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.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: amazon, facebook, twitter

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Comments on “Why Doesn't Amazon Allow Referrals On Passed Links?”

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

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.

techflaws.org (profile) says:

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 When I asked what was that about support told me that “links could be outdated” so they don’t want em.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.

Anthony (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Amazon Cuts North Carolina Affiliates to Avoid Tax

Amazon Sues New York To Strike Down Online Tax

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.

Cro (profile) says:

“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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