Don’t Lose Income: Properly Install Amazon’s Affiliate Disclosure Policy

Every once in a while an account shutdown occurs that sends ripples throughout the online community. You’ve probably heard horror stories – a Blogger site is deleted, a Facebook Page disappears, an AdSense account is closed with no warning. The truly scary thing is, these corporations are so large there is often a “zero tolerance” policy in place and gleaning more information about what went wrong can be rough.

Blogging tip. How to Add an Amazon Affiliate disclosure to your site. If you utilize Amazon and you don't have this statement on your site, your account could get yanked!

Recently I’ve heard several cases where Amazon has revoked access to a blogger’s affiliate account, due to a failure to follow Amazon’s affiliate disclosure policy. The email blogger’s receive looks something like this >>>

Dear Associate,

While reviewing your account, we have noticed that your website contains links to Amazon that are not properly labeled, which makes it unclear that you are sending customers to the Amazon website.

The Associates Program Operating Agreement that governs your participation in the Associates Program requires that links to an Amazon Site must not be confusing or misleading, and must be clear that they link to an Amazon Site. For more information, please review the Participation Requirements and Linking Requirements found here:

http://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/help/operating/participation

https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/help/operating/linking

We insist that you cease this activity and remove all Amazon content from your site(s) immediately. Moreover, because you are using the Associates Program in violation of the Associates Program Operating Agreement, your account has been closed and you will not receive further payment. Any other accounts you may have or may open in the future which are found in violation of the Operating Agreement may be closed and advertising fees withheld without notification.

Best regards,
http://www.amazon.com

Hmmm. Okay…that’s no good. As someone who regularly uses Amazon as a source of income, it’s even a bit scary. I’d hate to loose a couple hundred dollars a month due to confusing or misleading links.

Hard to tell what it means though, right? All the vague statements and legalease can be more than a bit confusing.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure Policy

What’s Amazon really looking for? Proper disclosure as outlined in Amazon’s affiliate disclosure policy. This is a bit different than what the FTC looks for. Initially I thought I was safe by simply placing a statement at the top of my site indicating that a post contained affiliate links as required by the FTC. Not so. Amazon is looking for a specific Amazon Associates statement found in the associates agreement (agreement #10).

You must clearly state the following on your site:

[Insert your name] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to [insert the applicable site name (amazon.com or myhabit.com)].

Do  you have the Amazon Associates disclosure on your site? Take a minute and make sure it’s in a visible location.

My recommendation is to have the disclosure on every page. I like to be safe. You can easily do this by creating a new text widget in your sidebar or footer. Having said that, it may suffice to include the disclosure on a page located somewhere on your site. I’ve got it on my contact page.

How to Add the Amazon Affiliate Disclosure to Your Site

It’s really quite simple to add the Amazon affiliate disclosure statement to every page on your blog. I am sharing how I’ve added it to the bottom of my sidebar on WordPress, but the process is crazy similar on Blogger.

Navigate to the “Appearance” tab on the backend of your site. Select “Widgets” from the menu.

Blogging tip. How to Add an Amazon Affiliate disclosure to your site. If you utilize Amazon and you don't have this statement on your site, your account could get yanked!

The Widgets page will look something like this…

Blogging tip. How to Add an Amazon Affiliate disclosure to your site. If you utilize Amazon and you don't have this statement on your site, your account could get yanked! Find the “Text” widget on your site…

Blogging tip. How to Add an Amazon Affiliate disclosure to your site. If you utilize Amazon and you don't have this statement on your site, your account could get yanked!

Drag and drop that text widget into your sidebar (or footer, depending on where you’d like it to appear on the site. Copy and paste Amazon’s very specific disclosure statement and save.

 

Blogging tip. How to Add an Amazon Affiliate disclosure to your site. If you utilize Amazon and you don't have this statement on your site, your account could get yanked!

This is what the disclosure statement looks like at the bottom of my right sidebar…

Blogging tip. How to Add an Amazon Affiliate disclosure to your site. If you utilize Amazon and you don't have this statement on your site, your account could get yanked! Simple as that!

Looking to make more money with your Amazon account, check out these posts:

Make More Money With Amazon’s Affiliate Program
Ten Posts to Add to Your Editorial Calendar Before Year End

I’d love to know if you’re currently using Amazon’s Associate program on your site. How’s it working for you? Any favorite tips or tricks you’d like to share? 

Tauni
Tauni is a former public relations executive who spent 12+ years handling communications and events for an array of clients, from the NBA and Olympics to numerous high ranking politicians. Today, she handles social media for a local agency and hosts SNAP!, an annual social media conference for bloggers focused on entertaining, craft and home DIY.
Tauni
Tauni
Tauni

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    • Yay Gail! I am glad you’ve got this all squared away. Thanks so much for watching my Periscope broadcast as well. Did you get any further with the Amazon reports? I have to be honest, the new reporting is a little hard for me to figure out. I am hoping to get it down soon. xo

    • Oh good Linda! I had no idea they required the exact words. Glad I could share…How are you? It’s been a while since I last “saw” you. xo Tauni

    • Hey Summer, sounds like you had things set up just as I did. While technically I think that it was within the bounds of propriety, Amazon does say it needs to appear on every page…Better safe than sorry! xo

    • Jenny, Isn’t that the truth? Just when I feel like I have it all in hand, I learn that I need to incorporate additional material. If there’s one consistency in blogging, it’s that you never know everything and it’s always changing! xo

  1. Perfect. Got it changed on mine. Does it matter how far down it is or just that its on there? I have it on the bottom of the side bar, on my contact page, and I also post it on every post that has affiliate links.

    • Based on the information Amazon has provided, it must be on “each” page. They don’t actually specify where on the site, so technically I think that you’re okay as long as you’re also following the FTA guidelines and have the disclosure the way they’ve specified. xo

  2. Thank you for this! I did read the huge, confusing disclosure statement and I was looking for simple wording in which you provided. Thanks so much! Holly

    • Hey Jessica, I am not aware of any other affiliate program with a similar requirement. Most simply require you to disclose per the FTC. Amazon’s policy has been around for ages, so I am not sure if it’s a holdover that they simply like to enforce or if it’s necessary for some sort of legal reason…

      Here’s a link to the CJ policy if you’d like to read through it yourself! http://www.cj.com/psa-us

      xo
      Tauni

    • Awesome Yvonne. I’ve been meaning to reach out to you post BlogHer Food and let you know how nice it was to meet you! I am not quite sure where you live, but if you’re in the Salt Lake Valley, I’d love to get together for lunch sometime! xo Tauni

  3. Thank you for this! If it’s posted on the side bar do you need to start each blog post with “I’m an affiliate but all opinions are mine” line. I see that a lot.

    • Hi Miranda, Legally you have to disclose any sponsor or affiliate relationships within the post prior to linking. It’s typically the easiest to put it right at the top of the post. All your disclosure needs to say is “This post contains affiliate links.” xo Tauni

  4. Thank you so much for this! I just signed up for Amazon Associates this past week, so I found this post just in time. Do you have this type of post for other disclosures? I’m so confused on what disclosures I should have on my blog.

    • Hi Jessica, At the top of every post you should disclose if your post is sponsored, if you received free product and/or if there are affiliates. There is no required terminology. It can be as simple as “This post includes affiliate links” or “This post was sponsored by Disney.” Does that help? xo Tauni

  5. Hi Tauni!
    Thank you for this! I knew from all my reading months ago that there was SOMETHING I had to do before linking to Amazon as an affiliate. After I FINALLY launched my website http://www.loudparent.com geared to helping families with children with special needs… I knew I needed to get on the amazon band wagon! Now I can do it legally! Thank you so much!

    • Lisa, Congratulations on the launch of your new site – it’s so exciting to embark upon a new adventure! The site looks great. I am glad you found the Amazon post helpful. xo Tauni

  6. Thank you for this, it’s my first time having any sort of monetizing on my blog and I chose Amazon because I also am an avid customer. I just wanted to make sure I was doing it right and am so glad I came across your post :)

  7. I just began the Associates program and found this blog very helpful! I added my text box on Blogger, now I’m on the hunt for info about referring directly from Facebook (do I have to disclose every time?) and inside of an individual blog – do I have to begin the blog with “I’m an affiliate, blah blah blah”?
    So thanks for the post!

    • Hi Melissa! Thanks for the questions. Yes. You do have to disclose every time you post on FB. I usually say something about the product and then put (affiliate link) right before the link. You also do need to disclose in any post you’re using links in. Technically the disclosure just needs to come before the link, but most people think it’s easiest just to do it at the top of the post. Good luck! Tauni

  8. Thank you so much for this post. Very well done and simple to put into action. I have had this on my list of things to do and appreciate that you made it nice and easy!! marriagerelationshipbooks.com

  9. Tauni, just for me to be fully clear on the Amazon disclaimer requirement. If you put instead of your name “The owner of mywebsite.com…” as opposed to using your full name, is this not acceptable?

  10. I wanted to say thank you so very much for your help. I’ve been putting off adding Amazon to my site out of fear I would do it wrong. You cleared up my fears perfectly and it’s much appreciated.
    Thank you again.

  11. Ah thank you so much for this! I was definitely worried about the logistics of starting this, but this puts my worries away!

    maybejamie.com

  12. Thank you very much for this post. I am new to Amazon Affiliate and if I did not read your post, I might unintentionally violate the rule on disclosure

  13. Thanks, I created an associates disclosure page. Linking to if from the footer seems to be a good option. I hate to add disclosures on sidebar. Although it seems to be a safest option.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this info. We are just beginning the process of monetizing our blog and were not sure where to begin. It’s great to have those that have gone before looking out for us newbies!
    Thank you again!
    Katie

  15. Thanks so much for this information. I’ve read it at least twice over the past few weeks just to double check that I’ve done my homework correctly (of course I’m still questioning myself). I’m so overwhelmed starting out. Ideas are swirling around in my head and all this information to process…not to mention I was extremely intelligent and started my blogging journey over the holidays. Go me! Be forewarned, I may be back to pick your brain for some advice! -Ryan (mama of 6)

  16. Thank you for this post! I just signed up for amazon’s program today and had no clue where to put the disclosure and couldn’t find any blogs similar to mine to see what they do. Now I’m trying to figure out if I need a page also just in case that includes this and anything else.

    • Hi Kelly, if you’ve installed the disclaimer in a location that shows up on every page (like your sidebar), you will not need a separate page for disclosures. xo Tauni

  17. I googled what text I needed to add to my blog about the Amazon affiliates program, and I discovered this post. Thank you. The information is helpful, easy to understand and easy to implement on my blog. I also discovered your blog, which I love! I look forward to following and exploring your posts!

  18. Thanks for sharing this. I have this statement on my disclosures page. I link to the page by placing a short disclosure statement at the top of each post letting readers know the post includes affiliate links.

  19. Thank you so much! I’m just getting started, and I wouldn’t have known to do this, because reading those documents confuses me and gives me a headache. I also sent your page to my daughter, who is wanting to start a blog soon!

  20. Glad I found this as I am just starting to use Amazon LInks on my website and will be doing this today! I was wondering if you know… is there specific wording we should use when sharing links on social?

  21. Hi! Thank you for this. I just signed up with Amazon Associates and their wording on making sure you get the disclosure on your site it a little scary. lol Thanks for making it easy for me! Have a lovely day. :)

    • If the privacy policy appears on every page of the website, you’re good to go. If it’s a separate page that people would not naturally navigate to in the course of visiting your site, it would be a problem. Good luck! Tauni

  22. Hi Tauni!

    I’m brand spank’in new to the whole affiliate world and I feel like I’m navigating through mud! I find it all so confusing. But enough with my whining! Lol.

    I was wondering if putting in my site name is sufficient in the “insert name here” or does it have to be MY name?

    I’m also having a doozy of a time trying to figure out if I need two separate disclosures for the .ca and .com since I’m a Canadian resident. Any insight here as well?

    Look forward to your response!

    Thanks
    Amanda

    P.s. This post has been incredibly helpful!

    • Hi Amanda, The rules for Canada are different and unfortunately I don’t follow the rules there…Sorry! Your site name should be sufficient for the disclosure. Good luck! Tauni

  23. Something similar happened to me too. They closed my account because “the web site includes the unapproved use of Amazon.com trademarked words, images, or reviews”. I did take some pictures from the products’ page and uploaded them on the blog because the ones that they give you in the HTML link builder look horrible. I don’t know exactly how to get rid of that ban and still use the nice pictures that I want. Do you have any idea how to fix this?

    • Cristina, I agree that the photos in the link builder are not fantastic. I don’t use them. I personally use images provided by the manufacturer or that I have taken myself. Having said that, when they site you for this infraction it’s typically because you’ve uploaded an Amazon logo, quoted Amazon reviews, etc. Unfortunately, few people are able to reinstate their account. You could start a new one…Best of luck to you. –Tauni