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Amazon slashes affiliate payouts up to 80%

Website owners to receive up to 80% less for each sale on Amazon.

An Amazon logo with the words "Amazon cuts affiliate payouts"

Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) is reducing the commissions it pays to affiliates by up to 80%.

The company sent an email to members of the Amazon Associates program today with the subject line “Upcoming Program Operating Agreement Update.”

The email starts with, “We hope you are staying well during this time” before laying a bomb on website owners that make money by referring customers to Amazon. Actually, the email doesn’t mention that rates are being slashed. Instead, it just informs people that changes are coming to the affiliate agreement and to click a link to see the changes.

Below is a chart comparing the old commission rates to the new ones, which go into effect April 21.

A chart comparing affiliate commissions on Amazon.com

Many website owners rely on Amazon’s affiliate program to monetize their websites. Affiliates already hurting from the pandemic now have more wounds to lick.

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  1. Don Murray says

    All that work, content articles, review sites are becoming worthless at this point.

    Amazon really has screwed so many. Now more than ever people will see why it’s so important to own your own domain name and platform. You will see many that where getting 10k a month for review sites go down to 2k. Some 50k a month down to 5-7k.

  2. descobre24 says

    If people would have the self respect of not accepting and stop promoting, maybe they would rethink such practices. The % they charge on Twitch for subs and bits aren’t 1% to 3%, for most affiliates it’s half what they earn.

  3. BullS says

    Good,,,Amazon does not need any advertising or any help in selling. Amazon is in her own league…the MONSTER of the monsters.
    Good for my Amazon stock!! Bought them at $1200
    It is all time high now and will keep on rising!!

    • Observer says

      You should be ashamed for bragging about their prosperity after what Amazon just did to hardworking affiliates in the middle of this Covid-19 pandemic.

      This is truly a betrayal by Amazon.

      Shame on you.

    • snoopy1267 says

      Agree, people must forge their own path. Bezos is in the same league as Zuckerberg, the old version of Bill Gates or Mr Burns. He is after world domination and will crush everyone possible. Buy Amazon stock.

      The people using Amazons affiliate program, Adsense etc have put themselves in a position to be screwed over.

      • Observer says

        So if you catch CoronaVirus, does that mean that you put yourself in that position to catch it?

        Isn’t that arrogant of you to say this?

        What if Verisign intends to implement the yearly 10% increases despite the Covid-19 impact? Are you going to say that domain owners put themselves in that position?

        And also Ethos…if Ethos gets approval to buy PIR, will you say that .ORG owners put themselves in that position to have their .ORG renewal costs increased?

        Make some sense, man…

        • Snoopy says

          Anyone who relies on one company for an income, particularly a large company, is ripe to be screwed over. Most people know this from common sense and they wouldn’t even bother with an Amazon affiliate program as a serious business model.

          Verisign will implement price rises wherever possible, because it is a monopoly they are regulated by the government to prevent that.

          • Observer says

            What you are failing to understand is what Amazon did is a breach of trust with it’s associates. Bezos should be referred to as “Bozos”. He thought he was like Bill Gates, but he just proved today that he’s not.

            Amazon claims to care, but their actions are inconsistent with caring about this pandemic.

            And how are you so sure that the government would prevent Verisign from raising fees as much as they wish?

            So if the fees rises beyond the economics of maintaining a domain portfolio, are you going to claim that we put ourselves in that position?

            As the World advances in technology, this would translate into lower costs and greater efficiency which should translate into renewal prices going down.

            But due to this corrupt Verisign/ICANN $20M/yr pact they made, they appear to be scheming to put a Global Worldwide squeeze on anyone owning domains which is a betrayal given that their operating costs are going down, not up, and domain owners have the reasonable expectation that those savings are supposed to be passed down to the registrants. So, it’s clearly fraudulent for them to raise the fees unjustly.

            Now do you see the evil here?

          • snoopy1267 says

            He is exactly like Bill Gates, the old Bill Gates!

            Amazon don’t care, all businesses say fake stuff like that. They want to make money, that’s it. The rest is fluff.

            “So if the fees rises beyond the economics of maintaining a domain portfolio, are you going to claim that we put ourselves in that position?”

            YES, take responsibility for yourself! Are you going to blame Verisign or Amazon for things not working out? You are either be winner or a whiner. At the moment you sound like the latter.

  4. Rob Monster - Epik.com says

    It does not appear Mr. Bezos is actively in the running for humanitarian of the year for 2020.

    The timing is curious because of Mr Cashman just getting a warchest:


    My bet is that there is a cozy relationship between Mr Cashman and Mr Bezos, and that this just made it cheaper to roll up a ton of feeder traffic.

    It is a sad outcome for a lot of the folks who diligently built sites based on a social contract that implied an enduring win-win.

    The folks who cut their teeth on these projects probably learned a bunch and for many of them, this shafting will prove to be a blessing in disguise.

    We shall see!

    Related comment:


      • Rob Monster - Epik.com says

        Hey Paul – It seems your nonsense knows no end.

        ICYMI, the folks who bought Minisites pre-Panda way back in 2010 were all made whole on their investments.

        And yes, we won Registrar of the Year, in part because there is a social contract with our clients, and we actually honor it.

        More here:


        In the wake of COVID, we maintained full employment, passed through 100% of redemption fee savings, expanded domain loans, etc.

        So, yes, there is a social contract, and it is called “do unto others”. It is not the norm these days, but we attempt to govern ourselves accordingly.

        You have a good one.

  5. Nuno says

    They are also ending affiliate promotion of Amazon Prime Video on some external networks. They seem to consider that no longer need affiliates, or those that stay are truly desperate.

  6. Adam says

    Another competitor could step in and grab up affiliates and their traffic no ? Walmart? Target ? Etc.

    • domain says

      You need a plan of at least a minimum of $10 billion to consider going up against Amazon. Walmart purchased Jet.com for $3 billion and is not even coming close to Amazon a few years later.

      • albert says

        You hit it Andrew. We sold a product on Amazon and tried to get it on Jet.com. The shipping fees alone were about the same cost of the item. Not only that, the handling was also very expensive. Walmart has all these stores and is having a difficult time competing which is why I assume they bought Jet.com. But not even close.

  7. Jack says

    This gen 2 SARS pandemic is really bringing out the sociopathic traits in a lot of the population. The crazed egos and autocratic and know-it-all behaviour is so blatant that it wouldn’t be wrong to say the half or even a majority of the population suffer a deep form of narcissism. Perfect timing to push unpopular and greedy changes like this. A sadistic kick to the spine on all Amazon affiliates as their backs are turned. I’m not an affiliate, but I do have some sympathy where a significant portion of someones income depends on these sales commissions, and they suddenly receive up to a 80% pay cut.

  8. Darren says

    On the same day as their stock price hits a record high and Bezos increases his personal wealth by over $6 billion.

    But timed perfectly to look as though they are tightening their ship during the coronavirus, rather than blatant profiteering.

    You couldn’t make it up.

  9. Mike says

    Amazon: sell your products with us! (Then when we see you sell a lot, we will start carrying that item…. for less!) Amazon to carriers: give us your route info, then we will both economize! Win win! Stab. See ya, sucker, we’ll deliver those packages ourselves. Stab. Stab. Stab. Amazon has as much loyalty as Trump. Not much.

    • Charles Christopher says

      There is a large nursery near my house on a very high traffic surface road in the city.

      Their parking was filled with Amazon delivery vehicles before the economic tail spin it. Those vehicles were sitting there day and night. Each time I drove by I scratched my head over why they were there. I don’t believe that was some special or unique location. I am willing to bet there were a huge number of similar locations around the country that happened at.

      So here is my question:

      It takes time, a lot of time, to place an order for that many vehicles and have them delivered. I’m going to guess 50 to 70 in that parking lot. How is it they arrived just before they were needed?

      They are not sitting there now, they are being used to deliver.

      I’d like to know where Amazon got its crystal ball ……

      “The best way to predict the future, is to to create it.”

      • joesaba2014 says

        Never look at a crystal ball, only see the current unemployed in the US, which mostly affect many middle-class families, habitual in buying online on Amazon in others alike.

        In the world where Amazon is serving its consumers, they are also losing their jobs and this also affects middle-class families.

        Prices have risen in value if before a vitamin C fruit purchased by the vast majority of consumers to rise by 25% per kilogram is a lot and we are not yet in full global recession, this will have an impact on a consumption crisis and on the health of people and this is economic physics.

        Also when to start this virus that reach Italy, then Spain, write speculative Coronavirus why and the reason in stock markets as in the specular domain market is the main thing, when there are losses in the Stock Market around the world the investments by pure logic go directly to recover the money lost in the Pharma Companies that search and research new vaccines and medicines in record time the first one that is effective will have the monopoly and the licenses to distribute worldwide and save our lives and make a few richer than gamble their money on it, the others will also win because they will continue investigating generic medicine substitutes that come more out of the pockets of all the unemployed and their families.

        I hope and wish that all of you are in good health and also your families.

  10. Sal says

    I shut down Amazon ads on my site 3 years back. Publishers pushed buyers to Amazon when they were nothing. Now when they own the internet they don’t need publishers. Every publisher on the internet should link to Walmart ads and bring Amazon down to size.

  11. Green Jobs says

    This is going to kill a lot of publishers and affiliate websites.

    I guess Amazon realized they don’t need these affiliates linking to get people to buy.

    Haven’t bought anything on Amazon this year.

  12. Esteban says

    This is what happens when any company starts to get a monopolic condition. Hopefully some other companies will take advantage of this and start taking bloggers out of Amazon

  13. Morshdy Ali says

    Amazon slash affiliate payout forever or these changes are results because of coronavirus and after world treat the virus all things and commission will be increased again?

  14. Thomas Marcum says

    They also cut filmmakers, last year and again this year. I make independent films and this move really hurt my super small company. I also use affiliate marketing on our websites, so I guess I’m hit with even less income now. All the while Jeff Bezos and Amazon continue to make stacks of money. 🙁

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