So yesterday Amazon dropped the bomb on their affiliates, or usually called as “associates”, by announcing a massive commission rate cut all across their product categories.

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The official Amazon’s announcement can be found here and below is the before and after table of the previous and current commission rates:

As you can see, Amazon associates who sell furniture and home products on their websites suffer the most blow. Their commission rate plunge to only 3 percent from 8 percent. This means that they face a potential loss of more than 50% of their revenue in the coming months.

What (probably) Amazon tries to say

Amazon did not give any explanation about the massive commission rate cuts.

There are many speculations in internet marketing forums that the rate cuts might be temporary due to the COVID-19 pandemic but I am a believer that we should always expect the worst so we can always prepare to find a way out.

I believe that sooner or later, Amazon will erase its affiliate program. The largest online marketplace basically became so big by offering commission to website owners who put Amazon links on their posts and articles.

Now that Amazon has become a global brand, it probably thinks that for its best interests, it no longer benefits them to cut a portion of their profits to pay associates.

Amazon basically says to its affiliates “thank you for all the years but we want to go separate ways now,”

Hey….that’s life.

What to do if you are an Amazon associate

First of all, stay calm and do not panic. This is not the end of the world. If you are already making money through Amazon associate program, then this means you already have an established website with loyal followers and audience.

Look for other opportunities

If you already have an established website, perhaps it is time for to look for other affiliate networks that are similar to Amazon.

It is very easy to find Amazon alternatives. Let’s say that you have a mixed-martial arts (MMA) blog and you have been selling MMA gear from Amazon, then all you need to do is head over to Google and type “MMA gear + affiliate” in the search box. You will find tons of other MMA gear vendors that offer affiliate programs. Do the same thing for other keywords or niche.

Better yet, you can also try to venture with digital product affiliate networks such as Clickbank. I have written a step-by-step guide on how to start with Clickbank here.

Digital products offer a much higher commission rates (you can get at least 30% of commission; compare this with Amazon’s 3% rate) so you can have more room and flexibility to work with your marketing and promotion budget.

If you do not have an established website and just recently tried to get into the affiliate marketing game, then I do not advise you to join with Amazon associate program. As I mentioned above, I believe that the program is nearing its final days and Amazon will put its focus more on its other programs and ventures such as the Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA).

Sell ad space

If you have been banking with Amazon associate program, you can now start selling ad space in your website.

You can offer businesses, brands or product vendors a placement in your website with a recurring payment scheme (per month or per year) or you can offer them to place sponsored posts/content about their products and services.

What we can learn from this

Now, what affiliate marketers can learn from this is the fact that how important it is for us to have our own websites.

Amazon, Clickbank, JVZoo, Share-a-Sale and other affiliate networks can close down their affiliate programs in a blink of an eye but as long as we have our own websites, we still have one of our most valuable online assets. Having a website means you own your own traffic and audience and as long there are people selling things, you can always use your website to monetize from your audience.

So, if you want to get into the affiliate marketing game, do not overlook the importance of having your own website. You will not make any money in the long run if you only rely on spreading affiliate links in numerous places that you do not own or having a control of.

Build your website, create an audience with your content and monetize.

Image source.


Hans David

    25 replies to "What to do after the latest commission rate cuts by Amazon"

    • Renee

      Thanks for the great information! This has been a tough time for bloggers like myself

    • Sarah M

      Yes you are absolutely right having our own website is so necessary because in that case u dont have to rely on others.

    • Patricia

      Thank you for your perspective on this. It just drives home that we need to diversify our income streams and not put all the eggs in one basket. I’ve been using Amazon as a intermediary form of income. Time to get moving on my bigger plan. If anything, this just gave me a jumpstart. I’ve been slacking at seeing my sites full potential through.

    • GiGi Eats

      It is obvious as to why they cut rates. We don’t need them to say why. The coronavirus is hitting the economy from EVERY angle. When this is all “taken care of” I am sure Amazon will restore its old rates but for now, we just have to swallow this new information and find other means of side income.

      • Hans David

        I don’t think they will restore the commission rates. With the size & market leadership they have in the e-commerce industry, they no longer need affiliates to promote their products. People also now go straight directly to Amazon to buy stuffs & read reviews.

    • Carolyn

      I’m really glad I read this. I’m still a new-ish blogger, but had planned to become an Amazon affiliate once I generated more traffic. Now I realize that I should probably go in a different direction when the time comes. Thanks for your honest advice about this.

    • Jessica Collazo

      I’ve never believed in affiliation because of this.I tried to put up with Amazon Affiliates but I didn’t do any sales so they drop me off glad they did.

      • Hans David

        Affiliate marketing is a legitimate online business model. Just because you do not make a sale with it does not make it illegitimate. What I am trying to say here is that to not depend all your online business existence to any company by having your own branded online asset.

    • Kristi McAllister

      I am an associate and I did not know this, but then I don’t really read their emails either. I don’t make much money through the program either, so it doesn’t affect me much; however, I do feel for people who make a killing off of it, if there is such a thing. Thanks for getting the word out!

    • Capri

      Thanks for the great information! I had not realized the rate cuts were so drastic!

    • Beth

      Great post! I know this is really hurting a lot of people. It’s disappointing for sure. Just goes to show it’s never good to keep all your eggs in one basket. Appreciate the sound advice.

    • Lavern Moore

      This is good to know about the amazon affiliate program. I was actually thinking of this as a new website and now you give me something to thing about.

    • Natalia Vorche

      Very informative post and it’s so great to have your own website

    • Shelley at BeyondPennies

      Maybe its time to move on to other channels of income. This is just very disappointing, but in my opinion, Amazon has always been a bit stingy.

    • blair villanueva

      Oh wow that is a bummer. Amazon is affected so much on this crisis. It is best to look for alternative opportunities.

    • Raksha N

      This is great. It has been so difficult for travel bloggers.

    • Steph

      Very informative.I agree we need to have our own gives us more power.

    • Anita

      What a big difference? I don’t use affiliates.

    • aisasami

      This is shocking and sad news. I hope that those who suffered from the rate cuts can find business somewhere else or take it in a new direction.

    • Chirpybrains

      Well, it’s tought ime for everyone and bloggers are facing the heat too but we shouldn’t be disheartened, as your correctly pointed out it’s not the end of the world. There are many alternatives available !!

    • Desiree

      Affiliate marketing is all so very new. This has help me expand my understanding l. Thanks

    • mainak biswas

      This is such a tough time for all of us in the affiliate marketing arena!

    • Magen

      Unfortunately the pandemic really is hitting everyone hard. This is good information to have though for people looking at affiliate marketing for their blogs.

    • Adventures with Shelby

      I wasn’t aware of this! Very informative

    • Elizabeth O

      This post is really informative. I so agree with you that to have our own websites.

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