Truly Awful Results from Amazon!

by rooze
36 replies
Hey folks,

I've never really worked at building affiliate websites, I have no real desire to get into that side of things. I have an affiliate program for my business and I've managed programs for other businesses so I have a good handle on what it's about and what to expect.

I have a forum website which is purely a hobby site and was never created to make money.
The hits to the site have been quite good, considering that I haven't put any effort into any form of marketing.
So a while back I thought 'what the heck', let's bang some google ads on there and see what happens. I pulled in around $300 in 6 months without having paid any attention to ad placement or anything else.

So then I decided to switch out the Google ads for Amazon.

I've used their Omakase Links primarily and placed them in the side bar of each page.

Over a short period I've recorded 3127 clicks through to my account but haven't registered a single sale - LOL

What kind of sorcery is this?

Now I know that -
  • I haven't put any effort into making the site sell
  • my ads are not particularly well placed or integrated
But they are relative. The site is about music and audio equipment and the ads are for CD's, DVD's and books on music.


Now the fact that I've sent through the person to amazon means I've done something right, right? And now it's down to them to convert.


Surely in 3000+ click-throughs there should've been a $10 CD sale or a $20 DVD sale.


Now I don't really care that much about it and I'm not looking for various 'do this' 'try that' responses, I just thought there might be some dialogue or feedback which may help those who really are trying to make a living on Amazon.
So I suppose these are the obvious questions -

Is this normal for a 'casual' site that is not optimized for selling amazon products?
Have other folks experienced poor or zero conversions?
Is this a consequence of the category of products?


Anything else useful to suggest, please?



Cheers!
#amazon #awful #results
  • Profile picture of the author danr62
    Amazon's reporting is out of whack for the time being. It's likely that you have made some sales from that but they aren't showing up.
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  • Profile picture of the author scraig
    Are you providing good quality content? Don't expect any results if your just throwing stuff out there hoping it sticks.
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  • Profile picture of the author sgoerger
    Go back to Adsense then, would be my advice!
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    • Profile picture of the author robp12
      That sounds pretty strange as Amazon usually converts extremely well. Amazon has very low commission %'s, but the trade-off is that their brand is so recognizable and their site is so optimized that you usually get a much higher rate of conversion.

      I usually get around 5% sales, although most sales are usually less than a $1.
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael D Forbes
        Originally Posted by robp12 View Post

        ...although most sales are usually less than a $1.
        Do you mean your commissions are less than a dollar? I wasn't even aware that people would buy things that cost less than a dollar on Amazon. I'm not sure I have ever seen an item for sale under a dollar there.
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        • Profile picture of the author robp12
          Originally Posted by Micheal D Forbes View Post

          Do you mean your commissions are less than a dollar? I wasn't even aware that people would buy things that cost less than a dollar on Amazon. I'm not sure I have ever seen an item for sale under a dollar there.
          Sorry, I meant my commissions were less than $1.. I usually sell books and dvds off of my site which only range from $5-25 dollars.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael D Forbes
    Sorry OP, I meant to comment. I would consider even 1 sale out of 1000 clicks to be exceptionally poor. 0 of 3000+ makes me wonder if maybe you have your links set up wrong. I would think that you would have at least one sale with even the most untargeted traffic imaginable.

    I would talk someone into making a purchase through your links to test it and see if the purchase shows up.
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  • Amazon has cheated me out of $1,000's of dollars.

    There is likely some kind of problem with your Affilaite Code so you are not getting proper credit.

    You can and should write them, but I 100% Gaurntee you that you will get a "canned response" about how there is nothing they can do.

    Amazon is a Crap company with Crap service that cheats affliates at every turn.

    The only reason people promote them and their 24 hour cookie is because there are so many people desperate to make a buck and they will do anything.

    I have had nothing but problems as both a customer and an affliate with Amazon.

    There customer service is terrible. If you buy something and have a problem the real fun begins.

    Last Christmas I ordered a couple hundred bucks worth of stuff 10 days BEFORE Christmas and Amazon stated on their estimated delivery that there was plenty of time for the items to arrive before Christmas.

    3 weeks AFTER Christmas they finally arrived.

    Amazon wanted to charge me a SH^^Load of money to return the items. It took several emails to even get an item not shipped refunded.

    And that is just the way it is. There are a lot of legit companies who treat their Affliates Well... so no reason to worry about Amazon.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Well, you've tested it and know which is better. Go back to Adsense. I never really make any money with Amazon even though I have a tons of links out there. When I do make a sale, the commission is so low that I just laugh.
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  • Profile picture of the author cooler1
    It's most probably because people visit your forum to chat and not intent on buying, so your just getting casual clickers.

    I would switch back to Adsense as at least you were making $50/month with that. You would have to sell loads of CD, DVDs, etc.. even just to make $50/month with Amazon because the amount of commision you'd get would be low for items that cheap.

    Originally Posted by InternetMarketingIQ View Post

    Amazon has cheated me out of $1,000's of dollars.

    There is likely some kind of problem with your Affilaite Code so you are not getting proper credit.

    You can and should write them, but I 100% Gaurntee you that you will get a "canned response" about how there is nothing they can do.

    Amazon is a Crap company with Crap service that cheats affliates at every turn.

    The only reason people promote them and their 24 hour cookie is because there are so many people desperate to make a buck and they will do anything.

    I have had nothing but problems as both a customer and an affliate with Amazon.

    There customer service is terrible. If you buy something and have a problem the real fun begins.

    Last Christmas I ordered a couple hundred bucks worth of stuff 10 days BEFORE Christmas and Amazon stated on their estimated delivery that there was plenty of time for the items to arrive before Christmas.

    3 weeks AFTER Christmas they finally arrived.

    Amazon wanted to charge me a SH^^Load of money to return the items. It took several emails to even get an item not shipped refunded.

    And that is just the way it is. There are a lot of legit companies who treat their Affliates Well... so no reason to worry about Amazon.
    I've never heard of anyone else being cheated out of $1,000's of dollars with Amazon. Your case must be in the minority. How exactly did they cheat you?

    I don't think there is a problem with the affiliate code because the OP said that they had over 3000 clicks. If it was an affiliate code problem, the clicks likely wouldn't be recorded.
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    • Profile picture of the author rooze
      Hey thanks for the responses, some interesting comments.

      Originally Posted by scraig View Post

      Are you providing good quality content? Don't expect any results if your just throwing stuff out there hoping it sticks.
      It's a good quality site with product reviews etc, but as I said it was never created as a money making site.
      Here's the site I'm referring too Audio Club for music and audio equipment including classifieds and product reviews

      Originally Posted by Micheal D Forbes View Post

      3000+ makes me wonder if maybe you have your links set up wrong. I would think that you would have at least one sale with even the most untargeted traffic imaginable.
      That's what I thought for a while, but what can you do wrong setting up a link? - I copy/paste the ad code, check to see that it works etc. Plus, the clicks are showing inside of Amazon they're just not resulting in any sales....or at least any commissions

      Originally Posted by InternetMarketingIQ View Post

      Amazon has cheated me out of $1,000's of dollars.

      There is likely some kind of problem with your Affilaite Code so you are not getting proper credit.

      You can and should write them, but I 100% Gaurntee you that you will get a "canned response" about how there is nothing they can do.

      Amazon is a Crap company with Crap service that cheats affliates at every turn.

      The only reason people promote them and their 24 hour cookie is because there are so many people desperate to make a buck and they will do anything.

      I have had nothing but problems as both a customer and an affliate with Amazon.
      Yeah, I wrote to them about 2 weeks ago and the first response I got was canned and wasn't even out of the right can!
      Then I actually got a person to take a look and she claimed the links were setup correctly, then fobbed me off with a sob story about low conversions...

      Originally Posted by UMS View Post

      Have you verified the "clicks" from your Amazon Associates account?
      I guess so, I mean I see 3100+ clicks have come through to my account, is there another way to verify? - doesn't the fact that they show up mean that my side of the equation is working?

      Originally Posted by cooler1 View Post

      It's most probably because people visit your forum to chat and not intent on buying, so your just getting casual clickers.
      Yeah but my stats show highly targeted searches, these people are 'music' people and would be prime for buying Cd's and DVD's, I would've thought.

      It really is strange.

      I don't feel like switching back to Google and feeding them with more cash, they've been ripping me off for 10 years and I'm through with them

      It's not a big deal, I just thought it odd and wondered if anyone else had such poor results.

      Thanks for the responses!!
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        rooze, I've had a similar experience with the Omikase links. Thousands of clicks, no sales.

        Active text links with buy-oriented content - making sales.

        Unless you want to take a more active role, I'd suggest going back to adsense.
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  • Profile picture of the author steven sanderson
    We have a page one ranking for a niche of ours, it is a very popular niche, a couple of years ago just as a test i stuck a section on the site selling products and linking to amazon, in around 2 years we have not sold anything from Amazon, i used to check but i got that bored of looking and seeing zero i stopped checking. HEY, thats a thought, maybe i should give it a glance, you never know !!

    Steven.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cool Hand Luke
    Your website does not catch people in "buying" mode, so don't be surprised they aren't buying anything.

    There are so many people who will still say "Just get them onto Amazon, the cookie is set and they'll buy something!". That simply isn't true, people aren't trying to buy something any time a banner or link leads them to Amazon, they buy when they already have something in mind, when you SELL them on the idea of something, or when you can solidify their decision to get something.

    This is why interception-style affiliate marketing is so popular (review sites in particular) and why if your site is mostly informational (as yours is), Adsense is a significantly better option.

    As per the comments above about Amazon cheating affiliates: I have NEVER seen it, nor has anyone ever produced proof of it here. What I have seen from Amazon is very detailed accounting, helpful representatives, and generous sums of money delivered straight into mine and other's bank accounts.

    That said, making money with Amazon is NOT as easy as people might have you believe, and I think with your site in particular, you'd be better off going with Adsense and figuring out how to get more traffic to your site.
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  • Profile picture of the author stesnees
    Does seem very strange that after over 3000 clicks you have made zero sales, I would certainly contact them.
    Funnily enough I made my first Amazon commision yesterday after 87 clicks..............A whopping $4.53 cents! Wouldn't mind it a thousand times over though!
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    • Profile picture of the author Beven
      I too have had a bad experience with Amazon

      I'd recommend looking for CPA offers or joining sites such as affiliatewindow to find more targeted ads

      ooh first post :rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author jamesrich1
    Where is the traffic coming from and is it targeted traffic? Maybe a demographic of people who love looking but hate spending money. That is a weird one. I thought I had it bad when I got 700 clicks to a male enhancement niche product with nobody even clicking to get to the order form let alone a sale. Its good that you are trying to figure it out. Take a look in Google analytics to search for clues. I want to know what happened as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author BlueCollar
    I have an outdoor related niche product site that gets good traffic and I set it up initially with Amazon links and never sold a thing. I switched the links to Cabela's and Bass Pro for the same products and the site makes good money for me now. I've since stopped using Amazon unless I absolutely have to.
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    • Profile picture of the author davidtong
      I made a blog for my son on a toy he loves and he, a 7-year-old, provides the content every week... in 1.5 mos since the blog went live, he's sold over 30 items via Amazon already LOL.
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      • Profile picture of the author Gaz Cooper
        Originally Posted by davidtong View Post

        I made a blog for my son on a toy he loves and he, a 7-year-old, provides the content every week... in 1.5 mos since the blog went live, he's sold over 30 items via Amazon already LOL.
        GOOD FOR HIM David

        He has the right recipe, a product he knows and loves and has a real interest in, combined with some new original content mixed in weekly, then just a sprinkling of Love Care and Attention and VOILA 30 SALES in 6 weeks.

        He needs to do a WSO and those above who are not making it work, can buy it from a 7 year old and see how its done

        Kickin it on Amazon

        Gaz Cooper
        Amz Training Academy
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        • Profile picture of the author davidtong
          Originally Posted by GazCooperOnline View Post

          GOOD FOR HIM David

          He has the right recipe, a product he knows and loves and has a real interest in, combined with some new original content mixed in weekly, then just a sprinkling of Love Care and Attention and VOILA 30 SALES in 6 weeks.

          He needs to do a WSO and those above who are not making it work, can buy it from a 7 year old and see how its done

          Kickin it on Amazon

          Gaz Cooper
          Amz Training Academy
          WSO written with crayons... that's unique enough

          Thanks Gaz.
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  • Profile picture of the author xprimus
    You should also check that your traffic and associates locale are not mismatched, this would show clicks but no sales.
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    • Profile picture of the author CatherineMay
      Originally Posted by xprimus View Post

      You should also check that your traffic and associates locale are not mismatched, this would show clicks but no sales.

      Can someone please what exactly is meant by the above?


      Catherine
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      • Profile picture of the author steve cooper
        Originally Posted by CatherineMay View Post

        Can someone please what exactly is meant by the above?


        Catherine
        I'm assuming they mean that he might for example have a .co.uk site and his amazon site affiliate link is the US amazon.com or the other way round. Does that make sense?
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  • Profile picture of the author Anthony
    Amazon convert well. So it is very strange that you do not get even a sales.

    I am thinking maybe your affiliate links got hijack?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeannie Crabtree
      Think of higher end audio equipment that the music lovers may be interested in from Amazon.

      One idea is Bose headphones. Don't use the Omaske set up. Use a picture (make sure to hyperlink it) and some text and use the link in your text. Talk about the sound and how superior it is, and what their benefits will be, how much richer their music will sound, etc. It could go in a side widget, if this is on a blog. The higher on the page, the better.

      See where that gets you in a week. Then try something else and keep track of the results in sales or non sales. Test four things, then decide if Amazon or adsense works better for you.

      Continue to test once in a while, then you could set up a rotation, so people don't get tired of seeing the same thing, over and over.

      Although it will only be 4% payout, some of these things in electronics can bring in $25 to you, as I recently found from a sale. Bose headphones may only be $2 - $6 to you per sale, but that may be higher than adsense payout, and they may buy other things at the same time...

      Jeannie Crabtree
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  • Profile picture of the author rooze
    Thanks again for the suggestions and comments.

    I thought more about this over a Jack N' Coke last night and it doesn't make any sense. (to me).
    I looked through the traffic stats and the top 100 or so search terms were ALL people looking for high-end audio products and reviews. I know these people, I was one of them for 25 years ! - They're called audiophiles. They buy equipment that most people have never even heard of. They spend as much as $30,000 on a pair of loudspeakers, or even more! When I was an audiophile I had over $60,000 into my music system. I would religiously spend $50-$150 month on new music, most of it from Amazon.
    There is NO WAY that I sent 3,000+ of these "high spending audiophile music lovers" to Amazon and not one of them bought a CD, or a DVD. It's just not possible.

    So as far as I'm concerned Amazon is broken, in some way. I suppose I should pay someone to buy something and see what happens. I'll do that next

    Cheers!!
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    • Profile picture of the author davidtong
      Rooze: There's also the product sometimes... Some products, and I do believe hi-fi falls into this category somewhat, especially the higher-end items, that folks just have the inclination of WALKING INTO a physical store and listen to the equipment.

      I know when I'm buying a pair of expensive separates, for example, I'd never get them from an online store unless I've already validated its competence physically in a store.

      Some other items come to mind:

      Bathtubs and larger furniture
      Carpets and uniquely embroidered items
      Customized items
      Food, in general, that can be bought in a supermarket

      You do have a point with the music part, it'd be really weird if you get a lot of clicks in media that don't convert.

      Why don't you try to use a different tracking ID for the media (and cheaper products) and your old ones for the components, for example... And yes, try asking a friend to buy a digital download product just to see if everything's alright...

      Interestingly, my Europe click stats are always above 5K/mo cumulative but getting one sale from that region has been a challenge... Canada too, my photography site just don't convert well in non-US locations.

      Hope you get things sorted out and let us know what happened.
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  • Profile picture of the author ibacklinkpro
    Why not try iTunes and see if your conversions are any better. I don't really know how your links are setup, ie what you're advertising, but if it's music you can try it through iTunes. If you get similar conversions, then you know that you have traffic that doesn't like to spend money on that kind of stuff. 3000 clickthoughs mean nothing if all of your visitors use torrents to get their digital media... or something to that effect.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMullen
    Originally Posted by rooze View Post

    Hey folks,

    I've never really worked at building affiliate websites, I have no real desire to get into that side of things. I have an affiliate program for my business and I've managed programs for other businesses so I have a good handle on what it's about and what to expect.

    I have a forum website which is purely a hobby site and was never created to make money.
    The hits to the site have been quite good, considering that I haven't put any effort into any form of marketing.
    So a while back I thought 'what the heck', let's bang some google ads on there and see what happens. I pulled in around $300 in 6 months without having paid any attention to ad placement or anything else.

    So then I decided to switch out the Google ads for Amazon.

    I've used their Omakase Links primarily and placed them in the side bar of each page.

    Over a short period I've recorded 3127 clicks through to my account but haven't registered a single sale - LOL

    What kind of sorcery is this?

    Now I know that -
    • I haven't put any effort into making the site sell
    • my ads are not particularly well placed or integrated
    But they are relative. The site is about music and audio equipment and the ads are for CD's, DVD's and books on music.


    Now the fact that I've sent through the person to amazon means I've done something right, right? And now it's down to them to convert.


    Surely in 3000+ click-throughs there should've been a $10 CD sale or a $20 DVD sale.


    Now I don't really care that much about it and I'm not looking for various 'do this' 'try that' responses, I just thought there might be some dialogue or feedback which may help those who really are trying to make a living on Amazon.
    So I suppose these are the obvious questions -

    Is this normal for a 'casual' site that is not optimized for selling amazon products?
    Have other folks experienced poor or zero conversions?
    Is this a consequence of the category of products?


    Anything else useful to suggest, please?



    Cheers!
    Could be a search engine bot triggering a click. It happens. I've had over 1,400 clicks in one day show up for one tracking id before but the site stats didn't show that amount of traffic. Have you checked your traffic logs?

    I've also seen search engine bots trigger a post hit counter for a word press blog, literally in front of my eyes - I was refreshing the page to see changes for something and the count was going up by hundreds each time. I checked the logs and noticed a bot had just been.

    If you have had thousands of clicks but only hundreds of visitors that is a possible reason. Amazon affiliation does work. Here is a screenshot from my sales last month:



    imageshack.us/f/502/statsti.jpg/
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    • Profile picture of the author rooze
      Originally Posted by BrianMullen View Post

      Could be a search engine bot triggering a click. It happens. I've had over 1,400 clicks in one day show up for one tracking id before but the site stats didn't show that amount of traffic. Have you checked your traffic logs?

      I've also seen search engine bots trigger a post hit counter for a word press blog, literally in front of my eyes - I was refreshing the page to see changes for something and the count was going up by hundreds each time. I checked the logs and noticed a bot had just been.

      If you have had thousands of clicks but only hundreds of visitors that is a possible reason. Amazon affiliation does work. Here is a screenshot from my sales last month:



      imageshack.us/f/502/statsti.jpg/
      Brian that's a great point that I hadn't considered. The site gets pretty good traffic, but there's probably a 'too high' ratio between visits and amazon click-through. I didn't realize hits away from the site could be triggered by SE's, it makes sense, yet at the same time it doesn't. :rolleyes:
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      • Profile picture of the author BrianMullen
        Originally Posted by rooze View Post

        Brian that's a great point that I hadn't considered. The site gets pretty good traffic, but there's probably a 'too high' ratio between visits and amazon click-through. I didn't realize hits away from the site could be triggered by SE's, it makes sense, yet at the same time it doesn't. :rolleyes:
        It is not something I have seen mentioned by anyone, just personal experience.

        If I hadn't seen the bot hit affect my post count then I wouldn't have known it was possible.

        I'm sure Amazon have some sort of way to detect this, the same as Adsense ads can be checked for autoclick programmes. Sometimes it may sneak through though?

        I used to do PPC to Amazon before they stopped that for affiliates and on one occasion I put a loads of hits through to their site but it didn't register. I had proof from the PPC clicks and contacted them to resolve. I was told that it all clicks would be applied and they were aware of the issue.

        I'm mentioning this to provide a balance that some clicks may not register initially but are updated at some point. If you have lots of Amazon hits but low site traffic it is probably a bot causing the problem.

        You should definitely stick with Amazon products to gain extra income, alongside your Adsense blocks. Do product reviews rather than Omakase. A Top 10 list of Bestsellers for example.

        Update:

        At the bottom of my screenshot you can see that it mentions 'Direct-Link Clicks' at 507 and 'Other Clicks' at 9855. That proves that the links are 'clicked' by other sources and are then filtered out. The filtering may not be 100% effective all the time so that could explain the large amount of clicks applied to your account.
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  • Profile picture of the author GameVoid
    Do amazon affiliates get commission from used items?

    The reason I ask is because if I buy a DVD or CD off of Amazon, 99.99% of the time I get it for like $1.00 from a used seller instead of paying $10, 15$ or $20+ by buying new.
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    • Profile picture of the author BrianMullen
      Originally Posted by GameVoid View Post

      Do amazon affiliates get commission from used items?

      The reason I ask is because if I buy a DVD or CD off of Amazon, 99.99% of the time I get it for like $1.00 from a used seller instead of paying $10, 15$ or $20+ by buying new.
      Yes. You can find out more here,

      affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/help/operating/advertisingfees
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