The Common Question; Is it OK or not to use Amazon affiliate links to sell your OWN products on Amazon?
When asked by an Amazon Seller, this question is made up of 2 questions.
- Is it within Amazon ToS on the Amazon Associates Programme to sell my own product using an Amazon Affiliate Link?
- Is it within Amazon ToS for an Amazon Professional Seller to sell my own product using an Amazon Affiliate Link?
Is it ok to use Amazon Affiliate links to sell your own product?
There are 2 sets of terms that need to be satisfied.
This is where the “blinkered” Amazon Seller has gone wrong in the past, and therefore built up the myth that “you can’t use Amazon Affiliate Links when promoting your own product”.
*If you are an Amazon Vendor, selling product TO Amazon, you are again under a different set of ToS which may contain suggestive language that Amazon EXPECTS you to do promotion outside the Amazon platform, SUGGESTING that you’re not in a position to ask for a reward for this promotion using Amazon Affiliate links.
Once again, this could be a contributor to the myth.
There are numerous public examples of people who are both an Amazon Seller AND an Amazon Associate (Affiliate), selling their products on Amazon and making a commission for directing traffic to Amazon.
And YES, you do earn the commissions for selling your own products, and other products the user shops for during that session.
A Couple Of High Profile Public Examples:
Spencer Haws, Niche Pursuits – Niche Website + FBA Business – Case Study Click Here
Dave Bryant, EcomCrew – Niche Website + FBA Business offroading.com
So Which Rules Are Blinkered Amazon Sellers Breaking?
The Amazon Associates Programme has a tonne of rules in the same way the Amazon Seller programme does.
However, the Amazon Associates Programme overlaps with Amazon and Anti-trust legislation. So the Associates Programme provides a lot of “ToS Complexities” that we don’t even have to think about when exclusively on the Amazon Seller Programme.
If you’re compliant with the Amazon Seller Programme ToS, it doesn’t mean you’re compliant with the Amazon Associates Programme ToS.
Worse than that, the Associates Programme actually has different ToS for different regions because the nature of affiliate marketing crosses into the area of “trade law” which has its own nuances depending on where you are in the world.
Blinkered Amazon Sellers don’t take the time to understand the bigger world of ToS that they’re heading into when they decide to join the Amazon Associates Programme.
Amazon Affiliate Program Rules are more aggressively enforced
Amazon are also more aggressive with the Amazon Affiliates because they’re not forcing affiliates to follow rules that Amazon made up themselves. Amazon are trying NOT to get into trouble with the FTC (in America) themselves, so they’re actually enforcing EXTERNAL rules via the programme, onto the Affiliates.
In comparison, it’s the wild west on the Amazon Seller Programme where you can pretty much break all of the rules about images, even use of restricted words and so on. Amazon Associates are clamped down on, because Amazon has the FTC breathing down their neck just waiting to cart Bezos off to Folsom.
The typical things that Amazon Sellers don’t do properly:
- FTC Disclaimers to comply with Federal Regulations
- Amazon Affiliate Disclaimers to comply with Amazon AND the FTC
- Link referrer cloaking – breaching Amazon Associates ToS
- Link destination statements – breaching Amazon Associates ToS
- Using product images, NOT the API to pull Amazon Hosted Data – breaching Amazon Associates ToS
There are a few others that could be deemed derivatives, or sub-categories of those above, but they’re the main ones.
These are ToS that you ALSO need to get acquainted with if you want to have an Amazon Associates account.
As an Amazon Seller, it’s easy to think “I’ll just put a link in here” and that’s all that needs to be done.
There’s so much more to it than that – and the world changes often.
Amazon send out a statement every now and then telling it’s Associates to update their disclaimers with no real clear guidance on exactly what they mean. Useful!
Dom Wells from onfolio.co wrote an article providing his interpretation of an update in November 2019 here: https://onfolio.co/amazon-associates-link-disclosure-compliance/
So How Do I Comply With All The ToS’s?
As a busy Amazon Seller without the time to invest in learning “the ways of the Associates Programme” my advice is to work with a partner or an agency to help you navigate the waters early in the process.
Getting your website or your Ads setup correctly in the first place is the biggest challenge. You have the least amount of knowledge and the most amount of work to do.
This is particularly true for websites.
There are many things you simply won’t learn just by reading the ToS, as they’re not practically instructive in many cases.
Instead, it’s a case of learning about the wider Amazon Associates network and understanding how the rules are being practically applied and enforced.
When it comes to being compliant in email, chat bots, social posts and other communication based medium it can get even more tricky.
You’re not only thinking about complying with:
- Amazon Associates Programme ToS
- Amazon Seller Programme ToS
- FTC Regs (and other global equivalents)
But now you’re also needing to comply with things like:
- Facebook’s Branded Content Policy
- Pinterest’s Acceptable Use Policy
Among others. It’s a bit of a minefield.
For that reason, our recommended approach is to direct traffic from social media TO YOUR WEBSITE, where there are less terms to comply with directly related to Affiliate Links.
(The landing page you’re sending people to still has to comply with the social network’s individual content policies! “Headless pages” or pages without menus have long been a problem for Facebook for example. Funnily enough, Facebook might still run your Ad but you won’t get the high value placements you would if your page was compliant. Now that’s sneaky!)
Can I use my own amazon affiliate link?
It’s against Amazon Affiliate Program Terms of Service to use your own affiliate link to purchase products on Amazon.
BUT it’s not against Amazon Associates ToS to use your affiliate link to sell your own products available on the Amazon Marketplace.