Amazon Affiliate Decreasing Commissions?

I’m not sure if you heard, but Amazon affiliate has been decreasing commissions for some affiliates.

If you haven’t been hit, you should still know about this because you could be next.

In this post you will learn:

  • Who got hit with the commission cuts
  • How you can deal with it if it happened to you
  • And what the future holds for Amazon affiliate marketing

Quick heads up: this didn’t happen to me. I read about it on reddit and researched it more. Most of the info in this post comes from reddit and Amazon Forums.

What happened?

Some affiliates had their commission rate cut to 2-4%.

This decreased their commissions by nearly 1/4.

Imagine making a full-time income from Amazon and then waking up tomorrow and finding out that you can’t support yourself and your family anymore because you went from making $10,000 per month to $2,500 per month.

That. Would. Suck.

The worst thing is that it hits your entire Amazon affiliate account, not just the commissions from the “bad” site.

So far it hasn’t happened to a ton of people, and it seems that it mostly hit the following:

  • Amazon deal sites
  • Amazon price tracking sites
  • Low priced item sites (Only a few of them though.)

Why did it happen?

It seems that Amazon is paying less to affiliates who aren’t helping them become more profitable.

One hypothesis is that they’re getting rid of the people who send traffic that would’ve bought something on Amazon without the affiliate.

If you have a “best Amazon laptop deals” site it’s likely that the person you send to Amazon was already planning on purchasing a laptop there. You’re just getting a commission because you created a simple list.

You don’t bring them new customers so they pay you less.

For the lower-priced items they cite profitability reasons also, but no one can know for sure.

How can you deal with it?

There are a couple things you can do if you’ve been hit:

  • Create a different Amazon affiliate account and move your other sites there
  • Look for other affiliate programs
  • Or sell off and go into a different niche/business

Since the penalty hits your entire account at once, you can just create a new account and change the affiliate codes for your other sites.

You would miss out on the extra items from the penalized site, but going from 8% to 7% is better than going from 8% to 2%.

You can also check and see if there are other affiliate programs in your niche.

Amazon affiliate is great as everyone knows about Amazon so it’s really easy to make the sale, but other programs have higher commissions.

If you do look for other programs, look at specialized shops instead of big retailers like Walmart or Target, as the specialized shops usually have a higher commission percentage.

You can always sell off your site (although you will probably get a smaller commission because of the percent decrease), but it might be worth doing in order to remove it from your account.

What does the future hold?

Eventually Amazon will either decrease affiliate commissions or cut the program completely.

However, that likely won’t happen for at least a couple years as they’re still focused on growing their site and capturing as large of a customer base as they can.

However, there are always other affiliate programs available, and most if this is pure speculation so just use your brain and try to stay ahead of the competition. 😉

What will I do?

I’m planning on selling my BAB site if I can get $30,000+ for it this May.

I want to cash in on the high months of January-April for that site and then sell it off as I want money to grow my sites that are focused on other affiliate programs and higher-ticket Amazon items.

30k would be enough for me to live at least for a year or maybe a year and a half (as a college student), and invest $15,000 or so in my other online endeavors.

Obviously there’s still taxes and stuff, but it’s still a nice round number.

Were you hit by this commission decrease? If so, are you planning on doing anything about it?

4 replies
  1. Artur
    Artur says:

    Do you really think that amazon will decrease or cut commissions completely? I’m just getting into amazon affiliates and am even considering pursuing IM route and putting a temp halt on my graduate school application, but this sounds pretty discouraging. Amazon was a pretty solid way to have long term reliable passive income, and if that’s gone, then you’re stuck with worse options.

    Reply
    • Ilya P.
      Ilya P. says:

      Hey Arthur,

      I don’t think that will happen for at least a couple years, if not longer, and I also recommend checking out this post on Jon’s blog: http://fatstacksblog.com/amazon-vs-other-merchants. It shows that smaller sites with longer cookies make more than Amazon! Either way, it’s a good thing to pursue as the marketing skills you learn can always be used to promote other things and products.

      Cheers!

      Reply
      • Artur
        Artur says:

        Hey Ilya, thanks for the response. You seem to be pretty up to date on amazon affiliate news, do you have any recommended sites that are useful to check on? I’ve recently found out about /r/juststart through your blog, and I’ll keep an eye out on fatstacks as well.

        My main issue is that I’m not sure what would be considered good sources as many sites like nichepursuits have “gurus” that claim to know everything about every IM field (as mentioned by humblesalesman).

        Thanks. Love your site btw.

        Reply
        • Ilya P.
          Ilya P. says:

          Thanks Arthur,

          Definitely JustStart and anything written by humblesalesman or W1ZZ4RD (http://www.passive.marketing/) is Wizzard’s site.

          I used to live on Black Hat World and most of the big Amazon journeys on there are still very relevant. (I recommend looking at WhitePassion’s thread and other 10+ page Amazon affiliate threads on there.)

          However, the best source would always be creating and testing theories and websites yourself.

          Cheers!

          Reply

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