Attention Affiliates - The Easiest Way To Get Your Account Banned

10 replies
Hi,

Do you know the biggest mistake affiliates make?

Not Reading The Operating Agreement.


It may seem simple but how many affiliates take the time
to carefully read the operating agreement?

Very few

This is the number one reason majority affiliates are banned.

Please read the affiliate agreement carefully. Sometimes
it takes some more time to read and understand the rules.

Let's Take The Example Of Amazon
--------------------------------------------------

I did a small research on the reasons why many
amazon affiliates are banned. Here're some of the reasons

1) Not disclosing that you're an affiliate and you earn commission
by sending people to amazon


Your site must put the following disclosure on your site. It should be
clearly visible.

“[Insert your name] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to [insert the applicable site name (amazon.com or myhabit.com)]

2) Take Customer Reviews from Amazon and Put it on Your Website

You don't have right to take reviews from amazon(partially or fully). Many
affiliates do this to make their product reviews more interesting and to get more
clicks.

3) Put Your Affiliate Links on Other sites

Never put your affiliate links to other sites like forums, yahoo answers etc.

4) Creating Your Own Graphics

Never create graphic that violates their rules. You cannot take any of Amazon's
trade mark buttons and alter it. Only use buttons that Amazon provide you in their
affiliate center.

Some affiliates say that you cannot create any of your graphics. I'm not sure.
Fortunately Text links always get more clicks.

These two threads may help

http://forums.prospero.com/discussio...cihelp/47650.1

http://forums.prospero.com/discussio...1?nav=messages

5) Showing prices explicitly

You cannot simply show prices on your site. Prices are subject to change.
If you want to show the price, it should be set through Amazon API.

6) Cookie Stuffing

This practice involve executing an affiliate link without someone clicking on it.
Sometimes, a wordpress theme or plugin can do this without you know it.

It is a surest way to get your account banned.

7) Declaring that, Amazon price is the best price

Other merchants might be giving a better price so you cannot say
amazon's price is the best price.

8) Cloaking your affiliate links

You cannot hide your affiliate links using some tools that prevent Amazon from track the
sources of clicks. It's always better to use affiliate links as you get from the affiliate center.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

These are some of the common reasons I came across reading different posts. There
are a lot more rules. Please read the agreement carefully.

There are debates about certain rules. It's always better to take the safe route. If you've
any doubt, ask the authorities directly.

These rules change from merchant to merchant.

If you find yourself breaking any rules, correct immediately. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL
THEY FIND YOU AND BAN YOU.

Request to All Affiliate Theme Developers
--------------------------------------------------------------

I request all affiliate theme developers and plugin developers
to read and understand the affiliate agreement before you develop anything.

Majority affiliate themes(including Themes for Amazon affiliates) explicitly violate
many of the agreements.

Poor affiliates use these themes without knowing that they're violating the rules and
eventually get their accounts banned.
------------------------------------------------------------------

Please actively participate in forums about your Affiliate network so that
you can learn from the experience of others.

Majority Affiliate Networks and Merchants never give you a second chance to correct.

Hope it helps

Note: Thread updated from the suggestions of @onSubie and @agmccall
#account #affiliates #attention #banned #easiest
  • Profile picture of the author James Baker
    Thank you for this. I have never worked with amazon but was thinking of getting into it. This is very important information here for everyone to learn and follow!

    not sure if its true or not but I read somewhere that people where creating fake reviews and got in big trouble? I could see that being a big problem too.

    Thanks for the info!
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  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    Some of that information is not accurate but generally true.


    The thing is, little of it is unique to Amazon.

    It is not true that most affiliates do not read the ToS at least serious affiliates. Many new affiliates and lazy affiliates do not read the ToS but real affiliates who treat their business seriously do.

    I you look at threads in WF, every time a new warrior starts a thread about getting banned, experienced warriors reply pointing out the violations of the ToS

    Experienced warriors know the ToS because they read them. And then re-read them. And then refer to them when they have a question.

    Showing prices is also allowed for Amazon affiliates- as long as the price is set through the Amazon API and is updated to reflect any changes in price at Amazon (which the API will do).

    Cloaking affiliate links is also allowed. You are allowed to cloak affiliate links so long as it does not hide the referring site from Amazon. Links that hide the referring site or prevent Amazon from being able to detect the origin of traffic are not allowed.

    Amazon even provides its own link shortener so you can cloak affiliate links: amzn.to which they operate in partnership with bit.ly

    Cloaking with Pretty Links or a tool like Elf Links is compliant with Amazon ToS.

    Cookie stuffing is something to be careful of when buying/using Amazon plugins. A number of plugins in the past got their users banned because they were using iFrames to open Amazon in violation of Amazon agreements. These plugins could easily be used for Cookie stuffing.

    This is good material to think about but a lot of the advice is based on a simplistic view of how things work (i.e. cloaking links).

    At some point, if you want your internet marketing to be a business and not a hobby, you will have to take responsibility for your own actions and learning.

    If a restaurant gets shut down due to health violations, is that the Heath Department's fault for having rules the restaurant owner is unaware of or is it the restaurant owner's fault for not knowing the rules?
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    Just as a note.

    It is usually not against affiliate rules to create your own graphics as long as you submit them for approval. Also, if you have a review site you can most certainly make your own graphics, but do not hyperlink the graphic.

    It is also OK to put amazon prices on your site if you pull them via API applications
    Signature

    A bar of iron cost $5. Made into horseshoes, it's worth $12. Made into needles, it's worth $3500. Made into balance springs for watches, it's worth $300,000. Your value is determined by what you are able to make of yourself

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    • Profile picture of the author Nikhil V Nair
      Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

      Just as a note.

      It is usually not against affiliate rules to create your own graphics
      as long as you submit them for approval.
      It's always great to have good communication with the
      affiliate management team. You're much safer when you
      get clarification from the authority.

      Thanks for the valuable inputs. Thread updated.
      Signature
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      • Profile picture of the author Tony Marriott
        Yes, generally good advice from the OP.

        Problem is that reading the T&Cs is the last thing most new affiliates want to do. They are generally excited and geed up by the new training about making a million dollars with Amazon and can't get their system running fast enough.

        Sure "experienced affiliates" read the T&Cs (we all learn) but most affiliates are new affiliates. In fact all are at some time! The ones that get banned fall by the wayside along with those that make no money.

        I see plenty of threads here about "why did I get banned from ...(not just affiliate networks but Paypal and AdWords etc). Doesn't it seem odd that people rely more of forums to find out about the T&Cs than the on the people who wrote them?

        One reason is that often they are simply difficult to fully understand, especially when you first start out. It's a bit like many "legal agreements" you need a "lawyer" to interpret it for the layman.

        Unlike many legal agreements though you will find you have no right or access to challenge the decisions made based on those "rules". Like getting banned.

        So to fully understand the T&Cs of any affiliate network of course you should read them fully. You should also look at the various forums and related groups who advise or discuss those networks where you will find many "gotchas" that may have caught you out.

        After all that will you be protected from being banned? ... Not really, some will still mange it! But you will stand a far better chance of going on to make that million

        Oh I forgot one more thing.. not all advice given in forums etc is either accurate or in some cases even true. So don't take everything you read as gospel. If you plan to do something cased on what you heard in a forum make sure you do your due diligence before acting on it!
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        • Profile picture of the author Nikhil V Nair
          Originally Posted by Tony Marriott View Post

          Oh I forgot one more thing.. not all advice given in forums etc is either accurate or in some cases even true. So don't take everything you read as gospel. If you plan to do something cased on what you heard in a forum make sure you do your due diligence before acting on it!
          That's very important. Sometimes, advice from forums can be
          misleading .

          Some affiliates say "other affiliates are making
          the same mistake, so why can't I?".

          Others may be violating rules but that's not an excuse for us.
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  • Profile picture of the author Augustinus
    I already need that you need to mention that you are working with amazon , but thanks for other useful hints
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  • Profile picture of the author iamkevin
    Thanks for sharing the info! I will certainly keep that in mind
    Signature

    Let emotions serve you and not enslave you.

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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    I think a lot of affiliates may get banned due to the fact that they are using plugins or software that pull information directly from Amazon. I see loads of Amazon review sites that are using some kind of automation plugin that pulls customer reviews from Amazon.

    It certainly does not take the fault away from the affiliate, however. Affiliates should still be reading the Amazon TOS and if the automation tool or plugin they are using is not compliant then they should not use it.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      One very important thing was mentioned a couple of times in passing, but deserves to be spotlighted on its own, especially when it comes to Amazon.

      When in doubt, ask the reps at Amazon Associates. They aren't there lying in wait for some hapless associate to confess their sins so they can get banned. They want you to make money. They just don't want you risking damage to the company in doing so.

      Unlike many people insist, when it comes to Amazon, it is far easier to ask permission than forgiveness. And far more effective.
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