Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Confusion of Amazon

When I started this blog my first thought wasn't "Let's make money." It started as a blog about business and marketing. As the blog became popular I started looking into some affiliate marketing options. I knew it wouldn't be a huge money maker but at the time I thought a little residual income wouldn't hurt.

I joined Amazon Associates which provided me with access to their Amazon Central website. The website provides you with several options for creating ads for your blog and a code that makes linking text and images to Amazon.com quick and easy. The only thing that was really frustrating was the requirement to use Amazon Payments.

The interface was pretty simple and they would post various seasonal ads to provide you with lots of options. I used the features in a few of my blogs and set up an ad in the sidebar. I was already using AdSense and wanted the advertising to blend. 

A few months after getting everything set up I received an email from Amazon Associates stating that my affiliate account had been closed due to not having enough referrals. The reality is that Amazon Associates issued a mandatory COPPA, in which you had to state if your website targeted children or not. They did not make any attempt to notify the users of Amazon Associates that this needed to be answered. Since there was no way to show compliance with COPPA after the account had been closed, I removed the Amazon advertising and deleted the coding for the Amazon Central features. No point in advertising for them for free right? 

That was almost 6 months ago. Yesterday I received another email stating that my account was being closed for inactivity. Well of course it was inactive, Amazon closed it 6 months ago. I don't know if Amazon is confused or if their emails are just poorly worded but either way if you are looking for a stable program for affiliate marketing stick with AdSense.

Update April 8, 2016: I decided to give Amazon another try. It has been over a year so they must have sorted out the issues from earlier right? I did some research and discovered that Amazon will not reinstate a closed account for any reason so I set up another account and put ads on two of my blogs. Several weeks later they contacted me to say that they couldn't find my website and they closed my account.

40,000 other people can all find my website so I don't know what their issue is. The entire set up is starting to feel like a scam.  You set up an account, wait a few weeks and then then they close it for some odd reason like "not enough people are clicking on the links."

Unfortunately the Amazon Associates system has not changed much. It's just as unstable and unreliable as it was the last time I tried it. If you are looking for affiliate marketing options then do yourself a favor and skip right past Amazon. It's not worth the hassle of setting up only to have to take it all down again a few weeks later.