In March 2017, Amazon announced sweeping changes to its affiliate commission structure — largely reducing payouts for most categories to a flat percentage.
Prior to the change, affiliate marketers who hit a certain threshold of purchases would receive an increased payout percentage, like 8%. Affiliate marketers earn payouts (“commissions”) for referring visitors to the Amazon marketplace sites. When a transaction takes place, the marketer receives a small commission, about 4%-6%.
The Verge reports, “For Tracy E. Robey, who runs the beauty blog Fanserviced-b, the impact was more stark: a pay cut. With the affiliate cut for a typical purchase dropping from 8 to 6 percent, she anticipates that her checks from Amazon will go down by as much as 20 percent. For Robey, her blog is still more of a sideline than a job, but as she looks to expand her growing business, she says that drop could have real consequences.”
Many online businesses who depend on the Amazon Associates platform will be affected by this change. The original rates–are shown below:
The new rates–
EmpireFlippers, a website auction marketplace, published a notice to its visitors regarding the reduction of pricing on their for-sale Amazon affiliate sites. Clearly, they understand – based on this change by Amazon – the future may not be so optimistic for Amazon-monetized properties.
What’s the take-away?
- Amazon affiliates who run websites should expect to get further cuts in income, depending on the category they serve.
- Amazon has increasingly shown a pattern of changing payout terms in recent months, reducing profitability for many affiliates.
- For affiliate marketers in general, it means they should ALWAYS look for opportunities to diversify their affiliate programs. Amazon has been one of the most reliable programs for many years — and in recent times has shown itself to be a less-than-reliable ongoing source of residual income.
Details of the changes & further reading
The below list indicates the most recent changes occurring to the program. The vague notices Amazon Associates sent out via email didn’t clearly list the most striking changes with regard to pay structure. Thanks to PotPieGirl for preparing a great post on this.