If you are a active member of the Amazon Associates Program (Amazon affiliate program), you really need to be sure that you are keeping up with the changes to their terms. In particular a major change pushed through a few days ago on March 1, 2013, for those people who are promoting free Kindle eBooks. If you are not in compliance with the changes, you might lose your commissions completely.
So What Are the Changes?
Effective last week, Amazon is going to limit your overall commissions if you are promoting too many free Kindle eBooks. The terms reads:
“In addition, notwithstanding the advertising fee rates described on this page or anything to the contrary contained in this Operating Agreement, if we conclude you are primarily promoting free Kindle eBooks (i.e., eBooks for which the customer purchase price is $0.00), YOU WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO EARN ANY ADVERTISING FEES DURING ANY MONTH IN WHICH YOU MEET THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
(a) 20,000 or more free Kindle eBooks are ordered and downloaded during Sessions attributed to your Special Links; and
(b) At least 80% of all Kindle eBooks ordered and downloaded during Sessions attributed to your Special Links are free Kindle eBooks.”
While this will not impact all of the Amazon affiliates, it will impact those most who 1. primarily promote Amazon deals and free products, and 2. those who are promoting eBooks. In fact, I’ve seen a number of affiliates who only promote the free eBooks.
Why This Change is Important?
Many deal and coupon sites use massive promotion methods for these free Kindle eBooks in order to activate cookies in the hopes that the downloader will also purchase other items while being at Amazon. This change will force Affiliates to stop relying on the cookie setting method and alternatively promote the regular (paid) products as well to make sure that they do not tip the scales on the 20,000 eBooks with a 80% free limit.
The limits that Amazon put in place for their Affiliates do allow for the average blogger or deal site to mention the free Kindle eBooks. However, all affiliates do want to keep an eye on their Amazon Associate accounts if they promote them frequently. It is also quite possible that even if you are promoting their free eBooks in order to force the cookies that customers are not always downloading them but are in fact making other purchases.
Are these New Terms Fair?
Amazon is essentially closing up a discovered loophole here, although it will likely directly impact the way how many affiliates promote the free eBooks (which for sure is not a good thing for the authors of those eBooks). Amazon does recognize that a certain amount of sales made through their affiliates are purchases that the visitor only made through an affiliate link because they clicked on the free eBooks link. I can not fault Amazon for that, but it does will promoting their free eBooks less desirable.
There are without a doubt other merchants where the same holds true. But the case is specifically strong for Amazon because they have such a high loyal shopper base that can find anything from Movies to Cheerios to Sneakers after one generic affiliate click. I do think it is harsh that affiliates would lose their entire monthly commissions because if they have a very popular deal site, they most likely hit these minimum numbers every single month that they promote any of their free eBooks. I also wonder if any upcoming changes might also target Associates who promote the free MP3’s or other various free credit offers that they run.
Will you also be impacted by this change? Do you think Amazon made a fair choice? Either to affiliates or to the respective authors of the free eBooks?