It’s official now: Amazon will not pay commissions on purchases originated from paid search traffic anymore.
From the message sent from Amazon Associates:
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 www.amazon.com, www.amazon.ca, or www.endless.com through keyword bidding and other paid search on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other search engines, and their extended search networks.
This decision comes in at a time when Google is fighting direct linking (ads that link straight to a company website), suspending affiliate advertisers’ accounts and restricting entire industries from their Adwords program.
What is surprising in regards to Amazon’s decision is the fact that paid search traffic was benefitial to ALL parts involved:
- the searcher, for finding exactly what they wanted;
- Amazon, for the “free” customer, and
- Google, for the Adwords revenue.
Amazon does not offer any decent explanation (from their FAQ):
Q: Why is Amazon no longer paying referral fees to paid search Associates?
A: This decision is based on our review of how we invest our advertising resources.
The way I see it, by transferring the onus of marketing to Amazon Associates, Amazon is actually SAVING advertising resources. More than often, Marketing costs for corporations such as Amazon add up to more than the 15-20% commission paid to Associates.
With the Associates program, Amazon was able to cut advertising costs, reduce their cost of sales, and increase their conversions, since referral traffic is the most targeted traffic one can ask for.
And the whole mess goes even deeper:
Q: Does this affect paid search Associates who send users to Amazon’s European and Japanese websites?
A: 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.
The decision is ONLY effective to North America!
Basically, if I go into my Adwords account and change my destination URLs and campaign locations to Japan, everything is just fine. Hypocrisy?
P.S – From now on, I’ll buy my books from Half.com