Last week there was some commotion over the fact that it was being reported that Amazon.com was refusing to pay affiliates if they used url shortening services to post affiliate links on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. This actually makes no sense from a business perspective, since it would discourage people from sending traffic to Amazon using some of the most popular communication mediums that are out there today.
I decided to go through the affiliate operating agreement myself to see if I could understand why they were doing this. I realized after I read it that they were not in fact saying any such thing. I wrote them to see what was up, and what the specific issues were.
It took 4 emails to them, with the first 3 coming back with the same answer, that they were not allowed because you are not allowed to use redirects. The problem is that the language of the agreement only mentions redirects in conjunction with either ppc traffic (you cannot link a ppc ad directly to Amazon, or via a redirect, it requires a click from your site to be valid), and with hijacking someone else’s traffic (no redirecting or interfering with someone else participating in the program). Eventually, however, I got someone who understood what I was saying and they agreed that it is indeed acceptable to do so. Here is there final reply:
Thank you for writing back to us and I sincerely apologize for the delay in responding to your message. I have carefully reviewed your correspondence with us. As you mention, you would not be permitted to use a shortened URL to an Amazon.com page as the destination URL for paid search advertisements because Associates are not permitted to engage in keyword bidding or other paid search on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other search engines, and their extended search networks, to send traffic to our site.
However, you can use shortened URLs on your Facebook or Twitter accounts. You may be asked to provide the specific sites on which the shortened URLs are posted, which would mean that your Facebook and Twitter profiles would need to be publicly accessible for review if you used the URLs on those sites.
I apologize for the misunderstanding regarding your inquiry and I hope this information is helpful to you. If you have further questions, please use the Contact Us form available on Associates Central or by following this link:
Thank you for your participation in the Associates Program.
Richard – Associates Account Specialist
Note that he did state that the specific sites where you intended to post the links needed to be provided, so if you are an Amazon affiliate and think you might possibly post a link on either Twitter or Facebook, you should probably submit those profiles to Amazon asap and go ahead and get them listed in your Amazon account. One of the other emails from them gave me these instructions for doing so:
If you would like to add another website or multiple websites to your existing Associates account, we first need to view and approve the sites content before it can be added.
Please send us the URLs for the sites, and we will review them and let you know our decision. Once approved, we will send you instructions on how to add the URLs to your account. You can contact us back by using the secure form at the following specialized link:
Keep in mind that if your Facebook page is set on private we will be unable to approve its addition to your account because we need to be able to view your site at any given time to make sure you are in compliance with our guidelines.
I have gone ahead and provided the entire conversation thread with Amazon here. I hope this helps anyone who might have had issues with this. 😀