! Many many people do and Amazon knows that so it is likely lower risk but still not 100% compliant with Amazon. 

 

  1. The fifth most common issue with Amazon Affiliate sites is the question “Does the site engage in any promotional, marketing such as printed material, mailing, SMS, MMS, email or attachment to email, advertising activities on behalf of Amazon or their affiliate sites?”.

This one gets a lot of people because it is very easy for Amazon to check! It is tricky because this essentially makes it impossible to do any kind of email marketing with a link in it.

Even if you are emailing just one friend be sure to not include a link in that email.

One solution if you want to make money from Amazon Associates from your email list is to funnel them through a squeeze page (for example a review post for the product on your site).

7-dont-have-links-in-email

  • TIP – If you send out the content of your post in an email newsletter automatically make sure links are turned off just in case you have an affiliate link in the first paragraph of the article.

 

  1. The sixth most common issue with Amazon Affiliate sites is the question “Does the site display or otherwise use any of Amazon’s customer reviews or star ratings, in part or in whole?”.

This is something we see A LOT (and did a lot!).

We see a lot of people using reviews as testimonials, which makes a lot of sense since it gives pretty true and accurate reviews on a particular product. It also seems tempting because it can add really valuable content to your site which helps your reader.

Another thing that people really like to do is use “Star Ratings’. Using star ratings on your site that look like Amazons can be perceived by Amazon as using “their” star ratings and yet another way to get your account closed.

The key if you are using any star ratings (or reviews) is to use the API from Amazon and not just pull the star rating at one moment in time.

You shouldn’t display anything that looks like this (unless it is pulled from the API) to be safe:
8-be-extra-careful-with-stars

 

  1. The seventh and last most common issue is the question “Are any amazon Affiliate Links shared on other social platforms/networks such as Twitter or Facebook?”.

This is a tough one because there are some instances where you CAN share your links on social pages and some where you cannot. Personally, I recommend just to stay away from all of it.

If you really want to do it, I would go here to learn more about what is acceptable and what isn’t in terms of social sharing.

 

BONUS TIP

Don’t associate yourself with anyone who has had their account banned. If you associate yourself with someone who has had their account banned it can result in you becoming banned. This is what got me in trouble!

 

Concerned About Your Sites and If You are Compliant with Amazon?

Option 1 – Use my teams procedure and audit your site for free – Click Here

Option 2 – Have my team complete a site audit on one of your sites – Click Here

 

This post was written to provide you with some tips and knowledge about the most common Amazon Affiliate site compliance offenses. Have a look at your site and see if you’re in violation of any of these! If you have any questions feel free to reach out!

 

Source: affiliate4

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