How Does Affiliate Marketing Work with Amazon


If you plan to do affiliate marketing, no doubt the easiest way is to start with Amazon. So how does affiliate marketing work with Amazon, and what makes it better than other options that you have? Keep reading, the answer is in the text.

Is Amazon affiliate commission rate good or bad?

When I started with my first affiliate marketing site, I was attending courses at a site hosting and online business teaching platform. So they suggested to start with Amazon, and this is what I did. At that time, Amazon had a very different commission rate dependent on the number of sales. So in my niche the start was at 3% commission rate, but it would grow quickly. It was easy to get to 8% even for a beginner like me.

I guess this was the time when Amazon needed their affiliates, so they were reasonably generous with the commission rate. However, a few years later they changed the commission structure completely, and this was not for the better of course.

Suddenly, my commission rate was fixed at 5.5% commission. But this was not the end of the story. The commission rate in my niche is 3% now. I doubt it will ever be better.

It is easy to recalculate how much I would be earning if the commission remained the same as in the beginning. But what is the point? So am I still an Amazon affiliate? The answer is yes, I am.

Now, I can expect you to say that this only proves that I am not a smart guy. No need, thank you, I have my wife to remind me about this occasionally. So am I really a complete idiot for promoting a seller with such a low rate? Perhaps I am, but things are not so simple in affiliate marketing, wait to see more.

Why I am still an Amazon affiliate?

After so many years, I have realized a few things, and no need to be an Einstein for this. It appears that people simply like to buy on Amazon. There may be good reasons for this, like speedy shipping, Amazon Prime privilege, etc.

But due to the mentioned change in the commission, I have become an affiliate with many other online sellers and affiliate networks. Most of them are in the AvantLink network and a few are on Impact Radius and ShareASale networks.

I have mentioned the Amazon commission rate and how bad it is, but it is even worse at Walmart which is under the mentioned Impact Radius network. My commission at Walmart used to be 4%, but a few months ago they changed it to 1% only.

So this is practically useless, and this is even more so because conversion rate for Walmart links is far lower than the rate for Amazon links. There is no way for me to know why this is so. I could show you examples of days with 160 clicks per day or so, and yet zero sales. So the conversion rate for my readers when they go to Walmart is really miserable.

At AvantLink the situation is a bit different in terms of commission rate. This is a very strong network and it includes many top brands in my niche. But big brands know their reputation, and they will not give you much. You can expect high affiliate commission rate only from brands that are not well established on the market. So my brands have commission rate typically in the range 7 – 12%.

I can tell you, I have them more than 20 on AvantLink alone, and those are the best known brands, the top in this particular industry. So am I doing good there, is the conversion rate good? The answer is no. Why? I have no idea. The conversion rate is slightly better than at Walmart, but is is still next to nothing.

So how bad this really is? Roughly speaking, if I summarize the income of all of them, from all networks and sellers, and compare with my income from Amazon, it is just a negligible fraction in comparison with my Amazon performance.

It is true that I still have more links in my sites pointing to Amazon, but this cannot explain such huge differences in the generated income. From my experience, in my niche, the conversion rate for all sellers are far inferior to the conversion rate on Amazon.

What I want to say is: when my reader follows the link in the text and goes to Amazon or Walmart, it is far more likely that he or she will do some purchase on Amazon than on Walmart. If you have any idea of what behind this is, please let me know.

So how is this on Amazon really? Roughly speaking my conversion rate is anywhere in the range 5 – 12%, there are differences from site to site. Usually it is around 8%, and this cannot be considered as a bad conversion rate.

But why it is easier to start affiliate marketing with Amazon?

I have tried many affiliate networks in the past. For example, it is not easy to be accepted by the AvantLink network. They have their rules written somewhere, they are easy to find. But the point is that you have to have a decent traffic.

I do not remember seeing their exact number given anywhere, but if you are below 100 visitors per day, most likely they will reject you. Of course, I have no proof for this, you can try and see. Right now I have a new site with around 60 – 70 visitors per day, and I do not even think of applying, although I already have 5 sites registered there.

This is not so with Amazon. You can start almost immediately, but it is in your interest not to do this before you get some traffic. Namely, they also expect you to have at least three qualified sales in the first 180 days (this is so as of the moment of writing this text, check from your side, the rules may change). This may sound like a low and easily achievable limit, but think twice. If you start with a new site, it may remain unnoticed by Google for months, and you might get no traffic at all.

Though, I must say that I was able to have sales in my two new sites within two weeks after the sites were indexed. But I was not a beginner, and I was adding texts every day, long and quality posts, etc.

So, after you make those required 3 initial sales, they will likely accept you as an affiliate and you can generate a full time income with this. But it is hard, be ready for this and do not trust those who are offering some shortcuts. Such tricks may work for a while but sooner or later Google will get to you and you will have a dead site.

Of course, I am talking about organic traffic and sales generated that way. If you think about paid traffic, I am afraid I cannot be of much help to you.

Amazon is not the only relatively easy option to start earning online. I am also an affiliate of, and starting with them as an affiliate is even easier. You can read a bit more about it in my separate text. Did you know that you can earn money by buying and selling domains? Read more here.

In any case, you need a site, and if you do not have it, you can start it at the same place where I am keeping my sites. This is a teaching platform where you can learn everything you need to build your online presence and to start making money online. If you are undecided about your direction, read my text on how to choose a niche for a blog.

You might want to read about possibilities of self-publishing books on Amazon. Thank you for reading. There is a comment box below so let me know what I do not know, or ask questions if you need some help.


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