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Top Five Things You Should Know About Amazon Associates.

With our recent introduction of global support for the Amazon Associates Program, we wanted to give you a little background info to show what the program is all about.  Whether you have been using one of the Associates Programs for years, or have not yet started, these five things will give you the information you will need to help you get started and begin maximizing your commissions.

1. What is Amazon Associates?

Simply, the Amazon Associates Program is like other “Cost Per Action” or “affiliate programs” where you can earn commissions from sales that result from advertising Amazon products on your site.

There are currently 11 different Amazon storefronts across the world (United States, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, China, Japan and India).  Each of these storefronts, excluding Brazil, has its own Amazon Associates Program.

China, Japan and India, have specific regulations that state that you must have a registered bank account within each country respectively, in order to receive commissions.  For many, this restriction makes getting accepted into these programs much more difficult.

It is also important to note, that each of these programs are run independently of one another, so you will need to create an account in each program to earn your commission from sales in the corresponding storefront.  You can join these programs now, for free, by going to this address  Our “step by step guide” will help walk you through the sign up process, and send you on your way to start making more money.


2. How does it work?

After signing up, you can create links to nearly any product in the Amazon Store, and earn commissions each time someone clicks from your site and goes on to purchase an item.  The best part is that it doesn’t even have to be the item you were specifically referring.  There are some items, however, that are excluded from the Associates Program, which will be discussed in more detail later.

Commissions for most physical goods range from 4-8% while digital goods such as digital videos can earn you up to 10% (note: these figures may vary slightly among the different programs).  Amazon allows a 24-hour “Affiliate Window,” which means that if the consumer adds anything to their shopping cart within 24 hours of clicking from your site, you are eligible for a commission.  While the item needs to be “shipped” to actually earn the commission, the consumer has up to 89 days to complete the order.

Commissions are paid on a monthly basis in one of three ways: check, gift card, or direct deposit (which vary by country).  It is important to note that Amazon will withhold a payment until the commissions reach over $100 for check, or $10 for direct deposit or gift card.  In the fine print, Amazon states that if you wish to be paid by check, an additional $15 processing fee will be deducted from each check sent, but there are no processing fees for direct deposit or gift card.


3. Tools for the Job.

Amazon offers many different tools to help you maximize your commissions, but here are some of the most important tools that you will need.


There are three different ways to create links to the Amazon store: 1) links/banners, 2) widgets, or 3) an aStore.

  1. Links and banners are the most basic ways to create links and allow you to create simple text links, image links, or banners to specific products, product categories or promotions.
  2. The widget tool allows you to insert an interactive “mini-application” into your site, where users can browse multiple items without leaving your site.
  3. Finally, the “aStore” is a customizable online store that you can place within your site, to allow customers to browse through any number of Amazon Products.  It is important to note, however, that the last two options, widgets and the aStore, may not work for your international consumers.  The links and banners, however, can be used alongside the GeoRiot service to ensure that your links work internationally.

Regardless of the tool, an essential part of using the Associates Program is the unique tracking ID that identifies you as the referrer.  This ID is what identifies each of your links as affiliated, and makes sure that the relevant commissions are routed back to you.


4. What are the restrictions?

There are some products that are excluded from the Associates Program.  These include some digital purchases such as Kindle subscriptions or any products sold through the Appstore for Android.  The full list of excluded products can be found here.

In addition, it is also important to note that at this time the Associates Program is not a mobile friendly platform.  As stated in Section Seven of the Participation Requirements, it is prohibited to link the Amazon Store from any form of mobile device.  If, however, the site is not specified as a mobile site, but a user visits it from a mobile device, you will not be penalized and can still receive commissions.

While unfortunate for app developers and app discovery services we’ve heard rumors across various blogs and forums, of Amazon becoming mobile friendly in the future.  Stay tuned and we will let you know what we hear!

In addition to product restrictions, there are other restrictions that limit who can join the Associates Program.  If you are based in the United States and are a resident of Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, North Carolina, or Rhode Island, you are ineligible to participate.  Minnesota was just added to the list this past week.  These state restrictions are put in place because of issues with taxes in these areas.   More about this can be read here.


5. Where does GeoRiot fit into all of this?

As we mentioned in our blog post “What Causes Geo-Fragmentation,”  large international e-tailers like Amazon, segment their online stores into region-specific storefronts to help avoid problems that arise with differing currencies, languages, tax regulations, and physical and digital distribution.

Further, this division creates a bad user experience for many international users who click on links leading to international Amazon storefronts, and leads to lost commissions for those collecting the affiliate revenue.

Using the Amazon Associates program with an international audience, to avoid the issues mentioned above is where GeoRiot fits in.  The GeoRiot service ensures your affiliate links route your international traffic to their local store and that the proper affiliate tracking is used to earn commissions on those international referrals.

By simply creating a GeoRiot account and entering your Associates Account information into the our dashboard, you can ensure that your links will function properly for your global audience, you’ll earn affiliate commissions on those international referrals, and, ultimately, your customers will enjoy a better shopping experience.


As usual, we love to hear from you, so let us know what you think and feel free to ask us any question you may have.