2. Getting Banned from the Amazon Asscoiates Program
Since Winston missed the initial email, he didn’t take any action to fix his site. Not long afterwards, Amazon banned him:
“Your Site makes inaccurate, overbroad, deceptive or otherwise misleading claims about Products, the Amazon Site, our policies, promotions, or prices.
As of today’s date, Amazon is terminating your Associates account. Under the terms of the Operating Agreement, we may terminate your account at any time, with or without cause. This decision is final and not subject to appeal.
It is important that you immediately remove all Amazon Content from your Site(s). Please be aware that any other Associates accounts you have, or may open in the future, may be closed without payment of any fees. Amazon reserves all other rights and claims.
Because you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, Amazon will not pay you any outstanding advertising fees related to your account.
Please be aware that any other accounts you have, or may open in the future, may be closed without payment of any fees. Amazon reserves all other rights and claims.
Thank you for your participation in the Amazon Associates Program.”
Note the main reason at the top which indicates inaccurate claims about pricing. We’ll look into this in point 3 below.
From the language of the email, it would initially appear that there is no recourse and it may not be appealed. This ultimately proved to be incorrect. So if you have been banned and are reading this, then there is hope still.
At this point Winston posted in the AH Pro Facebook group, asking for help.
3. Problems Identified And Fixed
The timing of this was quite a coincidence since a) Perrin was writing this article about the Amazon Associate program and b) one of our websites had recently received a request for information email from Amazon. We were quite well versed in the rules at this point.
I PMed Winston on Facebook and he shared his site with me. I instantly spotted problems in that he was mentioning pricing details in his CTA buttons. He used language similar to “get the cheapest price”.
The reason Amazon doesn’t like this is because this can be a false statement. If another company starts selling the product for cheaper, then Amazon cannot be seen to be encouraging its affiliates to deceive people by endorsing such language.
You cannot make a statement which is untrue or one which may become untrue at any point. I told Winston to fix this.
Winston was also downloading product images and uploading them to his site. This is also against the ToS. I told Winston to use the SiteStripe bar to generate image URLs from the API.
Finally, I told Winston to put his affiliate disclaimer above the fold on his page, rather than in the footer.
It’s possible that all 3 of these steps were not necessary, but when trying to get unbanned, I wanted him to be “whiter than white”.