amazon logo with dollar sign

Why My Amazon Affiliate Account Got Shut Down And How I Recovered From It

NOTE: New 2017 update at the end of this post! – They shut down my account again! I managed to open a new account and I am getting paid in the new account.

I still remember the day clearly…. On Saturday February 6th, 2015, I got an email from Amazon notifying me that my account was closed and no payment would be made for the advertising fee that I had earned up to that point.

email from amazon associates

Interestingly, I actually went through the typical 5 phases when someone gets a bad news.

Phase 1 : Denial – Why they closed my Amazon Associates account?

Initially, just like everyone would do, I thought this was a mistake. I read through the email again and again….. and again

I logged into my Amazon Associates account and sure enough, there it was, a large “Account Closed” sign.

account closed

I went back to the email clicked on the URL they gave and read their Linking Requirements.

It clearly states that using a cloaking software to mask their affiliate links is not a good idea.

Sure enough, I did do something wrong and I was well aware of it.

don't use URL shortening cloaking software

Phase 2: Anger – Why oh why did I cloak Amazon affiliate links!

A week earlier, a member on my team forwarded couple of websites that talk about why cloaking the affiliate links is a good idea.

These sites talk about the benefits of user experience; instead of the ugly affiliate link, we can show a nice URL such as www.yourdomain.com/affiliate.

They also talk about SEO benefits such as by aggregating those cloaked links in a sub-folder structure www.yourdomain.com/go/affiliate, you can block search engines from access that folder by using Robots.txt.

Then there are other benefits such as click tracking, affiliate link management etc.

I thought that was a good idea, so I looked into how this could be implemented. I eventually chose a WordPress Plugin – Pretty Link Pro to do the job.

The Pro version has an auto-cloaking function that it can mask every single links on the site. I had been using the free version so I was pretty confident that it wouldn’t take too much time for me to figure it out.

I set it up and let it do the job.

However, to my horror, the plugin did not have the ability to restrict which URL should be cloaked and which should not. Not only that, every time it cloaks a link, it would actually click on it.

The site I used the cloaking plugin on had hundreds of Amazon affiliate links and while setting the plugin, I actually paused the process couple of times to check a few things. As a result, thousands of clicks appeared in my Amazon Associates account within a few days which was clearly unnatural.

high clicks

Phase 3: Bargaining – Please forgive me. Please!

After processing all the information in my head, I immediately wrote back to the Amazon Associates team explaining why I did it and apologised.

Since I did do something wrong, at this point all I could do was just apologise and hope for the best. I also mentioned why I did it by referring to the Yoast post.

please forgive me Amazon

After 4 days, someone from the Amazon Associates team wrote back to me telling me that I was still not in compliance.

Apparently, some of the content on the site are making “inaccurate, overbroad, deceptive or otherwise misleading claims”.

This time I was confused. I did not intentionally do any of these things but apparently I did it.

To find out what I really did wrong, I asked them to explain why my site was not in compliance.

amazon's reply

A few days later, they provided a more detailed response.

second email from Amazon associates

So my team and I audited the site and there were a few things that might have applied to this.

We have had produced a lot of questionable content on that specific website.

Some posts had about only 300 words content with large pricing table containing 10-30 products. Some posts just had a list of products with brief description without much content.

Pricing table – we created these tables using the product price on Amazon. Obviously the pricing changes very often and we did not update them. Even if we did update them to show the current price it would take a substantial resource. So we removed all such tables.

Review rating – we collected these data from Amazon as well. Obviously this can change rapidly so again we removed all those.

After taking care of all these, I wrote back and asked if they could reopen my account.

Phase 4: Depression – Should I forget about Amazon affiliate program?

Few days went by and I got no response. I did some research online and found some people talking about how they got kicked out of Amazon affiliate program.

Some complained about Amazon closed their account without much reasons.

Some talked about opening a new account but since Amazon can easily find out whose account it is (IP address, bank account, mailing address etc) they might just shut it down again, so this method doesn’t really solve the issue.

I was desperate, so I started looking for phone numbers to call and sure enough, there was a number I could call (I wonder why didn’t I think of this earlier?)

A lady answered and I explained what had happened up until that point.

She looked into the case and told me that someone on their team was looking into the issue and there was nothing she could do. She did suggest to open another account and if everything is in compliance, I should be able to resume as an affiliate.

As far as reopening the closed account and getting paid, that was not possible.

Phase 5: Acceptance – Lesson learned. Let’s move on.

I created a new Amazon Associates account and waited a few weeks to ensure it would not get shut down again.

Weeks went by, nothing happened so I started adding the new Amazon affiliate code to my site.

Since I already had the links in place, all I had to do was to replace the tracking code. To avoid making the same mistakes again, we did eventually improved the way we present the affiliate links. I will share what we did with you in a separate post some other time.

Overall, this was a really good lesson. There is no fast and easy way to make money. Creating quality content with best practice SEO is the way.

Also, I was treating being an affiliate as a hobby rather than a business. I took way too much risks doing something questionable and got what I deserved.

Please share your experience

Have you ever got your Amazon Associates account closed down or came close to it? Please share your experience. I would love to hear what you have to say.

In case you are interested

Here is a post on the research I did about what not to do as an Amazon associate. Hope this will help make you aware some of the things that we should not do in case you did now know.

Also, here is a continuous update on one of my websites to show how I continue to grow it with only white hat SEO. My Amazon associate account has been in good standing since I recovered and now I am working hard to improve my sites.

UPDATE February 2017

Out of nowhere, Amazon sent me the following email and shut down my account again.

I have contacted them and could not get a straight answer what exactly the violation was since I am using all naked Amazon affiliate link (not shortening, nor cloaking of course) and have never shared any affiliate links on other websites including social media sites.

The violation that they used to shut down my account made absolutely no sense to me.

Needless to say they withheld my last 2 months of earnings and closed my account without any warning.

If you have a similar experience, please post in the discussion.

Amazon letter

Why they decided to shut down my account again? – My theory

The reason they shut down my account might have got something to do with drop in earning. I noticed that my website traffic dropped substantially in January and as a result earnings from my sites dropped to about 30% of December level. In case you noticed, they shut down my previous account in February 2015 (the same month) as well.

Main reason for the traffic drop was due to seasonality since a lot of people shopped online during the holiday season (November and December). The timing of my account shut down was also interesting since my December earning would have been paid in February and it was the highest earning month of the year. Are they shutting down accounts just so they could avoid paying higher commissions?

My guess is that Amazon took a notice of the traffic drop and started investigating my sites and tried to find any kind of excuses to shut down my account. As you might know Amazon in February 2017 restructured the associate commission and removed commission based model so my guess is that they are now actively looking for sites that are not profitable for them.

UPDATE May 2017

After sending multiple emails trying to get a straight answer exactly what I did wrong, Amazon just sticked to their initial stance of “You did something wrong, we are shutting down your account. GoodBye.” and never gave me a straight answer.

I considered filing a complaint through the State attorney office but decided against it, since I most likely waived some kind of rights when I signed up with the affiliate program anyways, so the likelihood of winning my argument was very slim.

Instead, since I have multiple websites, I applied to the Amazon associate program again and this time without the website that caused Amazon to shut down my account in the first place. In fact, I am guessing this one particular website was the reason that got my account shut down twice up till this point.

This was back in February and I am happy to say I got my first pay deposit from the new account at the end of April.

Let’s hope Amazon won’t come up with some non-sense reasons again now that I have removed the site that was flagged with prior violation.

181 replies
  1. Vitaly
    Vitaly says:

    Hey Tony,
    Thank you for an amazing post! I recently had the same problem, that really hurts a lot! Amazon closed my account. It will help me so much if you could share what you did exactly on your website to fix the issues?

    Also, did you remove the cloaked links and left plain links pointing directly to Amazon?

    And what email address did you use to write the appeal?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Vitaly,
      I had a lot of posts that didn’t have much content and a lot of Amazon affiliate links. I trashed many of those posts (didn’t even try to revive them) and only left the ones that look natural (like normal blog posts).
      I also removed the tables (price comparison tables) that had rating and pricing straight from Amazon. Or remove the pricing and rating columns then left the rest (product name, description)
      As for cloaking, I don’t do it anymore. Yes, plain and ugly affiliate links.
      I just used the email associated with the closed down account. I wanted them to know I was referring to the old account and not a new one.
      Hope this helps. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Tony
        Tony says:

        Nope. unless it had already been scheduled at the time your account was shut down, any earnings left in the account do not get paid.

        Reply
  2. Peter
    Peter says:

    Hi Tony
    I have the same experience as you.
    Same email was received.
    I haven’t tried to reopen an account I guess I try to reopen a new account just like what you did.
    My question now is, did you use the same websites that got banned/closed for your new amazon account?
    Or you created a new website for your new amazon associate account?
    How about your banking information (I’m guessing you opted for a wire transfer.)
    Finally, did you make money with your new account and got paid already?
    Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Peter,
      I actually used the same websites. I basically modified the one website that they pointed out with issues and I kept improving it according to their guideline and kept asking if the issues they found have been resolved.

      For the new account I used the same information (including Bank account) and the only thing different was user / pass.

      My new account has been doing well since and I have been getting paid ever since.

      Reply
      • Juan Pham
        Juan Pham says:

        Hi Tony, It is unlucky for me. If I read your replying sooner, I should have made a lot profit from Amazon. My old Amazon account was closed by Amazon because I have put usernames, rates, prices… into my posts. Bad result was that my account has been closed.

        Some affiliates have advised me to create new information to join Amazon affiliate again. I have done as their advice… It has been taken me a long time to build a new one. Up to now, I have got any profit from new site. Although my old Amazon account has been closed but my old website has a lot of traffic, keywords ranged to top a lot… If I know your post soon, I just edit my website… It would be ok. Poor me! 🙁

        Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Vitaly,
      I am not quite sure what you are referring to.
      None of my sites target under age 13 and Amazon clearly states those kind of sites will not get admitted to the affiliate program in the first place.

      Reply
      • Vitaly
        Vitaly says:

        Yeah, what I meant was, did you add all those sites to the website list that states that your sites “do not target under age 13”?

        Reply
        • Tony
          Tony says:

          Is there a place within Amazon Associates that I can do that? If so I am not aware of it. Or are you talking about a website where we can declare our sites do not target underage 13?
          If so please share that information. I am sure everyone will appreciate that 🙂

          Reply
  3. Jay
    Jay says:

    Yeah, that’s just unfortunate and lesson learned but they update their terms and conditions pretty regularly stating all of this. I’m guilty of not fully reading the whole thing too but now we all should we doing it. For instance, the under 13 year old thing, they added that a year or two ago and you have to agree none of your sites target anyone under 13.

    Also, just a heads up in case you were not aware, you are NOT allowed to include Amazon affiliate links in emails either. And yes, that includes blog posts that get sent out via RSS Feeds to your email subscribers.

    Jay

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Thank you for that input Jay.
      Really like your last point. I use RSS feeds to email subscribers too so we put product links later in the article to avoid such problem.
      If I recall it correctly, I think there are plugins that will strip out links in the RSS feed. Don’t quote me on this since I did that research a while back.

      Reply
  4. Huu
    Huu says:

    Hi Tony – everyone
    First, I have to say thank you for the article and people’s comments!
    I and my friend’s account recently was closed and we lost total nearly $2000.

    My friend’s planning is reopen a new Amazon account with his wife’s information, open a new bank account for her, buying a new laptop for amazon affiliate program, change the internet provider, built a new niche site,…

    But after read your post, I saw we just open a new account and do the right things!

    Tony, please let’s me know, are we need to do the hard things above or just reopen a new account with the same information. Your advice is very importance because my friend he just quit his job.

    Any updates about your account? still good?

    Thanks and best regards,
    Huu

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Huu, sorry to hear that.
      In my case, I opened a new account with a new email address but kept all other information the same.
      I figured, since the websites would be the same, Amazon would be able to find out who I am in any case.
      It really depends on what mistakes you made on the site. Are they easy to fix?
      It would still be a good idea to contact Amazon Associate though. Tell them what you plan to do and make sure it is OK with them.

      Reply
      • Cynthia Flores de Zarza
        Cynthia Flores de Zarza says:

        How have you contacted amazon, replied directly to the rep from where the closed account notice was sent out from? My site got closed because it apparently targets under 13y/o but it is targeted to their parents and teachers so, nothing bad there but still got closed down and would like to explain but don’t know how to contact them. Please advise.

        Reply
        • Tony
          Tony says:

          Hi Cynthia,
          Sorry to hear that happened to you.
          I just replied to the rep’s email and started the conversation from there.

          Reply
  5. Stan
    Stan says:

    Hi Tony

    Thanks this a great article and very reassuring I’ve never lost an account but had a few close calls – I know how stressful it is especially when they owe you lots 🙂
    I have a new problem as of today I’ve been told that my profitability was too low for the last quarter??? (I focus on advertising their deals – which I now realize were loss leaders!!) And they want to renegotiate a much lower commission (I’ve been given that or shutting the account down as my only options) – I’m thinking of closing my account and starting from scratch with new url etc and opening another affiliate account being careful to balance deals with stuff that makes them money – Think that will work or will they just want to apply the lower rates to any account i open in the future?

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Stan,
      Thank you for reading the article.
      That is an interesting problem as I have never come across to it.
      I have heard that Amazon would just close down accounts that are not performing (zero sales) but never heard of them lowering the commission.
      Since their commision is based on number of sales, and 4% being the lowest, how low do they want to lower it to?
      Are you sure you are talking to someone from Amazon? or I suppose this is not Amazon in US?
      Since the commision is spelled out clearly on the Amazon Associates site, this is a very strange proposition from them.

      Reply
      • Stan
        Stan says:

        Hi Tony its a UK account , the sales are large, I have an account manager who I spoke to today, basically said theres nothing he can do as the account is loosing amazon money??I cant believe thats true over the whole year but could well be true of the last Quarter as I run a forum where members post the best deals they have found and it was a big year for the Sales, got a conference call this week to be informed of new rates for my account – but looks like will be around the 1% mark with the option of increasing once its back in profit. I think it would be easier to close account and open another one in the future – I’m in other programs that may tide me over. Just not sure if I will get away with opening a new account at a later date? – I’ve not broken their rules in any way just advertised too many of the deals that they make a loss on 🙁 🙁

        Reply
        • LoyAnn
          LoyAnn says:

          Is there anything in tos that says if you close your account that you can not return in the future? Amazon can terminate your account for any reason, and affiliates can close their account for any reason; I do not recall reading anything that if you closed your account that you could not return in the future. If you are as big as you say you are, then amazon would be losing money if you left the program, and if you think you can do better elsewhere, then I certainly would do so; Amazon practices are border line unethical, and unpractical, and i guess that is what happens when you become a giant…..

          Reply
        • WK
          WK says:

          “I know how stressful it is especially when they owe you lots” Are you promoting the deals using an Associates account or Seller Central account? There is no reason for Amazon to close your Associates account because of inactivity or poor sales.Small sales add to Amazon’s profitability and zero sales wouldnt affect them in any way. However,if you are using a Seller Central account, it’s possible that you accumulated a negative credit of some sort which is making a loss for Amazon.

          Reply
  6. Loyann
    Loyann says:

    Tony,
    You said you were using cloaked links, however, there is a difference between a link that is cloaked, and redirect links ie: pretty links, in fact, in their tos i think it says you can use redirect as long as amazon can determine from where the visitors are coming from. This somewhat has me concerned because I redirect some of my links ie: mysite.com/go/amazon, however, they are simple redirects, they are not hidden by cloaking technology. It is great that amazon is now working for you, however, I think it would have been better if amazon works with their affiliates rather then banning their account, then you have to setup a new account, and wonder if you are going to get banned from one day to the next. My amazon account was banned last year for not responding to some type of tos notice, however, they clearly did state that I could signup for another account; for some reason I just do not trust amazon, as it can take a good investment to setup a site, and cost even more to get it going.

    Reply
  7. LoyAnn
    LoyAnn says:

    It clearly states that using a cloaking software to mask their affiliate links is not a good idea.
    https://digitalreadymarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/dont-use-URL-shortening-cloaking-software.png

    That is not exactly what amazon says in their TOS. There is a difference between a “cloaked” link compared to a simple “redirect” link. If you cloak links, then you are hiding data from visitors, and amazon. If you are using a “redirect” then the link will take the visitor directly to amazon without masking or hiding any data. Amazon does not say you can not use a link redirect service, it says do not use a link redirect service in a manner that amazon can not make a determination that where visitors are actually coming from. Google does not care for cloaked links, and for the most part, most reputable affiliate programs do not care for link cloaking either.

    Reply
    • LoyAnn
      LoyAnn says:

      and I did contact amazon for clarification, and of course their response was completely unrelated, and told me that I could not use keyword bidding, and If i did that amazon would not pay me, what a complete off-topic response to the question I asked concerning redirecting links; no wonder people have issues with amazon….

      Reply
      • Tony
        Tony says:

        I agree. There are a lot of conflicting information out that make people confused.
        This is why I just stay away from link shortener all together to be on the safeside.

        Reply
  8. Jimmy
    Jimmy says:

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for taking time to write your experience about “account closed”. A lot information here. So, the point is:
    1. do not cloaking the amazon link
    2. do not put a price
    3. do not put a “star” review indicator
    4. if your account closed, do some investigation and open a new account.
    Great! Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Matt
    Matt says:

    Hi, is your account still standing? Got mine banned a few days ago with over 15k$ standing on it. I still don’t know what to do at this point. 301 redirect to new domains, opening an account in the name of my family members, friends…. Amazon really should be more clear about these situations.

    And I have enough traffic for about $5k per month on my sites, but they are all made for Amazon. I doubt I’d get 1k customizing them to other affiliate platforms.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Oh man. That really sucks Matt.
      Yes, my account has been in good standing. Based on my experience, you probably won’t get paid for whatever is left in the account.
      I would recommend write and call Amazon Associates to find out what you did wrong in the first place. Fix those issues on the site (if they are fixable) then apply for a new account.

      Reply
      • Matt
        Matt says:

        I had a popup window appearing with Amazon link. I went through Amazon TOS about 100 times. I even contacted their support at least 20 times to clarify some things from the TOS that I wasn’t certain about. I’m not an English speaker, but I don’t know how could I miss the area where TOS forbids popup windows, because it’s clearly there. There’s a chance that it was added in the latests updates, but who knows.

        Anyway, I’ll follow your advice, fix everything, and hopefully start with a new account. But before I do that, I’ll have to get a guarantee that if I comply with the TOS, I won’t get my new account banned just because I had a banned account in the past. Thanks!

        Reply
        • Will
          Will says:

          Amazon have not allowed iframes and popups for several years as I remember it was one of the first things I noticed when reading through the TOS.

          Reply
        • Tom
          Tom says:

          I’m shocked that Amazon didn’t shut down Tony’s new account. They did exactly that to me, when I did almost the exact same thing. I was shut down for “broad, misleading product claims” (basically that an item was a bestseller, which it was, and that amazon’s price was the “lowest”). So I removed those claims, opened a new account. It went for a month. Then, I got the shutdown email again. You can and will be shut down if your account is affiliated with any account that has been shut down! It’s also in the TOS.

          Reply
  10. Harry Bloom
    Harry Bloom says:

    Hi Tony,

    Great write up man and I know the feeling…just had my account banned for using customer reviews etc. The annoying thing g is that I was actually in the process of cleaning it all up and making it fully compliant with all of their tos.

    I really wanted to ask if your new account you opened after is still good and If you have had any issues with it?

    Also, would you think it is a good idea to send them email first to tell them that you are opening A new account, or just go ahead and do it?

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Harry, thanks for your input.
      The new account is still active and I am making money and getting paid from it.

      As far as telling Amazon about the new account, I did ask the rep about opening a new account while I called to ask about the violation I did.
      What the rep said was “If they approve you for a new account, then you are OK.”
      I got a sense that the group that approves new accounts is a separate group from the group that handles shutting websites down.
      So what I did was open an account, waited for a few weeks and started migration the tracking codes.

      Reply
  11. sagbee
    sagbee says:

    I have seen wirecutter still using clocked links. Infact they have their own redirection website. Other things I notices they are not using “review” word anywhere in their website.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      I took a look at their Amazon links. The button next to the product does say “from Amazon” but you are right. they do have cloaked links that isn’t clear for users to know they are getting redirected to Amazon.

      Reply
  12. Veronica Jones
    Veronica Jones says:

    Mine was also being shut down recently and I was really depressed and wondered why too as there is no direct answer where I have gone wrong. Anyway I am moving on to create a new account with new gmail email address and hopefully to be able to resume …
    Tony, did you create a new AWS API AccessKey ID and its Secret Key for use in your revamped Amz sites when you recreate a new account?
    Or you use back the same AWS API AccessKey ID and its Secret Key that were used in your Amz sites before your account was shut down.

    Reply
  13. Veronica Jones
    Veronica Jones says:

    Mine was also being shut down recently and I was really depressed and wondered why too as there is no direct answer where I have gone wrong. Anyway I am moving on to create a new account with new gmail email address and hopefully to be able to resume …
    Tony, did you create a new AWS API AccessKey ID and its Secret Key for use in your revamped Amz sites when you recreate a new account?
    Or you use back the same AWS API AccessKey ID and its Secret Key that were used in your Amz sites before your account was shut down.
    Thanks and hope to hear your advice!

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Veronica,
      I created a completely new account with a different email address. I used the same personal details (name, address, bank info etc).
      I did have to replace all the tracking ID on the site if that’s what you are asking?

      Reply
  14. James
    James says:

    Hi Tony, how are you? Is your new account still up?

    My Amazon account was banned for same reasons as yours and I followed your advice by opening a new one. And after just 3 days, they banned it as well saying that it is “connected” or from the previous one they closed. I even used a different email and name.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi James,
      Sorry to hear that. Did you contact Amazon to find out what you did wrong?
      In my case, I did contact them and fixed all the issues before opening a new account. So I guess they knew my new account was from the same person but because I took the necessary actions to fix them, they were OK with that.

      Reply
  15. Arc
    Arc says:

    Hello Tony,
    Thanks so much for your insightful article. I have been working for a certain website as a news editor and reviewing of tech products. Now I wanted to start my own website to be an amazon affiliate just like my boss but he now claims that because we use the same ISP and my name appears on his website, it will lead to its closure due to non-compliance to Amazon terms. I have read and reread those terms but I cannot see anything of that sort. Is there need for him to remove my name from his site? and does it mean that amazon does not want their affiliates to be related in any way? Kindly advice whether this is possible because I need to build myself.
    Thank you in advance

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Arc,
      I am not quite sure what your boss is referring to…. I am guessing he has his own Amazon account and you are just working as an editor right? Maybe he meant it’s not good to having two Amazon associate accounts under the same person?
      As far as I know, the arrangement you and your boss has should not prevent you from starting your own sites and be an Amazon associate.

      Reply
  16. Daniel Dizon
    Daniel Dizon says:

    Hey, thanks for this article. It’s very reassuring. How’s your account? Still good?
    I want to ask. Is there really no way for a terminated Amazon Affiliate Account be reopened again? They gave me a chance to appeal but wasn’t successful. Are there any services or help that I can get to get a terminated account working again despite failing that one chance to reinstate it?

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hey Daniel,
      Yes, my account is doing good. What is the reason you want the old account to be reopened? Are you trying to get the remaining balance in the account paid? If so, it is probably unlikely. I asked, and they told me they would not pay out those balance.

      Reply
  17. Arc
    Arc says:

    I have been working for a ceratain website as a news editor and reviewing of tech products. Now I wanted to start my own website to be an amazon affiliate just like my boss. He now claims that because we use the same ISP and my name appears on his website, it will lead to its closure due to non-compliance to Amazon terms. I have read and reread those terms but I cannot see anything of that sort. Does Amazon prohibit communication between their affiliates? I have not been successful in reaching out to the amazon staff for clarification. I kindly need your help on the same if you have ever handled such a situation. Thank you in advance as I look forward to hearing from you.
    Kind Regards
    Archmedes

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Arc,
      I responded to your earlier comment. I was not getting auto-notice about new comments for some reason. Sorry for the late response.

      Reply
  18. Juan Pham
    Juan Pham says:

    My old site has profit from Amazon, sudently Amazon closed my count. I have asked to know why Amazon closed my count, he just gave out violate rules generally only.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Juan,
      Yea, that seems to be the standard procedure. You need to ask for more details, otherwise they would just say your site is not in compliance.

      Reply
  19. James
    James says:

    I just received a notice myself today that my account had been closed because someone purchasing via my links had been using the items for resale or commercial purposes. I’m waiting for a response back about this because how am I responsible for what someone else does with the item they ordered?

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      James,
      I am hearing that reason for the first time. Hope someone who visits this post has similar experience and can provide some feedback.

      Reply
    • Eric Erickson
      Eric Erickson says:

      I just got that the other day. It shows someone ordered like 106 not particularly low dollar items which would have resulted in about $700 worth of commissions. The broad general statement also seemed to try to imply that I (or someone associated with me) had done this. I actually have a few sites out there and there was NO indication even WHICH site caused the problem. Just got a couple email responses indicating the above and it was not open to reconsideration. AS a side note, I had just recently installed a caching plugin – one of the ONLY times I even touched the site in the last couple years – which may have somehow had something to do with that. Wanted to speed up the site display but God ONLY knows how it may have reacted to various spiders… Now in the process of trying to put my site back together. Finally decided after a few years of leaving it out there – and finally achieving some NICE front page rankings for a number of items that I wanted to get serious about it. And then got my account closed. SMH.

      Reply
  20. Miguel Campaner
    Miguel Campaner says:

    So let me get this straight, you can reapply again with the same name?

    it’s because I have the same issue. So I should just close down my old account and start a new one with a different email address, username and password? Correct?

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Maguel,
      yes, but you need to resolve the violations first. Communicate with Amazon and find out what you did wrong, fix the issues, then tell them you fixed the issues. Otherwise they will likely just close your new account too.

      Reply
  21. Nilsson
    Nilsson says:

    Hi Tony do you have any clue why they banned our account? The reason was:

    “You are not in compliance with Section 2 of the Operating Agreement because the information in your Program application and otherwise associated with your account (including your email address and other contact information and identification of your site) is not accurate or up-to-date. You are referring traffic from various sites that are not your site. ”

    Our contact information was correct and I don’t understand how it could be wrong? Do they check our domain registration and compare information? should our domain match with the address and name we put in the application for Amazon associates?

    We contacted them but so far they have not given us any exact reason.

    Thank you for any information regarding this.
    Nicklas

    Reply
      • Nilsson
        Nilsson says:

        Thank you Tony. The only website we have used is already listed unfortunately. I am starting to think that someone else has been using my affiliates links without our knowing.
        Heres some more information I managed to get from them: (Would be so much easier if they just told us the website that is refereeing traffic)

        “You are not in compliance with Section 2 of the Operating Agreement because the information in your Program application, such as your email address, mailing address, and/or the identification of your site, is not accurate or up-to-date. There is traffic coming from various sources not identified on your Associate account information.

        Additionally, you are not in compliance with Participation Requirement Number 6 because you are promoting your Special Links in an offline manner, such as printed material, mailing, email, or oral solicitation.”

        I have been sending emails to our users linking to our website but have never sent any emails linking directly to amazon. However, I used images and titles of our products and linked to our website, is this not allowed either? I though only linking directly to amazon was not permitted.

        Thanks again,
        Nicklas

        Reply
        • Tony
          Tony says:

          As far as I know, sending emails with links to your own site is a common practice and that should not be a problem.
          Have you ever published any e-books? Putting Amazon affiliate links in e-books is not allowed.

          Reply
          • Nilsson
            Nilsson says:

            No, we have never done that either. I am now starting to think it could be one of our competitors that linked and sent emails with our links. It would be very evil but certainly an effective way of slowing down our website (Since they are also communities in same niche). I hope and think its not like that but I have no clue what happened. Is there any way to protect us from this kind of stuff? Can Amazon validate this somehow? They do not want to provide us the website link that was referring traffic or the mails that had the links. Anyway will try to apply again and see if we getting banned once again.

            Thanks.

  22. Paul D
    Paul D says:

    For those of us with banned Amazon Associates accounts, other than reapplying, is there any other work around we can try? For example can we sign up with a third party service that runs amazon associates and takes a small cut of our earning. Services like commission junction do this for other affiliate programs, and I that that viglink has some relationship like this with Amazon Associates. Anyone got any ideas for a work around?

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Paul,
      I actually thought about that too when my account got shut down. If I recall it correctly, those sites would take a cut of the earning so the actual earning would be much less than being an Amazon associate.
      Also, (again if I recall it correctly) you would not be able to choose the exact products you want to promote from Amazon.

      Reply
  23. WK
    WK says:

    I got the same red warning sign “Account Closed” when I logged into my account.They were also asking for US Tax withholding information.I thought the warning would go away if I submitted the Tax Information but it was still there minus the Tax info request.Anyway I have not been using Amazon for years now and I only had $6 in my account.I just want to try my luck with the program again.I have a question though, can you use your Amazon affiliate link on domains other than the one you registered on your application? Also can they close your account for inactivity? Regards

    I am beginning to feel that Amazon is getting tougher with affiliates just like Google Adsense.

    Reply
  24. WK
    WK says:

    UPDATE:
    I got on chat with an Amazon Assistant who was very nice. It turns out my account was closed for not completing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) declaration .But they told me to open a new account:
    Assistant: Let me look into this.
    Assistant: I’ve confirmed that the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) declaration wasn’t completed, which is mandatory for participation in the Amazon Associates Program. Unfortunately, we are unable to reinstate your Associates account. You’ll need to re-apply for a new account in order to participate in the Associates Program. You can re-apply at the following link:https://affiliate-program.amazon.com
    Assistant: I’m going to send you an email on how to reapply
    Me: okay
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………
    My conclusion – Amazon will give you a reason for closing for your account if you ask them. Also if you are permanently banned, it means you have done something serious, like violating their promotional rules.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi WK,
      Thank you for bringing that up. For sure Amazon associate from different countries have different requirements and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is one of them.
      I don’t think there is a specific page to comply with COPPA for a US Amazon associate account.

      This is somewhat off topic but, if you run an site in Europe (including UK even though they are in the process of leaving EU), there is a EU cookie law to comply. You might want to use a WordPress plugin like this one – https://wordpress.org/plugins/eu-cookie-law/

      Reply
  25. hole71
    hole71 says:

    Hi. I had my amazon account closed for some reason (without any explanation). Then I one year later I created a new account. added new websites to this account. when I started to get money from amazon my account was closed again. When I asked why they told me because my account was closed before. So.. this solution can work before you start to get some money from amazon.

    Reply
    • Limon
      Limon says:

      Same experience as like hole71, my 2nd associate account has been closed after 2.5 months of generating money. I’ve received 1 payment and 2 months of payment were pending. They only mentioned “an account belonging to you (or a person affiliated with you) has previously been closed for violations of the Operating Agreement”

      Reply
      • Tony
        Tony says:

        Thank you both for sharing your experience.
        Did you try to resolve the issues by finding out what the violation was and amend the site to remove/fix the violation?

        Reply
      • hamza
        hamza says:

        Hi Holly,

        I’m suffering from the same situation as yours. Here are some thing I’d be doing before creating the next account.

        New ISP
        New Bank Account
        New Billing Address
        Would redirect the domain to a newer domain
        Would re-install os to remove cookies, flash objects and browser fingerprinting
        I would also change the MAC Address of my Network card.

        Hey Guys,

        can you please tell what safety measures you took before creating the new account. Like changing the ISP or bank account etc?

        Reply
  26. Golam Hossen
    Golam Hossen says:

    I asked them do disclose the reasons why this account is being closed? They replied as below:

    “We have confirmed that the decision to close your Associates Program account and withhold fees is final, and you are no longer eligible to participate in the Associates Program. We ask that you immediately remove all Amazon Content from your site(s). We reserve all other rights and claims we may have. Any other accounts you have or may open in the future may be closed and advertising fees withheld without further notice.

    Please understand that this decision is final, and any further requests to review your account or unpaid fees for reinstatement will not receive a response.”

    Reply
  27. Hollytime
    Hollytime says:

    Just adding in my own 2 cents here. I had a very large website (million plus products), and was pushing 2-3K unique visitors daily to amazon. Awesome conversion rate. Earnings were really great because of amazons prices. I got term’ed due to violation of a price history function. They withheld future earnings after the notification date. I appealed, they doubled down and confirmed termination. I was even told I could reapply later.

    I removed the violating piece of code, and reapplied in the same account. It was approved initially, then was terminated within a week. Same domain, Same account, Just new Aff ID’s used. The website used PAAPI and those credentials had stayed the same.

    I intend to setup a corporation, new mailing address, new ISP, New PA API creds and then apply for a new account. I am killing the domain, forever. Getting a new domain with private reg. New server. New EVERYTHING. I will rebrand and republish the code on a new site. Its a complex website so this is like a week of hard work but It is worth it.

    Question: Anything else I might not be thinking of for my new venture that could link me to the old venture? Do you think they have a cache copy of the old sites frontend HTML code? Its a lightweight scratch developed template so I may just go and rename all the JS functions at the same time obfuscate all existing names. That splits the timeline out for dev much longer, would you be that thorough here?

    Reply
    • hamza
      hamza says:

      Hi Holly,

      I’m suffering from the same situation as yours. Here are some thing I’d be doing before creating the next account.

      New ISP
      New Bank Account
      New Billing Address
      Would redirect the domain to a newer domain
      Would re-install os to remove cookies, flash objects and browser fingerprinting
      I would also change the MAC Address of my Network card.

      Reply
    • RUGA
      RUGA says:

      Hey, I’m just wondering, how did you manage to send 2-3K clicks to Amazon per day? where did your traffic came from? for me the conversion with amazon wasn’t so great, even though their prices are good. Also, what is a price history violation? I read all their terms and don’t remember such a violation.

      Reply
      • Tony
        Tony says:

        Based on my understanding, unless you are using Amazon’s API to display product price in real time, displaying product price is not a good idea.
        That was one of the things that they pointed out when they shut down my account.

        Reply
  28. Christy
    Christy says:

    Can you please clarify something for me? What is the difference between cloaking and auto-redirecting? I’m having a hard time interpreting the operation agreement. Are we allowed to advertise using a link to our own website that does an auto-redirect to Amazon using our affiliate code?

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Christy,
      Cloaking software convers up the destination URL by changing it to something else. So instead of showing “www.amazon.com/affiliate-code” it shows “www.digitalreadymarketing.com/123”.
      Amazon doesn’t like this because it makes it unclear where users are directed to.
      In the case of auto-redirecting that you explained, even though the link appears to link to your site, since users are getting redirected to Amazon (in fact users would jump directly to Amazon), you are essentially putting Amazon’s affiliate URL with your tracking code to someone else’s website, which is not allowed.

      Reply
  29. Akuh
    Akuh says:

    Interesting article. My affiliate membership was also deleted by Amazon, but it happened about three years ago. And I am still looking for ways to sign up again until reading this article.

    To sign up again, do I also need to contact the Amazon first, or just try to register again? I myself do not know exactly what the mistakes I made, and also some blogs have been deleted.

    My plan will create a new site for the Amazon, do I also have to wait until the site has adequate visitor then register at Amazon?

    Sorry with my English, if it is confusing. Thanks

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Akuh,
      If it has been 3 years, probably nobody at Amazon would remember what you did wrong in any case.
      You should use a new email address (not the one you used 3 years ago) to sign up with Amazon because Amazon does keep the old account active for record purpose (my old account is still active).
      Growing the site a bit before signing up with Amazon Associate is a good idea because if your account doesn’t generate sales within certain amount of time, your account will get shut down.

      Reply
  30. Nilsson
    Nilsson says:

    We finally got our new account approved again. But Im so afraid to break any rules again now since we dident change anything since last time. this is the mail we got:

    “As stated in our previous communication, upon a review of your Associates account we have determined that you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement that governs your participation in the Associates Program. We have closed your Associates account and you will not receive further payment of advertising fees.

    Additionally, you are not in compliance with Section 2 of the Operating Agreement because the information in your Program application, such as your email address, mailing address, and/or the identification of your site, is not accurate or up-to-date. Your account had a drastic increase in traffic over a several day window, and this traffic was not coming from the site you had provided on your account information. Your traffic was coming from various social media sites that were not included in your lists of sites in which your links would be displayed.

    You are not in compliance with Participation Requirement Number 6 because you are promoting your Special Links in an offline manner, such as printed material, mailing, email, or oral solicitation. Any links, including through a picture link or otherwise that come from email or any offline manner are not considered qualifying purchases.

    Having looked at your account we believe there is an opportunity to do a good faith second chance. If you would be interested we would be willing to allow you to re-apply for our program. If you do re-apply, we will create an annotation on your account to not reject the new application simply due to the recent closure of this current account. Of course your application must go through the same approval process as other applications, but this shouldn’t be an issue.

    If you decide to re-apply, please respond at https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/contact and let us know you have re-applied, including your new store ID assigned, so we can make sure it is properly identified. Once your account is set up and approved you will be able to begin accruing earnings as per the standard payment schedule.

    You can find the complete terms of the Operating Agreement, including the Participation Requirements and Linking Requirements, via this link:
    https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/agreement.”

    Tony, do you have any idea how we can make sure to not break any of these points mentioned? Are we supposed to list social media websites like Facebook on our account? Also if our users link our products to each other, would this be offline manner? And if so, I can’t figure out any way to stop that. We have only linked to amazon from our website but can’t control our users. I think they might banned us because the attention our website got in various news sites that increased our traffic crazy much over some days and they got suspicious we did something strange.

    Any idea? Thanks.

    Thanks for the help.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Nilsson,
      Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s good to see Amazon is taking steps to let you re-apply.
      It is very strange that your users are distributing your Amazon affiliate links. Are you selling your own products that are listed on Amazon (are you doing Amazon FBA) and placing the link on your site? Is that why your users are distributing the links?
      Amazon must have seen many clicks coming from other sites.
      I would consult Amazon for this one and explain what you think might have happened.
      It could be your competitors who want to put you out of business, even though I have not come across to such case yet.
      Sorry can’t help much here, but asking Amazon directly would be one way to find out how to solve this issue.

      Reply
      • Nilsson
        Nilsson says:

        Thank for your the reply. This is truely a mystery. We have not been doing any FBA or selling our own products. It could be our competitors actually, thats not impossible. In the mail they are mentioning “various social media sites” which made me think someone shared it on sites as Facebook. Unfortunatly I have multiple times tried to get more specific information out from amazon but this is the best response I managed to get. Really hope we can keep our account open this time. Also, would they ban us if someone bookmarked our products (the amazon link) to come back later and buy it? We found out that its a common user behaviour to go from our website to amazon then bookmark and buy a couple of days-weeks later.

        Thanks.

        Reply
  31. Ben
    Ben says:

    Hi Tony
    Thanks so much for this post, its so helpful to hear your experiences, and fantastic that you were able to resolve the issue by signing up with a different affiliate account.
    My site recently got shut down, and for the life of me I don’t know why. Below is the text from the Amazon email. Has anyone got this same message, and know how we’ve breached their guidelines?

    “Hello,
    After careful review of your Associates application, we’ve decided not to approve your application to become an Amazon Associate. Accordingly, we’ve closed the account under which you had been temporarily approved.
    We have taken this step because we have previously closed an account that we have determined belongs to you or a person affiliated with you or acting in concert with you for violations of the Associates Program Operating Agreement, the Product Advertising API License Agreement, or one of the other Associates Programs operated by our affiliates.
    You can find the complete terms of the Operating Agreement and its Schedules via this link: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com…ates/agreement.
    Thank you for your understanding.”
    Fair enough. Seems bizarre to me. Such a vague response. The thing is, there is no possible way that I am affiliated with or acting in concert with anyone on my site. It’s just me and the only other amazon affiliate site I run is not affected. In fact I’m kind of scared they will link me to this new site and ban my other one. I’m glad I started a new account so that my original site didn’t get banned too.
    The thing is, I want to try to reapply but they have made it pretty clear that they won’t accept my application.
    Has anyone had any success with calling Amazon and finding out the reason for their rejection? For your information, this is their response when I asked for my information:

    Hello, Ben.
    As previously stated, weve determined that we’re not able to approve your application to become an Amazon Associate. Future applications will most likely be rejected as well.
    You can find the complete terms of the Operating Agreement, including the Linking Requirements and Participation Requirements, via this link: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com…ates/agreement.
    Because this decision is final, further requests to review your application will not receive a response.
    Thank you for your understanding.
    Best regards,
    Thank you.
    Amazon.com

    It would be nice to find an alternative affiliate but the commission for my niche is famously low elsewhere (electronics).
    I know a lot of you will say “Read the email, that is the reason why they shut down your account”. But it makes no sense to me. I mean if it was a linking problem or disclaimer problem at least I would know, but it seems like they are saying they shut my site down because they believe I am someone who is affiliated with another site they shut down.
    This makes me think there is indeed nothing wrong with my site and it’s a mistake which is incredibly frustrating. I WAS running skimlinks on my site during the process, could this have potentially been what did it?
    Apologies to start another one of these threads but I just wanted some opinions before I continue (or give something like CJ/newegg a try).

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Ben,
      sorry to hear what happened.
      Did you try to understand what you did wrong and try to work with Amazon?
      The first step I took was to apologize and recognize what I did was wrong and tried to work with Amazon and show that I was taking steps to resolve the violations.

      Reply
  32. Mos
    Mos says:

    Did you put disclaimer on any page now ? and you not wrong with this ?
    “we have determined that an account belonging to you (or a person affiliated with you) has previously been closed for violations of the Operating Agreement or one of the other Associates Programs operated by our affiliates.”
    Is it good idea to use landing page to drive traffic from ppc or social ?

    Reply
  33. Sukhi
    Sukhi says:

    Hi Tony.
    Today Amazon terminate my account because I used their trademark on my website. My question is
    1. I have more than 200 blog post on my website. I used amazon referral link on every post. If I reopen a new account “How can I replace my all link at once (In 1 click)”. ?
    2. Is there any chance (1%) that amazon reactivate my account or should I go for new account.?

    Thanks
    Sukhi

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Sukhi,
      sorry to hear that.
      1) If you have a WordPress, you can use a plugin such as https://wordpress.org/plugins/better-search-replace/ to easily update the Amazon affiliate code. If not, you will need to manipulate the database directly using MySQL. There are queries that you can use to find and replace the tracking code.
      2) As far as reactivating the closed account, it is unlikely. You have a better chance opening a new account. Based on what I have experienced and saw from other people’s experience.

      Reply
  34. Nicklas Nilsson
    Nicklas Nilsson says:

    Hi Tony,

    Hope everything is good. I am sure I read before somewhere in Amazons operation agreement that every time we make a button that will link a user to Amazon it has to state that its a link to Amazon? An example would be that a button with the text “Buy this book on Amazon” is OK but an button with the text “Buy this book” would not be since it does not state that it will redirect to amazon.

    Is this correct or I got it wrong? I can’t find it in the operational agreement now. However, I know that we are not allowed to use link shorteners but this is a bit different.

    Thanks,
    Nicklas

    Reply
  35. Aaron
    Aaron says:

    If Amazon Bans and Shuts down your Amazon Associate account, will your FBA Amazon Seller account also get banned and shut down?

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      I have never got into FBA so have no idea.
      My guess is “no” it won’t get affected, based on the experience that I did have sites that got banned from earning Amazon CPM but they are still approved for Associate earning.
      You might want to reach out to Spencer at http://www.nichepursuits.com/ to find out more about FBA.

      Reply
  36. John
    John says:

    Hi Tony,

    When Amazon said “using star rating”, had you been using screenshot of Amazon star rating or just a text?

    The title of this post is very misleading. If you did not actually *recover* from it, why are you mentioning in the title that “How I Recovered From It”? Simply creating a new account is not a “recovery”. For example, if you fix a broken laptop, THAT’S recovery. If you buy a whole new laptop instead of fixing it, it’s not recovery. In your case, you just created a new account and did not recover your account.

    Anyways, I’m glad that you got back on track. Cheers!

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi John,
      As for Amazon’s star rating, I basically copied the rating (3.8 start, 2.5 start etc) and displayed it on my site. So it was a text.
      I suppose “recover” could be interpreted that way. What I meant is how “I” recovered from this whole mess and not how I recovered the account per se, which as you pointed out the shut down account could not be recovered in the end.

      Reply
  37. Daniella
    Daniella says:

    Hi Tony
    I was new to Amazon as an affiliate. My account has been closed because I’ve written the price on some reviews.
    Amazon sent me a mail saying that my website does not contains appropriate content, and when I’ll fix it I’ll be able to re-apply to the affiliate program.
    I have deleted all the prices on my website and of course, re-applied to the affiliate program, and it has been accepted, but the problem is that it doesn’t seem that my account has not been activated.
    Is it possible to be accepted again?
    Thank you!.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Daniella,
      That email seems to be a standard template they use for new applicants when they find something wrong with the new applicant’s site.
      It’s totally up to them to accept or not but it is definitely worth giving it a try again.

      Reply
  38. Scott Kuhn
    Scott Kuhn says:

    I’m in the midst of this right now. Got so tired of the extremely vague information given from support (and then to have it requested that I prove where my traffic is coming from, with no clarification of what timeframe, what information, etc) that I lobbed a Hail Mary to Mr Bezos. Initially it looked positive….got a response from Executive Customer Care, and told they would be looking into and getting back to me in 2-3 business days. It’s been a week now, and just emailed back about my disappointment in a company that rightfully prides itself on customer service can routinely do this to associates with little explanation and even less of a sense of due process, all while holding onto funds…

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hey Scott,
      what a timing. Mine actually got flagged and now I am on the same boat.
      Out of nowhere they told me the following.
      “You are not in compliance with Participation Requirement Number 30 because the sources of your traffic are obscured in such a way that we cannot reasonably determine on what site or sites your Special Links are displayed.

      We have determined that an account belonging to you (or a person affiliated with you) has previously been closed for violations of the Operating Agreement or one of the other Associates Programs operated by our affiliates. ”
      I complaint that all of my URLs are naked Amazon affiliate links and I did not share any of the links to any social sites or any other sites.
      I am guessing that they are in the process of revamping the affiliate program as I have seen discussions that they are restructuring commision rate as well.
      Not sure what my next move should be at this point, but one thing for sure, relying on Amazon income 100% does not seem to be a wise move. They can close your account down with very vague reasons.

      Reply
        • Tony
          Tony says:

          I reapplied to the Amazon associate program but removed the sites that had issues previously and only kept the sites that have never had issues before.

          The first attempt failed. Was told that I was using “Amaozn.com” on the buttons, which was against their policy. This is a gray area because Amazon does want affiliates to tell users that they are sending users to Amazon.com. It clearly shows people who are approving accounts or shutting down accounts are interpreted with a lot of subjectivity. A non-issue for a reviewer #1 might be a large issue for reviewer #2.

          So I removed the “Amazon.com” text and now it’s approve.

          Now the account is up and showing earnings.
          Haven’t got paid yet so fingers crossed.

          Reply
  39. Steve
    Steve says:

    Good luck. I hope for your sake that Amazon don’t find out that you have a new account, particularly the UK associates – they are generally intolerant and will likely close it. That has been my experience..

    Reply
  40. Rahul
    Rahul says:

    So should I first see everything whether it’s fine or not and ask amazon team to check my site before applying for program?
    Will they review the banned site if I correct everything ?

    Reply
  41. Or Maman
    Or Maman says:

    Wow dude,
    I’m in this situation right now.
    They sent me an email saying: “We have taken this step because we have previously closed an account that we have determined belongs to you or a person affiliated with you or acting in concert with you for violations of the Associates Program Operating Agreement, the Product Advertising API License Agreement, or one of the other Associates Programs operated by our affiliates.”

    Now it’s true, I had an account that I had an issue with the amazon logo and one of the photos and shared my links on facebook… (was innocent mistake). Ever since, I fixed all this issues, asked their customer service if I can re-aply and they said yes go ahead open a new account.
    ANd today?
    I’m pretty confident that my website is ok with the amazon TOS, so I really don’t know why they closed my account.
    I contacted them by phone and by chat, and they had silly answers – very annoying!
    One of the customer service guy told me that I will not be able to sell on amazon associates! I really don’t see why they behave like this, I really try hard to be ok with their TOS and I do.
    Right now I’m waiting for an email of their “Account specialist”…. I hope everything will be fixed…
    Would love to hear some tips or hear from someone who succed to reaply

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      I am sorry to hear that it happened to you.
      I highly doubt they would reopen the closed account. I have personally tried and seems so many people tried and failed (based on their online feedback).
      If you have multiple sites, you might want to pick the best one or two, make sure they are perfect (in terms of complying to Amazon TOS) and reapply.
      As you pointed out, it seems every Account specialist are very subjective in terms of approving and closing accounts. I guess Amazon doesn’t have a central guideline internally to really dictate what kind of sites are complying to their TOS and what sites are not. So based on what they are doing, it is possible every Account specialist just read the TOS and interpret the way they understood it subjectively.

      Reply
  42. Dave Bartsch
    Dave Bartsch says:

    Hi Tony (and everyone), your site really is helpful. I appreciate how you take time to reply to all posts! Of course my account got sacked. It seems it takes a different amount of time as this is my 3rd time. This one was very vague and I am not sure how to correct:
    Hello,

    I have reviewed your application to the Amazon Associates Program and found [you listed the URL for your web site as: http://www.starscreamoptics.com. / your web site includes the unapproved use of Amazon.ca trademarked words, images, or reviews.]

    We dont allow the use of URLs, trademarks, logos, etc. that include words that are trademarked by Amazon.ca LLC. This includes variations or misspellings of any trademarked words. Therefore, were unable to accept your application. As a result of this decision, youll no longer be able to access your Amazon Associates account.

    Please review our Operating Agreement for further details:

    https://associates.amazon.ca/gp/associates/agreement

    We hope to see you again.
    I contacted Amazon via email and they said they are not allowed to preview un-associated websites (as I was recently given the boot, I guess I no longer apply.
    Would you know if you are allowed to copy and paste amazon products from their website? I generate unique text and descriptions for all the products I place.
    Thanks,

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Dave,
      Sorry to hear that. I took a look at your site and my honest opinion is that is has very little unique content. I don’t really see any Amazon trademark violation though.
      I have had sites that had very little unique content and Amazon did not like it. The reason I know is that they got disapproved for the Amazon CPM ads back then.
      When they shut down my account and I had to reapply, I decided not to include the sites and my account was approved.
      I am guessing Amazon is trying to find any kind of reasons to just not approve your account based on the kind of site you have.

      Reply
  43. john
    john says:

    amazon is a monopoly and theyre too big for their own good. my account got closed, the reason they specified was 100% invalid, i lost $20,000, and any subsequent attempts to re-open the account failed. they will provide excuses, and when there are no more excuses, they will close your account again, stating that another one of your accounts was previously closed.

    i personally believe people should look for alternate affiliate programs. when everyone jumps on the amazon bandwagon and gives them so much power, this is exactly what happens. one day your account might get closed, and they wouldn’t care one bit about losing your referrals. in my business, not having amazon is extremely difficult to profit, because most people prefer shopping on amazon. someone needs to break this monopoly up. when a company no longer cares about terminating legitimate affiliates who are bringing you $160k sales a month, that company is too big, and no longer cares about the little guys.

    Reply
      • john
        john says:

        The only other affiliate program that comes even close to amazon is ebay. i think there is a fundamental problem with CJ, linkshare, shareasale, in that publishers can abuse the system. for instance, refund rates on amazon/ebay is maybe 3%, but on CJ, it sometimes is as high as 30%. you could attribute this to “bad companies”, but i believe more probably, many publishers simply falsely report refunds/reversals/invalid sales to CJ who then reverse the commissions, and it’s impossible to differentiate a real reversal from a fake. this makes it very difficult to stay in business without depending on amazon or ebay, which is very unfortunate.

        Reply
    • Hemant Pandey
      Hemant Pandey says:

      Hello,Tony, nice article. I got this mail today from Amazon. Don’t know what to do. Don’t you think this is blatant fraud?

      Upon review, we are unable to accept your application because we were not able to view your site. This is due to one or more of the following reasons.

      – Your website was unavailable to be viewed by the public or requires a password
      – The server response was too long and the browser timed out
      – The URL provided was invalid
      – The site was either under construction or not yet published

      When reviewing an application, we need to have a valid URL for your web site so that we can view it to be sure it fits in with our program. Unfortunately, we are not able to review an application once it has been rejected. Once your site has been developed further to be visible, and contain beneficial content, you are welcome to submit a new application at the following URL:

      https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/join

      We look forward to receiving your next application.
      Really sad. This is plain fraud.

      Reply
  44. Mac
    Mac says:

    Hi Tony,

    Regarding the many people here who got there affiliate accounts shut down, and lost the
    earnings Amazon withheld and never paid out after closing the account .
    Let’s say they closed the affiliate account (claiming you’re breaking our terms or service etc)and never
    paid the account owner $5000 he was owed .

    Could that $5000 that Amazon never paid , be claimed as a tax loss at income tax time?

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Mac,
      That would be a really good question for a Tax accountant.
      My guess is that money was never made in the first place if you use cash basis accounting, but if you want to account it using accrual basis, it would be shown as money in / money out, so zero in the end and no Tax benefit.
      That’s just my guess. I am not an accountant so better check with one.

      Reply
  45. Rajapatr
    Rajapatr says:

    Hello Tony,

    I got account closeure today with my account that not problem over 9years right now the reason amazon tell email doesn’t clearly for me
    “-Your Site makes inaccurate, overbroad, deceptive or otherwise misleading claims about Products, the Amazon Site, our policies, promotions, or prices.”
    First my site don’t show any price, promotion and didn’t edit. I had a landingpage that when click from content of my site it will going to landing page which use Amazon Products API to request data it a real data no cache and i had date & time shown that request from what date and time to make sure it not violate the amazon term but i use api to get review and it was an iframe i see other site doing it so i doing same and already ask them it can be use like this or not they said yes. I read the api using they allow to get Reviews so i’m not sure what i wrong.
    Second the button in landing page is shown it will go to amazon and i had native ads widget that will show the price of products instead get from api which have more risky
    Third this i can request to re apply more account or open it again i lost i thousand dollars on this account ?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Rajapatr,

      Thank you for sharing your experience and so sorry to hear about your Amazon associate account.
      Based on my limit knowledge Amazon API (I don’t use them personally), what you did seems to be inline with their guideline. Reviews and Pricing are updated in real time so Amazon shouldn’t use that as a reason to close your account.

      Did anything change at all in the last few months? Maybe drop in traffic? or drop in earnings?
      When they closed my account recently for the second time, one of my sites had a substantial drop in traffic that caused my earning to drop quite a bit. This was also right after holiday seasons so that also contributed to the sales drop (the usual seasonality factor).
      My guess is because of this sudden drop, Amazon took notice of my account and for whatever reason they decided to shut it down by giving a very vague violation reason.
      I wonder if this was the case for you.
      It seems Amazon is actively getting rid of accounts that are not serving them well these days.

      As far as opening a new account, yes, it is possible to re-apply. If you have multiple sites, you might want to leave out the site(s) that caused the problem when re-applying.
      In terms of re-opening the closed account, that is most likely not going to happen.

      Reply
      • Nicklas
        Nicklas says:

        I think this was the case for our account as well. We got a huge increase in traffic where upon the investigated our site and closed it for whatever stupid reason. They can definitely see when traffic is changing heavily.

        Reply
  46. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Hi Tony,
    In your most current rejection, they reference the fact that you had a previously banned account. It seems crazy they would wait two years to ban you but I’m wondering if that is what happened this time around.

    I’m considering buying a site from someone who’s account was banned. The site is clean and the ban was for another reason. Wondering how dangerous that is? Also wondering whether having multiple accounts is still a no-no.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Jeff,
      The first time they shut down my account two years ago it was due to the “TRI” site so I purposely used the “TRI” site to signed up again to make sure my site did not have any problem. It lasted two years.
      This time round, I used a different site and was approved. I have not added back the “TRI” site up till this point because it might increase the chance of getting my account shut down again.

      So to answer to your question, if the site you are interested in was the reason the account was banned, I would not touch it.
      Another way around this problem is to buy the site, get a new domain and 301 everything so it appears as a new site.

      As for multiple accounts, I have not seen anyone done that yet. I know it’s possible to set up a new company with a new address, bank account etc, but I think for most people the return of investment for such activities is just not high enough.

      Reply
  47. ted
    ted says:

    Do you have websites at Blogspot.com or other old blogs that has their ads code?
    It has been proven Amazon will do anything unethical including robbery and cheating. Anyone with blogspot.com sites selling for Amazon is a complete moron. Sorry to say that.

    1. Amazon will terminate your account and rob you of all earnings claiming you have violated agreement or even for no reason at all. In my case, they claim the termination is due to sexually explicit content, something they knew and approved. At the same time, they shamelessly spammed sexually explicit ads to my website 24/7. They did all that knowingly and willfully. Look for things like “Vagina Masturbator” – https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/4130pzHDfnL.jpg or here https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0K8FMxeCHQo/WS2dZi5FTKI/AAAAAAAACVg/dOCw7EZKGXMAye4bCY3pgV-gelp-pBT4ACLcB/s1600/9%2BInch%2BDildo%2Bwith%2BSuction%2BCup.png

    If it’s true they strictly run by the rules, they should just terminate the ads they day they finished the audit/review. NO, they keep the ads running untill one day before it’s time to pay … 60 days later.

    2. They terminated my account but they won’t disable the ads code. Why? The reason why they keep the ads code active is because they wanted to hijack your websites, likely at Blogspot.com (the more the merrier), so they can use them to advertise for free. Ihave like hundred carrying their native ads – some I don’t even how to find them …
    3 And this the true reason why my account was terminated – you wanted steal my traffics for free.
    4. Unless they cancel the sales, they have no right to keep the proceed from whatever sales you have generated. It’s your efforts. Therefore, they have robbed you under the broad daylight by keeping the proceed for themselves.

    That said, don’t waste your time Amazon. There must be better things out there.

    Unless becoming a sucker is your hobby, Please disseminate this fact far and wide.

    Jeff Bezos is a low life THIEF.
    .

    Reply
    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      I agree with John, Ted and others that if Amazon closes our account we should be paid for the commission we made. I am new to AA and I got a sale before the 3 month deadline. So anyway after 2 days of that sale I got this email from Amazon.
      ==============
      Thank you for applying for the Associate program. Upon review, we are unable to accept your application. A part of our criteria is that your site has to be established with enough unique content. We rejected your application due to one or more of the following reasons.

      – Lack of content which is original to your site and beneficial to your visitors
      – Pages that are mainly empty when advertisement content is removed

      Unfortunately, we arent able to review an application once its been rejected. If your website has been further developed and now contains appropriate content, youre welcome to submit another application by using the following URL:
      ================
      I emailed them since I want everything in writing. I told them that it is so unfair to close my account without any warning plus the thing that pissed me off was they closed my account after I made a sale. They could have checked my site before they issued an ID. A warning would be nice since I am new to AA and their TOS is also confusing. To make it short – I didn’t call them crooks but my email sounded like it. My commission was very small but I demanded that I get paid. I said – it is a small commission but if there’s a thousand accounts that were cancelled that’s a lot of money for Amazon from free advertising. They made money from our hard work. We put in time and money to get these websites up and running. I am at least glad that their customer service was good in following up. But because I was so pissed off I never replied back or thank them for the quick reply. One good thing is I got paid.

      After a week I reapplied again and got approved. Same website and added 3 pages of content. I changed my id but all info are the same. I wish I can share the email but they might be able to trace it and give me a hard time. I forgot to mention if I reapply they should count my 1st sale. If I get cancelled again I am not wasting my time on Amazon. I’ll make sure they get some media attention on how they screw up their affiliates.

      Jeff Bezos we are not a billionaire like you we are just small people trying to make some money on the side. Please don’t screw us up!!!

      Well anyway, Tony if you are aware of a class action lawsuit count me in. You have my email address please let me know. Thanks

      Reply
  48. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Having legal experience, this affiliate program is considered a self employed business. As any self employed business you work hours that are typically expected to earn minimum wage or higher, no? My argument as a lawyer, affiliate excuse (by Amazon) or not would be that since they didn’t provide an explanation for canceling prior to a particular date, any earnings prior to the date they cancel you or close your account, should be paid out. They would be paid out due to the idea that your time is valuable and should be paid as such. It’s written in Federal Law that you earn at least minimum wage. Technically if you kept a log of hours worked and how many employees you had working underneath of you and their hours, you could go after Amazon for that amount.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Thank you for that input. Do you think there is a merit for a class action lawsuit? I am sure a lot of affiliates have been affected by it so if there is a legal merit, it could be a huge case.

      Reply
  49. Withheld for obvious reasons looks like I am blacklisted by India already
    Withheld for obvious reasons looks like I am blacklisted by India already says:

    I just signed up for an account, had it approved and was already earning money when it was closed within the week. Their excuse: I used the name Amazon on my website.

    So how am I going to tell people that my products are available for sale on Amazon without using the word Amazon?

    I did note that just prior to closing my account (which already had some money in it) my web provider documented an IP address from “Amazon India” who had looked at the site. Now, I do not market to India nor do I ever intend to do so as the country is a cesspool of corruption.

    Anyway, about the missing cash from the commenter’s accounts. Who do you suppose that goes to? Amazon or the (Indian) IT workers who close your account?

    Just saying their might be some ulterior motives for them to be closing your account.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      That is an interesting theory.
      As far as using the word “Amazon” on the site though, I have had the same kind of warning.
      When I applied again for a new account after my account was shut down again this year I used “Check it out on Amazon.com” on some of the buttons. So they basically told me not to do that and took away the earning up till that point and closed down my account again.
      However, in the warning email, it did mention that I could reapply after fixing the issue so after removing the word “Amazon.com” on the buttons I reapplied and my application went through. Surprisingly, I even got a payment for the amount I had up until the point my account was shut down.
      So to clarify, it seems if the account is new, if they do close down your account you could still reapply because your account is considered “new”. Not only that, if you manage to get your “new” account reinstated, you could get paid for the earnings that you had in the account.

      Reply
  50. Shane Nielson
    Shane Nielson says:

    I got banned two because of one of my websites. But even after opening a new account and applying, they still closed it down.

    Has anyone had success in opening a new account or even buying an Amazon account from sellers such as the Aspkin forums or even Auction Essistance?

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Did you try different things? Like finding out what caused the closure and fix those issues? Change the primary website for registration ( if you have multiple sites). Change the account name (if you happen to have multiple names) etc

      Reply
  51. Julie
    Julie says:

    I’m furious this just happened to me today. I worked my butt off for them next month was going to be my first pay out!! I haven’t even received anything from them and sold over $7,000.00 for them!! Looks like from your experience it isn’t worth trying to stay with them because they can do this anytime they feel like not paying someone. Fantastic post and I hope you get paid!! Good luck with Amazon I’m done with those theives!!!

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      I am sorry to hear that. The saddest thing is that there are no other Affiliate programs convert as good as Amazon. This is why there are so many of us trying to get back in.

      Reply
  52. vicenzo
    vicenzo says:

    hi. i have a question.. Right now i have 2000$ in my amazon affiliate account , all the earnings are generated in this month (august 2017).. If (let’s say) they will close my account, are they going to close it on 1th september or after 60 days after the end of august ? so when is the time when they use to close it?

    Regards
    VicenZo

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      They could actually close it anytime they want if they find something is wrong with your site. So you might not even get paid AT ALL if they choose to close it before the 60 days.

      Reply
  53. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Below is my affiliates account cancellation email from Amazon … and I have absolutely no idea what they mean, no idea what I have done wrong. I have been an Amazon affiliate for 7 years. I only ever link to Az from my websites, I don’t do emails or have any funny things they mention in their email. I don’t show prices. My websites are very simple and helpful to visitors, just interesting articles. But now my money is gone – as is many thousands of hours work.

    My websites are a few thousand personally hand-crafted articles, filled with hand-selected and individually edited Amazon links. Which means my websites now are totally useless as I have no physical way of removing/changing all the links – there are many thousands of them.

    Because their agreement says ” we may terminate your account at any time, with or without cause”, I do not intend to try for re-instatement. I am never setting myself up for this kind of loss ever again. Now I gotta find new affiliate programs and remove all my Amazon content – anyone have any suggestions on how to do that quickly on large websites? I have currently put my websites offline with an “under maintenance” plugin, which obviously is not good for SEO.

    Anyway, here is their email:
    *** Hello from the Associates Program,
    We are writing to tell you that effective as of today’s date, Amazon is terminating your Associates account. Under the terms of the Operating Agreement, we may terminate your account at any time, with or without cause. This decision is final and not subject to appeal.
    It is important that you immediately remove all Amazon Content from your Site(s). Please be aware that any other accounts you have, or may open in the future, may be closed without payment of any fees. Amazon reserves all other rights and claims.
    Because you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, Amazon will not pay you any outstanding advertising fees related to your account. Amazon exercises its right under the Operating Agreement to withhold fees based on violations, which include the following:
    -You are using Content or Special Links, or otherwise linking to the Amazon Site, on or in connection with a browser plug-in, toolbar, extension, or other client-side software.
    Thank you for your participation in the Amazon Associates Program.
    Warmest Regards,
    Amazon.com

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      It’s best to keep your sites’ rankings while looking for a new affiliate program so putting your site offline is not ideal.
      You might want to look into changing the links directly from the Database. The Amazon links should be easily identifiable using the regular expression. So you should be able to mass remove the Amazon links without much problem.

      Reply
    • Denise Sanger
      Denise Sanger says:

      DItto. Received the same thing this week. Not like I’m raking in thousands of dollars, but I did finally figure out how to generate better commissions. Best day was $100 right before they pulled the plug. Very interesting timing. Thanks for an amazing article.

      Reply
    • Bret
      Bret says:

      I received this same message. I had my developer investigate and turns out that our site was being attacked by a bot or scraped. We are a unit price search engine for Amazon and log all of our searches. While we typically get about 20K searches a month, we had 3 million the month we got shut down. I now pay for a firewall which detects and blocks attacks like this. While not perfect, it did eliminate 90% of the bad traffic. However, I have been unsuccessful in getting my account re-opened and have even signed up for a new account which was rejected because it was associated with the old account.

      Reply
  54. Annoymous
    Annoymous says:

    Tony did you change your ip, address banking information,device used to connect to the internet etc this time around? Or you opted for a business option to run it through a business

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      It’s still my personal information. I did not add the sites that historically had issues and made one of the newer sites as the primary site. The site looks professional, it has never had any issues, and with only a few well formatted Ads etc.

      Reply
  55. Kasch Litai
    Kasch Litai says:

    Sadly, the current Amazon attitude seems to be “if you violated our agreement once, we never want you again, no second chances.”

    I used no cloaking, and I only linked to Amazon on my own content. However, it seems Amazon only consider your own domain (or URL) your content, not content hosted anywhere else (like an FAQ). I missed that particular wrinkle, so I deserved the first hit. That’s understandable. I started up two blogs, converted the content over, then applied again. AFAIK, this time it’s all legal. It worked for ONE WEEK, then they deleted my new account with NO WARNING. The only reason given was “you were a violator once” (not exact quote).
    Tried to chat with associate support, they blabbed about sending my case to a “review team”, but I have a feeling nothing will be done.

    Apparently, the only way to get back on with a clean slate is with a different credit card, different prime account, and a different address altogether.

    Reply
    • Kon
      Kon says:

      Yes! That’s what I thought too. It looks like they keep an eye on people like us then those who never got caught even if they are violating the policy. So once your account got closed, it will be closed some day again for sure. Really. Because they do not trust you. You’re right. They treat us like “once a liar, always a liar.”(not really a liar but you know.. 🙂 Even thought we didn’t do it on purpose, they don’t think that way.
      This is another story but I once asked a simple general question about their policy to the rep. His attitude was little angry? and said “are you violating the policy?” My question was just “Is it okay to write prices in the title?” But he’s first answer was that. Kind of accused me of violating their policy by just asking a simple question. So I freaked out and said “no no~~ blahblah”.. And he finally answered my question. I felt like he was very sensitive about this issue, violating the policy. We were talking and I told about others and he asked me to provide their URLs.
      By the way this account has no relation with my previously closed account a few years ago.

      Reply
  56. Hemant Pandey
    Hemant Pandey says:

    Hello,Tony, nice article. I got this mail today from Amazon. Don’t know what to do. Don’t you think this is blatant fraud?

    Upon review, we are unable to accept your application because we were not able to view your site. This is due to one or more of the following reasons.

    – Your website was unavailable to be viewed by the public or requires a password
    – The server response was too long and the browser timed out
    – The URL provided was invalid
    – The site was either under construction or not yet published

    When reviewing an application, we need to have a valid URL for your web site so that we can view it to be sure it fits in with our program. Unfortunately, we are not able to review an application once it has been rejected. Once your site has been developed further to be visible, and contain beneficial content, you are welcome to submit a new application at the following URL:

    https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/join

    We look forward to receiving your next application.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      It sounds like they simply just couldn’t get to your site.
      The message doesn’t say they would not let you join so just reapply after making sure your site is visible to everyone.

      Reply
    • Karuna
      Karuna says:

      I received the exact same thing after cyber monday. I contacted my hosting server and they assured me the server was working perfectly. Forwarded the email to Amz. Then Amz replied back with a different unapproval reason. I really wonder if Amz unapproved it because they don’t want to pay the commission. It was black friday and cyber monday afterall.

      Reply
  57. Ron
    Ron says:

    My account got closed once years ago so I asked them why they closed it. They didn’t even know the reason. The reason was never written in the email either. Then I created another account this year and got closed recently again. Always when I achieve the surprisingly highest payment. This is also funny because I know so many bloggers and website owners who are obviously violating their policy so many years but their accounts never got closed. I know why they are violating the policy because I used to be involved with them. I can still check their websites and blogs and I know that they are still violating the policy. You don’t have to be involved with them to know that they are violating the policy. You can just see that they are violating it when you visit their websites of blogs. But Amazon thinks all the websites and blogs are all under their control. They said the accounts of those who are violating the policy got closed but the owners just don’t know their’s are cloed, or will be closed. But that was not true. Only ours are. They are still happily making a lot of money. I really do not understand their criteria. I feel discriminated and lost my trust in that company.

    Reply
  58. Prathmesh
    Prathmesh says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I have made a silly mistake as beginner I purchase a product through my own affiliate link just to make sure that amazon will really pays me commission or not but I purchased the product from another amazon ac and not from my ac which have amazon affiliate ac linked. So what happen next is that it is mentioned in my affiliate dashboard that some products are ordered(which are obviously the products that I ordered from different ac) but I didn’t get the commission and also amazon didn’t ban me yet it is above 3 months from that silly mistake. Also to mention that I have made purchase though from different ac but from the same pc which I use to handle both of my ac. So now I will reach to minimum threshold soon. So is it possible that they will bann me when I reach minimum threshold and request for payment (as they have not banned me yet). When I made some research this is what I found >>>https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/node/topic/202050040 I request you to check that out and please tell me what does it mean according to you, are they going to terminate my ac or it will be fine??? And also when did they close your affiliate account, as soon as you clocked the affiliate links or at the time of payment. Eagerly waiting for your reply…

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Based on the language in the link you provided, the only penalty you would get sounds like is going to be not getting paid and not necessarily leading to account shut down. However, as you can see from other people’s experience, Amazon could do whatever they please so it is difficult to say what Amazon will do for your account down the road.
      In my case, the cloaking software caused the “click” number to jump substantially and that caused them to investigate and ultimately shut down my account within a week.

      Reply
  59. Kon
    Kon says:

    Do people actually click postings or URLs without knowing the price? I’m worried about this. Don’t I at least have to tell them that which price is cheap and which is expensive? I don’t want my visitors to pay $100 for an item that actually cost $50 and the consumer price is $70. Or do I have to be like this if I want to earn?
    Amazon really confuses me. You should know some major websites like slickXXXXX or camexxxxxxxxxxx. They write prices and even record them on websites but their accounts were never closed. So writing prices or recording the lowest prices shouldn’t be a problem. They said it’s okay to write prices if you posted it with their API. But other major websites also write prices manually. This includes slickXXXXX. You have to write a price in a text box. They don’t use API. Seriously. Or is it okay to let visitors to write prices manually on our websites while the websites owners can’t? I’m really not sure this price thing is really an issue for everyone. By the way, nice article. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Kon
      Kon says:

      OY… I didn’t read the last paragraph. Your account got shut down again? Is it three times total? Your website should be perfect and not violating any policy. You followed their guideline and kept asking them. What’s wrong with them? I think earning drops don’t matter. It always has ups and downs. The numbers can’t just keep going up. It’s impossible for everyone. It should be okay if your earning is more than $0. Well.. anyway mine got shut down again, too. I received a different email this time. They shut it down because the websites and blogs they previously closed seem to belong to me. I thought it’s okay to re-apply with same domains if I made changes(contents, URLs, tags, etc.) just like before I received the “you are violating the policy. We’ve shut down your account” email. Don’t know what to do. 🙁

      Reply
      • Tony
        Tony says:

        Sorry to hear that Kon. They shut mine down twice so far.
        The second time they shut it down, I used a clean site as the primary site in the application and removed (not adding) the questionable sites (sites they have previously pointed out as “violation”).
        I know this method probably won’t work for everyone especially people who are working on one Authority site rather than multiple small niche sites.

        Reply
  60. Kin
    Kin says:

    Hey Tony. Thanks for the reply. Mines are actually all multiple small niche sites. Anyway, just came here to say good luck. Your article helped me(thanks!) but it’s time to find other affiliates because they keep shutting my account. haha Three times so far. 🙁 I recently signed up with a new account with all different information(address, phone number, and etc. With a new identity.) and new domains but they shut it down saying “we have determined belongs to you or a person affiliated with you or acting in concert with you for violations of the Associates Program Operating Agreement.” They can’t know the new account is mine. BTW VPN won’t help either. Isn’t that weird? How did they know? I thought that’s really creepy when I received the e-mail. Anyway that’s why I decided to leave them. Good luck!!! 🙂

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience Kon!
      I have also started looking into other ways to monetize my sites and no longer putting more resource into developing sites for Amazon affiliate purpose. Have been experimenting with Google Adsense and may expand a site designed to monetize from that method. Will share it in a blog post If it gives a substantial result.

      Reply
      • GunshyAffiliate
        GunshyAffiliate says:

        I now have serious reservations about whether to spend the time and money to develop an Amazon affiliate site. Their apparent eagerness to close accounts on a vague whim and keep affiliate’s earned commissions simply doesn’t pass the sniff test.

        After having reviewed many of the above posts it is my opinion that Amazon may very well be engaging in outright fraud against many affiliates. Undoubtedly, many have ‘violated’ their ambiguously worded policies. Even if true Amazon should not be relieved from paying out ALL previously earned commissions, regardless of the onerous conditions Amazon forces affiliates to ‘agree to’ prior to being accepted into their affiliate program.

        Perhaps the situation is ripe for a class-action lawsuit for lost earned commissions/lost income for those who have had certain accounts abruptly closed. Could their actions toward affiliates be part of their business model where they no longer really need affiliates to drive traffic/sales and are in the process of putting the squeeze on in an attempt to discourage them while
        simultaneously padding their bottom line with stolen commissions? Have the commission rates got better or worse for affiliates over time? Apparently Amazon doesn’t need affiliates as badly at present given their world dominance and lower payout scheme.
        If the past is any indicator of the future, Amazon affiliates appear to be in for a rough ride.

        Reply
  61. chena
    chena says:

    Hello!
    Thanks a lot for your post!
    Amazon also banned my account some years ago. Don`t know exactly why (because i lost access to the email that i used to register on amazon), but i think i got banned because of spam (200+ twitter accounts twitted every hour amazon products with my tracking id) 🙂
    May i ask how you created new amazon affiliate account? Did you use the same name & address?
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      I used the same name and address but used a different site as a primary site for registration. In the latest attempt, I did not add the sites that had been pointed out by Amazon as “bad quality” sites.

      Reply
  62. MrDre
    MrDre says:

    Tony, I have purchased WooZone WordPress plugin, I setup a shopping site and used the plugin to add only cosmetics and thus make a cosmetics shopping cart site. I am just starting my nice web site, still working on designing the site, I also started a Facebook shop that the buy button instead of buy says “check out on our website” and redirects the viewer to my site where they can add the product to a shopping cart and when they are ready to click “checkout” it will redirect them to amazon where they either checkout if they are already logged in to amazon or they will need to login to their amazon account and then all of the selected products are automatically added to their Amazns cart and they pay thru amazon.

    For what i can see here I need to make sure to add the Affiliate disclosure on my site and maybe other things that will aid in keeping me from getting closed. I understand that if they want they can close me. but if i stay within their policy i might last a little longer than i expect.

    What is your opinion on woozone and woocommerce shopping sites that redirect to them?

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Based on the conversations I had with people who got their account shut down by Amazon, it seems Amazon dislikes sites that are solely designed to gain clicks such as price comparison and product search engine sites. They want sites that add values so obviously sites that describe in depth about certain products Amazon carries is the best way to go.
      Blogs would obviously be the simplest form of that, but there might be other creative ways to do it that I am not aware of.

      Reply
  63. AJ
    AJ says:

    Hi Tony
    I recently had an account closed like you and was going to reapply again with a different website but same name and bank account. I am just wondering if it will work because I am in the us and will have to enter the same Social Security number again for the tax information. I was wondering if you think they will be an issue, I didn’t know if you were also a US based affiliate. Thanks

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi AJ,
      It is possible they might let you open a new account. Try using a different website as the primary site in the application and don’t include the site that got banned.

      Reply
  64. Shut down
    Shut down says:

    Hi,

    I too was randomly and very suddenly shutdown last week and I’m also being given the run-around. I have no idea what I did wrong and how I did it. I’ve asked multiple times via phone, email, and chat and I’m still given the “You did something wrong, we are shutting down your account. GoodBye.”

    Now I’m at a loss, literally. Should I try again and open a new account? Should I use the same info or is that too risky and since I don’t know what was wrong what’s stopping them from doing it again?

    I put way too much time and effort into this for them to just give me the boot without any explanation at all it’s so frustrating 🙁

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      If you only have one site and that got tagged as a “bad site” by Amazon, that’s pretty much it… game over.
      Based on my experience, when I added the “bad site” back when I managed to re-open the Amazon associate account the second time, the “bad site” again seemed to be the reason why they shut my account down the second time.
      I do still have Amazon affiliate sites up and running but have already moved on and not developing any new Amazon affiliate sites for reinvesting to the existing Amazon affiliate sites any more.

      Reply
  65. iwan
    iwan says:

    i am using Shopabot platform for my Amazon.de affiliate for 3 month ago.yesterday Amazon.de ban my affiliate account but i am not sure what the issues Amazon.de ban my account.

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Hi Iwan,
      sorry to hear that your affiliate account got banned.
      I am not familiar with Shopabot so not sure what kind of affiliate link URLs it generates or how it pulls images from Amazon but those are some of the points that should be investigated to make sure they are in compliance with the terms that Amazon laid out.

      Reply
  66. OxyBlu2018
    OxyBlu2018 says:

    I was recently kick-out by Amazon for not making the required three qualified sales within in 180-days of sign-up. I am still on the process of appealing my case because 2 weeks before the supposedly 180-days period expires, I made three item sales. I don’t know what is “three qualified sales” they are referring to. Is it three separate sales from separate buyers or three products sold whether from 3 unique buyers or 1 buyer ? Anyway, should I still continue with my Amazon Affiliate site until I receive consistent traffic as per Amazon advice or just give it up?

    Reply
    • Tony
      Tony says:

      Since not making enough sales was the reason for the account shut down, if I were you, I would give it a try again.

      Reply
  67. Jed
    Jed says:

    Let’s face it – Amazon hardly needs the money from small-time affiliate’s – and it sounds like they have become incredibly arrogant. I’m a full-time affiliate marketer and signed up yesterday with Amazon, thinking I could add some extra product offerings in the sidebars of my websites (I have about 15) – but reading through this stream of negativity, has put me right off Amazon as a business partner. I’m going to cancel my Amazon associates membership before it starts. I only work with certainties, and am seeing time spent building my business via Amazon as a potential loss… Good luck to anybody who continues with them – but I’m out! Plenty of business owners out there, who are desperate for good quality affiliate’s, and who pay a lot more commission than Amazon…

    (I’m unable to un-tick the box at the foot of your form – please don’t add me to your mailing list, or send me any newsletters or marketing material – thanks)

    Reply
  68. Azam
    Azam says:

    “…you did not include a valid business justification that explained your intended use of the Product Advertising API.” Question is how to justify it?

    #1.
    Hello,

    We completed a review of your application to become an Amazon.com Associate, which included a visit to the website where you planned to create links to our store.

    After careful review, your site appears to be unsuitable per our Operating Agreement. Weve decided not to approve your application to become an Amazon Associate or grant access to the Product Advertising API. As a result of this decision, youll no longer be able to access your Amazon Associates account.

    Please feel free to review our Operating Agreement here:

    https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/agreement

    We hope to see you again soon.
    ===========
    #2.
    Dear Associate,

    While reviewing your request, we see that you did not include a valid business justification that explained your intended use of the Product Advertising API.

    As a result of this, you’ll no longer be able to access your Amazon Associates account.

    Please feel free to review our Operating Agreement here:
    https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/agreement

    We hope to see you again soon.

    We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the buttons below to vote about your experience today.

    Best regards,
    ==================

    Reply

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