Amazon Associates Commission Rates Cut 2020

Amazon Associates have announced a fresh round of cuts to its affiliate program, cutting commission rates by almost half for many of its categories. This isn't the first time Amazon have slashed the rates on its affiliate programs, but can blogs and websites survive another round of cuts?

Amazon Associates Commission Rates Cut 2020

The bad news for 2020 just keeps rolling in; many blogs, websites and businesses that earn a decent portion of their profits from Amazon Associates have just woken up to some very bad news: a massive round of cuts to commission rates. Members of the associates program received this email on 14th April 2020:

Hello Associate,

We hope you are staying well during this time. We are writing to inform you of upcoming changes to the Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement, which governs your participation in the Amazon Associates Program. All changes are effective as of April 21, 2020.

The product categories that were changed are:

Product Category New Rates Old Rates
Furniture, Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets Products, Pantry 3.00% 8.00%
Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments, Business & Industrial Supplies 3.00% 6.00%
Outdoors, Tools 3.00% 5.50%
Grocery 1.00% 5.00%
Sports 3.00% 4.50%
Baby Products 3.00% 4.50%
Health & Personal Care 1.00% 4.50%
Amazon Fresh 1.00% 3.00%

Whilst not all categories were hit with commission rate cuts, the effects will be felt by everyone since the program allows you to earn commissions on any products that a person buys; if you direct them to Amazon to buy a computer and they also buy ten bottles of shampoo- you'd earn commission on both.

The rates of Associate product categories have changed before, but they have never been slashed quite so drastically. The last time Amazon made significant changes to it's program was in 2017 when it decided to remove the fixed 8% commission rate for all products. With the world in the middle of a global crisis and  a probable recession on the horizon, these cuts will make it hard to stomach for a lot of Amazon Affiliate members.

For many, the Amazon Associates cuts have been on the cards for a while now. Anyone who has tried to diversify their earnings from Amazon will know that there isn't an affiliate program that compares to them. They have one of the highest conversion rates and many people will trust an Amazon link versus some other third party link. Amazon were paying some of the highest rates in the industry too and so it didn't make sense that it would last forever. Probably one of the most gutting things about these changes is that it will come into effect within a week of announcing it.

Could it be a temporary change due to the current economical climate? Possibly. It could also be due to the fact that everyone is shopping online now; they don't need to have affiliates refer to them since they have less competition from the high-street shops. I can't remember a time though when Amazon upped it's commission rates or reversed a decision on earnings.

These cuts are directed at the Amazon US program, but it will more than likely affect other markets soon as they tend to follow the trend. It remains to be seen whether those who push sales to Amazon will continue to do so or look for an alternative.

Alternatives to Amazon Affiliate

There are a few other ways to monetize your site, including adding other affiliate programs. Here are some of the more popular ones:

  • Ezoic - Not an affiliate website, but an ad network that displays ads on your site.
  • ClickJunction - An affiliate network.
  • ShareASale - An affiliate network
  • Microsoft - Their affiliate program offers good rates on tech products.
  • Ebay Partner - Earn commissions on referring people to Ebay
  • Rakuten - Offers many different affiliate options

If you're a member of the Amazon Affiliate program, let us know in the comments whether you'll be sticking with the program or going elsewhere.

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