Amazon Cuts Rates for Affiliate Marketing Program

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos during the JFK Space Summit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Amazon reportedly told members of its affiliates program on Tuesday that it will be cutting commission rates beginning on April 21. The “Amazon Associates” affiliate marketing program pays a percentage of sales to publishers that direct consumers to Amazon via links on their website and social media.

CNBC reports that e-commerce giant Amazon is cutting commission rates for members of its affiliate programs. The company reportedly notified members of the affiliate program, known as Amazon Associates, that it will be slashing commission rates beginning on April 21.

Amazon has operated the affiliate program for years, allowing members to advertise and link to Amazon products in exchange for a percentage of sales. This drives significant revenue for online websites that link to Amazon products in their content.

Publishers such as BuzzFeed, the New York Times, and Vox Media regularly publish buying guides that drive readers to buy products from Amazon in exchange for a cut of the sales, meaning they will likely be hit hard by this cut in commission rates.

Rates are being cut across a number of affiliate products categories. Rates for purchases of furniture and home improvement products have fallen from eight percent to three percent while the commission rate for grocery products has slid from five percent to one percent.

A spokesperson told CNBC that it notified Amazon Associates of the change on Tuesday but declined to comment on whether the change was a result of the Chinese virus pandemic. The spokesperson stated that Amazon regularly evaluates its program offerings to ensure that it is competing with the broader industry and such rate evaluations are a standard industry practice.

The full email from Amazon to members of its affiliate program reads:

Hello Associate,

We hope you are staying well during this time. We are writing to inform you of upcoming changes to the Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement, which governs your participation in the Amazon Associates Program. All changes are effective as of April 21, 2020.

Visit the What’s Changed page to see a summary of these changes. You can also find the Operating Agreement, Program Policies, and the Fee Statement if you would like to refer to the current, pre-change versions.


The Amazon Associates Program

One member of the program spoke with CNBC and stated that they “cannot afford” the fee cuts that were announced as the main portion of their income comes from commissions earned via Amazon links. The member runs several Facebook groups advertising shopping deals across the web. “All the affiliates I talk to make the majority of their money from these categories,” the member said. “It’s going to hurt a lot of people.”

In a post on a Reddit forum for affiliate marketing one member wrote: “These slashes are ridiculous. Together with a high chance of upcoming recession, SEO/affiliate outlook is pretty gloomy, to be honest.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address


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