Amazon Slaps UK Affiliates Using Search Marketing Techniques

Like Amazon did several months ago to U.S. affiliates, Amazon sent an email to their UK affiliates basically preventing them from using certain paid search techniques and free search techniques to drive sales to Amazon. The message sent to their UK affiliates yesterday read:

After careful review of our Associates programme, we have made the decision that as of February 1, 2010, we will no longer pay referral fees to Associates who send users to, or through keyword bidding or other paid search on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, or any other search engine, or their extended search networks. In connection with this change, as of February 1, 2010, we will no longer provide Associates who engage in such paid search activities with access to our Product Advertising API or datafeeds. If you are currently enrolled in the Associates Programme as a Paid Search Placement Associate and wish to continue to participate in the Programme after February 1, 2010, you must choose a new category that most accurately describes the method you will use to send users to the or site. Of course, just choosing a new category is not sufficient – you will also need to stop sending traffic via paid search links, as you will no longer be paid for such traffic starting on February 1, regardless of what category you choose.

This seems to be consistent with the email they sent US affiliates in April, which went into effect on May 1st. That email read:

After careful review of how we are investing our advertising resources, we have made the decision to no longer pay referral fees to Associates who send users to,, or through keyword bidding and other paid search on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other search engines. As of May 1, 2009, these paid search Associates will not be paid referral fees.

But get this, not only will Amazon stop paying affiliates for search ads, but also natural search traffic. The email continued and said:

In addition, as of February 1, 2010 we will no longer pay referral fees on purchases made by customers who are referred to or via Free Search Results. Free Search Results are links containing an Associate’s tag displayed in a search engine’s free, natural, or organic search results in response to a search query which send customers directly to an Amazon site without the customer first being sent to an Associate’s site and the customer clicking on a link to arrive at the Amazon site.

So how do you make money through search and Amazon. Send the traffic to your site and then have them click from your site to Amazon’s web site.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Search Marketing: General | SEM Industry: General | SEO: General


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • tatiana_london

    They should have done it long time ago. There are too many people abusing the Affiliate system which is bringing the whole concept down and I see more and more companies going away from this CPA module. At first they were stopping Affiliates from using their brand on PPC and now it naturally progressed to this, good to know that industry is moving forward bringing more rules in and hopefully getting it right. This will benefit those who have genuinely good content and popular sites and filter out the trash.

  • pixelrage

    How on earth do you get an affiliate loaded link to show up in organic search?!

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