Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.


Amazon will not pay Special Program Fees where a Bounty Event has been disqualified due to a violation or other abuse (for example, registrations made using invalid email addresses, use of bots or automated software, multiple Bounty Events by a single person, repetitive Bounty Events, and Bounty Events that do not result from Special Links on your Site). Amazon will determine in its sole discretion, in each case, whether a Bounty Event has occurred or if there has been a violation or abuse.
You may log into your affiliate console to review your click through and potential Qualified Purchases statistics on a daily basis. The potential Qualified Purchases shown in this report have not been reviewed to confirm they meet all criteria for Qualified Purchases. As such, Commission Fees may not be issued for all Referred Customers that appear in the affiliate console.
This year two affiliate marketers based in California, Shawn Hogan and Brian Dunning, pleaded guilty to defrauding eBay of at least $20 million in a scheme involving a notorious affiliate marketing tactic known as “cookie stuffing.” According to court documents, Mr. Hogan operated a network in which affiliates exchanged links and banner ads to help drive traffic to each other’s sites. The sites also agreed to host ads controlled by Mr. Hogan’s company, but in reality, these ads were cookie-stuffing devices. Users who viewed the ads had a small tracking code, or cookie, dropped on their computer. If those users went on to make a purchase from eBay, the cookie signaled that Mr. Hogan’s company was responsible — and eBay paid a commission.
Commission and Payment. Requirements for Payment; Forfeiture. In order to receive payment under this Agreement, you must have: (i) agreed to the terms of this Agreement (generally completed through the Affiliate Tool); (ii) completed all steps necessary to create your account in the Affiliate Tool in accordance with our directions, (iii) have a valid and up-to-date paypal account and updated the Affiliate Tool with such account (iv) completed any and all required tax documentation in order for HubSpot to process any payments that may be owed to you.

2. Commissions – John writes that he’s not satisfied with a 4% commission. He’s right in some ways, 4% isn’t that much when you’re selling a $10 book – however when you’re selling a Get a Price on the $5000 Camera or a $25,000 Tractor (I know someone who does quite well out of ride on mowers and tractors) it certainly adds up. Not only that, the 4% rate that John talks about is the base rate. Unfortunately it is as high as it goes on consumer electronics – however on most other products there is a sliding scale where the more you sell the higher your commission goes to. Sell more than 6 items in a month and your commission goes to 6% – sell over 630 and you’re up to 8% (the rate I’m on). The 4-Hour work Week that John uses as an example earned me around $1 a book. Still not a lot – but I did sell 100 or so of them (after my interview with it’s author) which not only earned me $100 but also helped push the numbers of sales up for the month, moving me into the next earning bracket.
Hey Chris – great post. Just a question – We have got about 80 stores affiliated to Amazon Associates. As I understand from your article, it appears that the blog site is a foundation for making a successful Amazon Income. In this regard, we don’t have a blog site but we just have those stores (websites) which have a show case of products. What do you think the strategy would be to drive sales? Of course, we have got Social Media Marketing currently in place.
On the technology-focused forum Hacker News, a user who goes by "graeme" pointed out, "This is likely to have a massive [e]ffect on the blog/article review ecosystem. Most of the review sites that exist today only do so because of [A]mazon's fairly generous programs. I expect in aggregate there will be a shift in what lines of business people decide to get into, based on this." A user called "sharkweek" said that "[a]s an Amazon affiliate who has done quite well with it, this is definitely a gutting." The mood is equally grim on a subreddit for people building affiliate websites.
On the technology-focused forum Hacker News, a user who goes by "graeme" pointed out, "This is likely to have a massive [e]ffect on the blog/article review ecosystem. Most of the review sites that exist today only do so because of [A]mazon's fairly generous programs. I expect in aggregate there will be a shift in what lines of business people decide to get into, based on this." A user called "sharkweek" said that "[a]s an Amazon affiliate who has done quite well with it, this is definitely a gutting." The mood is equally grim on a subreddit for people building affiliate websites.
Once you’ve set up your account, do note that Amazon requires you to use product links and generate income from at least three of them within 180 days. If you fail to do so within that time, they will close your account. If you are able to satisfy that requirement, Amazon will review your account as well as your usage of affiliate links once the first sale is complete.
It is understood that any individual that uses the Program Operator system shall not use it in connection with obscene, defamatory, slanderous, hateful, illegal or politically disruptive material, the definition of which shall be at the sole discretion of the Program Operator. It is also understood that affiliates shall not try to cheat the system in an effort to increase their payments due. If such misuse is detected, the affiliate will be immediately terminated as an affiliate and any sums paid and any sums payable as and for commissions will be withheld. All affiliates further agree to refrain from engaging in any hostile activity toward the system. Any individual that engages in such hostile activity, such as hacking, shall be held liable for any loss sustained by the Program Operator, or its associates due to such action.
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[15] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[16]
This agreement shall begin upon the date of its execution by MA and acceptance in writing by Company and shall remain in effect until the end of the current calendar year and shall be automatically renewed for successive one (1) year periods unless otherwise terminated according to the cancellation or termination provisions contained in paragraph 18 of this Agreement. Company and MA acknowledge that this Agreement is not a franchise as that term is defined under any and all applicable local, state and/or federal laws in U.S., as amended.
He provided another example here where he created an article titled “The Perfect Website For You To Study“. In a nutshell, he stated about the way he construct his content by producing articles such as “Best Of Post” with corresponding “How To’s“. In other words, there is a distinct way of catching your readers/visitors attention by having consistency and technique in your article writing.
SEO – I have a full guide on Youtube SEO. You’ll basically want to research a video keyword in YouTube’s Autocomplete dropdown, then craft your video title/description to include your keyword. Write a long description and embed it on your blog to get more views. Create a nice custom thumbnail and make your videos long and thorough, just like your blog posts should be. 

To make this type of business a success, you do need to plan it. You can't just pick any niche. If you pick a niche but the people in that niche aren't big on purchasing things, then your business won't succeed. You have to really research the niche you are interested in to make sure the people in your niche are looking and willing to purchase the products you recommend. Also, you need to plan and research the products you recommend. Don't just recommend any product that you find. It needs to be of high quality. If you recommend poor quality products, your readers will stop listening to your recommendations.
Discounts and Coupons. You are not allowed to post any refunds, credits or discounts on the FatCow Products and Services, or other content concerning FatCow without FatCow’s prior written consent in each instance. Affiliates may only use coupons and discounts that are provided exclusively through the Affiliate Program using banners and links. Each Link connecting users of the Affiliate Site to the pertinent area of the FatCow website will in no way alter the look, feel, or functionality of the FatCow website. Any violations of the terms surrounding links, coupons, refunds, credits or discounts shall constitute a material breach of this Agreement, and may result in your termination from the Affiliate Program or the withholding of Commission Fees
Next, retailers have to decide which affiliate network to use. The networks provide the back-end technology needed to operate an affiliate program: software that tracks which sales should be attributed to which affiliates; an easy way for affiliates to upload advertising banners and logos; accounting systems that debit a merchant’s account and issue payments to affiliates for their commissions. The networks typically charge merchants a flat fee of $500 a month or 20 to 30 percent of affiliate payments (whichever is higher).

There’s no getting around it, making less money directly translates into a less valuable business. The valuations will go down, in some cases quite significantly as is the case for technology sites earning all their revenue from the Amazon Associates program. Again this clearly depends on the category of the site – some sites might see a slight increase in their earnings, but those are definitely in the minority.
You will be provided an affiliate identification number. Your affiliate ID number may be numeric and/or CaSe sEnSitIvE. For example, the code ‘learn_more’ is different from ‘Learn_More’. You are responsible for maintaining the secrecy and security of your affiliate ID number and password. You agree to hold the Program Operator harmless in the event that any such information is shared by you with any other person or entity whatsoever.
There is, however, a level of responsibility that you have to uphold while making these kinds of recommendations, especially if you have a lot of authority and influence over your followers. This is something I take very seriously. If it were up to me, this is the only way affiliate marketing would be done, because to me it’s the most honest and most helpful.
An affiliate marketer is someone who is running the actual ad campaigns or content marketing campaigns in hopes of making affiliate commissions from the program. An affiliate manager or AM is someone that manages the various affiliates in a network, so they sometimes have the ability to give you special deals if you can prove to them it’s worth their while to do so.
During each calendar month, you may earn advertising fees for Qualifying Purchases. Most advertising fees are calculated as a percentage of Qualifying Revenues based on the tables below and are subject to the limitations described in the “Limitations on Advertising Fee Rates for Certain Products” section below. We also may offer advertising fees in the form of bounties or other special offers as described in the “Special Offers and Promotions” section below. “Qualifying Revenues” mean amounts we receive from customers’ Qualifying Purchases, excluding shipping, handling, and gift-wrapping fees, taxes, and service charges, and less any rebates, credit card processing fees, returns, and bad debt.

Paid ads should be your last step in marketing your range of affiliate products. You want to make sure you’re in a money-making niche and have a roster of products proven to sell, as well as proven sales funnel that compels your prospects to buy. That way when you invest the money in a paid ad, which can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars, you’ll see a decent return on investment.
11.7. Equitable Relief. The parties agree that any breach of either of the party's obligations regarding trademarks, service marks or trade names, confidentiality, links or the removal of links, and/or user data may result in irreparable injury for which there may be no adequate remedy at law. Therefore, in the event of any breach or threatened breach of a party's obligations regarding trademarks, service marks or trade names, confidentiality, links or the removal of links, and/or user data, the aggrieved party will be entitled to seek equitable relief in addition to its other available legal remedies in a court of competent jurisdiction.
This agreement shall begin upon the date of its execution by MA and acceptance in writing by Company and shall remain in effect until the end of the current calendar year and shall be automatically renewed for successive one (1) year periods unless otherwise terminated according to the cancellation or termination provisions contained in paragraph 18 of this Agreement. Company and MA acknowledge that this Agreement is not a franchise as that term is defined under any and all applicable local, state and/or federal laws in U.S., as amended.
Choose products carefully. Don't promote something you wouldn't buy or don't like just to make money. It will backfire and cause you to lose credibility with your website visitors. People are more likely to buy products you personally recommend. If you don't have experience with the product, be sure to check out reviews to see what other people's experience with it is.
There’s no universal consensus for what constitutes ‘long-form’ content. However, as a rule of thumb, you can think of this as any piece over 1,000 words. Research shows people tend to trust long-form content more. On the other hand, most online readers still tend to skim articles. This means you also need to find ways to adapt your longer content for skimmers.
Except as agreed between you and us in a separate written agreement referencing this Section 5, you will not use any Program Content or Special Link, or otherwise link to an Amazon Site, on or in connection with: (a) any client-side software application (e.g., a browser plug-in, helper object, toolbar, extension, component, or any other application executable or installable by an end user) on any device, including computers, mobile phones, tablets, or other handheld devices (other than Approved Mobile Applications); or (b) any television set-top box (e.g., digital video recorders, cable or satellite boxes, streaming video players, blu-ray players, or dvd players) or Internet-enabled television (e.g., GoogleTV, Sony Bravia, Panasonic Viera Cast, or Vizio Internet Apps).
These strategic buys can lead to new insightful data as well. You will see other products within your niche that the audience is prone to buy, which can help you in deciding to launch your next product. Also, each of these sites can become little satellite sites that can collect emails for your overall brand. This strategy is not at all new, and Jon Haver from Authority Website Income has already written a detailed post about the concept here.

6. Small Payments Add Up – In my early days of making money from blogs I didn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing my income streams as much as I (and other full time bloggers) now do. I needed to earn money somewhere and even the small amounts that Amazon brought in were better than nothing. Over time these payments began to add up. In the early days I didn’t even earn enough for a minimum payment amount and had to wait a few months before they’d pay me – but those pay outs were milestones that I celebrated. If I’d not gone with Amazon because they didn’t earn me a lot I might not have gone with any ad networks or affiliate programs – sometimes you have to take what you can get.
Do you have any opinions about sites that got hit with Google Fred for having too much affiliate content? I think one of your other sites got hit (not TYS) and I saw you add a lot of new content but it’s not going up much. The same thing happened to me; I had too much affiliate content and got penalized; added more content but it’s not helping. I am thinking of just starting a new site and redirecting links to the new site. I feel like this penalty is unrecoverable….
Amazon used to have a variable fee structure where you would earn more money if you referred more sales to Amazon. They would start at 4% and you could earn up to 8.5% of a sale if you referred enough items. Amazon did away with their variable fee structure in early 2017 and replaced that system with a fixed percentage payout based on the category of products. Some niches pay a lot less than others and it’s important to be aware of the payout before you pick a niche:

This Affiliate Agreement ("Agreement") contains the complete terms and conditions between us, FatCow ("FatCow") and you, regarding your application to and participation in, the FatCow Affiliate Program (the “Affiliate Program”) as an affiliate of FatCow (an “Affiliate”), and the establishment of links from your website to our website, https://www.FatCow.com.
I would think valuation is just going to have to be based on what the sites earn post-change. I don’t know if Amazon’s associate account allows you to see the detailed breakdown (i.e. commission detail) of what categories all of your affiliates sales are coming from or not. Once that segment of your traffic clicks through to Amazon, they could buy anything and you get a commission on it. They won’t necessarily be buying a items that you are promoting/reviewing on your site.
Paid ads should be your last step in marketing your range of affiliate products. You want to make sure you’re in a money-making niche and have a roster of products proven to sell, as well as proven sales funnel that compels your prospects to buy. That way when you invest the money in a paid ad, which can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars, you’ll see a decent return on investment.
Unlike an Amazon affiliate business model, affiliate marketing tends to be more lucrative in terms of the profit margins you can earn per sale. This makes paid advertising easily profitable, so it can be a valid choice to grow your website. Many affiliate marketers focus almost 100% on paid traffic. They create a landing page, a sales letter, and off they go with Facebook ads or Google Adword campaigns.
LOVED this – thank you Chris. So glad I found it just as I was about to add a store to my blog. I think it would be a better idea to just start linking to Amazon in every recipe and post! (Right?) BTW – I’ve already shared this post on G+ and LinkedIn and sent it to a bunch of friends. I always wish peeps would TELL me when they share my stuff, so here I am telling you. 🙂
If you have any kind of special deals with your affiliate manager, make sure that you can pass these along. If you can’t, then you need to take that portion out of the business and sell as if you weren’t getting those extra benefits. One of the best ways to transfer these kind of special perks is by also making sure that your affiliate manager becomes the manager for the new buyer as well when they sign up for that network. Most affiliate managers work on a commission basis from the sales that their affiliates are doing, so they will likely be more than happy to do this since your website is already a proven profit maker for them.
There’s no getting around it, making less money directly translates into a less valuable business. The valuations will go down, in some cases quite significantly as is the case for technology sites earning all their revenue from the Amazon Associates program. Again this clearly depends on the category of the site – some sites might see a slight increase in their earnings, but those are definitely in the minority. 

You grant to us a non-exclusive license to utilize your name, title, trademarks, and logos (the "Affiliate Trademarks") in any advertisement or other materials used to promote FatCow and the Affiliate Program, provided that FatCow’s use of the Affiliate Trademarks is not required and is at its sole discretion. This license shall terminate upon the termination of your participation in the Affiliate Program.


Subject to the limitations set forth in Section 3 above and otherwise in this Agreement, we grant you a non-exclusive, non-transferable, revocable license to (i) access our website through the Links solely in accordance with the terms of this Agreement and (ii) solely in connection with such Links, to use the FatCow trademark and logo and similar identifying material provided by us (collectively, the "Licensed Materials"), for the sole purpose of selling FatCow Products and Services on your Affiliate Site and as approved in advance by us. You may not alter, modify, or change the Licensed Materials in any way. You are only entitled to use the Licensed Materials while you are an Affiliate in good standing and in compliance with all of the terms of this Agreement.
You should also have tracking setup for every affiliate link of yours. You can do this with something like Voluum that can track the sales you are getting and where those sales are coming from. This will be useful data for an analytical buyer who wants to split test the website, not to mention it will allow you to split test the site and possibly push your monthly net profit up which will also increase your site’s listing multiple price.
Analytics are limited. Unlike with conversions made directly on your WordPress site, you’ll be limited in terms of what you can learn about the people making purchases through your affiliate links. While Amazon does provide you with details about clicks and sales, you won’t get deep insights into who the consumer was and what they did on your site before they got to that point that you would with Google Analytics.
Website Development Help – need help setting up your theme? I’ve been working with the same 2 developers for 3+ years. To hire them, sign up for a Freelancer account, post your job (WordPress theme installation) then invite user i333 or bdkamol to your project. If you want, contact me and I will introduce you to them via email. Both are great developers with reasonable rates, speak fluent English, and I outsource all my programming work to them.
At first I was reluctant to promote Amazon.com due to the poor cookie duration and low commissions. However, since Amazon has a huge inventory, it’s a trusted site, and you also get credit for sales customers make even though you weren’t necessarily promoting that specific product, it tends to make up for the negatives, so I have started promoting Amazon more. Great post btw!
Subject to the terms of the Agreement and solely for the limited purposes of participation in the Associates Program in strict compliance with the Agreement (including this License and the other Program Policies), we hereby grant you a limited, revocable, non-transferable, non-sublicensable, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to: (a) copy and display Program Content solely on your Site; (b) use only those of the Amazon Marks (as defined in the Trademark Guidelines) we make available to you as part of the Program Content, solely on your Site and in accordance with the Trademark Guidelines, and (c) access and use PA API, Data Feeds, and Product Advertising Content solely in accordance with the Specifications and this License.
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