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 www.amazon.co.uk, http://astore.amazon.co.uk or www.javari.co.uk 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 Amazon.co.uk or Javari.co.uk 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 www.amazon.com, www.amazon.ca, or www.endless.com 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 www.amazon.co.uk or www.javari.co.uk 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.