Amazon’s Affiliate Commission Update 2020: What to do?

Help for Amazon Affiliate rate changes

Have you been affected by the recent changes to the Amazon Affiliate Program?

If you are on the Amazon affiliate program you will have received the email about the new commission structure updates. This isn’t the first time Amazon (or Google or any affiliate company!) have  made changes like this, which is why we always recommend diversifying your income streams – both online and offline.

So what should you do?

1. Grow Your Entrepreneurial Mindset

First and foremost – don’t panic! If you’re not used to being an entrepreneur or investor you might feel a bit rattled by these kind of events, but remember even if you have a PAYG job these unexpected changes in income can occur (case in point – COVID19)

So keep an eye on your thought patterns and use this experience to practise your powerful and entrepreneurial thinking. Ask yourself questions like “what can I learn from this?” “how can I improve my portfolio to reduce the impact of events like this?” “who can help me?” “What can I learn about myself here to be a better and more successful online entrepreneur?”

And remember to redirect any negative thoughts using affirmations like “It always turns out right for me”, “There is always a way” “This too shall pass”

This is all practise and reps, reps, reps for the big pay day – taking on challenges and riding the ups and downs of making money, and adapting to change which leads to greater success and security as an online entrepreneur.

2. Get Perspective

It can be a shock at first, and many people’s reactions to these things (especially on forums) is outrage at the “unfairness of it all” “it’s their fault, they changed things”

But they have their reasons – they need to make money and report profits for their shareholders, they read the market and change their strategy just like you do.

Remember that you are getting to leverage off the enormous success and growth of these big corporations like Google and Amazon, so you also have to accept that you are playing on their field and that they can change the rules.

Here’s my thoughts – if you want to be in business, or even keep your job for that matter, you can be guaranteed the cheese will be moved at some stage. And when you step back and understand why things have changed you can start to adapt, rather than try to fight it – and realise it might not actually be as bad as it seems.

Best Alternatives to Amazon Affiliate Program
Its not always as bad as it first seems!

I remember the first time we had a site’s income more than halved from a “Google slap” many years ago. Traffic and profit decimated overnight – or so it seemed at first.

But guess what? We still made a great passive income from those sites LONG TERM. We just kept them, and even though the net profits had halved, after 5 years when we added it all up and looked at the ROI, we got a very pleasant surprise – more passive income return that any offline business we had ever owned.

So we still made heaps of money.

We simply adapted and moved on.

And ultimately we created a more diverse and secure portfolio of online businesses.

3. Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned

One is a dangerous number – diversify in monetisation, traffic sources, niches

You need to find alternatives to the Amazon Affiliate Program.

Here’s some ideas…

Build your websites to be adaptable – so you can change the offers if you need to

Research the market – know what other offers are available, check your competitors – what monetisations are they using?

Add multiple monetisations – advertising plus affiliate plus information product offers

Don’t just rely on Amazon (or Google) for online income – there are tonnes of affiliate offers and alternative online advertisers out there (including direct advertisers or direct promotions eg advertorials, with suppliers of the products you review).

If your website has good traffic then test running Google Adsense Ads – you might get a very pleasant surprise, it’s a great online money making machine!

4. Look to the future online

Over the years we have seen this situation over and over again. These companies go through waves where they cut commissions and payouts, make it harder for affiliates or advertisers and seem to close in on themselves. Then once their figures or profits drop and they realise they need the small publishers back, they open up again.

So think about this, maybe (and we have seen this before) once the dust has settled and the recession is over (which it will) and margins come back up again, Amazon may well adjust their commissions back up again and any Amazon affiliate sites that are still around will be highly valuable assets in say 3 – 5 years time.

I am guessing the high consumer demand of the most popular categories due to COVID19 and lockdown has got them thinking they no longer need affiliates for those high demand items. And its interesting to note they are not cutting affiliate commissions on everything – there are still high commissions being paid on some categories so its almost like they want us to promote the more unpopular stuff?

5. Opportunity To Buy Up Cheap Amazon Affiliate Websites

And of course the obvious potential opportunity: there will be some panic sells of very reasonably priced and awesomely SEO’d Amazon affiliate websites come up for sale. We see this happen every time there is a big change like this that people can’t handle. If you know how to re-monetise websites with better offers you could get some real bargains and make a tonne of money over the next 2-3 years.

In the meantime the simplest thing to do is immediately start looking at alternative direct affiliate offers from smaller vendors – they typically have much higher payouts. We have never been huge fans of the relatively low 4-9% Amazon commissions compared to the 10-50% we get from bespoke affiliate offers. Amazon is just easy to get into and set up.

Bottom Line:

As online entrepreneurs we need to learn the skill of handling challenges and being able to adapt to change without panic or excessive fear – that’s the path to truth wealth and freedom.

Yes, this is a harsh blow to us Amazon affiliate website owners who have successfully built or bought nice passive websites BUT, take this opportunity to step into powerful entrepreneurial thinking and create an online business portfolio even bigger and better for yourself – for the LONG TERM!

Learn how Buying and Selling websites can be a lucrative side business

If you want to learn more about buying and selling websites then make sure you check out our free online training series: How To Buy And Flip Passive Websites.

About The Author

Matt Raad

Matt Raad is a website investor, Angel Investor and leading educator in Digital Marketing, and is recognised as the Australian expert in buying, renovating and selling profitable websites and businesses. Find him on Facebook, LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

1 Comment

  • Andrew

    April 22, 2020

    Great article Matt, thank you. Seems to me it may be as much a technique on Amazon’s behalf of slowing down sales of orders where demand is outstripping their fulfilment capacity . Even a giant like Amazon still has a finite distribution network.