Amazon Affiliate Program: Update
Amazon Associates is the world’s largest affiliate program so when Amazon makes changes, you can be that we pay attention. In this article, we’ll be going over some of the latest updates from the Amazon affiliate program and how they could affect your existing businesses or websites.
The Big Change: No More Short Links?
The big shocker came from a recent change in the Amazon Associates policy change which loosely worded that Amazon will be paying special attention and perhaps voiding affiliate sales through shortened links.
It’s difficult to decipher exactly what they mean by shortened links as Amazon has a built in link shortener when sharing on social media services like Twitter but speculations point toward instances where marketers have been abusing Amazon links using services like Bit.ly or TinyURL through email marketing, fake blogs, and other unethical methods.
Amazon has always stood a strong stance on misrepresentation of products being sold on Amazon so this change isn’t entirely out of the blue; false representation through emails have always been a problem for Amazon and the introduction of short links have allowed scammers to bypass many of these exploits to the Amazon policy.
One major question that needs to be addressed is the instance that you’re using your own website shortening service for tracking and convenience (such as yourwebsite.com/coolproduct).
It’s unclear what Amazon will do, at this time, to those that currently use shortened links for their Amazon promotions but this writer thinks it’s aimed toward those that may be auto generating product feeds on scraper blogs (since we’ve seen Google punish these types of websites, hard, in the past).
The Minor Changes: API’s, Deals, and MyHabit Cookies
Of the other major announcements to the Amazon Associates program, we’ve got some interesting news for those using the API to run data feed websites and those that want to offer up hot deals to their visitors to Amazon or MyHabits (a membership only, brand-centric sub-section of Amazon.com).
Firstly, the older version of the Amazon Associates API will coming to an end and will need to be fully changed over to their new WSDL as of Feb 21st, 2012. There isn’t much to report here other than the fact that it helps streamline the data feed for better information and experience for your visitors; it’s mostly to help weed out the problems built in the last revision of the API.
Secondly, Amazon has really seemed to focus tightly on recent events and deals for their affiliate partners considering the most recent holidays and major events such as the Oscars. Amazon regularly updates their Associates Blog with promotion worthy items and has also rolled out a Promotions Hub which compiles recent trends and hot products based on different categories that fit each type of websites out there on the web.
Finally, those Associates that promote products on MyHabit will see a nice change to the program. Amazon has extended the cookie length from 24 hours to 30 days which gives people, promoting the products and service, a great window of opportunity to earn sales compared to the normal 24 hour limit imposed on the regular website.
The old saying goes “no news is good news”; with an affiliate program this large, it’s often less stressful to see things stay the same rather than drastically change that forces us to change our business models overnight. Amazon has rolled out some interesting new features and requirements but things should continue to operate as they have in the past.
The only exception is to begin paying closer attention to your shortened links; if you begin to see a significant drop in earnings than it may be possible that Amazon has placed a different requirement for their links which, at that point, you’ll need to make the changes.
Overall, it’s good to play it safe, keep up to date on this information, and make the accurate changes to future-proof yourself; that’s it for now, stay tuned in the future for new Amazon Affiliate updates!