“Just how big is the Amazon Associates.com Program?”
This is a great question and one we get asked frequently. We’ve been thinking about this a lot and instead of shrugging and saying “nobody but Amazon really knows”, we thought we could give a better answer.
So, we did some research and here is what we found. Let me run you through the numbers:
There are currently 12 independent “affiliate programs” that makeup Amazon’s Associates.com program. While the functions and dashboard are nearly identical, each program is specifically tied to one of Amazon’s storefronts. These include:
SimilarWeb, an online competitive intelligence tool, attributed 22% of traffic to Amazon.com to “Referrals.” Multiply that 22% by the estimated 2.3 billion visits, and it equates to 500 million visits per month. While that’s an interesting data point it really doesn’t help answer the questions… But if you are interested in seeing more of what SimilarWeb know about Amazon you can check out their Complete Amazon Factbook. Now, back to Amazon Associates.com
In mid-December, 2017, Amazon Brazil recently celebrated that they now have 10,000 publishers in their affiliate program. Amazon Brazil is one of the more recent affiliate programs (11 of 12) to be added to the Amazon ecosystem (March 2014).
Unfortunately, Amazon Brazil requires a local bank account so it’s not a widely used program which would imply that each of the other 11 Associates program have at least this same number of Associates which would put the total closer to 120,000 publishers worldwide. But this is some pretty rough guessing…
There are 100,000 sites currently using the Amazon Associates Program according to W3 Techs, which provides information about the usage of various types of technologies on the web. This means that the Amazon Associates program is used by 5.2% of all the websites whose advertising network they track. Breaking that down further, that is 1.0% of all websites in their database. It’s important to note that the W3 Techs database is limited only including the top 10 million websites.
This isn’t too far off from the 120K publishers that we guessed at earlier. However, this sample size of 10 million websites is far below the estimated 1.24 billion websites on the internet. (Source)
Using a tool by the name of PublicWWW, that is a search engine for website source code and a combination of searching for each of the 12 Amazon Associates.com domains plus the tag attribute that makes an Amazon link into an affiliate link. Further, each of the domains was also searched for with sites that have SkimLinks and VigLink.
The limitations to this tool are that while it searches more sites than W3 Techs (202M for PublicWWW vs. 10M for W3 Techs) it only searches the first page of a site so it would miss any site that had their Amazon affiliate links a page or two deep.
Builtwith, a web technology information profiler tool, curated a list of 732,442 websites that use the Amazon Associates Program. This list includes 299,972 of those 732,442 websites are currently live and 434,470 of those that have used this technology in the past. The sample size of Builtwith is the largest of the three tools with a whopping 374,449,725 total websites.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, Amazon once claimed – “The Amazon Associates Program is one of the largest and most successful online affiliate programs, with over 900,000 members joining worldwide.” – in the metadata of their sign up page for the Amazon.co.uk Associates page in 2008..
You can see it by using Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine here.
That seems a bit high, especially for being a decade ago but it may be an aggregate of the total sites that had joined up until that time…
So, just how big is the Amazon Associates.com Program? Great questions and I think one could confidently say that there are between 100,000 and 1,000,000 sites on the Internet right now that use the Amazon Associates program (and probably 3-4X that in terms of people who at least tried to be an affiliate over the last decade). From one hundred thousand to one million is obviously quite the range and if I had to narrow it down, I’d use BuiltWith’s 300K number of currently active Amazon Associates. Ultimately, I think it’s safest to say that “only Amazon knows…”
What do you think? If you’ve found something different, we’d love to hear from you!