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,”
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.