No More PPC for Amazon Associates

    April 6, 2009
    Chris Crum

Amazon is ending the payment of referral fees to associates in North America using pay-per-click (PPC) to get traffic. This is effective beginning May 1st.

The change is not temporary. Amazon will not reinstate payment of referral fees to paid search associates. They say the decision to make the change is based on their review of how they invest their advertising resources.

Amazon Associates

For items ordered by customers before May 1st, but don’t ship before that date, the referral fee rates users were eligible to earn previously will still apply as long as items were placed in a shopping cart before then.

No accounts will be closed as long as users cease paid search activities and remain in compliance with Amazon’s Associates Operating Agreement (like by sending users to Amazon sites through links on your site).

The company sent affiliates the following email laying out what’s ahead (via Marketing Pilgrim):

    Dear Amazon Associate:

    We’re writing to let you know about a change to the Amazon Associates Program. After careful review of how we are investing our advertising resources, we have made the decision to no longer pay referral fees to Associates who send users to,, or through keyword bidding and other paid search on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other search engines, and their extended search networks. If you’re not sure if this change affects you, please visit this page for FAQs.

    As of May 1, 2009, Associates will not be paid referral fees for paid search traffic. Also, in connection with this change, as of May 1, 2009, Amazon will no longer make data feeds available to Associates for the purpose of sending users to the Amazon websites in the US or Canada via paid search.

    This change applies only to the Associates programs in North America. If you are conducting paid search activities in connection with one of Amazon’s Associates Programs outside of the US and Canada, please refer to the applicable country’s Associates Program Operating Agreement for relevant terms and conditions.

    We appreciate your continued support and participation in this advertising Program. If you have questions or concerns, please write to us by using the Contact Us form available on Associates Central.


    The Amazon Associates Program

That FAQ page with more information can be found here.

A MarketingVOX article notes, "In another effort to bolster net revenue at the expense of Associates, last month Amazon debuted a program called Product Ads, which enables third-party e-commerce sites to promote their own items on Amazon product pages."

eCommerce sellers seem to be fairly content with Amazon. Disgruntled eBay sellers often sing praise for the site as an alternative.