Using affiliate links to sell your own products on Amazon

When asked by an Amazon seller, this question consists of two questions.

1. Is it within Amazon ToS in the Amazon Associates program to sell my own product through an Amazon affiliate link?

2. Is it within Amazon ToS for an Amazon Professional seller to sell my own product through an Amazon affiliate link?

Is It Okay to Use Amazon Affiliate Links to Sell Your Own Product?

There are two sets of terms that must be met.

This is where the “blinking” Amazon seller has made a mistake in the past and hence created the myth that “you cannot use Amazon affiliate links when promoting your own product”.

* If you are an Amazon Vendor selling products to Amazon, you are again under a different set of Terms of Service which may contain suggestive language that Amazon expects you to advertise outside of the Amazon platform and RECOMMEND that you that you will not be able to ask for a reward for this promotion via Amazon affiliate links.

Again, this could contribute to the myth.

There are numerous public examples of people who are both an Amazon seller and an Amazon Associate (affiliate). Selling their products on Amazon and getting a commission for forwarding traffic to Amazon.

And YES, you earn the commissions for selling your own products and other products that the user is shopping for during that session.

A few high-profile public examples:

Spencer Haws, Niche Pursuit – Niche Website + FBA Business – Case Study Click Here

Dave Bryant, EcomCrew – Niche Website + FBA Business offroading.com

So, what rules do blinked Amazon sellers break?

The Amazon Associates program has a ton of rules, just like the Amazon Seller program.

However, the Amazon Associates program overlaps with Amazon legislation and antitrust law. So the Associates program has a lot of “ToS complexities” that we don’t even have to think about working exclusively in the Amazon seller program.

If you are compliant with the Amazon Seller Program ToS, it does not mean that you are compliant with the Amazon Associates Program ToS.

Worse, the Associates program actually has different ToS for different regions as the nature of affiliate marketing veers into the realm of “commercial law” which has its own nuances depending on where you are in the world.

Blinker Amazon sellers don’t take the time to understand the larger world of ToS that they step into when they choose the Amazon Associates program.

Amazon affiliate program rules are being enforced more aggressively

Amazon is also more aggressive towards the Amazon affiliates as they don’t force the affiliates to follow the rules set by Amazon itself. Amazon is trying NOT to get into trouble itself with the FTC (in America) and therefore enforces EXTERNAL rules about the program against the affiliates.

In comparison, it’s the wild west in the Amazon seller program, where you can break pretty much all the rules about images, even using restricted words and whatnot. Amazon Associates are stuck because Amazon has the FTC breathing down its neck just waiting to bring Bezos to Folsom.

The typical things Amazon sellers don’t get right:

· FTC Disclaimer for Compliance with Federal Regulations

· Amazon Affiliate Disclaimer to comply with Amazon AND the FTC

· Link Referrer Cloaking – Violation of Amazon Associates ToS

· Link Target Instructions – Violation of Amazon Associates ToS

· Use product images, NOT the API, to retrieve Amazon-hosted data – a violation of Amazon Associates ToS

There are a few others that could be considered derivatives or subcategories of the above, but they are the main ones.

These are ToS’s that you ALSO need to become familiar with if you want to have an Amazon Associates account.

There is so much more to it – and the world changes often.

Amazon sends out a statement from time to time telling its employees to update their disclaimers without really providing clear instructions on what exactly they mean. Useful!

Dom Wells of onfolio.co wrote an article here with his interpretation of an update from November 2019: https://onfolio.co/amazon-associates-link-disclosure-compliance/

How do I comply with all ToS?

As a busy Amazon seller who doesn’t have time to invest in learning the “Ways of the Associates Program,” I recommend working with a partner or agency to help you navigate the water early on.

The biggest challenge is getting your website or ads set up properly in the first place. They have the least knowledge and the most to do.

This is especially true for websites.

There are many things that you simply cannot learn by reading the ToS, as in many cases they are practically non-educational.

Instead, it’s about learning more about the broader Amazon Associates network and understanding how the rules are practically applied and enforced.

When it comes to being compliant in email, chat bots, social posts, and other communication-based media, things can get even more difficult.

Not only do they remember to comply with the following:

1. Amazon Associates Program ToS

2. Amazon seller program ToS

3. FTC Regs (and other global equivalents)

But now you also need to consider things like:

1. Facebook’s Branded Content Policy

2. Pinterest’s Acceptable Use Policy

Among other. It’s a little minefield.

Because of this, we recommend directing traffic from social media to your site, where there are fewer conditions directly related to affiliate links.

(The landing page you send people to must still comply with the social network’s individual content guidelines! For example, “headless pages” or pages with no menus have long been a problem for Facebook. Funnily enough, Facebook may still be serving your ad to you not getting the high quality rankings you would get if your page were compliant. Now that’s sneaky!)

Can I use my own Amazon affiliate link?

It is against the Amazon Affiliate Program Terms of Service to use your own affiliate link to purchase products from Amazon.

BUT it is not against Amazon Associates ToS to use your affiliate link to sell your own products available on Amazon Marketplace.

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