Regardless of Clickbank, the first affiliate/market program that new online marketers and bloggers usually think of is Amazon Associates. After all – it makes sense. Amazon is perhaps the largest online marketplace for digital and physical goods, and it makes sense to use its credibility and brand authority to your advantage.
However, there is one specific problem with the Amazon Associates program – one that turns out to be much bigger than you might think when you zoom in on it with a little math.
Shall we get into it?
If you haven’t read about Amazon’s payment policies, you’d better do so now. If you haven’t noticed, Amazon gives a trivial idea 4% commission on sales.
four percent. One-twenty-five. Are you sure this is the type of money you are looking to earn? All that hard work with SEO, traffic generation, SMM, and… four percent is all you get?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think four percent is what I want to work towards.
In all fairness, Amazon increases the commission percentage once you send them a certain amount of sales. However, the maximum you can hope to make for each sale on almost all Amazon products is 8.5%.
Let’s do a little math…
Nothing beats a little math to brighten your day. Let’s get into a bit of the facts and figures behind the Amazon program.
Let’s say you set a goal of earning $10 per day with the Amazon affiliate program. For the sake of simplicity, let’s pretend as if you’ve already sold enough items to increase your commission percentage to 8.5%.
Just to achieve your goal of $10 per day, you would have to sell $117.64 worth of merchandise, each day.
Now, let’s be realistic and assume that you want real side income – $50 per day. You should be selling $588.23 worth of merchandise per day (and still 4 cents short).
Let’s say you want to make a real passive income that you can live on. Suppose you live in the United States, let’s define $100 a day as a decent livable income. You will have to sell $1,176.47 worth of merchandise. all. Not connected. day.
If I’m making a turnover of $1,000 or more each day, I want a little bit more traffic than $100.
Incidentally, this elusive six-figure income will only come after you record $3,188.24 in sales each day.
But hey – it’s still a problem to actually get those sales. It’s a cookie problem.
When Bob clicks on your affiliate link and visits Amazon, the technical stuff that powers Amazon records a cookie for 24 hours on Bob’s browser. Meaning if he buys a product within 24 hours, you will get a commission. If he buys a product within 24 hours and 2 seconds, you won’t get a commission.
Now here’s the problem – you have to sell expensive items ($500+) to get a fixed wage. However, people are usually a little more apprehensive about throwing away $500 rather than throwing out $5. They will not buy out of impulse. They will wait and think about it, and then think more.
By the time they thought of it, the cookie had expired. However, Bob visits Amazon.com (not through the Aff link) and buys the product anyway.
Amazon and the seller of the product keep the money. You don’t get any of the action, even though none of it would have happened without you and hard work.
Alternative affiliate programs
Now, if you think you might want to change your monetization strategy, I don’t blame you. But remember – you can make (decent) money with literally anything, although the effort required is a little more difficult when choosing certain affiliate programs.
This does not mean that Amazon Associates will not work for you. In fact, there are quite a few six-figure marketers who make a living from Amazon Associates. But I do believe in distributing eggs in a variety of baskets, which is why you might want to take a look at a few alternative affiliate markets.
Clickbank – pretty much the standard for affiliate marketing. The commission fee is set by the seller, and the most common commission is 50%, although some products have commissions of 25%, 75%, or even 100%.
ShareASale – This market is not half as popular as Clickbank, but it does the job for some people. Commissions are set by the seller and are usually lower than those of Clickbank, averaging 5%-15%.
CommissionJunction – I have very little experience with CJ, so I can’t say much about their market or their commission ratios. It is widely known and reputable, so you might want to check it out.
A summary of the above
Amazon – Legitimate affiliate marketplace. You can make money with it. You can make a living with it. Should you?
This is your decision. I personally root Clickbank to monetize blogging (along with my own products – soon!).
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Image credit: SXC.HU