Why Doesn't Amazon Allow Referrals On Passed Links?

from the keep-up-with-the-times dept

A few months ago, we were talking about the growing value of "passed links" or "earned links." These are links that to things that others passed on to you, via email or social networking services like Facebook and Twitter. As more people have been using these services, the value of such links have grown as traffic generators. And yet, some have just realized that Amazon doesn't reward affiliates for using such links. It's not difficult to understand how this came about, but it certainly seems like the type of thing that the company should reconsider. Basically, Amazon's original affiliate program was so that you could send people to Amazon from your own site. In order to become an affiliate your site had to be approved. But if you're just passing around links, then that has little or nothing to do with your site, and thus Amazon doesn't pay such referral fees. I would imagine that Amazon is also quite worried about potential fraud.

But given the growing popularity of things like Twitter and Facebook, it seems like Amazon might want to reconsider this policy, and recognize that if someone promotes a book via these services, they're equally as deserving of the affiliate referral fee than if they had simply posted the link on their own site.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Cro, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 2:51am

    Spam

    Surely Amazon's measure is there to counter act against spam...? I'd not like to see my Facebook account bombarded with spam containing links to Amazon, from all my friends, and if Amazon has any care for their corporate image, nor would they.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 3:41am

      Re: Spam

      Surely Amazon's measure is there to counter act against spam...? I'd not like to see my Facebook account bombarded with spam containing links to Amazon, from all my friends, and if Amazon has any care for their corporate image, nor would they.

      Hmm. Doesn't that suggest more about your friends? :) There are ways Amazon could prevent spamming. For example, it's fine to approve initially a website, and then allow that code to be used elsewhere.

       

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    Michael Kohne, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 3:18am

    Spam's the issue

    If Amazon allowed this sort of thing, it would be an open call to spammers of all types. In a perfect world it would be nice, but given the world we live in, Amazon's just trying NOT to be a reason to be a spammer.

     

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    techflaws.org (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 3:35am

    No links in customer reviews and comments

    Since ppl are too lazy to read stuff they ask questions over and over again or simply spread false information. So I compiled a FAQ on the the Philips 3260/5990 DVD players and linked to it from my review of the players only to find out that Amazon deleted my link. When I asked what was that about support told me that "links could be outdated" so they don't want em. Yeah, right.

     

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    Anthony, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 4:26am

    That's why I ditched Amazon

    I used to be an Amazon affiliate and post Amazon links on my page. Then I found out their very odd policy. So I ditched Amazon and signed with another book/DVD retailer that allows links that cam from anywhere - email, etc. They still don't allow spamming. So if you send out a meaningless email to a newsgroup or large number of people you don't know then you get booted.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 4:40am

    Amazon Cuts North Carolina Affiliates to Avoid Tax
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124603593605261787.html

    Amazon Sues New York To Strike Down Online Tax
    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/amazon-online-york,news-1228.html

    Simple answer to the posed question is taxes and state control of taxes.

    If Amazon paid websites for referrals then that would mean that these sites would be official Amazon affiliates opening Amazon up to additional state control and taxes.

     

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    Cro, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 1:28am

    "If Amazon paid websites for referrals then that would mean that these sites would be official Amazon affiliates opening Amazon up to additional state control and taxes."

    Amazon does pay websites for referrals... Amazon is already open to those taxes (and is shutting affiliates down in states that are going to start demanding those taxes, which hurts the affiliate as a business in that state!) but it has to be *your* site. What we're talking about is other people sites - should they still pay you if you offer Amazon links via Facebook, or Techdirt - in a comment, say or wall post...? Or would that encourage people spamming those sites?

     

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    Jeff Molander, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 5:22pm

    Doesn't that suggest more about your friends?

    No, it suggests how every single thing that's ever happened to the Internet has been polluted. Over a decade later we are STILL very busy peeing in our drinking well, thank you very much!

     

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    S, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 11:27pm

    They don't allow it because it would cost them more money to pay affiliates for all those extra sales. Simple as that.

     

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