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Amazon pulling plug on PPC affiliates

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday April 7, 2009 )

Amazon has announced it will no longer pay affiliate commissions to affiliates that use pay-per-click programs on search engines.

The new policy affects their Associate Programs in North America and traffic sent to, or

While affiliates cannot directly link to Amazon through PPC listings, it’s my understanding they can link to Amazon product landing pages on their own site. Given this would make someone click an extra time in order to get to Amazon, some affiliates are concerned about conversion rates dropping. An automated redirect is probably out of the question as companies such as Google Adwords do not permit this as far as I know.

Access to the Amazon Associates Web Service and data feed will also be terminated unless Associates notify Amazon prior to May 1, 2009.

So why this move? Surely Amazon must be making a mistake given that PPC advertisers assume the financial risk and are only rewarded if their PPC referral results in a sale.

Andy Beal from Marketing Pilgrim suspects that the company believes it could do its own long-tail keyword bidding and cut out the middle-man; their affiliates.

If Amazon were to start bidding on long tail keywords now; they would be in competition with their own affiliates and the keyword bid price would increase.

In case you’re not sure what a long tail keyword is; it’s a word or phrase that’s not often searched on, is likely to have little competition and is therefore quite cheap.

Alone, a long tail keyword or keyphrase won’t generate a great deal of traffic, but if you have a list of thousands; it most certainly can.

For example, a popular keyphrase:

email marketing

A long tail keyphrase:

chimney sweep email marketing

You can learn more about Amazon’s PPC crackdown here.

Learn more about Pay Per Click advertising – Get free PPC credits!

Pick up some affiliate marketing tips.


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