How The Amazon Affiliate Scam Could Impact You
Have you bought something on Amazon that you regretted? Did you read a 3rd-party website about the item ahead of time? If so, you were likely tricked into believing the product would be the best. This is the work of many Amazon affiliates.
Before Amazon became a powerhouse in the e-commerce sector, it relied heavily on Amazon affiliates or individuals who refer consumers to Amazon. Today, Amazon is shifting further away from affiliates while decreasing the commission paid out for each sale.
Simultaneously, affiliates are engaged in dubious behavior that consumers must know about. You’ve likely relied on the information found on an Amazon Affiliate website and you may have regretted it. Now, it is time to learn more about Amazon Affiliates and how they’re making money while lying to the American people.
What Are Amazon Affiliates?
First, you should learn more about affiliates. Who are they? Ultimately, anyone can become an Amazon affiliate. As an affiliate of Amazon, you will market and advertise products for the company. When those products are sold with your assistance, you’ll receive a portion of the proceeds.
The Internet is overflowing with affiliate websites designed to generate sales for Amazon while misleading the public.
Spotting Amazon Affiliate Websites
It isn’t hard to find an affiliate website. In fact, there is a good chance that you’ve visited several when trying to decide which item to purchase on Amazon. Whether you’re looking for easels, gaming chairs, computers, or books, you will encounter these websites.
In most cases, these sites will have pages dedicated to the “top 5” or “top 10” products in a specific category. For instance, you may find a website reviewing the top 10 painting easels. When you read through the information, you’ll find short paragraphs with limited substance, pros, cons, and links to buy the item on Amazon. You will likely find “buying guides” as well.
There are countless Amazon affiliate websites and the majority of them are not designed with the consumer’s best interest at heart. Instead, the affiliate wants to convince the visitor to click on their links and buy the item from Amazon. More about this will be provided below.
How Do Amazon Affiliates Make Money?
When a consumer lands on an affiliate website, they’ll find a lot of information about the product in question. They’ll also find links directing to the Amazon page for the product. If you click on that link and purchase the item from Amazon then or a short time later, the affiliate will make money.
With a successful website, they can earn commissions on sales every day. Simultaneously, you may decide to buy more than what you searched for or you might buy something else entirely. Nevertheless, you clicked on the affiliate’s link so they’re going to make money for the entire sale.
Even if you don’t buy the easel you were looking for, the affiliate will earn the commission because you clicked the link before completing your order.
Why Are Affiliate Websites Bad For American Consumers?
On the surface, affiliate websites such as top 10 websites appear to be beneficial for the customer. After all, they provide insight into the product and the reviewer knows something about the products from experience. There is often a section such as, “How we chose the best….” followed by the product. For instance, it may be “how we chose the best Bluetooth speakers” or “how we chose the top artist easels”.
So, the reader may assume that the writer knows something about the products and personally used them. Unfortunately, this is generally not the case. These websites are often created by foreigners who speak little to no English. They hire freelance writers, usually Americans, on black hat and freelancing websites.
So, the writer knows nothing about the products either. 99.9% of the time the writer knows has never touched or used these products so their reviews are bogus. Instead, the highest-priced item is always placed at the top of the list and declared the best.
Obviously, the affiliate wants to maximize their earnings so they want you to buy the highest-priced item. Unfortunately, that item might not be the best. The guide and reviews were likely written by someone making a few cents for every word they write.
Why It Matters
Sadly, Amazon affiliate websites are usually deceptive. There might be one or two that are legitimate. There might be two in which the writer has actually “tested” the products but most do not. Most are written by 3rd party Americans who are getting paid pennies on the dollar.
Therefore, it is not wise to rely on the information found on Amazon affiliate websites. The information is often inaccurate and written to encourage the visitor to click the link and buy something. After all, the affiliate is motivated by money and they’ll face no repercussions. They do not handle the products so a complaint from you will do little.
With this in mind, consumers should avoid these sites. The information provided is not trustworthy.
How To Avoid Amazon Affiliates
Thankfully, there are ways to protect yourself. If you do not want to contribute to individuals running deceptive websites, you need to learn how to avoid Amazon affiliates. First and foremost, you should avoid visiting websites with headings such as “top 10 best” or “top 4”.
If you land on one of these websites and you’re not positive, you should hover over the links. You may find a “Click for price” link or “Learn more” link. When you hover over the link, you’ll be able to see its destination. If the link says amazon.com or something similar, you should not click on it.
Doing so and making a purchase will ensure that this individual makes money. You should also avoid links such as “buy.geni.us”. These links will lead to Amazon and the affiliate will end up making money when you purchase something on Amazon.
If you’ve clicked on one of these affiliate links, you should avoid buying anything for 24 hours. Alternatively, you can clear your cache and cookies. Closing your browser or restarting your computer will not delete Amazon’s 24-hour cookie.
Instead, you should follow the instructions for clearing the cache and cookies for your browser. This is the best way to prevent someone who is running a deceptive website from making money on your account.
Amazon Was Complicit
During its infancy, Amazon relied heavily on Amazon affiliates. Without these individuals, Amazon would’ve never succeeded to the point that it has now. Amazon Affiliates have helped the company generate billions in sales over the years.
They built countless backlinks for the company’s website and sent millions of hits in traffic to Amazon on a monthly basis. While some of their sites are deceptive, they can still be helpful to some degree as long as you know what you’re getting. So, how has Amazon repaid the affiliates who helped build the website?
Unfortunately, Amazon has mostly stabbed them in the back by lowering commission fees and reducing the duration of cookies. Previously, Amazon cookies lasted for several days or longer. Now, they’re only active for 24 hours meaning it is much harder to make money as an Amazon affiliate. And, the money you make will be significantly lower.
In April of this year, Amazon slapped these individuals in the face once again by announcing it would be reducing its commission on furniture and home improvement products from 8% down to 3%. Running an affiliate website can be very expensive especially if you’re unable to write the content yourself.
Combine hosting with graphic design and content writing and an affiliate may spend hundreds of dollars on their website so breaking even is getting tougher than ever before.
NayZayerz will delve deeper into this topic in a future post.
Affiliate websites can be helpful. However, you must take most of the information with a grain of salt. The writer almost never experiments with the product. They write these reviews based on the information found on Amazon’s listing page and Amazon reviews.
These individuals are not testing the products before reviewing them. They’re likely not even in the United States.