Banned From Amazon Associates

When I woke up on Sat 10th March 2012 I was not expecting to read what I did. An email from Amazon Associates telling me that I was no longer welcome to be an affiliate with Amazon.


Downer to say the least. Having generated over a million dollars in sales for them I expected some kind of explanation at the least.

All I got was a generic email saying that I was not making it clear on one of my sites that my links were going to Amazon.

  • WTF?

Now,a week and a half later I have emailed them multiple time and never got a reply. All I wanted was an explanation as to which site was the problem, and what I could do to fix it, and could I then have my account back.

  • Nada.

It’s funny, but in a way it has come as a relief. Every morning since I began to earn money in this game I wake up with a slight dread about all my earnings being taken away from me. What if I get banned from Amazon, lose my CJ, or Shareasale, or Pepperjam account? What if my measly Adsense earnings get taken from me?

Well, it has happened and the world didn’t end.

It is what it is.

  • So, what now?

Alternatives To Amazon Associates

The good new is that all is not lost. And actually for many of you you could be making more money with Amazon if you use a third party for Amazon links rather than your own.

It is all down to what commission tier you are on by the end of the month. Personally I always hit 8% or 8.5% but many of you may not even be hitting 6% by the month end. If not then the great news is that there are services that will pay you 6% commission. They will convert your existing Amazon links to theirs with the simple install of a piece of code on your site. And if you do not have affiliate links on your site they will convert any link going to sites like Amazon etc into an affiliate link.

As they work with so many people they always get the top % payout every month. They take a 25% cut of any sales you generate, leaving you with 6% at least.

For me this is not good, I am now down at least 25% a month, but it is better than a kick in the teeth from an angry Donkey!

Sign up for Viglink and get a guaranteed 6% Amazon Associates commission.

I have installed it on sites that are obviously not the problem as far as getting banned, but it would be nice to know which site was the problem so I can fix it and use Viglink there too.

Other Options

In one way this has been a wake-up call for me. I don’t know about you but I have realized how lazy I have been. I talked about this in the forum but basically after I got banned I hunted around different networks for other advertisers who offered affiliate programs for some of the products I deal with. One of them I had already tried on a network apart from Amazon and it never earned a cent. So I went back to Amazon.

But I tried it again after the ban with a different network and a different company.

Their site obviously looks different to Amazon and to the other program I had tried.

And we did some quick sums on the forum based on the daily average I was getting.

It turns out that over the 70 days that I had Amazon links for this site, rather than the new affiliate link I lost over $3000!

It goes to show the power of testing out different programs that have different landing pages. It also shows that testing different layouts on your own sites can greatly effect the amount of money you will make. So test and test again. And don’t just assume that Amazon is going to make you the most money. I was very guilty of this so lesson learned I hope.

OK peeps, this isn’t going to be a long post. I just wanted to get it down in writing here that I got banned from Amazon, it’s a real bugger to be honest. I have spent a week and a half now changing out links to other networks, installing Viglink code on sites, and swapping over to a different Amazon account where I could. And where I assumed that the sites were following all the rules.

The main gripe is that they won’t tell me what the problem site was and the notification was vague. I always put the Amazon disclosure on my sites, but if I have overlooked it I would like to know.

Ensure that you have this on your sites, it is part of the agreement you enter into with them. Mine is on my Disclaimer page.

Anyway, a comment would be nice to show you are thinking about poor ‘ole Dave in his moment of Woe!

56 Responses to “Banned”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Sudarshan says:

    @Dave… I know how it feels and I am sure that everything happens for a reason!! We have talked about it in pond 😉 I am sure your income will triple without amazon as you will be in a position to contact the sellers directly and make a deal with them 🙂 I am looking forward to the post where you gonna share with us on how you kicked amazon’s a** 🙂 All the best mate 🙂

    • Dave says:

      Sudarshan, thanks Dude. These things are sent to test our mettle. No point crying about it, just have to turn it into an opportunity to do even better 😉

    • Bryan says:

      I agree with Sudarhan. This could just push you to work directly with merchants and where as you could make much more. Since you get a lot of volume and pretty much gurantee them sales, I think they would make a deal with you. It was an junjust move by Amz but there are other fish in the sea, and being the savvy affiliate you are — you’ll be able to crush the commissions you were getting from Amazon. You won’t have to deal with there crooked 1 day cookie duration and piddly commission rates.

      Good luck in moving forward, Dave!

      • Dave says:


        Thanks Dude. I am over it and have moved on. Still collecting Amazon money via Viglink and Skimlinks, but it has been an eye-opener. I won’t be sending any new traffic their way!

  2. Quinton Hamp says:

    Sheez. Link networks getting taken down. Adsense banning people because they have the “potential” of generating invalid clicks.

    And now this.

    I envision a future where the weak drop out. Most would have if they were in your shoes.

    It leaves more of that wonderful thing called money for people like yourself who are willing to find alternatives and press forward.

    I’ll sit here and wait for the other shoe to drop.

    • Dave says:

      Quinton, there is a lot of bother going around, that is for sure.

      Time for a massive re-evaluation and a different direction. Well, actually I had already done that 😉 I think you are right, a lot of peeps will be scared off by what has been happening, more for us, right?

      • Quinton Hamp says:

        Just sitting here mulling over this week and a couple of my sites…

        Do you think having your links to Amazon as no-follow maybe made it worse? I don’t see how it could matter. But maybe that’s a major part of their plan.

        Anyhow, its all conjecture. We could conjecture all day.

        Where a Ouji board when you need one?

        • Dave says:

          Quinton, I don’t think it was that, but yeah, who knows? If I get any info I will share, but I don’t hold out much hope now.

  3. jellybean says:

    There is something very arse-backwards about a company that insists on full disclosure from affiliates, but will ban them in an instant without disclosing a single thing. I hope your moment of woe is experiencing its last gasps, and that better things are round the corner 🙂

    • Dave says:

      Thanks jellybean. Yeah, I was annnoyed with the lack of contact, i.e none at all.

      But hey, there are other affiliate networks, so the main earners have been switched out and are doing better anyway, so their loss is my gain!

  4. Cat says:

    I’m sorry to hear about that Dave. It would be nice of them to respond to your questions, or even just give a warning if it’s a ‘first offence’ type thing, rather than banning outright. Still, it sounds like you’ve got a good positive attitude about it. I’m sure you’ll more than replace the lost income soon too.

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the importance of diversifying income sources. I’m the kind of person who’d like to focus on only one thing, but it feels too risky!

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Cat, I don’t understand their attitude, but it is up to them I guess. Diversity is key, definitely. If Amazon was my only income source I would have been very annoyed indeed. Best to mix it up if you possibly can.

  5. Joe says:

    Wow! That is bad news. Seems the sky is falling on affiliate marketeers at the moment!

  6. Gayan says:

    Hey Dave:

    I’m really sorry to hear this Dave!!. I mean, I don’t know how I would feel if I got banned from Adsense :/. And since I earn very little, losing something that gives you an extremely wealthy income as yours, well, it must be a big shock.

    Now, I Google it few times, and I’m pretty sure you’ve done it already, but someone who also got banned from AS has said they e-mailed him saying that it was because he had used some sort of a URL shortener ( in his affiliate links. Have you done anything like that? I asked this because you said

    “… All I got was a generic email saying that I was not making it clear on one of my sites that my links were going to Amazon …”

    And also, I hope that you wouldn’t mind me asking this stupid question.

    Did you say that you e-mailed them multiple times? Because as far as I know, those e-mails they send you, cannot be used to reply back to them (“no-reply” I’m sure you’ve done this, but have you tried contacting them using their contact URL? (, because if you have sent e-mails, then they shouldn’t have got them as far as I know.

    And have you tried contacting someone like a manager or so? because, with all due respect, these so called Amazon Associate “Specialists” are just random people as with Adsense dudes (most of the time) and when considering your earning levels, you might be able to fix it if you can contact someone “important”…

    So anyway, again, I hope everything works out just fine for you Dave and hope you wouldn’t mind me rambling a bit in your blog. This is your site and you don’t need advices from anyone, it’s your thing, your baby :), I was just trying to help you as a friend (have mercy! :D).

    And on the bright side, even if nothing works out, still 6% commission ain’t that bad, now would it? 🙂

    Good luck dude (keep up updated on the issue).


    • Dave says:

      Gayan, yes, I used the online form and even got an email address for their legal department, no reply from either. And of course I don’t mind you talking here, it’s what it is all about. The more the merrier Dude. Thanks for the kind words, I really appreciate the support. I didn’t use any link shortener, so I really am at a loss. If I get anything sorted out then I will update, for sure 😉

  7. Bobby Thomas says:

    WOW! Find out yesterday about BMR and now this today, nobody said this game was easy tho eh.

    Guess the good news is there is going to be a lot of competition taken out for us willing to keep on carrying on.

    Starting over again certainly is not easy though, but I can now re-asses and take my sites in a different direction. Maybe joining Google instead of trying to beat them is the way, even if it will take years for our content to rank while Google figures it out, because I think eventually they will, and I for one want to be the one that benefits when the time comes, and besides I think it is much more fun creating something that is helpful and means something to us, rather than just writing about things we couldn’t care about, that is what 2.0 sites are for right.

    Hope you can find great alternatives to Amazon Dave. I for one will be looking forward to your future posts on how you are moving forward from all of this.

    Best of luck Dude.

    Bobby Thomas

    • Dave says:

      Bobby, thanks Dude, I appreciate it. I have a few great posts coming over the next few weeks, the place should liven up a little.

      Great content will win out in the end, but as you say, it doesn’t happen quickly. My advice is build sites in a variety of styles, but always make them look great and actually contribute something for the viewer. But that is easier said than done in a lot of niches.

  8. Kerry says:

    The only way to respond is to channel the honey badger. Honey badger doesn’t care. Note that a honey badger will poss out from cobra venom (eating it’s head) then wake up and immediately finish eating the cobra. Video narration is NSFW, but the images are fine.

    • Dave says:

      Kerry, um, don’t know what to say really 😉

      • Kerry says:

        I suppose I simply meant that they are a good model for a us “little creatures”. The honey badger is widely considered the most ferocious and fearless of animals. they do not back down from any creature, including Lions, which tend to fear honey badgers. They do not stop trying to get what they want (even when stung by hundreds of bees). They just keep on fighting. They get what they want. I think that is the mentality it takes to survive this game. It seems that at least twice a year (or so) some bad $#!T happens to IMers. Algorhythms, banned accounts, deindexed networks, or Amazon sales tax debacles. The survivors just keep on fighting. Of course, modeling yourself on a Zen Duck is also good 😉

        BTW, not in the pond yet, where I am sure this has been a discussion, but can someone give me a nutshell regarding BMR?

        • Dave says:

          Kerry, yep, it does seem to be getting a little bit hairy about the place of late. But we will rise above it and battle on 😉

          In regards to BMR, there is a lot of conjecture about how the network got hit. Some people are saying that with all these notifications in G’s Webmaster tools about unnatural link profiles Google has basicaly been getting people to tell on themselves. i.e, tell G that they are sorry and that they had been using BMR. Then they can simply scrape all the backlinks and gather lists of the BMR sites.

          I dunno. To me it seems more likely that a simple bit of code was put in an algo to de-index sites that were full of posts of 150 words with a link, on sites that all had the same general categories. It wouldn’t be difficult.

          Bottom line is that it is dead and won’t be back. Lots of other networks were hit too, and I am sure it will continue.

          • Norm says:


            In regards to BMR, if I can find the network via G Search. I am sure G’s masses of PHD can find it.

            Especially if you building networks of that magnitude as there will be some kind of pattern or duplication.

            My theory is they joined the network (hence the close of membership) and did a search and destroy mission.


  9. Norm says:

    Hey Dave,

    Sorry to hear your account banned. But knowing you, you probably have a solution.

    Like you said it is an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate, learn something and rejink the strategy or not 😉

    It is just the nature of this business I guess, its changing all the time. No fear.


    • Dave says:

      Hey Norm, no fear is right Dude. we just have to turn these things into opportunities.

      • Norm says:

        Hey Dave,

        The only issue I see at the moment with viglinks and skimlinks is you will not get any commission for products that is not directly link from your site. i.e if someone clicks a link for a Canon Camera from your site but does not buy that, but instead buys a Xbox.

        You can always try ShareaSale, Linkshare which have merchants like,, etc. where the cookies are much better like 30-60 days.

        I know if you want to use Amazon then you must use one viglinks and skimlinks.


        • Dave says:

          Cheers Norm, I have swapped out for quite a few sites to different networks. But unfortunately some of them offer such low commission that I am best with viglink. But overall I think we are well up on our earnings by changing to different networks where we have been able to.

        • Dave says:

          Norm, I just checked my viglink stats. You do get the commission even if it is not for the initial item they clicked an aff link for, so that is good news.

  10. Chris says:

    Sad to hear about the banning. That’s a fear I have too. I have been working a lot more with getting my Commission Junction sales up and diversifying a bit. Though I do admit to being a little stuck with Amazon for a lot of sites. But this warning sounds like a good time to go through all my sites and make sure that this disclaimer is something that isn’t missing.

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Chris. Yeah, the fear is a horrible thing. But it sounds like you are diversifying, which is cool. It’s always good to keep your options open. It’s just annoying that for a lot of niches Amazon have the absolute best prices.

  11. teatree says:

    Hi Dave – sorry to hear about your troubles. There seems to be a spate of Amazon bannings at the moment , and according to the following thread on the Warrior, the only person who has got their account reinstated did so because they phoned Amazon up.

    Work out what you are going to say in advance – say that your assistant has been redesigning several of your websites and if she accidentally left off the disclosure, you are sorry, could they tell you which site it was so you can rectify it. Hopefully they will give you the benefit of the doubt, especially if you have a lot of sites that are compliant.

    But the key seems to be phoning them and talking in person. Emails go into a black hole (they probably get spammed so much their inbox each day is several million).

    Good luck!

    • Dave says:

      teatree, thanks for that, I will check out the thread. It is a shame they just seem to ignore people, I will give calling them up a go and see what happens.

  12. Mike says:

    Better check where the links (the ones auto embedded) in your site are pointing, then use their tool to check if you have access to that merchant. I don’t like how I had to wait to gain access to ebay, even though I’ve been linking to it for like at least a month. I’m trying skimlinks now

    • Dave says:

      Mike, so far it seems to be working fine, although I don’t like the pay cut! But I will certainly check through my links to make sure. Thanks for the heads up.

  13. ChrisCD says:

    It always that these really large companies have awful customer service, especially for someone that helped them earn so much. Glad you didn’t give up.

    Keep on keeping on.
    cd :O)

    • Dave says:

      Will do Chris, gotta keep on earning the money. I was disappointed with their lack of response, I must say.

  14. Eblogger says:

    Hi Dave,

    I am very sorry to hear about all this. I hope you will recover soon, and be even more successful in this game of internet marketing. Could it be that ban had nothing do with some of your own sites? What if the owner of a Web 2.0 property (with your page and with your Amazon tracing ID on it) failed to include the Amazon affiliate disclosure on their Web 2.0 website?

    • Dave says:

      Eblogger, yep it could have been anything. This is why a courtesy email from them would not have gone amiss, before the ban.

  15. Kat says:

    Hey Dave – you like really ought to tidy up your “tools” page innit! BMR? I don’t think so.

  16. Tony says:

    Dave, a little bit off topic here but what can you say about Buildmyrank now? I have read the news just today what’s your take on this?

    • Dave says:

      Tony, yep, it was a real downer, but what can you do? I look at it like this. I used and abused it and pocketed the cash. Now it is time to move on. I won’t be using networks much any more, I have new fish to fry, and a new approach that was already lined up before this happened. I was fed up with a lot of my sites, that were not so great to be honest, and am focusing on Uber high quality content and guest posting from real authority sites.

      I have the luxury of earning well from a stable of sites, so I can take a long term approach to new ventures. And I am very excited about what I am about to do 😉

  17. Jeremy says:

    “Viglink”? As in “vigorish”?:

    “Vigorish, or simply the vig, also known as juice or the take, is the amount charged by a bookmaker, or bookie, for his services. In the United States it also means the interest on a shark’s loan.”

    Nice way to describe their 25% “take” of your Amazon commissions! LOL

    Their COO is named “Bafia” which is only one letter away from MAFIA! LOL

    Well, some humor for such sh***y news.

  18. Neill says:

    Dave – There are a couple of threads on the Warrior Forum re getting banned from Amazon.
    Turns out in both cases they were banned for using a plugin that produced an iframed
    Amazon page. The one plugin I know of that does this is jvpress go pages.

    Framing Amazon pages is against their TOS.

    • Dave says:

      Neill, yeah I saw them. It wasn’t what happened with me though, but thanks for the information. I am over it, moved on and doing well, so it was a good thing in the end anyway.

      Made me clean up my act a little too!

  19. Ada says:

    Hi Dave.
    They say that anything that doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. After I had some troubles, I was wallowed in self pity for 2 days and then got back on the horse. Kind of thing gives you a kick in the butt and stops you from getting too comfortable and complacent and makes you a bit more hungry. Glad to see you’ve recovered. It always seems like it will be the end of the world but it never is. The sun still rises and sets just like on any other day.
    Cheers and thanks for your honest posts. Very useful. Sincerity is difficult to fake.

    • Dave says:

      Ada, thanks for the kind comment. These things are sent to strenghten us, what else can you do? Gotta just find ways to keep the business going. Better than giving up or giving in!

  20. I am far to late to the table here, but I wrote a plugin which is freely available for anyone to use.

    It renders the Amzn Disclosure text to every post / page on the site, unless you choose to opt out with a checkbox. The text itself inherits the sites CSS so its not to much of an eyesore or sticks out like a sore thumb. I developed this as I have sites with 300+ pages containing affilate links.

    All you need is for an amzn employee to land on one of your inner pages, they see the aff link, look around the page, no discloure, the initiate a ban!

    For anyone who is interested and has not been put off by my pitch, you can download it here

    One other thing – there is a post here where someone shows themselves getting there account unbanned (not sure if you have seen this)

    Best of luck to the future,

    • Dave says:

      Hey Luke, great idea for a plugin Dude, nice. And thanks for the post recommendation, but I had already seen it. But I appreciate the thoughts anyway.



  21. Mark says:


    You should be trying to call their accounts department or send an invoice to accounts payable with a letter containing your report of earnings. Just put a note in like “do you really want to loose this much of your bottom line? If so here and invoice since you don’t mind loosing this kind of money. p.s. feel free to pass this to your boss.

    Some trick like this might work 🙂

    • Dave says:

      Mark, thanks for the feedback dude, I appreciate it. I have moved on now though. I just put it down to a rather annoying experience, they can shove it basically 😉

  22. frogjy says:

    these banned actives all happens from 2012 03 – Now!!

    the amazon is the 1st online store now, so they DO NOT NEED webmaster(like us)any more!!!

    they banned me and many of my friends with some stupid season, None of us use the blank hat!!

    AMAZON sucks!

    • Dave says:


      Sorry to hear you got banned dude. That sucks. Swap over to Viglinks, you can then at least keep your sites earnings, just at a slightly lower commission.