Seeking Stories of Amazon Affiliates Impacted by their Major Cut In Affiliate Fees for Press Release

28 replies
As most Amazon affiliates are aware, the commission rates are being drastically reduced starting March 1. At best this is going to be a painful transition for many as we react and shift our energies away from promoting Amazon. For others, it could mean that their businesses are no longer viable. I imagine many people here are as annoyed, worried and frustrated as we are. Of course Amazon can and will do what it wants, but there's no reason we need to quietly accept it.

To that end, my business will be reaching out to certain members of the press who we feel might be receptive to a story about how the greed of the corporate behemoth that is Amazon is seeking to squeeze even more profit at the expense of the very small businesses whose efforts over these years have helped it grow into the recognized e-commerce leader that it is today -- well, something like that (we're still working on our pitch!)

At any rate, it would be really helpful if we could include stories -- or a link to a thread with stories -- from Amazon affiliates who are being impacted by this change.

For anyone who's willing, we'd love for you to share your own stories below in as much detail as you're willing to provide. How has your business utilized the Amazon program? How do you expect it to be impacted by this change? Are you willing to talk directly to a reporter?

Thanks and good luck to all those affected by the change!

.
#affiliate #affiliates #amazon #cut #fees #impacted #major #press #release #seeking #stories
  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    for those who do not know here is a link to the fee schedule

    https://affiliate-program.amazon.com...1080_224596230

    al
    Signature

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

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11022270].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    Hey kilgore,
    I truly do feel for you and many others.
    I know I have been down that same road where a new change comes a long and BOOM, it literally changes everything (business Life and home Life) for the worse overnight.

    I have a few AMZN sites still active back in the day, but earn just chump change.

    Here is the thing concerning this event: there is really NO recourse here.
    AMZN is so HUGE now. Kind of like Google . And they have reached a point where affiliates are just a negligible consequence to their bottom line.

    It's not like other situations where something chaotic happens and if enough affiliates bellow about it, then it could affect a company's reputation so they scurry around to rectify the situation.

    This is AMZN and this issue is OVER WITH ! Period !!

    That being said, I admit If I was in your situation or countless other Marketers I would feel the EXACT same way.

    I totally empathize with that.

    We are talking about peoples' livelihoods, their children,mortgages, car payments etc..., and years of blood sweat and tears put in to building up their AMZN businesses.

    I just think it's futile to drag it out.

    Like I said AMZN has already forgot about this "yesterday" and completely moved forward
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11022579].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author myob
      This is nothing new about Amazon. They have been squeezing affiliates and vendors for at least the past 8 years or so. Complaining about it serves no purpose.

      Regardless, there are still tremendous advantages in adapting to the dynamics of Amazon's strategic marketing prowess.

      For example, there is no other affiliate program that I am aware which has such a powerful conversion algorithm for maximizing sales orders and volume.

      Rather than whining, may I suggest changing your marketing strategy with an emphasis on products which produce the best ROI. This is not always necessarily at the top commission rates.

      There are millions of products to choose from. A sweet spot I have always found to be optimum is focusing on products that sell between $10k-$20k.

      Even the lowest commission tiers can still produce outstanding income through strategic selection of products and customer continuity.
      Signature
      “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11022712].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I don't think there's anything to gain and time to lose in trying to make a change in commission structure a "cause" or an "anti-Amazon" story. They own the business - they have the right to set the commission structure and to change it as they see fit.

    Anyone who promotes affiliate products knows commission structure can change - prices may be raised or greatly reduced, etc. I honestly can't imagine much interest from the press - or the public - but good luck if you give it a shot. What do you hope to accomplish?
    Signature
    Every child needs a pet because every family needs an optimist

    Saving one dog will not save the world....but will forever change the world for one dog.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11022788].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author kilgore
    I completely admit it's unlikely that any action we take is going to influence Amazon on this change. But we're not talking about a major time investment here. The way I see it, a ten minute phone call with a reporter is a small price to pay even when the odds are stacked against us, especially when our projected Amazon revenues will be declining by 50 to 65%. Moreover, I think it's important for whatever changes Amazon might make in the future that Amazon realizes that how they treat their affiliates is going to be watched by the press and the larger public.

    The good news is that it looks like we've gotten at least one larger media outlet interested in the story. We're still looking for affiliates who would be willing to talk to the press -- if anyone is interested but concerned about their privacy or potential backlash from Amazon, they've indicated that they'd be willing to talk off the record.

    Again, I'm not arguing that the most important thing we can be doing is shifting our strategy to adjust to the new realities, however unpleasant they are. And that's exactly what we're doing and have been doing since we first learned about their abandoning the volume commission rates two weeks ago. It's going to be painful in the short term, but we'll survive and even become stronger for having gone through this adversity. Even so, I think it's important to hold even the most powerful corporations accountable in whatever small ways we can. Just because a company can get away with something, doesn't mean it should.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11022860].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Originally Posted by kilgore View Post

      Even so, I think it's important to hold even the most powerful corporations accountable in whatever small ways we can. Just because a company can get away with something, doesn't mean it should.
      Just exactly what do you think Amazon is "getting away with"? They have done nothing beyond their legal rights, as explained in full detail in their operating agreement.
      Signature
      “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11023599].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    What I find ironic is that many of the affiliates who now complain about amazon changing the rules have no issue with themselves dropping a writer because they found a cheaper one, a hosting company because they found a cheaper one, etc.

    It's business. A good business minimizes expenses so as to increase profits.

    Even little affiliates do it. The smart ones accepted that when they started and built more than one stream of income.

    By the way, if you have the skill to make $x with amazon, surely you have the skills to make a similar amount with some other outfit. (Yes, I understand amazon's conversions are awesome, but you still can replace... If, as part of your business, you had a Growth Manager (yes, you can have one even if you're the only one in your business; I know you can because I know 1-person outfits have a President, have someone answering the phone, have someone taking and recording payments, someone doing marketing, etc.)
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11022869].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author myob
      There's apparently only three major metrics that Amazon is concerned about: buyers' positive experience, market share, and stock valuation.

      They have demonstrated over and over that they are willing to sacrifice affiliates, vendors, employees, and even profits to achieve these ends. It's simply their playground, and their rules.

      Whining and complaining won't change a thing. Even big name retailers complain about Amazon's "unfair" marketing practices encroaching on sales, causing widespread store closures.

      Nobody cares about any of this. All that people want are guaranteed quality products at decent prices. All that stockholders want is a dependable ROI.

      And Amazon not only understands this better than any of its competitors, but also has scaled technologies and marketing prowess to squeeze out maximum efficiencies better than anyone else.

      Deal with it.
      Signature
      “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11022953].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author DABK
        There's the idea of loss in the word sacrifice. I don't see Amazon feeling they're losing anything when they do something that the groups you mentioned see as having a negative impact. The only one that's a sacrifice is profit.

        Otherwise I agree with you and add that all the people complaining about amazon do the same every time they're in a similar position. Why would you pay an affiliate x% to sell something when so many people are now going to your site directly? The value of affiliates has gone down with amazon, so its prices for affiliates reflect that.

        At the risk of repeating myself once too often, I know an affiliate losing a big chunk of money isn't going to be happy. I wouldn't. But the fastest way to making the money you used to make is to stop whining and replace your income from amazon with someone else.

        Originally Posted by myob View Post


        They have demonstrated over and over that they are willing to sacrifice affiliates, vendors, employees, and even profits to achieve these ends.
        Deal with it.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11023323].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author myob
          Originally Posted by DABK View Post

          There's the idea of loss in the word sacrifice. I don't see Amazon feeling they're losing anything when they do something that the groups you mentioned see as having a negative impact. The only one that's a sacrifice is profit.
          The true genius of Amazon's vision is they really did sacrifice everything to attain rapid growth and market dominance. They didn't even become profitable until a couple of years ago after 20+ years of hemorrhaging cash.

          Like a giant chess game, they used affiliates, vendors, employees, short term profits, and even investors as sacrificial chess pieces to wipe out the competition. Retail giants (Wal-Mart, Sears, Target, etc) are now reeling and facing "checkmate" in most of the major markets.
          Signature
          “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11023596].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Maybe look at the news for Amazon, not affiliate related news but Amazon itself.
    • Warehouse robots
    • Amazon store with no/few employees
    • Amazon Alexa

    See a trend?

    #phase-out-human-cost








    Signature
    Hi
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11023335].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    Nobody cares about any of this. All that people want are guaranteed quality products at decent prices. All that stockholders want is a dependable ROI.

    And Amazon not only understands this better than any of its competitors, but also has scaled technologies and marketing prowess to squeeze out maximum efficiencies better than anyone else.

    Deal with it.
    Research John D. Rockefeller and the growth of the Standard Oil Company. It's like Amazon is taking a page right out of the John D. book.

    kilgore, I'm surprised you are wasting any time and energy on something so obviously futile. Just a little while ago you stated it wasn't a big deal to your business.

    Any focus you give this is focus taken away from what's important.

    How does it go?

    Change the things I can...
    Accept the things I can not...
    Have the wisdom to know the difference...

    My two cents are spent, I have a race to watch!!

    Good luck!

    Brent
    Signature
    Get Off The Warrior Forum Now & Don't Come Back If You Want To Succeed!
    All The Real Marketers Are Gone. There's Nothing Left But Weak, Sniveling Wanna-Bees!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11023631].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    This episode highlights YET AGAIN the importance of building a list

    Shift that list to your Shopify/Alibaba powered ALTERNATE site and make even MORE MONEY
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11023728].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author kilgore
    I must say, I find it a surprising that the prevailing reaction on this thread basically is one of resignation and defeatism.

    I perfectly understand that this isn't everyone's fight. If you don't make much with Amazon or can painlessly shift your business model in reaction to these changes, then, it makes sense that you might not be concerned. But not being concerned and calling people trying to actually do something whiners are two different things.

    Where I'm from, "whining" is when you constantly complain something but never actually do anything about it. In the parlance of IM, what I'm doing is "taking action". Perhaps I'm not taking "MASSIVE ACTION" -- as I've repeatedly admitted, getting Amazon to change is a long shot at best and I've got more important things to do than running a full-fledged campaign against them -- but then again, I'm also not complaining a lot either. What I have done/am doing is this:
    1. I posted the limited information I knew about the upcoming changes when I first learned about them. To me, the tone of that thread was concerned, but informative. If you call that whining, I think we speak a different language.
    2. Once I learned what the exact changes were going to be, I fired off a firm but respectful email to my contacts within the Amazon affiliate program. Obviously, you can't read the content of the message, but if you believe that any note expressing dissatisfaction amounts to whining, then again, I think we speak a different language.
    3. I reached out to a small group of reporters who I felt might be interested in learning about these developments. I wrote a factual, though obviously one-sided account of the changes and what I believed their impacts likely to be. If you feel that telling your side of the story to the press is whining, then again, I think we speak a different language.
    4. I posted here seeking stories of people who might be willing to speak to the press about their own experiences. You can read my post above, but to my (obviously biased), it does not constitute whining.
    5. I contacted a few people through the WF and other channels in order to help recruit more stories once we had a bite from a reporter. Again, if this is whining we speak a different language.

    What are my expectations for all of what I did? As I've said over and over again, not much. But that doesn't mean it's not worth doing.

    In statistics there's a concept called expected value (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expected_value). In short, it's the mean (average) value you get when running an experiment over and over and over again. For instance, if you played the lottery and the odds of winning were 1 in 10 and the prize was $20, the expected value of buying a ticket would be $2 (1 / 10 * 20). Is it worth buying a ticket? Well, if the ticket costs less than $2, yes it is. If the ticket costs more than $2, no it isn't.

    The same sort of calculation applies here. If I do nothing, my revenue loss will almost certainly be in the six figures. So the prize (for me anyway) is fairly large. We can all agree that the chance for success is low. But the cost of my lottery ticket? A couple of posts, a few messages here and there and a ten minute phone call. Basically I'm giving up the time equivalent of one evening watching TV.

    Moreover, to me it's a matter of principle. Affiliates have been instrumental in Amazon's success. Now they're basically giving them all a huge pay cut -- and with only five days notice! Does Amazon have the right to do this? Of course, they can do what they want. It's in the contract, and if they didn't I wouldn't be talking to reporters, I'd be speaking to my lawyer right now.

    But just because a company, organization or government can do something legally, doesn't mean it's right. And of course, if it's Amazon's right to make these changes, it's also my right to speak out about them.

    I find it ironic that I've basically been accused of screwing over my own workers and my own contractors. Obviously the person who wrote that has no knowledge at all of my business, my staff or my contractors. We always, always, always pay a living wage for services. We don't outsource to developing countries. We don't unilaterally change contracts or agreements. And I've certainly never, ever cut anyone's pay by 50% with just five days notice. In fact, while I'm certainly concerned about the effect of this change on my own income, a large part of the reason I'm so nervous and upset is because I'm worried about my staff. I don't want to have to lay off anyone. I don't want to reduce hours. And I'd love to continue the tradition we established of giving Christmas bonuses. Given time, I have no doubt that my business will be able to successfully pivot and continue to profit and grow -- but especially given the extremely short notice, it's going to be challenging to maintain staff hours at the same rate. And they have families too!

    But beyond the specific issue of Amazon changing its commission rates, the defeatism here is disappointing. This sort of attitude is certainly not limited to the WF, but I guess I (incorrectly) assumed that if there was anywhere where people would be proactive and tough, it would be in a forum of entrepreneurs.

    Is this how you run your businesses?

    When something doesn't go the way you want do you just roll over without even trying, even when the price of trying is literally forgoing three hours of television?

    When a competitor emerges, do you just pivot your businesses so that you no longer have to compete?

    If you have a great idea, a great plan and the skills and talent to pull it off, but some large company dominates the market, do you not try at all or do get your hands dirty and figure out how to carve a piece of the market for yourself?

    In your personal lives, if you're assessed an unfair fee by your credit card provider or your cable company do you just pay it?

    If the government wanted to use its legal right of eminent domain to tear your house down to build a highway that you felt was unnecessary or could easily be diverted without tearing yours or anyone else's house down would you just start packing your things?

    Listen, I know that changing things is hard, sometimes seemingly impossible. And I know that we all have limited time and resources. We can't afford to spend large amounts of time on quixotic quests. But we also can't afford to just roll over. The most surefire way to lose is to not try at all.

    What I did with regards to Amazon's changes is essentially taking a page out of the lean startup movement. You try something quickly, you evaluate the results and then you move on from there. I'll know very soon whether my limited efforts have any legs to them. In the admittedly unlikely chance that they do, I'll be ready to plan out and implement the next step. If they don't, all I've lost was a couple of hours. Fail fast. But the important thing isn't that I win this battle. It's that I tried.

    There are so many battles to fight, many with very long odds. But just because the chances are slim, doesn't mean we don't try at all. You may not want the cost of your efforts (in time, money or whatever) to exceed the expected value (statistically speaking) of your efforts, but that's very different than not doing anything at all. Write a letter, call your representatives, talk to your neighbors, contact the press. If through these small, low-risk, low-cost efforts you start to gain momentum, maybe you continue. If not, maybe you just move on. But you'll never change anything if you just roll over every time you get screwed.

    I don't care what your politics are, democracy dies when we let it die. It dies when we rely on others to fight for us. It dies when we look at politicians as saviors. It dies when we start to believe that we the people can't make a difference, that government is too big, that corporations are too rich and too powerful. We may lose 999 out of 1000 battles, but if we fight smart and fail fast, that single success can make all the failures worth it. That's what entrepreneurs do every day. We try. We fail. We learn. Then sometimes, we succeed.

    And for the naysayers out there let me just add this. If somehow we do beat the odds here, this would not be the first time that my small business has taken on a multi-billion dollar company and won. Will this be the second? Probably not. But you never know until you try.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11024100].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by kilgore View Post

      Where I'm from, "whining" is when you constantly complain something but never actually do anything about it. In the parlance of IM, what I'm doing is "taking action". Perhaps I'm not taking "MASSIVE ACTION" -- as I've repeatedly admitted, getting Amazon to change is a long shot at best and I've got more important things to do than running a full-fledged campaign against them -- but then again, I'm also not complaining a lot either. What I have done/am doing is this:

      You can't possibly think that Amazon cares about affiliates complaining.

      No offense but this reminds me of a local news story.

      A few years ago a local public school was being shut down and consolidated to another school in the same county. A lot of parents were pissed off about the school closing. Some parents and school kids protested outside the school with signs and angry chants. It was all on the local news.

      Guess what happened.

      The school was shut down and a few years later nobody cares.

      The reason I'm telling you this is because Amazon already made a decision. The protest will happen, folks will rant, but this time next year nobody will care.

      Life goes on.
      Signature
      Hi
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11024112].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author myob
        I have seen how Amazon can fight. They don't play nice regarding affiliates, vendors, competitors, government (ie re nexxus tax), nor even their own employees. So good luck with that.

        But as affiliates, we do have choices and lots of other options available, as others have mentioned throughout this thread (and dozens of others about Amazon over the years).

        Personally, I still think Amazon is the best whore in town. It's unbeatable conversion rates and continuously improving expansive upsale algorithms seems to be worth a few commission points.

        Sure, It's going to take some market revamping and product realignment, but Amazon spends billions on market research and technology. Stick around; competitors may be dropping like flies.
        Signature
        “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11024203].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author kilgore
        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        You can't possibly think that Amazon cares about affiliates complaining.

        No offense but this reminds me of a local news story.

        A few years ago a local public school was being shut down and consolidated to another school in the same county. A lot of parents were pissed off about the school closing. Some parents and school kids protested outside the school with signs and angry chants. It was all on the local news.

        Guess what happened.

        The school was shut down and a few years later nobody cares.

        The reason I'm telling you this is because Amazon already made a decision. The protest will happen, folks will rant, but this time next year nobody will care.

        Life goes on.
        As I said about 153,691 times above, I think the chances that we'd be able to get this change rolled back are small. But I do think the chances aren't zero. Companies do respond and change behavior in the face of negative press. It happens all the time. It doesn't mean it's easy. And it certainly doesn't mean it'll happen in this case. But it can happen.

        Amazon has recently gotten quite a lot of bad press about the way they've treated workers, both blue and and collar. They've gotten a bit of heat for putting independent bookstores and other small businesses out of business. A story like this feeds into that narrative and could potentially attract consumer interest. Again, could. I didn't say will -- or even will likely. Again, it's a long shot.

        In an ideal world, a campaign would start with a story or two in a reputable publication. Other media, traditional and new, print and digital and social would then pick up and spread the story. And it wouldn't take lies or exaggeration to make Amazon look like a jackass: an incredibly profitable company cuts affiliate fees threatening the livelihoods of thousands of small businesses. At this point affiliates themselves start to feel momentum around the issue and they realize they aren't alone. Someone starts an online petition, affiliates ask their customers and followers to sign. Press start to run with that story too. At this point Amazon has a full blown PR crisis. A subsection of customers stop shopping at Amazon in protest. And now as they're evaluating the money they'll be saving by cutting fees, they also have to factor in the revenue and goodwill they're losing.

        Of course, this isn't an ideal world. And as I've said now 153,692 times, it's a long shot at best. My sense is this story is a little too complicated and esoteric for the average consumer to understand let alone care about. Most people don't even know the Amazon program exists, let alone comprehend how the changes in their operating agreement are going to impact the small businesses who participate in the program. Still, as I keep saying, you never know you try. And the sort of scenario I've outlined above can and does happen. As I said, I've done it before.

        So I invested a few hours in writing an email to Amazon and in trying to get some media coverage. Is it a waste of time? Perhaps to you. Then again, you've wasted almost as much time telling me I've wasted my time as I have in pursuing the small actions that I have against Amazon.

        Yukon, you've built a reputation here as being one of the most consistently negative members of this forum. Unlike some people here, however, I think your negative comments are generally doing a great service. There's too much hype, too much selling of the dream in IM. People need a hard dose of reality sometimes.

        But being realistic is different than being defeatist. We absolutely need to recognize the obstacles that we face. But that doesn't mean running away, even if the odds are stacked against us. Starting a successful business is in itself an exercise at beating the odds. And as every successful entrepreneur knows, failure comes quickly and often. But it's not whether we fail that matters. It's how we respond to failure, how we learn from it and how we adapt that defines us as entrepreneurs -- and I'd also argue, as citizens.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11024216].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author yukon
          Banned
          Originally Posted by kilgore View Post

          As I said about 153,691 times above, I think the chances that we'd be able to get this change rolled back are small.


          No, there's no chance. It's not happening. Ever.

          Like already mentioned, Amazon can be ruthless when they don't get their way. They'll just pack up and leave a state. They don't care, they'll still make sales.
          Signature
          Hi
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11024995].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Where I am, complaining a lot, even if you're complaining while doing something about it. Especially if you're not telling people what you're doing about it. You did not say anything about why you started the thread in the beginning. If you'd have started with: I'm looking for stories because I'm planning battle, you'd have gotten hugely different responses.

      Because people, in general, root for the little guy not the big guy in a fight.

      What I meant by my comment you're referring with your IRONIC paragraph is this:

      if you've been in business long enough, you've changed suppliers, sometimes, over night, sometimes without them doing anything wrong; you've dropped a subcontractor...

      Affiliate is more like subcontractor/supplier than employee.

      Originally Posted by kilgore View Post


      Where I'm from, "whining" is when you constantly complain something but never actually do anything about it. In the parlance of IM, what I'm doing is "taking action". Perhaps I'm not taking "MASSIVE ACTION" -- as I've repeatedly admitted, getting Amazon to change is a long shot at best and I've got more important things to do than running a full-fledged campaign against them -- but then again, I'm also not complaining a lot either. What I have done/am doing is this:

      I find it ironic that I've basically been accused of screwing over my own workers and my own contractors. Obviously the person who wrote that has no knowledge at all of my business, my staff or my contractors. We always, always, always pay a living wage for services. We don't outsource to developing countries. We don't unilaterally change contracts or agreements. And I've certainly never, ever cut anyone's pay by 50% with just five days notice. In fact, while I'm certainly concerned about the effect of this change on my own income, a large part of the reason I'm so nervous and upset is because I'm worried about my staff. I don't want to have to lay off anyone. I don't want to reduce hours. And I'd love to continue the tradition we established of giving Christmas bonuses. Given time, I have no doubt that my business will be able to successfully pivot and continue to profit and grow -- but especially given the extremely short notice, it's going to be challenging to maintain staff hours at the same rate. And they have families too!

      There are so many battles to fight, many with very long odds. But just because the chances are slim, doesn't mean we don't try at all. You may not want the cost of your efforts (in time, money or whatever) to exceed the expected value (statistically speaking) of your efforts, but that's very different than not doing anything at all. Write a letter, call your representatives, talk to your neighbors, contact the press. If through these small, low-risk, low-cost efforts you start to gain momentum, maybe you continue. If not, maybe you just move on. But you'll never change anything if you just roll over every time you get screwed.

      I don't care what your politics are, democracy dies when we let it die. It dies when we rely on others to fight for us. It dies when we look at politicians as saviors. It dies when we start to believe that we the people can't make a difference, that government is too big, that corporations are too rich and too powerful. We may lose 999 out of 1000 battles, but if we fight smart and fail fast, that single success can make all the failures worth it. That's what entrepreneurs do every day. We try. We fail. We learn. Then sometimes, we succeed.

      And for the naysayers out there let me just add this. If somehow we do beat the odds here, this would not be the first time that my small business has taken on a multi-billion dollar company and won. Will this be the second? Probably not. But you never know until you try.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11025110].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author shellerik
    Hi kilgore,

    I've always been impressed with your contributions to this forum so I wanted to contribute to your thread since I have a website that earns income from Amazon affiliate commissions.

    I took my 2016 earnings report and tried to apply the new fee schedule to see what my income would have been if those rates were in place all of last year.

    A few notes first:
    • About 14% of my earnings were from non-US Amazon affiliate programs which are not impacted by this change
    • About half of the categories in my 2016 earnings report do not exactly match the category names in the new fee schedule table so I had to make a few guesses
    • My site only generates enough orders to reach the 7.5% tier most months
    • My primary niche is responsible for 80% of my earnings and it will be earning 7.0% under the new system, not much different than what it made in 2016 (7.2%)

    It looks like I will be relatively unscathed by this change, at least in the short term. Instead of earning $22k in 2016, I would have earned $20.5k using the new fee schedule, a reduction of about 7%.

    If my site continues to grow I will be more and more impacted since I would have reached higher earnings tiers under the old system but now I will not. I imagine some smaller affiliate sites may actually see their income increase under the new rates if their primary niche category makes a higher fixed rate than the previous variable rate they could achieve.

    This fee schedule change should encourage new affiliate marketers to enter into the higher earning categories where they will earn more than they would have just starting out under the old system. In fact, if I were to analyze my 2014 and 2015 earnings I wouldn't be surprised to see that I would have earned more under the new system than what I actually earned.

    I'm curious to see if Amazon will change the rate that is charged on returned items. I notice all of my returns are charged at 4%, even if I earned 7.5% on the purchase. If the amount I pay on returned items increases to match what I earn then I could lose another 5% of my earnings.

    I've always known that this income could dry up in an instant so I'm feeling fortunate that I dodged the bullet this time and I do feel sympathy for those who will be more severely impacted.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11024282].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    It's how we respond to failure, how we learn from it and how we adapt that defines us as entrepreneurs
    I'd agree with that - which is why I was interested to read articles and posts and emails by other Amazon affiliates such as Erica Stone (Sojourn) and Jennifer Ledbetter (PotPieGirl) and some high earning affiliates who have commented on blogs.

    Their response has been 'disappointed but optimistic' - they have detailed new methods they will use - how they will refocus and regroup if they lost income...no one said "wow, this is great" as clearly it isn't great for larger volume Amazon affiliates.

    However, they aren't treating it as a battle with Amazon but as a challenge to overcome with their sites and blogs. They are making plans to add new income sources, to refocus on new categories at Amazon, etc. They are focusing on what they OWN -their own sites and blogs. That, to me, is a good response for an entrepreneur. Accepting change is not defeatist - sometimes it is a realistic and practical choice.

    Though I don't agree with your approach - I do wish you well with it and hope you get some traction in the media.
    Signature
    Every child needs a pet because every family needs an optimist

    Saving one dog will not save the world....but will forever change the world for one dog.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11024301].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author discrat
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post


      However, they aren't treating it as a battle with Amazon but as a challenge to overcome with their sites and blogs. They are making plans to add new income sources, to refocus on new categories at Amazon, etc. They are focusing on what they OWN -their own sites and blogs. .
      Great point. And I have ALWAYS made it key to take a situation like this that seems negative and look at it as a opportunity to have "another door" open up.

      Maybe this is a wake up call for some Amazon affiliates to diversify and try digital products from other outlets or other monetization forms.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11024938].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    Originally Posted by kilgore View Post



    Yukon, you've built a reputation here as being one of the most consistently negative members of this forum.

    .
    Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

    Please assure me that my title is intact. :-(

    Frank
    What about me, I guess I will have to try harder.

    Frank, do you offer coaching on this

    al
    Signature

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

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11024740].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Banned
      Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

      What about me, I guess I will have to try harder.
      Yes. You aren't even in the ballpark.

      Frank, do you offer coaching on this
      Some gifts you are simply born with and they can't be taught.

      Frank
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11024942].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author madison_avenue
    The reason why this is potentially so damaging is that amazon has decreased commissions on products that people are more likely to buy online such as electronics, and increased them on products they are less likely to buy online, like housewares and apparel.

    And how to you review apparel? It's a difficult thing to do.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11025052].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Originally Posted by madison_avenue View Post

      And how to you review apparel? It's a difficult thing to do.
      In the last couple of years, Amazon has become a formidable challenge to major department stores in the apparel industry.

      According to some reports I've read, Amazon is expected to surpass Macy's this year to become the #1 retailer of high end apparel.

      Despite all the whining and complaining here, Amazon continues its relentless assault on the old and worn out marketing infrastructure in virtually every product and service.

      It appears Amazon's new commission structure reflects the current focus of their marketing strategy in targeted industries.

      Specifically, athleisure and high end fashion brand replacements (Amazon branded) are getting enthusiastic responses by customers as awareness grows.
      Signature
      “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11025204].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      Originally Posted by madison_avenue View Post

      The reason why this is potentially so damaging is that amazon has decreased commissions on products that people are more likely to buy online such as electronics, and increased them on products they are less likely to buy online, like housewares and apparel.

      And how to you review apparel? It's a difficult thing to do.
      I would think the reason would be to get more sales in the higher commission categories. As far as reviewing apparel. You really wouldn't, you would approach it with a different strategy such as pinterest and instagram

      al
      Signature

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

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11025219].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    Not trying to be negative and poo-poo all over this idea, but I think there is one big thing you are forgetting about.

    The majority of Amazon consumers, and that's who Amazon really cares about, have no idea what an affiliate is. Even if you do manage to generate some bad press for Amazon, most people that see it will have no idea wtf is being talked about.

    I think that is the biggest challenge you face. Complete and total indifference.

    Most people will think of just this:

    1) Does this negatively affect the prices I'm going to pay at Amazon in the future?
    2) Will this negatively impact my ability to place orders at Amazon?
    3) Does this impact my shipping from Amazon?

    The answer to all 3 is no, so I don't care.
    Signature
    SEO, AdWords Management, Social Media Marketing, and more.
    Get a FREE Quote.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11025145].message }}

Trending Topics