Want to start making money with Amazon through affiliate marketing and wondering if Amazon’s affiliate program is worth it to join or not?
I’m glad that you came in here, as many people just start their building their affiliate business relying completely on Amazon Associates without planning for the time ahead and without taking into consideration the risks associated with this program that might cause them lose their income overnight.
Bear with me and I will tell you whether it’s worth it or not to join Amazon’s affiliate program, and what to do in case that you want a more stable and sustainable online affiliate marketing business.
Is Amazon Affiliate Worth it?
No, Amazon Affiliate Program is not worth it anymore due to its very low commissions and the fact that they keep cutting their commissions.
Building an affiliate marketing business where you completely rely on amazon is a highly risky and not recommended approach, for the reasons that you will see in the next section.
Reasons Amazon Affiliate Program Is Not Worth it Anymore?
1 – Low Affiliate Commission Rates & Short Cookie Duration
Amazon’s affiliate program has always had a structure that offers very low commission rates on most of the categories, typically between 1%-10% based on the category, and sometimes even 0% for some categories and products.
And this is understandable as most of the products sold on the Amazon marketplace are physical products where the margins are already slim, unlike it is with digital products where you .
Add to that the fact that Amazon is always trying to offer products at very low prices in order to dominate the market, which leads to even lower margins, and thus, lower commissions.
Add to this, that the cookie duration for Amazon’s affiliate links is only 24 hours, which means that if someone clicks on your Amazon’s affiliate link now, and they don’t buy anything directly, but they buy after 25 hours or after two days for example, you don’t get the commission.
While some other affiliate programs offer longer cookie duration times like Etsy’s affiliate program that comes with a 30-day cookie duration.
2 – Continuous Aggressive Changes to The Commission Rates
This is not new.
Amazon has always been cutting their commission rates very aggressively, and sometimes, in half or even more.
Worst of all, is that this happens all of a sudden where they send a very “innocent” email message to their affiliates telling them of the “minor” changes that would cut their Amazon affiliate income in half or even more!
And recently, during the pandemic at 2020, Amazon has even cut their commissions even more than the half as detailed in this article.
For example, Amazon’s affiliate program has cut the commission rates for the furniture and home improvement products from 8% to 3% and for grocery products from 5% to just 1%!
This has led to a lot of frustration among Amazon associates around the world that the company they have always helped to grow, is now cutting their income without a real justification, although Amazon’s business have even boomed more during the pandemic.
This reason alone had led many of Amazon’s associates to re-think the viability of Amazon’s affiliate program and decided that it is not worth it to promote Amazon’s products and services as affiliates anymore.
3 – The Risk of Losing Your Income Overnight in Case of Stopping The Amazon Associates Program
As seen from the continuous changes on the commission rate structure, it seems that Amazon is slowly phasing out their affiliate program and will discontinue it sometime in the future.
This makes sense to consider that Amazon Associates program is not worth it to rely on it in generating affiliate income.
4 – No Promising Future for Amazon Affiliate Sites & Google Updates
However, many other training programs teach you to build your affiliate site in away that is designed only to promote products that are sold on Amazon’s marketplace, which are known Amazon Affiliate Sites.
And these come with two main risks:
- If you build your whole affiliate site based on Amazon affiliate links, you might lose your income overnight when Amazon close their affiliate program.
- The method of building Amazon affiliate sites relys sometimes on creating affiliate sites that don’t offer much of useful content to the user, and Google doesn’t like this kind of websites, which might put your Amazon affiliate business at the risk of losing a big part of your income if your site gets hit by some Google algorithm updates that would favor other sites with more helpful content over yours.
5 – You Are Missing Out on The Big Affiliate Opportunities Outside Amazon
The world have changed, and there are very big affiliate opportunities that now make Amazon’s affiliate program not worth wasting the time on it.
One of the main reasons why Amazon’s associates program is popular among the affiliate marketers is that it’s one of the oldest affiliate programs out there and it was worth it to build your online business around it, especially that it was easier to get traffic through seo to your website, compared to what it’s toady.
However, during the past twenty years, many other affiliate programs have arisen, and many of them offer higher commission rates on similar or even on the same products that are sold through Amazon.
And even better, there are many affiliate programs, like it is with products listed on ClickBank, that give you commissions that are as high as 50%-75% from price of digital products they sell, and sometimes, this comes in the form of recurring monthly membership fees.
Add to that the commissions offered on lead generation where you get a bounty commission of $20-$50 or even more for referring a prospect (not necessarily a client) to a company or service provider such as a contracting company, a credit card provider, a lawyer, …etc.
Add to that many affiliate programs for selling web hosting and other online services and products like website themes that pay a bount of $50-$100 or more for every sale that you bring.
3 Cases When Amazon Associates Can Be Worth it
Amazon Associates program is still out there, and although it’s very likely to go away some day in the near future, and I still don’t recommend that you completely rely on it when building your affiliate business, but it still might be worth using in order to make some income in some cases, as part of a complete strategy.
Here are some examples where making money with Amazon’s Affiliate Program might still be worth it to make money with:
- If you have a website in a certain niche, and you have a product in mind that you want to promote to your audience, but it is not available to promote through other affiliate programs, then you might consider recommending your audience to buy it through Amazon through your affiliate link.
- If you know that a certain physical product might be purchased in some or many countries all over the world, and you couldn’t find an affiliate program for a vendor that sells to those countries, then you might consider promoting the product through Amazon Associates program since Amazon ships to almost all countries.
- If you know that promoting a certain product have a high possibility of leading people to buy other products during the same checkout process, then you might consider Amazon because if someone clicks on your link to buy a pressure cooker for example, and end up buying it through your Amazon links within the same 24 hours along with other products, you get a commission on everything they purchased along with that cooker.
Best Amazon Affiliate Program Alternatives
There are many better affiliate opportunities outside Amazon’s Affiliate program, which is not worth it anymore to build your complete online affiliate business around it, as we have explored above.
Here are six great alternatives to Amazon’s Affiliate Program (Amazon Associates) to start exploring:
1 – Self Hosted (In-House) Affiliate Programs
Many of the products that are sold inside Amazon’s marketplace are also sold on the vendors’ websites directly, and many of these companies have an in-house, self hosted affiliate program.
You can find that program through a simple Google search like typing in Google the name of the brand/company + affiliate program, like in the following example.
In case that you don’t have a certain brand in mind, then you might type in the name of the niche or product + affiliate program, like in the following screenshot, and Google will fetch to you many affiliate programs that offer the products you want to promote.
Note that this could work for physical products, or even digital products like online courses or software programs for example.
2 – Target, eBay & Others
Target, and many other online marketplaces such as eBay, Walmart and others might be good alternatives to Amazon Associates that are worth exploring.
These marketplaces sell a wide range of products to numerous countries, and they seem to have a more stable and consistent commission structure than Amazon’s affiliate program.
3 – ShareASale
ShareASale is an affiliate marketing network that connects you with thousands of companies that have their affiliate programs managed by this network.
You can find affiliate programs for companies in different industries such as: automotive, electronics, business, sports, …etc.
Some of these programs pay you for bringing sales, and some pay you for generating leads for businesses.
4 – CJ
Commission Junction (CJ) is another affiliate network that manages affiliate programs for thousands of merchants in different categories.
In addition to offering affiliate programs for companies that sell physical products and lead generation affiliate programs, CJ also offers affiliate programs for companies that sell software programs and online services like web hosting for example.
5 – ClickBank
ClickBank is the biggest, and probably the oldest marketplace for selling digital products such as video courses, ebooks, and membership programs.
While many products on ClickBank are old and sometimes, outdated, but still, there are many new and quality products in almost all categories that are being added on daily basis.
What is nice is that many of these products’ vendors are willing to pay you a commission of 50% or even 75% of the product price, and some of them even pay you a commission on the upsells.
Add to that the fact that the cookie duration for almost all of the products listed on the ClickBank marketplace is 60 days, which is much better than the 24 hours offered by Amazon’s affiliate program.
6 – MaxBounty
MaxBounty is an affiliate network that offers lots of CPA (cost per action) affiliate opportunities in different industries and in different types.
For example, some offers on MaxBounty might pay you a commission for bringing referrals to download a certain toolbar, try a software, submit a form, and so on, without having the referral buy anything or pay any money.
And some offers there pay you if someone buys a physical product or software.
This is also a worthy alternative to Amazon’s affiliate program to explore.
So, these were six great alternatives to the Amazon affiliate program that is not worth it to build your entire business around it anymore.
You can check out my article about the different ways to find affiliate programs where you will find out about a free tool that you can use now, which will save you the time by fetching different affiliate programs for you from different networks based on the category or niche you work on.
(Free Tool Available at Wealthy Affiliate)
Conclusion & Your Next Step
Amazon Affiliate Program (Amazon Associates) is not worth building a complete online business around it.
If you want to utilize it in order to generate income online, then you can do that in few cases such as the three cases mentioned above.
However, affiliate marketing is still worth it and profitable in this year and in the years to come.
But if you want to build a strong, stable and sustainable affiliate marketing business that makes you good money on the long run, then you better build it in a way that allows you to utilize other affiliate programs that would give you more opportunities, like the ones mentioned in the previous section.
And in order to build such kind of affiliate marketing business, you need to forget about the outdated methods and training courses that teach you how to build an Amazon affiliate site that is designed to primarily promote Amazon products.
For this to happen, you need to learn the affiliate marketing steps the right way, from a proper training that will teach you how to do affiliate marketing in the years to come and leverage the different kinds of affiliate marketing offers outside Amazon’s affiliate program, just like I personally do.
One place that offers you all the training, tools and help that you need at one place, is the same place where I learned affiliate marketing properly.
This place is called Wealthy Affiliate, and you can learn about it in my Wealthy Affiliate Review here.
This place will teach you how to build an affiliate marketing business that is not fully dependent on Amazon Associates program, which is not worth the effort and time anymore.
In addition to the training, tools and support they provide, they will also provide you with the high quality web hosting for up to 10 websites.
So, if you are interested in learning more about this platform, check out this review of Wealthy Affiliate and see how you can try it for free starting now.
And if you have any question, or if you have a different opinion and you don’t agree that Amazon’s affiliate program is not worth it anymore, please, tell me in the comments’ section below and I will be happy to answer you asap 🙂