Change in amazon's ToS - No Trademarks in URL

by ok123
38 replies
Amazon has changed its ToS and the changes for trademarks now extend to URL ( its not domain name or subdomain - its URL ). Pasting the text below ( emphasis mine ).

Section 2 (Enrollment) – Subparagraph (f) onward
July 1, 2012 version

"(f) include any trademark of Amazon or its affiliates, or a variant or misspelling of a trademark of Amazon or its affiliates in any domain name, subdomain name, or URL or in any username, group name, or other identifier on any social networking site (see the Trademark Guidelines for examples); or
(g) otherwise violate intellectual property rights."
February 1, 2012 version

"(f) include any trademark of Amazon or its affiliates, or a variant or misspelling of a trademark of Amazon or its affiliates, in any domain name – for example, a domain name such as <endlessboots.com>, <amaozn.com>, <smallpartsstore.com>, <amazonauctions.net>, <kindlemagazines.mydomain.info>, or <kindlewirelessreader.co.uk> would be unsuitable;
(g) include any trademark of Amazon or its affiliates in any username, group name, or other identifier on any social networking website – for example, a username such as "Endless Shoes," "Amazon Japan," "Smallparts Hardware," or "Kindle For You" registered on a social networking site such as Twitter or Facebook would be unsuitable; or
(h) otherwise violate intellectual property rights."

Does this mean, we can not have something like ( hypothetical domain )

www.ebook-reader-reviews.com/kindle-review.html

as the URL contains kindle.

Can they do this
#amazon #change #tos #trademarks #url
  • Profile picture of the author Mark72
    This could cause a lot of problems for existing sites (mine included) out there.

    It was only the other day that I got an email from amazon informing me that commissions had been significantly reduced on almost all items.
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  • Profile picture of the author ok123
    Yes, it seems nobody else has noticed this.
    This is a big big change.

    Wonder, no mention of it anywhere else.
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  • Profile picture of the author marketingabc
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    • Profile picture of the author ok123
      Originally Posted by marketingabc View Post

      Yeah, that's the risk you're taking as an affiliate, you're basically in the hands of the affiliate company.
      But this is ridiculous, you can not stop anyone from mentioning your trademark in the URL, you can stop people from registering domain names which has your trademark but extending it to URL is downright ridiculous.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Grable
    Originally Posted by ok123 View Post

    Can they do this
    They can... and apparently have. I'd be interested in hearing from some of the members with significant amazon affilaite program experience.

    cheers,
    chris
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    • Profile picture of the author SlfMastery
      I guess we cannot just have multiple streams of income, but rather multiple TYPES of income, i.e. local clients, email marketing, multiple affiliate companies, etc.
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      • Profile picture of the author Lana Hampton
        This strategy is a must. You cannot rely on one business model for internet marketing success. I still remember the days of automated made for adsense sites and the killing I made back in the day

        Originally Posted by SlfMastery View Post

        I guess we cannot just have multiple streams of income, but rather multiple TYPES of income, i.e. local clients, email marketing, multiple affiliate companies, etc.
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        • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
          Never underestimate the idiocy of big companies. I'd wait to see if Amazon started banning people because their WordPress blogs include a trademark as part of the url for a post. I doubt that will happen.

          As for the question "can they do this" - yes they can.

          Not because there is trademark infringement. For instance, the post of this thread has Amazon's trademark, which is now included in a Warrior Forum url. Amazon will not be suing the forum, or the OP for posting the thread, because there is no infringement.

          Rather, the issue is contract. Amazon can put virtually any stupid term or hurdle in their contract they want as a condition for being an affiliate.

          If you're really worried, keep your Kindle page, drop the Amazon affiliate link, and replace with an affiliate link to Best Buy, Target, etc., (I believe other places the Kindle is sold) or with skimlinks.

          It is not difficult to circumvent absurdity.

          .
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          • Profile picture of the author petelta
            Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

            Never underestimate the idiocy of big companies. I'd wait to see if Amazon started banning people because their WordPress blogs include a trademark as part of the url for a post. I doubt that will happen.

            As for the question "can they do this" - yes they can.

            Not because there is trademark infringement. For instance, the post of this thread has Amazon's trademark, which is now included in a Warrior Forum url. Amazon will not be suing the forum, or the OP for posting the thread, because there is no infringement.

            Rather, the issue is contract. Amazon can put virtually any stupid term or hurdle in their contract they want as a condition for being an affiliate.

            If you're really worried, keep your Kindle page, drop the Amazon affiliate link, and replace with an affiliate link to Best Buy, Target, etc., (I believe other places the Kindle is sold) or with skimlinks.

            It is not difficult to circumvent absurdity.

            .
            Thank you for someone finally saying it... switch from Amazon.. there are plenty of companies out there making affiliates cash from the same products.

            Kind of sounds like Amazon is trying to out rank all those affiliate sites that's right above them for those brand keywords.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Chris Grable View Post

      They can... and apparently have. I'd be interested in hearing from some of the members with significant amazon affilaite program experience.

      cheers,
      chris
      I'd be even more interested in an official clarification from Amazon, as this is something new.

      One thing to note, the examples provided did not include having a product name in a page address. It's section (h) that provides (in my layman's opinion) the wherewithal to include a product name as a file name such as the OP proposed.

      Nothing in that sample url indicates a desire to violate Amazon's IP rights.

      But as I said, I want to hear from an official source before panicking...
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  • Profile picture of the author IM Ash
    If this actually extends to URLs then well done Amazon, you just shot yourself in the foot and lowered your bottom-line. Why are affiliates always treated like the scum of the earth when we invest time and money in our promotional activities?

    Good thing Adsense works well on product review sites!
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by ok123 View Post

    Can they do this
    Yes, they can.

    Whether or not they'll also choose to enforce it officiously remains to be seen.

    (It's not something I've ever wanted to do, myself, to be honest - but I do see that it may be potentially relevant to some affiliates).
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  • Profile picture of the author Kajova
    I think what amazon are trying to enforce here is the disuse of the Amazon trademark or any trademarks is owns - not other companies brand names. So it's still okay to use say:
    mysite.com/sony/dvdplayer.php

    If you take a look at the amazon terms the examples of domain names you can not use are of trademarks held by amazon (amazon, kindle, endless, small parts store)

    Any thoughts?

    Adrian
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    • Profile picture of the author ok123
      On careful reading, i also think that this applies to only Amazon and its own companies/domains and not any other brands/companies.

      Originally Posted by Kajova View Post

      I think what amazon are trying to enforce here is the disuse of the Amazon trademark or any trademarks is owns - not other companies brand names. So it's still okay to use say:
      mysite.com/sony/dvdplayer.php

      If you take a look at the amazon terms the examples of domain names you can not use are of trademarks held by amazon (amazon, kindle, endless, small parts store)

      Any thoughts?

      Adrian
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      • Profile picture of the author Kajova
        You've hit the nail on the head there
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  • Profile picture of the author mlord10
    Hey everyone,

    Not sure if you have had a chance to read Big Mike's WF post about preparing for change in your business, but I just read it and it really sheds some light on a few things...

    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...head-sand.html
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  • Profile picture of the author RyanLima
    I have many many Amazon sites that link in the way you mentioned above. I have not received any notifications from Amazon about my linking practices or reduced commissions.

    As long as you are not using software, scripts, toolbars or any other programs that insert your tracking id into their sessions you will be fine. I am still going to build my sites like ive been doing for the last 2 years!
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    Giving themselves the "teeth" in their TOS to do something does not automatically equate to them doing it wholesale (like a Google Slap).

    Consider that they may simply be making it easier to spank bad actors and spammy affiliates who are more parasitical than profitable for Amazon.

    Smart marketers are PROACTIVE not REACTIVE, right?

    Just another dimension of the conversation to consider.

    Brian
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  • Profile picture of the author zonkow
    So, do we have to change our URLs now?
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Grable
      Originally Posted by zonkow View Post

      So, do we have to change our URLs now?
      If you are using any of Amazon's or Amazon's affiliate companies trademarks... they are telling you to. Whether or not you do... depends on your tolerance to risk.

      I would... but then again.... I don't have that exposure.

      chris
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    Originally Posted by ok123 View Post

    Amazon has changed its ToS and the changes for trademarks now extend to URL ( its not domain name or subdomain - its URL ). Pasting the text below ( emphasis mine ).

    Section 2 (Enrollment) - Subparagraph (f) onward
    July 1, 2012 version

    "(f) include any trademark of Amazon or its affiliates, or a variant or misspelling of a trademark of Amazon or its affiliates in any domain name, subdomain name, or URL or in any username, group name, or other identifier on any social networking site (see the Trademark Guidelines for examples); or
    (g) otherwise violate intellectual property rights."
    February 1, 2012 version

    "(f) include any trademark of Amazon or its affiliates, or a variant or misspelling of a trademark of Amazon or its affiliates, in any domain name - for example, a domain name such as <endlessboots.com>, <amaozn.com>, <smallpartsstore.com>, <amazonauctions.net>, <kindlemagazines.mydomain.info>, or <kindlewirelessreader.co.uk> would be unsuitable;
    (g) include any trademark of Amazon or its affiliates in any username, group name, or other identifier on any social networking website - for example, a username such as "Endless Shoes," "Amazon Japan," "Smallparts Hardware," or "Kindle For You" registered on a social networking site such as Twitter or Facebook would be unsuitable; or
    (h) otherwise violate intellectual property rights."

    Does this mean, we can not have something like ( hypothetical domain )

    www.ebook-reader-reviews.com/kindle-review.html

    as the URL contains kindle.

    Can they do this
    Well that's what it says...
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  • Profile picture of the author Gaz Cooper
    This is not NEW and has been the TOS for a long time now and mainly they are reffering to using THEIR trademarks, they are very strict and dont want any one using Amazon or Kindle or Smallparts or any other of their trademarks.

    Either way it is wise and good practice to avoid using any trademark in your domain

    Kickin it on Amazon

    Gaz Cooper
    Amz Training Academy
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    • Profile picture of the author ok123
      i don't think they had the restriction on trademark in URL earlier.
      They had restriction on domain name and subdomains but not URL, this is new and now you got to be more careful while making sites.

      Originally Posted by Gaz Cooper View Post

      This is not NEW and has been the TOS for a long time now and mainly they are reffering to using THEIR trademarks, they are very strict and dont want any one using Amazon or Kindle or Smallparts or any other of their trademarks.

      Either way it is wise and good practice to avoid using any trademark in your domain

      Kickin it on Amazon

      Gaz Cooper
      Amz Training Academy
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  • Profile picture of the author colinph970
    What about an e-book that has the word "Kindle" in the title? Amazon themselves sell lots of these!
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    • Profile picture of the author mrdomains
      As mentioned it refers to Amazon's many trademarks.

      Having said that, anyone who registers domain that includes trademarks and brands that they don't own is shortcut tactics and asking for trouble.

      Shortcuts backfire now and then so don't complain the day it hits you.

      Why piggyback on brands and trademark domains when brands, trademarks and model numbers etc in urls as a result of page / post headlines is a safe option and EMD's have less value than many believe. Why play with fire?

      The time you invest in creating a website with a branded domain (not your brand) will sooner or later prove to be time wasted.. back to step 1.

      A simple foundation for success is based on 2 principles:
      1) avoid doing the same over and over again
      2) focus on durability
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      • Profile picture of the author Gaz Cooper
        Originally Posted by mrdomains View Post

        Why piggyback on brands and trademark domains when brands, trademarks and model numbers etc in urls as a result of page / post headlines is a safe option and EMD's have less value than many believe. Why play with fire?
        Your post was very valid in many areas but I have to disagree that some model numbers are NOT trademarks and can be used and are very profitable and also if you believe EMD's have less value I have to disagree on that point also.

        The rest of the post spot on

        Kickin it on Amazon

        Gaz Cooper
        Amz Training Academy
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter C
    This will cause a lot of problems for wordpress site owners. Most wordpress sites are configured with permalink set to Post name. I can't imagine how much time I will waste if I were to go and search for every posts I created just to edit the permalinks.
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    • Profile picture of the author macmani
      I am really confused with this TOS. What does this mean, we cant have amazon.com in the url link? What I mean is when we say for example click here and put in a product link there linking to amazon, it also contains amazon.com in the link, so cant we use this? Really confused.
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      • Profile picture of the author Peter C
        Originally Posted by macmani View Post

        I am really confused with this TOS. What does this mean, we cant have amazon.com in the url link? What I mean is when we say for example click here and put in a product link there linking to amazon, it also contains amazon.com in the link, so cant we use this? Really confused.
        It refers to url of your sites or sites you used to promote Amazon. It means you can't use Amazon trademark or its affiliate trademark in your page name, subdirectory etc. The click here example you gave does not apply here. You are just linking to Amazon.
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  • Profile picture of the author smodha
    I really doubt Amazon would enforce this change to be honest. Affiliates drive PLENTY of traffic to Amazon so why change a winning formula? Unless everyone starts creating an Authority Site for every niche you can't solve this.

    I'm not a lawyer but I see no problem with promoting trademarks/product names. I am selling THEIR product. I'm not re-branding it and selling for a 100% profit myself.

    I hope someone sees the common sense in this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rbtmarshall
    its not only against Amazon ToS, its also against the law to use a trademark for profit. The ToS just makes it easier for amazon to shut down the type of affiliate sites using trademarks in their URL.

    I considered going into amazon affiliate wordpress type income pages. But most processes I read about or watched used trademarks in exact match domains for their site. To me that seemed wrong, and I did not want to take the risk associated with infringing on the law.

    My advice to the people who this effects is to just cut their loss as it is, and be glad that amazon or the promoted trademarked products don't pursue the violation in any other way aside from disallowing the commissions being paid from this point onward.


    15 USC ยง 1125 - FALSE DESIGNATIONS OF ORIGIN, FALSE DESCRIPTIONS, AND DILUTION FORBIDDEN

    (3) Exclusions
    The following shall not be actionable as dilution by blurring or dilution by tarnishment under this subsection:
    (A) Any fair use, including a nominative or descriptive fair use, or facilitation of such fair use, of a famous mark by another person other than as a designation of source for the person's own goods or services, including use in connection with--
    (i) advertising or promotion that permits consumers to compare goods or services; or
    (ii) identifying and parodying, criticizing, or commenting upon the famous mark owner or the goods or services of the famous mark owner.
    (B) All forms of news reporting and news commentary.
    (C) Any noncommercial use of a mark.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rbtmarshall
      I'm not suprised with the following results. Smart move on the part of amazon to prevent things like paypalsucks.com from happening.


      Here is the whois results for AmazonSucks.com

      Domain Name: AMAZONSUCKS.COM
      Registrar: GODADDY.COM, LLC
      Whois Server: whois.godaddy.com
      Referral URL: Go Daddy Mobile - Domain Search, Go Daddy Commercials
      Name Server: NS-1.AMAZON.COM
      Name Server: NS-2.AMAZON.COM
      Name Server: NS-3.AMAZON.COM
      Status: clientDeleteProhibited
      Status: clientRenewProhibited
      Status: clientTransferProhibited
      Status: clientUpdateProhibited
      Updated Date: 10-apr-2012
      Creation Date: 08-apr-2002
      Expiration Date: 15-apr-2013
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  • Profile picture of the author msu
    Just to add, for anyone who missed their recent email, Amazon have also changed the % commission rates on a number of product types, most notably magazines which has shot up to 25%. A few types are down too.

    Check the email you should have received or the Associates blog.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    If it aint one thing with Amazon it's another.
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  • Profile picture of the author kevinw1
    Read the OP. The problem is not about having trademarks - Amazon's or anyone else's - in the domain - that's been the rule for ages. It's about having Amazon's trademarks anywhere in the URL.

    That's new, and will cause all kinds of problems for people with WP posts titles like, for example, "how to read my blog on the Kindle" where the word Kindle then shows up in the URL.
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    • Profile picture of the author ok123
      Yes, many people on this thread are missing out on the purpose of the thread even though i specifically highlighted the problem area, trademark as part of the URL.

      Originally Posted by kevinw1 View Post

      Read the OP. The problem is not about having trademarks - Amazon's or anyone else's - in the domain - that's been the rule for ages. It's about having Amazon's trademarks anywhere in the URL.

      That's new, and will cause all kinds of problems for people with WP posts titles like, for example, "how to read my blog on the Kindle" where the word Kindle then shows up in the URL.
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      • Profile picture of the author CMartin
        They have changed that today (June 26, 2012) and the words "or URL" have disappeared.

        From Updates to the Associates Operating Agreement Effective July 1, 2012

        (Last Updated: June 26, 2012)

        Section 2 (Enrollment) - Subparagraph (f) onward
        July 1, 2012 version


        "(f) include any trademark of Amazon or its affiliates, or a variant or misspelling of a trademark of Amazon or its affiliates in any domain name, subdomain name, or in any username, group name, or other identifier on any social networking site (see the Trademark Guidelines for examples); or
        (g) otherwise violate intellectual property rights."
        So, it seems you can still use their trademarks in the URL, like
        example.org/kindle-review.html
        but not in the domain or subdomain.


        There is also a new section related with cloaking links:

        Associates Program Participation Requirements
        July 1, 2012 version
        The following is added as a new Participation Requirement Number 30:


        "30. You will not cloak, hide, spoof, or otherwise obscure the URL of your site containing Special Links (including by use of a redirecting page) such that we cannot reasonably determine the site from which a customer clicks through such Special Link to the Amazon Site."
        Carlos
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      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Originally Posted by ok123 View Post

        Yes, many people on this thread are missing out on the purpose of the thread even though i specifically highlighted the problem area, trademark as part of the URL.
        The problem is, many people don't understand the difference between a URL and a domain name and think they mean the same thing.
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