Amazon wijzigt affiliate programma

28 december 2002, 11:48

Amazon is er groot mee geworden en laten we eerlijk zijn, wie heeft er geen (affiliate)link naar Amazon op zijn website? Het nieuwe programma – dat vanaf begin volgend jaar zal ingaan -heeft inmiddels voor heftige discussies geleid in de verschillende nieuwsgroepen. ran a new tiered commission program this quarter met with enthusiasm by affiliates. But the online retailer just destroyed all that goodwill with their new commission scheme for Q1 2003. There’s an incredible amount of uproar in the discussion boards, and for good reasons, because (I’m telling you this as an affiliate myself) this new program is nothing short of insulting. Affiliates knew the tiered program was a trial and was meant to evolve, but certainly nobody expected it to take this direction.

The two main requirements that drew the ire from the affiliate community are two new conditions to trigger higher commission rates. One is non-media cross-selling targets, as if highly specialized affiliate bookstores had any business selling lawnmowers or “clean underwear.” The other is “easy links,” banners that Amazon wants affiliates to redecorate their whole sites with in order to deserve a higher percentage. These banners are directly served by Amazon through iframes, meaning they choose the creatives they display on affiliate sites, which is quite a lot of control to ask on someone else’s site. Several affiliates reminded Amazon they’re not franchisees.

Moreover, the $10 commission cap is back, which doesn’t make sellers of high-priced items happy, and seems silly to do when they’re trying to get affiliates interested in selling non-media items. If that wasn’t enough, sales statistics are 5 days late as I’m writing this.

Most affiliates know they’ll make less with the new scheme than with the one that was introduced this quarter. Even more aggravating was how Amazon launched it, making it sound like an opportunity: “Do you want to achieve higher referral fees?”

At least the old non-tiered structure is still available for those who want it (probably a big majority, at least among serious affiliates.) Amazon dubbed it the “Classic” option. Guess how affiliates now name the new alternative? New Coke! What a huge step backwards. I can’t even believe the same team who introduced web services is now trying to plaster affiliate sites with non-targeted banners. Of course affiliates see this as what it is, an attempt to get free branding. It feels a lot like new management just came in (insider tips welcome.)

My recommendation to site owners: if you’re making money with, start adding alternatives your visitors might consider (e.g. Alibris and Abebooks work great for used books.) If you don’t make any money through the affiliate program at this time, you might as well drop it for the time being. Clearly Amazon is taking a lot of affiliate business for granted. It’s up to affiliates to show them they’re wrong.


Marco Derksen
Partner bij Upstream

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