On August 1, 2013, Amazon updated the terms of its Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement, which applies to you, if you are an Amazon affiliate. If you haven’t checked the terms of the Program in a while, now is a good time for a quick Blog Health Checkup. This article goes through a few terms that are essential to maintaining your status as an Amazon affiliate.
BLOGGY LAW BLOG HEALTH TIP: If you participate in any affiliate program, whether it’s through Amazon Associates, Shareasale, Commission Junction, or through a company’s direct affiliate program, you need to read the terms of the program before you start stuffing your site with links.
From time to time after your initial review at signup, make sure to check in to see if there have been any updates to the program terms to make sure you are still in compliance.
Set an alert on your calendar to remember this important part of participating in an affiliate program.
Here are a few key terms you may have forgotten or that Amazon recently updated:
- Amazon REQUIRES that you include the following statement verbatim on your site: “[Insert your name] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to [insert the applicable site name (amazon.com, amazonsupply.com, or myhabit.com)].”
If you haven’t already, copy and paste the statement from the Agreement straight into your disclosure policy.
- Amazon PROHIBITS the use of affiliate links on or in connection with (a) any client-side software application; (b) any site intended for use with a mobile phone, tablet, or other handheld device; or (c) any television set-top box.
Some of you have asked about – and been concerned with – the prohibition on links used in connection with sites intended for use with a mobile device. I spoke with Amazon and Amazon advised that as long as your blog or website is not meant to be solely consumed on a mobile device, you are okay. So, if you use a WordPress theme “optimized for mobile,” for example, you may still use Amazon affiliate links on your blog.
- You CANNOT request or encourage your friends, relatives, or associates to purchase products that you link to on your site for your use, their use, or resale or commercial use.
The language of this term suggests that you can’t try to bribe Grandma to purchase your kids’ holiday gifts through your affiliate links in your Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Preschoolers post.
- Amazon has to be able to “reasonably determine” that a customer has clicked through your affiliate link from your approved site.
Do not “cloak, hide, spoof, or otherwise obscure” your blog’s or site’s URL – even by using a redirect page, a cloaking plugin, or a link shortening service (like bit.ly) to hide your site’s URL.
How did you do?
If you need to make some changes to your site, do it now. Make sure to read the entire Operating Agreement, which includes the Participation Requirements document, the Amazon Associates Advertising Fee Schedule, the Associates Program Linking Requirements, and other documents and guidelines.
Do you have a specific affiliate dilemma? Share it in the comments or e-mail us at bloggylawyer [at] gmail [dot] com and we might address it in an upcoming article or in our weekly series, What’s The Deal.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be a general resource only and is not intended to be nor does it constitute legal advice. Any recommendations are based on personal, not professional, opinion only. For information on how to use this site, please read our Disclaimers and FAQ pages.