Amazon Affiliate Program: What it is 🤔 and how it works 🤨

Did you know that around 50% of affiliate marketers earn $20k per year, and 3% earn over $150k? Not bad for passive income, wouldn’t you agree? 

affiliate marketing

The Amazon Affiliate program, also known as Amazon Associates, is one of the most significant affiliate marketing programs. This makes sense as Amazon dominates the e-commerce industry, and people don’t have to wait to get approved. So there are little to no barriers to entry.

The Amazon Affiliate marketing program can feel daunting to start with, so we’ll begin with the basics and work our way up!

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

First thing’s first, you need to have a firm grasp of the term affiliate marketing. It’s always better to know what you’re getting yourself into and whether or not you have the required resources. 

If you’re someone who owns a website or a blog and is looking to diversify your income stream, affiliate marketing is a good place to start. Each affiliate program comes with its own set of rules and guidelines, which could lead to expulsion if not followed.

what is affiliate marketing

Once you have your blog set up for affiliate marketing and sign up with a retailer, they either give you unique product links or the ability to create them yourself. These links are your affiliate links which you need to promote on your website. 

Once a website visitor clicks on your affiliate link, the page gets redirected to the retailer’s website where the product is placed. If the visitor purchases that item, the retailer gives you commission for it, and this is how you earn with affiliate marketing

Each affiliate program will have its commission structure, cookie length, and other rules, so always make sure you read them first. 

Example of affiliate marketing

Suppose you have a niche travel blog covering topics like “Top 10 hotels in Instanbul”. You could sign up for affiliate programs with hotels and then promote them in your article, so it doesn’t look like forced promotion. 

How affiliate program works

Let’s say one hotel has a 10% commission rate and the rent for a room is $200 a night. If somebody books that room through your affiliate link, then you get $20! The more popular and convincing your article is, the more sales you make. Even if 10 people book the hotel, you get $200 from one blog post. Pretty neat, right?

Affiliate marketing is a win-win for both parties. The retailer is getting their product promoted, and the blogger gets an incentive to promote the product. 

So this is affiliate marketing in a nutshell. Now let’s focus on the Amazon Affiliate program in particular. 

Amazon Affiliate Marketing For Beginners

Amazon Affiliate program follows the same structure as any other affiliate program. You sign up for it on Amazon’s website and are assigned a unique Associate ID. Once your application is approved, you’ll be given access to the portal, where you’ll be creating your affiliate links for any product that you want to promote. 

Amazon has different commission rates according to various industries, so make sure to check them out on Associates program standard commission income statement.

Amazon affiliate commission rates 2021

You can roughly estimate how much you can earn with the Amazon Affiliate 2021 program as you’ll know how many website visitors you have, a potential conversion rate, and the commission that you will be making. 

If you need a step-by-step guide on how to become an affiliate for Amazon, then give this article a read, step-by-step process on how to set up an Amazon Associate Account.

Amazon Affiliate program rules and requirements 

To keep things running smoothly, there are specific rules in place that you will need to follow. Make sure you read all the Associate Program Policies as there are some rules that you might unintentionally break because you didn’t think it might be a rule in the first place. 

Let’s go over the few major ones:

  • You must disclose to your website visitors that there are affiliate links present from which you can profit. It’s best to have a disclaimer in the footer of your website, so every page says that there are affiliate links present. 
Amazon affiliate disclosure
Source: TermsFeed
  • Don’t use link shorteners. Yes, we know link shorteners can make a link look tidy, but unfortunately, it is not allowed. This is the case with many affiliate programs, not just with Amazon. 
  • Do not make any false claims or overhype the product. This could cost you the trust of your readers. 
  • Avoid mentioning any prices as they tend to change. Mentioning prices could result in a drop in conversion rate if your visitor clicks that link expecting the price you said, but in reality, the price has hiked up hence discouraging the visitor from buying. 

Failure to comply with any rule can lead to termination from the program, so make sure you’re well versed with all of them!

Pros and Cons of Amazon Affiliate Program

While the Amazon Associates program might sound like a good place to dip your toes in affiliate marketing, it does have its ups and downs. Let’s see what they are. 

Amazon Affiliate marketing program


  • Once your website visitor clicks on your affiliate link and is redirected to Amazon, whatever item they buy in the next 24 hours will contribute to your commission. How cool is that? For instance, let’s assume your visitor clicks on your affiliate link for a backpack. Now even if they don’t buy the item but continues shopping on Amazon and purchase dog food, you will get a commission for the dog food even when you weren’t promoting it!
  • Anybody can sign up for the Amazon Affiliate program. There are no requirements like minimum website visitors to qualify for the program. All you need is a website of your own, and you’re good to go. 
amazon affiliate site
  • There is something for everybody on Amazon. No matter what your niche site is, be it automobile, fashion, travel, health, utensils, home appliances, or plastic ware, chances are Amazon will have those products. So people with a very defined niche can also thrive. 
  • Since Amazon is an eCommerce giant, it is trusted by millions of people from around the world. Hence, buyers will be less hesitant to buy products from Amazon, which means more sales for you!


  • To be an Amazon associate in 2021, you need to have a public platform with great content to promote products. This can either be a website or a substantial social following. Celebrities and influencers often share affiliate links on their social media, and bloggers do it on their websites by including them in blog posts. Setting up a large enough following or readership is the most challenging part of affiliate marketing in general. But once you’ve got that down, everything is pretty much smooth-sailing from there.
affiliate marketing blog post
Source: HomeGrounds
  • Amazon will only pay you once the return period for the product you sold has passed. Since many customers take advantage of the return policy, Amazon needs to make sure it isn’t paying you for a product it didn’t profit from. It will wait until however long the return period is. Once that is clear, you’ll be eligible for that commission. 
  • The cookie length of Amazon affiliate links is extremely short, only 24 hours. Even if people visit Amazon through your link, they might not buy right away. Many buyers take time to decide whether or not they should purchase an item. Most affiliate programs have cookie lengths of 30 days, going up to 90 days! Compared to this, 24 hours is practically nothing. 
  • If you went through Amazon’s commission statement document, then you would have noticed that Amazon commission rates are meager except for the beauty and luxury niche. They even go as low as 1% for niches like health and video games, so that’s demotivating. You’ll have to make a ton of sales to earn a decent amount. 

Even though the Amazon Affiliate program might not look like your dream program, it’s worth giving a shot. Many website owners earn a living income from this, with some even cracking past $20k per month

Suggested read: How to Make $1000 a month with Amazon Associates

Final words

Despite some of the cons, the consensus is that the Amazon Affiliate program is one of the best out there, mainly because anybody can enter, and it has millions of products that you can promote. 

Thinking of diving into Amazon Associates but don’t know where to start? Give ‘How to Create (and Grow) a Profitable Amazon Affiliate Marketing Website’ a read. 

Best of luck! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Amazon Affiliate program allows influencers and bloggers to promote products listed on Amazon. In return, they get a referral fee whenever someone buys something through their affiliate link.
Signing up for the program is really easy but it does require you to have an online presence. You could either have a website, a YouTube channel, or a large audience on social media. This is because success as an Amazon Associate highly depends on the number of people using your Amazon referral link to make purchases.
Once an associate successfully signs up, they’re given their customize referral link through which they will be directing their audience to Amazon. Once a user buys something from the link and the return period for that product expires, then Amazon credits the referral fees to the associate’s account.
Amazon Associates get paid a certain percentage of the product’s price. Every product category has a different commission rate, with the highest being luxury and beauty at 10%. How much you get paid depends on what type of product your selling and how much.