Blog Health Checkup: Amazon Affiliate Program Terms Update

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.

Bloggy-Law-Explains-How-To-Comply-With-Amazon-Affiliate-Terms

 

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 Associates Program Operating Agreement

  • 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.

  • Your site MUST include an easy to locate written policy (e.g., a disclosure or privacy policy) stating clearly to your audience “how you collect, use, store, and disclose data collected from visitors, including, where applicable, that third parties (including [Amazon] and other advertisers) may serve content and advertisements, collect information directly from [your readers], and place or recognize cookies on [your readers’] browsers.”

Again, add this information in understandable language to your disclosure policy and/or privacy policy.

Amazon Associates Program Participation Requirements

  • 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.

Comments

  1. I have noticed a bunch of updates coming in! off to re-read! great post!!!

  2. This is very helpful. I know we can’t tell people to use our links for Amazon exactly. But I am wanting to do a post about Affiliate marketing as a lot of non-bloggers have no idea how this how thing works. If I were to state that I get a commission off of Amazon when they make a purchase, do you think this would violate the terms?

    Thanks!

    • Crystal – do you mean you want to write a post to your readers only to introduce the fact that you use Amazon affiliate links? I think if you are making a disclosure so that your readers know you’re using affiliate links (e.g., in your regular posts that contain links and/or in your site’s disclosure policy), it should be fine. What Amazon prohibits is in Paragraph 10 of the Operating Agreement, which I’ve copied and pasted below. This paragraph seems to suggest that a blog post announcing that you are an Amazon Associate may not be appropriate depending on how it’s worded. Perhaps consider that the mandatory language may be sufficient by itself.

      10. Identifying Yourself as an Associate

      You will not issue any press release or make any other public communication with respect to this Operating Agreement, your use of the Content, or your participation in the Program. You will not misrepresent or embellish the relationship between us and you (including by expressing or implying that we support, sponsor, endorse, or contribute to any charity or other cause), or express or imply any relationship or affiliation between us and you or any other person or entity except as expressly permitted by this Operating Agreement. You must, however, clearly state the following 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)].”

  3. Thank you for this post. I am so glad I am doing it correctly!

  4. Excellent! Thanks Chrissy. This has great information!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Ama­zon changed their affil­i­ate pol­icy as of August 1st (did you guys know this!?) — here’s how to update your own blog pol­icy to make sure you ain’t breakin’ any rules! ( I updated mine […]