So an effective affiliate marketing program requires some forethought. The terms and conditions have to be tight, especially if the contract agreement is to pay for traffic rather than sales. The potential for fraud in affiliate marketing is a possibility. Unscrupulous affiliates can squat on domain names with misspellings and get a commission for the redirect; they can populate online registration forms with fake or stolen information; they can purchase adwords on search terms the company already ranks high on, and so on. Even if the terms and conditions are clear, an affiliate marketing program requires that someone be monitoring affiliates and enforcing the rules. In exchange for that effort, however, a company can access motivated, creative people to help sell their product or services to the world.
The one thing to be aware of with WordPress Amazon affiliate plugins is that you don’t want to use one that offers link cloaking. This is a method used to protect affiliates from a threat known as affiliate link hijacking. However, Amazon expressly forbids the cloaking of their links, so you’ll want to avoid plugins that do that or always be sure to disable that functionality if they give you the option.
I didn’t know it at the time, but to be a successful Amazon affiliate, you need to have hyper focus. Instead, I created four online stores in various niches (because I’m so indecisive I couldn’t pick just one). And then I stocked up those stores with hundreds of products. I had an online store catered to the bridal niche where I spent a week writing product descriptions for over 600 products. What the heck was I thinking?
Their policies are strict. Be sure to read through Amazon’s affiliate program policies very carefully. Any violation of their policies is grounds for account suspension--something which could be devastating if you build an entire website or store around affiliate links. Amazon has also been known to suspend accounts without any prior notice, so tread carefully.
I concluded that having read a product review, people felt more informed to make a purchasing decision. As a result, if they did click a link after reading the review they were more likely to buy the product. Those clicking on the top link seemed to be more in a ‘surfing’ mode. They clicked on the link less because they wanted to buy it but more out of interest to learn more. Some bought the product and some bought other products once they were ‘in the door’ at Amazon.
Amazon customers are loyal. Beyond that, Amazon customers--especially Amazon Prime members--are more than happy to convert. According to a 2015 report, Prime members are said to convert at a rate 22 times greater than customers that shop with other top online retailers. So, if you can tap into that audience and appeal to their willingness to spend money with Amazon, you should see a good return on your decision to join the program.
One big difference between SkimLinks and VigLinks, however, is that once you’re approved by the company, you can choose to work with any merchant or program on its platform. SkimLinks has also published a white paper discussing its partnership with Buzzfeed, giving SkimLinks a lot of credibility. SkimLinks also has a higher tier of vetted merchants called “Preferred Partner” and “VIP” that both pay higher commissions than standard merchants.
Being in Australia, I’m not required to do anything by the law (although I hear talk that there may be changes around this). I don’t disclose every single Amazon link on my photography blog in a direct way but do I have a disclaimer/disclosure page on the blog. When I’m doing a ‘best seller list’ always include a disclaimer on those posts as the whole page is filled with affiliate links. I have also written numerous times on DPS about how the links to Amazon earn us money and help the site to keep growing and be free.
Now most affiliate programs have strict terms and conditions on how the lead is to be generated. There are also certain methods that are outright banned, such as installing adware or spyware that redirect all search queries for a product to an affiliate's page. Some affiliate marketing programs go as far as to lay out how a product or service is to be discussed in the content before an affiliate link can be validated.