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Guide to the Amazon Associates Program to Earn Passive Income

This article contains affiliate links that will allow us to earn commissions without any extra cost to you. Read our full disclosure here.

Amazon affiliate marketing can be a very lucrative source of passive income for content creators. However, joining the Amazon Associates Program is not just as easy as signing up and sharing your affiliate link randomly.

Here’s how to do it right.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an online advertising model wherein a company pays third parties to refer customers back to their sites. These third parties, called affiliates, are usually bloggers, social media influencers, or podcasters, who get a commission every time they successfully lead a customer to the site and the latter buys something.

The process works by assigning unique links to affiliates, which will then be tracked for clicks and purchases. They of course have to comply with advertising guidelines and the terms and conditions of the platforms.

Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Pros of Affiliate Marketing

  • Source of passive income
  • Done purely online
  • Easy to get started (low investment cost)
  • No expertise needed
  • Has free cover creator
  • Discounted author copies that can be used for free + shipping

Cons of Affiliate Marketing

  • Unsure monthly revenues
  • No control over marketing programs and competitors
  • Ethical considerations—A lot of affiliate marketers review and recommend products they haven’t really tested.

What Is Amazon Associates and How Does It Work?

Amazon Associates is Amazon’s affiliate marketing program. It allows content creators to monetize their traffic by referring customers to product listings.

This is how the Amazon Associates Program works: The affiliate will sign up and after the application is approved, the affiliate may now generate links that they can share on their website. However, note that you only have 180 days from the date of approval to make a successful referral, i.e., have someone purchase from Amazon through your affiliate links. Otherwise, the account will be closed.

Remember that Amazon is pretty smart about tracking orders. This means you will not easily get away with purchasing products yourself or having a family member or friend do it for you.

Now how about if a customer clicks on your link but decides to buy another product instead of the one you referred? Let’s say a customer clicks on your affiliate link that leads to a dog bed product listing at 8 am today. However, he buys nothing. At 3 pm that same day, he places an order for an external keyboard. The good news is you still get credit for any purchases made within 24 hours by someone who clicked on your link. This is because Amazon rewards you for getting a customer to the site, not just to a particular listing.

But take note that if they click on another affiliate link, then you won’t earn any commission from the transaction.

Amazon Affiliate vs. Amazon Influencer Program

Both Amazon Affiliate and the Amazon Influencer Program follow the same advertising model: they refer people to product listings and they’re compensated for doing so. However, the Amazon Influencer Program is invitation-only.

People who participate in these programs are generally called affiliates, going by the ordinary definition of the word. But technically speaking, the term affiliates refers to those enrolled in the Amazon Associates program while those in the Amazon Influencer Program are called—you guessed it—influencers.

An influencer is defined by Amazon as “anyone who has a meaningful social media following.” However, the company doesn’t disclose what meaningful means.

Influencers have more advertising tools available. For example, they can have their actual storefront on Amazon where they can upload short videos (some are less than a minute long), idea lists, and shoppable photos. They can even go live to interact with their followers.

amazon influencer storefront
An example of an influencer’s storefront

Who Can Be an Amazon Affiliate?

Signing up for Amazon Associates is free. Anyone with a website or social media account can qualify, provided they also meet the other requirements:

  • Must have original content (at least 10 posts)
  • Content must be publicly available and recent (within the last 60 days)
  • The site used must not be “unsuitable”

Currently, Amazon Associates accepts the following social media platforms:

  • Facebook—group and fan pages only
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • TikTok

In order to qualify, you must have at least 500 organic followers.

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How Much Can You Earn Through Amazon Associates?

Because it is commission-based, how much you earn as an Amazon affiliate depends on how many people click on your link and purchase from Amazon. It can range from just a few bucks per month to millions of dollars (Wirecutter generated $150 million worth of transactions in 2015 alone).

The amount of commission depends on the product category the items belong to. Here are the commission rates for each category:

amazon product categoies amazon affiliate commission

So you can earn from 1% up to 20% as an Amazon affiliate, depending on the product category of the purchases made through your affiliate link.

How to Set Up an Amazon Associates Account

In order to become an Amazon affiliate, you need to have an Amazon account. Log in or create an account then head over to to sign up in the affiliate program. You will need to enter your name, address, and phone number.

amazon associates sign up

The next step is to add the sites where you’ll be posting your affiliate links. Make sure to follow the proper format, i.e., use the full URL.

amazon associates sign up

The next part requires you to describe your website and how you drive traffic to it.

amazon associates sign up

amazon associates sign up

The next step is to verify your identity and choose a payment method. Amazon Associates has three available payment methods: direct deposit, check, and gift card.

Payment Method Condition for payment receipt
Direct deposit $10 minimum
Check $100 minimum plus $15 processing fee
Gift card $10 minimum

How to Generate Amazon Affiliate Links

Once you officially become an Amazon affiliate, you can now generate links you can share on your sites. The easiest way to generate a link is through the SiteStripe. It appears every time you click on an Amazon product listing while you’re logged in using your affiliate account.

Amazon SiteStripe Just click on what type of link you want to generate:

  • Text (which can be either a short or a full link)
  • Image
  • Text and image

You can now paste your affiliate link on your sites and monetize your traffic.

short link in amazon sitestripe

Dos and Don’ts as an Amazon Affiliate

As mentioned earlier, there are guidelines involved in affiliate marketing. And when it comes to Amazon, there are a couple of rules you need to follow to not get into trouble. Here are a couple of dos and don’ts.


DO provide clear affiliate disclosures. Amazon needs its affiliates to be compliant with the FTC Guidelines. In addition, the Operating Agreement requires that this statement is clearly and conspicuously posted on your website: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

DO use original content. As part of the eligibility requirements, the affiliate site must have publicly available original content. And to make your site more trustworthy, it’s best to actually try out the products you’re reviewing and recommending.

DO use link localizers. Link localizers redirect your customers to the appropriate Amazon marketplace. For example, you may be a US-based marketer, but if someone from the UK clicks on your affiliate link, localizers will direct them to instead of There are available free and paid Amazon link localizer tools.


DON’T refer to the availability and specific prices in your posts. Amazon prices change—a lot. Sellers often reprice their Amazon products to keep up with competition and to win the Buy Box, so it’s not a good idea to include prices in your posts.

In fact, Amazon allows its associates to show prices and availability only when

  • [they] serve the link in which that price and availability data are displayed, or
  • you obtain product pricing and availability data via Product Advertising API and you comply with the requirements

DON’T use link shorteners. The Amazon Associates Program policies do not allow the use of link shorteners that make it unclear you are linking to an Amazon site. Fortunately, you can still avoid super long URLs by clicking on “Short Link.”

Don’t use your links on offline promotions. Amazon doesn’t allow its associates to promote their links in places like emails, e-books, and printed materials. The links can be used only on approved websites.

How to Make More Money as an Amazon Affiliate

Choose a niche or a theme. As mentioned earlier, Amazon affiliate commission rates vary, depending on the product category. You can choose to review and promote products in a particular niche, preferably one that has a higher rate and a decent search volume. If you have a website that specializes in beauty products, for example, it wouldn’t make much sense to be promoting gardening tools.

Fortunately, you don’t need to pick just one niche for your site. You can review multiple products as long as you establish your site as a review site, just like Wirecutter.

screenshot of wirecutter
Wirecutter is one of the biggest Amazon affiliate sites owned by The New York Times.

Make use of roundups. Taking a page from Wirecutter’s playbook, content that round up the top or best products in a category are really good for affiliate links for two main reasons. First, most people who search for these terms, e.g., “top 5 best laptops for students in 2022,” are probably doing so because they are planning on buying in the near future. Second, you get the chance to promote multiple products, i.e., multiple affiliate links in one article or video.

Consider the Top 5 Picks Youtube channel. They produce videos reviewing and rounding up the top 5 products in various categories.
screenshot of amazon affiliate youtube channel

When you click on a video and like a product they reviewed, you don’t have to manually search for the products on Amazon because the affiliate links are in the description box. They even have different links for different Amazon marketplaces.

amazon affiliate short links

Make original content consistently. There was a time when you can get away with just copy-pasting reviews from other sites. But with more affiliate marketers around, you have to stand out by producing original content—yes, it helps to actually use the products before writing up something.

Use multiple platforms. There are many social media platforms around, and it’s usually free to sign up. Got a Youtube channel? Insert your links in the description box. Or you can share them on Instagram via My Day. Affiliate commissions are results-based, so the more you get the word out there, the more chances you have of increasing your revenue.

Final Thoughts

Affiliate marketing is the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising. There’s a lot of work involved in setting up your sites and creating original content. But over time, it becomes a source of passive income.

Do you have any other tips on how to monetize your traffic? Share it in the comments section below.

Christine Gerzon

As EcomCrew's content writer, Christine has developed a love for all things e-commerce and a constant need to imagine Jeff Bezos with hair.

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  1. Hey, nice article about “Amazon associates ”. I will definitely follow these for my company to give the best possible services to my customers. Keep on adding this type of valuable content again and again. Hope to read more from you. Thank you!

  2. This article on Amazon Associates is very interesting and provides valuable information on how Amazon’s affiliate program works. I like that it addresses the different ways affiliates can promote Amazon products, from posting affiliate links on their website to creating video and social media content.

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