Amazon associate account termination - Is it possible to overturn the decision?

by piperp
31 replies
After driving traffic to Amazon for several months now, they suddenly reviewed one of my pages and sent me a termination letter, only because they claim that my website allegedly implies that the offers I featured on my website, can be obtained only on my website.

I do not agree to their interpretation.

The bottom line is that they closed my account (which has $2,000 in outstanding fees), just because a few words on my page, which they interpret as misleading.

I already called them once, and their rep. wrote down and forwarded my explanation to another department, but within 24 hours I received a very laconic email stating once again that my account was closed because of that so-called violation.

This is part of my income and I don't want to re-join the program in some sneaky way as some people here might suggest. I want to be on the safe side.

I am wondering what should I do? should I phone them again? should I reply with a much more formal letter to appeal their decision?

The first thing I wonder is whether anyone here ever heard about such a successful appeal? if so, what would be the right way to handle this situation?
#account #amazon #appeal #associate #succeed #termination
  • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
    Sorry this happened to you, but it sound like their decision is final. I've never heard of a successful appeal for an associate to get their account back.

    If I were you I'd move on and spread my business out a little so I'm not dependent one stream of income.

    Just my two cents.
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  • Profile picture of the author zdebx
    Here's a story that might help you out > https://digitalreadymarketing.com/am...-shut-recover/

    Try to get as much details from them as possible, fix the problem and then request the account to be re-instated after making the changes on your website.
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    • Profile picture of the author piperp
      I read his post, and in-fact, they never re-instated his account. he had to open a new account, and lost all his outstanding earnings, so I'm not sure I can learn much from it unfortunately.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Neat timing!

    This JUST happened to me yesterday P.

    Got an email after I could not log in. Told me I was shut down. Did not give a reason. I emailed back asking if I could get my account back up, if I remove 1 widget with a custom-made Amazon icon/ad. Then a few hours later, I could log in no problems.

    No idea if I'll earn or not but at least I can use short links and awesome Buy widgets for my 150 plus products on the site.

    I'd shoot them an email, review your promo pages/blog/anywhere you're selling, and see what changes you can make.

    All the best!

    Ryan
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    • Profile picture of the author piperp
      What do you mean? did you get a termination letter, logged into your account and saw a non-active account notice, sent them an email, and after few hours your account was active once again even though you never received any response from them? doesn't make much sense.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Honestly the only way to find out is to try. If you were making a fair bit with them then it's likely worth the time to at least ask.
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  • Profile picture of the author krees
    I know Amazon is pretty strict. I have heard of this happening to people. I also heard it took a lot to get their account back. Keep after them. Be diligent and let them know you are not going away. Fight for yourself and your income. Good luck and keep us posted.
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    What was the wording that initiated the ban. Sometimes if it is a minor mistake you can plead your case, but if it is a blatant violation of their rules then you might be done

    al
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    • Profile picture of the author piperp
      I just had some headline which said that these were "exclusive" online deals, and they didn't like the fact I used the word "excluisve", pretty ridiculous.
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      • Profile picture of the author agmccall
        Originally Posted by piperp View Post

        I just had some headline which said that these were "exclusive" online deals, and they didn't like the fact I used the word "excluisve", pretty ridiculous.
        Were they exclusive, meaning you are the one and only person selling this particular product, online or offline

        al
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        Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?
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        • Profile picture of the author piperp
          Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

          Were they exclusive, meaning you are the one and only person selling this particular product, online or offline

          al
          I wrote exclusive online deals, and "exclusive online" meant that they are available only online, and not via phone orders for example.
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          • Profile picture of the author agmccall
            Originally Posted by piperp View Post

            I wrote exclusive online deals, and "exclusive online" meant that they are available only online, and not via phone orders for example.
            But, if someone else is selling the exact same item all they have to do is match your price and it would no longer be exclusive, correct?

            al
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            Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    What can I say on amazon. There are a very BLEEP company.

    Here is evidence. They are selling counterfeit apple products - 90% fake and only 10% genuine. I rest my case.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...mazon-are-fake
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    • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
      You exhibit an amazing ability for selective reading.

      Originally Posted by seobro View Post

      What can I say on amazon. There are a very BLEEP company.

      Here is evidence. They are selling counterfeit apple products - 90% fake and only 10% genuine. I rest my case.
      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...mazon-are-fake
      While the products were being sold on Amazon... they were listed by a New Jersey company. Once Apple brought Amazon's attention to the counterfeit products,
      1. Amazon identified the New Jersey counterfeiter,
      2. Amazon notified Apple of the identity of the seller, and
      3. Apple filed suit against the counterfeiter

      Amazon was (correctly) not named in the lawsuit.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    Amazon sucks anyway. They did you a favor.

    Find a good niche and promote products that pay 50%+ commission instead of Amazon's little 5%-6%.

    Amazon is like Google and Facebook.

    Loaded with stuffy, paper pushing assholes who think they own the internet. I've never used Amazon, Google, or Facebook for any of my businesses and I have been making great money online since 2007.

    Stay away from huge companies. You are just a number to them and they treat you as such.

    They don't need you and they let it be known.

    Screw 'em.
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    • Profile picture of the author piperp
      The reason I use Amazon is because I'm selling physical products and they have the largest inventory and usually best prices on everything. I don't like their attitude, but what can I do.. can you give some niches for example?
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    I am a bit confused right now. In your original post you said your associates account was banned, but in posts 13 and 14 you say you are selling physical products. So, what is it? Are you an affiliate or a vendor.

    One thing to remember, if you are an affiliate then you can not offer anything exclusive as it is not your product.

    and, if you are a seller then you better be the only person selling this product or products or they are not exclusive.

    al
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    Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?
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    • Profile picture of the author piperp
      Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

      But, if someone else is selling the exact same item all they have to do is match your price and it would no longer be exclusive, correct?

      al
      No. I am not referring to someone else. I am referring to the means of obtaining the specific deal. If you want to obtain the deal, you can do it only online. you can not make a phone call to Amazon to order the product.

      Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

      I am a bit confused right now. In your original post you said your associates account was banned, but in posts 13 and 14 you say you are selling physical products. So, what is it? Are you an affiliate or a vendor.

      One thing to remember, if you are an affiliate then you can not offer anything exclusive as it is not your product.

      and, if you are a seller then you better be the only person selling this product or products or they are not exclusive.

      al
      I am an affiliate. I feature physical products, I don't sell them myself.
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    No matter what you may think, as an affiliate, you are not offering anything exclusive. Almost all products on amazon can be purchased elsewhere on the net so they are not exclusive. You should really try to understand this.

    If you want to have any chance of saving your amazon account then go to your site and remove any and all references to products being exclusive and any other terminology that might be misleading to a potential customer. Then contact amazon and get right to the point that you have removed all potential violations and assure them that you have re-read the TOS and have a better understanding of the rules. Then hope for the best.

    al
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    Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?
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    • Profile picture of the author piperp
      Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

      No matter what you may think, as an affiliate, you are not offering anything exclusive. Almost all products on amazon can be purchased elsewhere on the net so they are not exclusive. You should really try to understand this.

      If you want to have any chance of saving your amazon account then go to your site and remove any and all references to products being exclusive and any other terminology that might be misleading to a potential customer. Then contact amazon and get right to the point that you have removed all potential violations and assure them that you have re-read the TOS and have a better understanding of the rules. Then hope for the best.

      al
      I just meant that an Amazon offer can be ordered only online, Amazon do not accept phone orders.

      I thought about contacting amazon before removing the potential violation, so they can see a "before and after", of how the page looks like.

      hoping is alright, but did you ever heard about someone that overturned such decision?
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      • Profile picture of the author agmccall
        Originally Posted by piperp View Post


        hoping is alright, but did you ever heard about someone that overturned such decision?
        If you go to the amazon forums you will see many instances where people have been able to get their accounts back. Also, just as many that do not.

        Take the potential violations off the site and when you contact amazon DO NOT try to make excuses. Just be professional, accept responsibility, and ensure them that going forward if there is any confusion with the TOS you will contact them for clarification before moving forward.

        al
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        Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?
        ~Jack Handey~

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        • Profile picture of the author piperp
          Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

          If you go to the amazon forums you will see many instances where people have been able to get their accounts back. Also, just as many that do not.

          Take the potential violations off the site and when you contact amazon DO NOT try to make excuses. Just be professional, accept responsibility, and ensure them that going forward if there is any confusion with the TOS you will contact them for clarification before moving forward.

          al

          I did it yesterday. They didn't care that I fixed the violation and took responsibility. They sent me a letter saying again that:

          "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 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."


          This is so frustrating. I've spent the last 6 months trying to optimize my conversion with Amazon, and just because few words in my page they shut me down?
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  • Profile picture of the author DeanJames
    @piperp In the most part I AGREE with nicheblogger75. Personally I would ditch trying to make those small percentages with Amazon and go for higher percentage commissions even if that means you exit physical product promotion (do you actually have to do this?) and switch to intangibles.

    There's no point in living at the mercy of one platform when they are effectively controlling your income stream. The problem with this approach is it works great until that 3rd party no longer wishes to do business with you.

    At that point you effectively no longer have a business and really, when you bottom line it, unless you are building an asset at the same time (a list, ecommerce site or brand, for example) you actually only had a cashflow which has been effectively terminated by one *insert swear word here* 3rd party who does not care one jot about you or all the hours/days/weeks/months/years you have put into building sites and driving sales in return for a small percentage overall commission which they are now denying you.

    It is a really bitter pill to swallow, but it's a learning curve a lot of us go through. If I can give any one a lesson in my reply here it is to build an asset at the same time you control (and if that happens to be a list make sure you back it up). The more control you give up, the more damage these 3rd parties can incur if they cut ties with you (for WHATEVER reason).
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    • Profile picture of the author piperp
      Your'e absolutely right. But I've been an affiliate for years now and this is what I allegedly mastered. Do you have some specific ideas as to what kind of operation should I pursue, one that would be considered an "asset" as you say?
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  • Profile picture of the author DeanJames
    @piperp - Did your years of being an affiliate (to date) mean you built a lot of sites that acted as a conduit to a physical product sale? The problem is the whole conduit was/is routing through to Amazon. Remove Amazon from the equation and your income goes back down to nothing. There's the rub - no leverage. Compare that with being an affiliate where you are building a list at the same time in a niche that lends itself to it.... or running an ecommerce store where you have a database of customers and potential customers. It then goes from being a cashflow model (that works until something happens that circumvents it. i.e Amazon no longer wishing to continue its association with your web properties) to a leverage model where you have much more control of where the traffic is flowing and to whom.

    As an affiliate if you look for programs in the niche that you are in that have an element of continuity this stabilises your income. You can also diversify across different platforms and at that point you will never again be at the mercy of one company dictating your livelihood.

    Could you sell off your network of websites? As oppose to garnering favor back with Amazon you are *probably* better served moving quickly as a damage limitation exercise and recouping what you can then re-deploy what you still have away from one entity.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    This is so frustrating. I've spent the last 6 months trying to optimize my conversion with Amazon, and just because few words in my page they shut me down?
    Just as an observer (Minnesota kicked Amazon to the curb) I believe this is part of a concerted effort to get rid of "less desirable" affiliates.

    Look at the Internet's track record of sites who at first welcome all, and at some point when they no longer need them they come up with ways to get rid of them.

    It happened to me on Squidoo and Adwords.

    There's no point in living at the mercy of one platform when they are effectively controlling your income stream. The problem with this approach is it works great until that 3rd party no longer wishes to do business with you.
    Excellent advice!
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    • Profile picture of the author piperp
      Amazon wasn't my 100% income source, but I started to send them more and more traffic as they simply have the best prices and largest product variety on the internet, better than almost any other online store you can find. If I work with another store who sells for much more, the conversion will go down the drain.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    In this case it seems the OP's initial response to Amazon was "you're wrong". It's the only thing that makes sense given the timeline in this thread.

    On Oct 21 Amazon had already declined his request for reinstatement. But he says the changes were made "yesterday" - which was Oct 26.

    If I work with another store who sells for much more, the conversion will go down the drain.
    That may be the case - but I don't see you have a choice.
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    • Profile picture of the author piperp
      I basically told them the same thing on Oct 21.

      The difference was that on Oct 21 I simply spoke on the phone with customer service, and Yesterday, after fixing the violation, I emailed them my "official" appeal letter.
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  • Profile picture of the author IMarketers2500
    No way they'll let you back on there ever. You have to use your wife's name or something.
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  • Profile picture of the author RefuseToLose
    What niche are you in?

    Look to utilize that traffic you are bringing in on a higher paying product on an affiliate network.
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