UPDATE: We’ve got a new post that helps bring additional clarity to this topic! Click here for more information on how to safely build affiliated short links.
Recently we’ve seen some misinformation and confusion around where it’s okay to use affiliated links for Amazon, and where it’s considered a violation of their Terms of Service. No one but a lawyer really likes reading legal jargon so we figured we’d help by sharing a few things we’ve learned to try and save you some time* and help you keep your nose clean for the Associate Program.
Below is a list of places you can and can’t use affiliate links. Please note this is not all inclusive, is based on the Amazon.com Associates Program, and constantly subject to change, but should give you a good basis of what’s okay or not. All of these examples are made up and based off the information found in Amazon’s Associates Program Operating Agreement (OA), Associate Program Linking Requirements (LR) and Amazon Associates for Mobile (AAM) or related pages. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us, or Amazon directly. They usually respond within 24 hours (and we usually do in less).
Where it’s okay:
- On your website promoting “the coolest items of Amazon.” (OA, Section 3)
- On your grandma’s quilting blog where she reviews knitting needles, then adds a link to her favorite. (OA, Section 3)
- On your Author site promoting your own e-book in the Kindle store. (OA, Section 3)
- In your mobile app using the Amazon Mobile Associates API.
- On your mobile friendly website. (AAM, paragraph 1)
- In forums or blog comments reviewing a specific item, or asking a question. (For example – if someone asks what the best car wax is, you can link to the item in Amazon and affiliate that link)
- On your YouTube channel reviewing video games.
- Using link shorteners and globalizers, as long as you’re noting it’s an Amazon link in some way, such as “Click here to buy from Amazon”
Where it’s not okay:
- In places not on the web, like your email signature, your business cards, billboards, TV advertisements, or neighborhood graffiti (Participation Requirements, #7)
- In your Kindle e-Books – even in the “Other Works By” section (you can link your other books, but they cannot be affiliated)
- Printed on or packaged with any item sold in Amazon’s store. (Excluded Products list)
- Sites that promote violent, sexual, libelous, or illegal materials. (OA, Section 2 a-e)
- In sites/mobile apps aimed at children under the age of 13. (OA, Section f)
- Hidden behind a link that doesn’t make it apparent that the item is going to Amazon. For example – “Click here to go to www.fluffybunnies.com” which then takes you to Amazon’s store instead. (LR, paragraph 2)
It should also be noted that Amazon (and the FCC) require that you mention somewhere on your site (or mobile app) that you are part of the Associates Program and that you may be getting money by sending people to the Amazon stores. They do give you a template to copy and paste that can be found in Section 10 of their Agreement.
*We do encourage you to read the full Associates Program Operating Agreement, and the Linking Requirements, to make sure you fully understand what is supported and isn’t. However, hopefully the above helps you understand the types of things you can and can’t do with the Amazon program. Like we mentioned before – this is not an exhaustive list – just a teaser. As always, we are available with any other questions you may have, and happy linking!