On 14th April, 2020 Amazon announced that they would be slashing commissions that are given to their affiliates so that everyone would be receiving between 1 to 3% and nothing more than that.
As you can guess it was very devastating for people like me whose large chunk of online income is from the amazon associates program. I am in the health & personal care niche and as such from their renewed fee schedule, I will be earning a measly 1%.
This will cause about a 58% drop in my monthly income so that if I were earning $1000 from my site, it will drop to $420. Now this is bad for a program that I listed as one of my favorite in earning online.
It is very discouraging and I must say that here Amazon has screwed us a good one. Whether this is permament or temporary during this tough covid-19 period, nobody knows.
Of course the announcement caused me a sleepless night and my wife was quick to note that something was very wrong somewhere. Well, I explained to her what the email entailed and what I am expecting as from the 21st of April,2020.
Alternatives to the Amazon Associates Program
This was not the first time that amazon has reduced their associate commissions. In 2017 when I was still thinking of how to structure my first niche site, there were these complaints from the established affiliates as they cried foul after amazon slashed their income.
We never know; amazon might one day wake up and say that they no longer need their associates. Nobody will be able to do anything to them. We shall all cry about how unfair they are and they will do nothing about it.
It is high time that we all diversified. Over the last two days, I have been applying to a number of affiliate marketing program and I feel that you should be doing the same.
So what are the other alternatives to Amazon
Shareasale is part of the Awin network. It is a big affiliate program with thousands of advertisers in the home, health and beauty niches.
I have read blog post where they are expecting an influx of affiliates following the slash by Amazon.
Though it has been tough before to get accepted into their affiliate program, I hope that they are are going to relax their standards and allow us in.
You will be required to provide your personal details, the site url and description as well as your email address. I have read a post that advises that you use your firstname.lastname@example.org email as opposed to a generic gmail or yahoo email account.
You can sign up to shareasale affiliate program here.
Update: I joined shareasale and though they do not have that good a conversion rate, they have better commissions. I have done an amazon vs shareasale comparison so that you can have a quick look at how the two are different.
For those bloggers in the home and furniture niche, homedepot is a good affiliate program that you can sign up for. They also have a large US ecommerce market share and so things might not be so bad for you.
You can sign up here.
For those people in the seniors, shoes and clothing niches, go ahead and sign up with flexoffers.
CJ affiliate, just like Shareasale has a large number of advertisers. It is multi-niche although they have a bias on health.
You can sign up here.
Other than Amazon, Walmart is another popular store in the US. And what’s more, they have an ecommerce store that allows affiliate marketers to sell their products.
It is high time you signed up with them but be wary of their commission rates. I was worried to find out that there are certain categories which will not get you any commission.
Ebay is another popular affiliate program. The only downside is that most people have known it to sell used products and will go there when they want to buy things on auction.
You can sign up to the program here.
If you are in the pet niche, you need not look far but sign up with Chewy affiliate program.
Market your site with ad networks such as Google Adsense, Ezoic, Mediavine and Adthrive
Talking of online income diversification, it is high time that you stopped relying entirely on the affiliate marketing income model and think of other alternatives such as earning through ads.
Personally, I have tried adsense as well as ezoic.
For google adsense and ezoic, they require that you have at least 10000 sessions per month before you can sign up.
For Mediavine, they want you to have at least 25,000 sessions per month. However, they might still reject your site with no good reason even when you have this traffic as I found out.
Adthrive is for the big boys who have more than 100k sessions per month. I am yet to reach that and so have never tried them out.
Should you ditch amazon for good?
I advise that you do not. Instead find ways in which to incorporate the other affiliate marketing programs to your already existing posts so that you offer your customers a comparison chart with choices where they can buy the products.
You could use choice pages from geniuslink.
But why am I advising that you do not ditch amazon associates program in totality.
- Well, Amazon has very nice conversion rates. For the long period of time that they have been in existence, customers have gained trust in the ecommerce giant. Anytime you send your traffic there, your reader is highly likely to end up buying the product from the site.
- Amazon gives you a commission even for products that you do not recommend as long as those products are bought by people who arrived at amazon from your affiliate links. Lets say for example that I am reviwing keyboards on my niche site and someone clicks on one of the keyboards that I am recommending but end up not buying it but rather go ahead to buy a mouse, well amazon will still offer you a commission for that mouse bought.
- I have read from some reputable blogs that this commission slash might be temporary. As everyone else, amazon is also going a rough patch during these covid 19 pandemic and as such to secure their profits, they have opted to slash associate commissions. This however is debateable and whether it is permanent or temporal, all we can do is wait.
- The affiliate programs that I have listed as alternatives have stringent rules unlike in Amazon where signing up was so easy.
I have also talked about all the ways that one could increase your amazon affiliate income here.