How to Make Money with the Amazon Associates Program

Did you know that Amazon started out as a small online book retailer in 1996? It was run from Jeffo Bezo’s garage.

Amazon AssociatesLike most small businesses, Amazon decided to tap into the readers’ love of books to help spread their brand and message.  Instead of spending a fortune on marketing, Amazon paid people a commission when they referred a customer who bought a book from Amazon.  Once the customer bought a book, the referrer got paid their commission.

The Amazon Associates Program was launched in 1998 and changed the face of earning money online.  Starting out the only way of earning a high income was through selling a lot of books – but it was the start of something exciting.

Amazon is now one of the biggest retailers in the world and offers an extensive list of products for you to choose to promote.  Whatever your niche, Amazon will have something that fits the bill.

Whilst it has a low commission rate (4%-8.5%) compared to others out there, it’s extensive library of products makes it very easy to find products to promote and a high customer base that trust Amazon (proven in how many people buy off Amazon).

Like any home-based business that aims to make money online, earning a genuine income with Amazon requires research, time and effort and knowledge around online marketing.

I’ll break down the pros and cons of the Amazon Associates program, as well as some tips for making the most of it too.

Pros of Becoming an Amazon Affiliate

There are several great reasons to join Amazon Associates program, including:

  • Amazon is one of the biggest selling platforms out there reaching a large customer basePros of Amazon Associates
  • Its brand is well-known and trusted
  • There are no thresholds to be accepted into the program (minimum traffic figures, etc.)
  • There is a large catalogue of products you can choose from to promote
  • Amazons suite of tools to help you sell specific items is great
  • It has a good reporting system allowing you to track your progress, see what is selling and getting clicked on
  • You can receive direct deposit payments into your bank account
  • Amazon offers good customer service to its buyers, reducing the risk of having your visitors get annoyed at you if there is a problem.
  • Even if your visitor doesn’t buy the product you referred but buy something else you still earn a commission.

Cons of the Amazon Associates Program

Nothing is ever perfect, including the Amazon affiliate program. Here are a few downsides:

  • The commission rate is low compared to other affiliate programs. If you sell 6 or fewer items a month, your rate is 4%. You can earn up to 8.5%, but that’s achieved by selling more than 3,131 products.
  • Cons of Amazon AssociatesTheir cookies only last 24-hours. (A cookie is the thing that shows you were the one who introduced that buyer). That means if your referral doesn’t buy within 24 hours, you won’t get credit. (However, if the product is added to their cart, the cookie lasts 90 days.)
  • You’re not allowed to send Amazon affiliate links in emails. That includes blog posts that get sent as an email. Since email is an excellent way to send great offers to your readers, this rule is a bit disappointing.
  • If you have a U.S. site and are promoting products in the Amazon U.S. store, you won’t get credit for referring someone who ends up buying the product from outside the country (i.e. Amazon UK).  You would need a separate account for both the US & UK and promote both options to your readers.
  • Payment options are only through direct deposit, check, or Amazon gift card. There is no PayPal option.
  • Minimum pay-out is $100, which isn’t that much if you make lots of sales, but a lot of you’re only earning a few dollars a month.

Getting Set Up as an Amazon Affiliate

Amazon Associates Sign in

Getting started with the Amazon Associates program is free and easy. Here’s how:

  • Signing up by visiting Amazon and filling in the relevant forms
  • Check Out the Rules – for example, it is against the Amazon Associates policy to include Amazon affiliate links in an email.
  • Determine the product(s) you want to promote.  This is easy by searching like you would if you looking to buy a product.
  • Choose how you are going to promote the products – best way is with a niche website that includes helpful content and product reviews (with your affiliate links included).
  • Build Traffic – You need traffic to benefit from any affiliate marketing campaign.  A large steady stream of traffic will increase the revenue opportunity.

Getting the Best Out of Your Affiliate Business

Having been in the affiliate marketing business for a couple of years now, I must point out that there are some key things to consider before just deciding to sign up to an affiliate program and thinking it will become an overnight success.  Amazon is a great partner to have in any affiliate marketing business, but there are some key tips I would like to share to point you in the right direction and ultimately succeed.

  1. An Affiliate Marketing Business will benefit massively from having a website and not just a blog.  It is the foundation of your online business and allows you to build up a base of trust with your future readers.
  2. Competition is high, so choose a niche that you can really get behind and focus on – this will allow you to build up an authority business in a niche you know a lot about.  The readers need to trust that you are there to help them, this will in turn mean they are more likely to follow your recommendations.
  3. Keep it Relevant, if you have chosen the ‘Lose Belly Fat’ niche (a profitable niche), then keep it relevant to that.  The readers want to lose belly fat and want to find a website that helps them with ways to do this.  If you started writing about products that do not relate to this, then it will have a bad effect on your traffic.
  4. Help the Readers.  Helping the readers with problems in your niche, helpful guides, how-to guides.  Helping will be more profitable than selling, trust me.
  5. Choose Products Carefully. Don’t just go for the high-end ticket product due to it being a higher commission rate.  Only promote products you would buy or have already bought.  Choosing the right product will build creditability, choosing the wrong one will turn the readers off.

Maximising Your Sales with Amazon Associates

There are some great ideas for posts you could write to maximise your sales:

  1. Write content for your blog or website about a product available on Amazon.  People are increasingly looking to the web to research a product before buying one.  Keep the product choices relevant to your blog and write an article about it. If your blog is about photography, link to cameras and other photography equipment.
  2. Write Reviews of New Products.  If it is new, people will want to learn more about it before investing in it, write a review about it.
  3. Write about Best-Sellers. You can use the best-sellers list on Amazon, once you have an affiliate sales history you can check your states as to what is a best seller in your niche.
  4. Promote Sales & Special Offers.  Keep an eye out for Amazon special offers (such as black Friday) and promote those products that are relevant to your audience.
  5. Write about or promote related products.  Back to the photography website, it may be about cameras – you could explore related products like camera cases, bags, etc.

Affiliate Marketing is a great way of earning money online and working from home.  But it does take more time and effort than most people realise. Some will start a website, put a load of affiliate links on it and wonder why it isn’t actually working.  There are real people searching online and finding these pages and all they want is help:

  • Help to Understand the Product
  • Which Product is the Best?
  • What Other Options Are There?
  • Which is the Right Product for Them?

Ultimately, the main reason why affiliate marketers do fail, is because they try and rush it and do not treat it like a business.

If you are able to build an online business that helps the reader, providing information and resources that meets their needs and has effective product reviews (based on your experiences) you will find Affiliate Marketing Works.  Amazon is a great partner to work with, but they only provide the tools – You need to put the time and effort into it to make it work.

If you are new to Affiliate Marketing or are struggling to get your Affiliate Marketing Business off the starting blocks then I may know where you can get right help and support.

Getting the right help and support is integral to building up a profitable Affiliate Marketing Business – Wealthy Affiliate is our No.1 Recommended Product and helped me build an online business when I knew nothing about affiliate marketing or an online business.  Read the review and make up your own mind on whether it can help you, but I have to say it was the best thing I could have found when I was looking for ways to earn money online.

If you have any questions about Amazon Associates, or anything else to do with Affiliate Marketing then please leave me a comment below.  I will definitely come back to you with an answer.

Thanks for checking out my post.

12 thoughts on “How to Make Money with the Amazon Associates Program”

  1. I was pretty sceptical about the Amazon associates program before I signed up because of the low commission rates and also because I’ve heard that you can get “kicked out” of the system if you are not able to make sales within a certain period of time. But after all, I signed up and am now promoting their products. I think being an amazon affiliate does have many benefits as people mostly tend to buy their products on amazon rather than anywhere else. Thanks for sharing this informative article.

    • Hi Ruya,

      thanks for taking the time to check out my post and leave a comment!

      The low commission rates do tend to put people off, but if you have the right traffic levels, you will benefit highly due to Amazon having a high trust factor.  You are right, if you do not have any qualifying sales you can get taken off the program, but a) it shows they entered the program too soon and b) you can reapply almost immediately.

      There are many benefits to being an Amazon Associate, and the low commissions shouldn’t put anyone off.

      i am glad you took the plunge with Amazon and wish you luck in your online business

      All the Best


  2. Wow great info. I signed up to be an Amazon Affiliate when starting my blog. They do allow  6 months to make some sale to stay in the program. I didn’t do much research on the program beside signing up. After reading your article, I have learned quite a bit. Working toward making some sale before my 6 months up. Thanks for the tips!

    • Hiya,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving comments!

      You are welcome, I am here to help anyone learn and get started with Affiliate Marketing (the right way). Amazon is a great starting point for many affiliate marketers, the 6 months is a generous timeline to get a couple of sales under your belt to stay in the program.  But people shouldn’t be put off by this, as if you are not able to achieve this just reapply.

      It also depends on where you are, Amazon US will typically follow this and take you off after 6 months, but Amazon UK or EU do not tend to be as strict.  But this tends to be that the main Amazon US gets a lot more people applying to its program that over here in the UK.

      If you ever need any help with Affiliate Marketing, please get in touch.  I am here to help



  3. I just love the program and I have quite a bit of products ported into my site.  I’m only 2 months into this so I haven’t a sale yet.

    I have one question.  I have been trying to get an Amazon Product API, but keep getting turned down because I don’t have a business justification they call it.   Would you even know what that is because they won’t even tell me.

    • Hey Stew,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.  An Amazon API is typically used for an e-commerce site. You use the API so that a customer would order something off of that site and Amazon would fulfil the order.

      A Business Justification “A business justification is a written document. Its intent is to describe a proposed or existing business or venture. This document is used for a variety of purposes. It can be included in a business plan to be presented to a financial institution as part of a loan application.”

      This post is about the Business Justification

      I suggest you read this article, it is on Amazon and explains the API a little more.

      hope that helps


  4. Thanks for the great tips. I didn’t know about the rule against links in emails. But I’m just starting out. I will be needing all the tips and tricks I can get to maximize my earnings. I’m excited about using this program because of the diverse range of products, I should be able to find just about anything I want to promote that fits my niche. 

    • Hi Anna,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.  I appreciate your thoughts, Amazon is a great partner for many new affiliate marketers.  It is really easy to use, They also have a wordpress plugin that can be utilised to add them to your website.

      Thanks again


  5. Very cool history lesson on the foundation of one of thee biggest companies out there today! I really knew none of this but am glad that I do now, it is very inspirational. I was disappointing to find that Amazon does not support PayPal, but I suppose they are competition.

    Amazon also gives you credit for any other items a potential customer buys, which is pretty cool so you could be earning slightly more than you expect on some sales which is a definite bonus. The percentage they offer is quite low, but I definitely think that if you stick it out and build out a quality site that the money will come.

    • Hey Renton,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.

      It is a bit of a wrench that they do not support PayPal, but their ideal outcome is you take amazon giftcards (so they end up earning from you in a big circle).

      People do seem to think the commission is low, but if you get your website and content right it is the volume of sales that Amazon can help with.  A smaller retailer might offer a bigger commission but if encourage one sale it can relate to a higher number of sales with Amazon.  There are also better commission rates if you sell more.

      thanks again


  6. The Amazon affiliate program was one of the first affiliate programs I promoted on my website and still do 4 years later. I feel they are very friendly to new websites. 

    Although the commissions are a little low it’s still a great avenue to earn some money online. If you have an affiliate website I feel Amazon is an honest and trustworthy company to work with.

    I make money from 4 different affiliate programs on my website and Amazon is one of them. Thank you for sharing I think a lot of people overlook Amazon when searching for affiliate programs for their website.

    Best Wishes


    • Hi Jason,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.

      It is surprising that people overlook Amazon, but it normally has to do with people believing it is too competitive, but that is far from the truth.  They are a great partner for newbies and experience marketers alike with a vast number of products to choose from which will support almost all niches.

      I am also glad that you have found the right path for Affiliate Marketing and are doing well.




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