The Amazon logo and any ‘Amazon Marks’ are trademarked by Amazon. What are the Amazon trademark guidelines?
It’s simple. You cannot use any Amazon Marks on your website or blog except in very specific circumstances as outlined in the Trademark Guidelines section of the Amazon Associates Program Policies.
I know, I know. I see it all the time too. I’ve literally seen hundreds of affiliate sites that display the Amazon logo or the Amazon Prime logo in some manner or form. But just because a LOT of people get away with it – this doesn’t mean that we should also take the risk.
Amazon’s policies are extremely difficult to understand and they seem to contradict themselves all over the place. The Trademark Guidelines section is no exception. I thought I understood it perfectly fine – but I needed to confirm what I thought so I contacted an Amazon Associates rep. I was shocked at some of the stuff she told me! You won’t even believe some of it! I’ve copy & pasted the entire conversation and published it below. But first, let’s take a look at the actual guidelines.
Amazon’s Trademark Guidelines for Amazon Associates
The following are some of the most relevant sections, copy & pasted straight from the Amazon Associates Program Policies…
These Guidelines apply to the use of the marks we may make available to you as part of Program Content (“Amazon Marks”). Strict compliance with these Guidelines is required at all times, and any use of the Amazon Marks in violation of these Guidelines will automatically terminate any license related to your use of the Amazon Marks.
Note: Strict compliance is required at all times and any violation will automatically terminate any license related to…
Now – here is where it gets confusing. The first point underneath that section, in ALL CAPS, reads exactly like this…
1. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO USE THE AMAZON MARKS ONLY BY DISPLAY ON YOUR SITE WITH THE PURPOSE OF ADVERTISING AVAILABILITY OF PRODUCTS ON AN AMAZON SITE, WITH A CORRESPONDING SPECIAL LINK TO THAT SITE.
It clearly says, “you are allowed to use the Amazon Marks” – but at the end, it states, “with a corresponding special link to that site.” To me – it appears that the use of Amazon Marks is allowed IF you are also using a special link (an Amazon affiliate link) to link to a product on Amazon. But, a little way down, in point #4, it says this…
4. We will supply an image or images of the Amazon Marks for you to use. You may not alter any Amazon Mark in any manner. For example, you cannot change the proportion, color, or font of any Amazon Mark, or add or remove any elements from any Amazon Mark.
As it turns out – the ONLY images or images of Amazon Marks that we are allowed to use are the ones that they supply to us. Unfortunately, that supply is very scarce. Believe me – I’ve searched far and wide and there just isn’t very much that they make available for us to use. Furthermore – point #4 clearly states that we are not allowed to edit the Amazon Marks that they provide to us in any way. Here are a few of the buttons that they so graciously allow us to use…
Don’t worry. We have you covered at AmaLinks Pro®. These exact buttons are available to use and you can link them to any product on Amazon. You simply select which one you want from our CTA Button element. I will say this though – we aren’t exactly fans of these ancient-looking buttons that appear to have been designed in 1996 and never updated. We prefer to create and insert our own CTA buttons. AmaLinks Pro® also has you covered for this. Our CTA buttons are 100% customizable and they are compliant with Amazon’s policies.
Here are the only two pages, on Amazon, that I know about where they provide images with Amazon Marks that we may use as Amazon Associates:
- these you are allowed to download then upload to your site – hyperlinked with a special link to a product page
- these you are NOT allowed to download – these must be served by Amazon
AmaLinks Pro® used to display the actual Amazon Prime logo
As it turns out – our older (previous) versions of AmaLinks Pro® were, in fact, using the Amazon Prime logo in certain places and for certain features. I’ll show you an example. This is what one of our Showcase Boxes looked like using the actual Prime logo…
Here is how I discovered the issue…
It actually came to me as a question in the comments section on a different blog post on this site. Somebody asked me how we are able to get away with ‘legally’ showing the Prime logo? I previously didn’t think anything of it. I thought we were covered, based on how I read and interpreted the Trademark Guidelines section in the Amazon Associates Policies. We were using an Amazon Mark and we were subsequently using a special link to link to a product page on Amazon.
I knew that Prime data was available in the API. The API is what tells us whether or not a product is Prime eligible. But since I’m not the coder and I don’t even know where to find or read the raw API data – I asked our lead developer (AC). He informed me that the API spits out 1 of 2 numbers – one of them meaning the product is Prime eligible and the other meaning it is not. The API DOES NOT provide the actual Prime logo for us (or anybody else) to use. Oh snap!!!
I needed to confirm my suspicions – so I hopped on a chat with an Amazon rep…
My Chat with an Amazon Rep
June 18, 2019 4:57:30 PM Matthew A : My previous understanding of the policies was that we weren’t allowed to use any trademarked Amazon logos anywhere on our site at all. But the wording seems to have changed and now it looks like it might be okay
June 18, 2019 4:57:33 PM Brittany (CSA) : Scroll down on this page and you should see smaller basic Amazon icons with the smile logo
June 18, 2019 4:58:14 PM Brittany (CSA) : It has to be a corresponding special link, meaning the mark must be included in the link you create.
June 18, 2019 4:58:44 PM Matthew A : okay… what if I use a 3rd party tool to create links and that tool has the Amazon Prime logo included.
June 18, 2019 4:59:03 PM Brittany (CSA) : That would be a violation because the mark is not being served through the link itself
June 18, 2019 4:59:09 PM Matthew A : Example: the product table on this page includes Prime logos – [URL hidden]
June 18, 2019 4:59:26 PM Brittany (CSA) : It looks like they’re using PA-API
June 18, 2019 5:00:12 PM Matthew A : Yes – but the API doesn’t actually provide the logo. The API only tells whether or not the product is Prime. The Prime logo itself is inserted by the plugin code.
June 18, 2019 5:01:02 PM Brittany (CSA) : The website will be reviewed for compliance. What is allowed on one site does not mean it is allowed on all sites.
June 18, 2019 5:01:49 PM Matthew A : Full disclosure: I am the co-founder of the 3rd party tool used to create that table. I’m trying to figure out if my WordPress plugin is compliant by allowing it’s users to insert those Prime logos.
June 18, 2019 5:02:36 PM Brittany (CSA) : Cool then you’ll need to seek legal counsel for a legal interpretation of the OA regarding your specific issue.
June 18, 2019 5:03:14 PM Matthew A : I see LOTS of sites that use 3rd party tools to insert links that include Prime logos… I just want to be 100% positive mine is compliant before I sell it to a bunch of people. I don’t want to put my customers at risk.
June 18, 2019 5:03:44 PM Brittany (CSA) : Customer service can’t give you a greenlight on your plugin, legal counsel is your best option.
June 18, 2019 5:03:56 PM Matthew A : Legal counsel? That’s why I contacted you!! I’m trying to understand Amazon’s policies which are extremely confusing.
June 18, 2019 5:04:11 PM Brittany (CSA) : The OA is a legal document
June 18, 2019 5:04:39 PM Matthew A : I get that… about the plugin. But what about using the Prime logo on my site. Regardless of how I put it there. Does that look legit to you in that table I shared?
June 18, 2019 5:04:59 PM Brittany (CSA) : No, it doesn’t.
June 18, 2019 5:05:37 PM Matthew A : Okay. That tells me what I need to know. Using any Amazon Mark is NOT allowed then… except for the ones provided.
June 18, 2019 5:06:27 PM Matthew A : I understand Amazon also has the word Prime (or Amazon Prime) trademarked. Would I be able to simply use text in place of that logo in a table like that?
June 18, 2019 5:06:59 PM Matthew A : Ex: just use text that says Prime or design my own Prime logo?
June 18, 2019 5:07:11 PM Brittany (CSA) : No, definitely don’t do that.
June 18, 2019 5:07:12 PM Matthew A : but not try to make it look like an Amazon logo…
June 18, 2019 5:07:57 PM Matthew A : I mean… use the word Prime using a different font and color and without the check mark.
June 18, 2019 5:08:34 PM Brittany (CSA) : If you feel that it is compliant after reviewing the Operating Agreement and Program Policies then go for it.
June 18, 2019 5:09:03 PM Matthew A : Well… I felt that using the logo was compliant based on this statement – 1. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO USE THE AMAZON MARKS ONLY BY DISPLAY ON YOUR SITE WITH THE PURPOSE OF ADVERTISING AVAILABILITY OF PRODUCTS ON AN AMAZON SITE, WITH A CORRESPONDING SPECIAL LINK TO THAT SITE.
June 18, 2019 5:09:38 PM Matthew A : And I literally see hundreds of sites out there that do the same. But I want to be 1000% sure I’m totally compliant
June 18, 2019 5:09:49 PM Brittany (CSA) : Then seek legal counsel
June 18, 2019 5:10:11 PM Matthew A : you’ve got to be kidding!
June 18, 2019 5:10:24 PM Matthew A : lol
June 18, 2019 5:10:37 PM Brittany (CSA) : We’re not able to interpret the OA on your behalf
June 18, 2019 5:11:09 PM Matthew A : can you ask Jeff Bezo’s to improve his policies please and make more Amazon Marks available for us to use as Associates. Lol
June 18, 2019 5:11:35 PM Brittany (CSA) : Sure, I’ll get right on that.
June 18, 2019 5:12:11 PM Matthew A : I mean really… these buttons – https://affiliate-program.
look like they were designed in 1996 when Amazon started and that’s all we get!
June 18, 2019 5:12:54 PM Brittany (CSA) : Right, they’re all we get.
June 18, 2019 5:13:29 PM Matthew A : Well… that other page you shared with me is one I’ve never seen before. So thanks for that.
June 18, 2019 5:13:47 PM Matthew A : It has some official Amazon logos we can use. I just wish it had one version of the Prime logo
June 18, 2019 5:13:52 PM Brittany (CSA) : It’s like a secret treasure
My Takeaways from this Friendly Chat
As I was chatting with this Amazon rep, I could only look at my screen in amazement with my mouth wide open. Some of the stuff she said actually made me laugh out loud (LOL). I’m like… “you can’t be serious, right?!?” Here are a few of the points that just shocked and flabbergasted me…
- Me: what if I use a 3rd party tool to create links and that tool has the Amazon Prime logo included.
- Rep: That would be a violation because the mark is not being served through the link itself
Okay… seems straight-forward and clear. But then I went on to show her an example, on a live URL, where I had a product comparison table inserted and the Prime logo was displayed in rows for products that were Prime eligible. We had a little back and forth and then I got straight to the point…
- Me: But what about using the Prime logo on my site. Regardless of how I put it there. Does that look legit to you in that table I shared?
- Rep: No, it doesn’t.
So there is your answer. Amazon Associates CAN NOT display the Prime logo on their websites or blogs if they want to remain compliant with Amazon’s Policies.
Here are the shocking statements from the Amazon Rep
These came during some of our back and forth where I was trying to explain to her my situation and the way I thought the Trademark Guidelines should be interpreted…
- Rep: The website will be reviewed for compliance. What is allowed on one site does not mean it is allowed on all sites.
Are you joking?!? This is basically Amazon admitting that their terms are so vague and contradictory that something could be allowed on one site but not on others. My advice – always stay safe. If something is questionable in your mind – then just don’t do it.
After I revealed to the Amazon rep that I was the co-founder of a WordPress plugin and that I was just trying to make sure that we are 100% compliant – she went all legal on me and wouldn’t answer anything straight after that.
- Rep: Cool then you’ll need to seek legal counsel for a legal interpretation of the OA regarding your specific issue.
- Rep: Customer service can’t give you a green light on your plugin, legal counsel is your best option.
- Rep: Then seek legal counsel
- Rep: We’re not able to interpret the OA on your behalf
I mean WOW! Just, wow. The fact their Operating Agreement is even open to interpretation should really tell us something.
I was finally able to take comfort in my plans to make AmaLinks Pro® compliant after this correspondence with the Amazon rep…
- Me: Would I be able to simply use text in place of that logo in a table like that?
- Me: I mean… use the word Prime using a different font and color and without the checkmark.
- Rep: If you feel that it is compliant after reviewing the Operating Agreement and Program Policies then go for it.
Our Fix for AmaLinks Pro®
In the latest update for AmaLinks Pro® (version 1.4.3 or higher) and for the AmaLinks Pro® Table Builder add-on (version 1.2.3 or higher) – we have completely removed the Amazon Prime logo and replaced it with our own Prime tag.
Here is why our new Prime tag is 100% compatible with Amazon’s Policies. It is not an image and we are not trying to copy or emulate the actual Amazon Prime logo. Our new Prime tag is just plain text, using system fonts, but styled to look nice and to clearly represent products that are Prime eligible. Here is what our new Prime tag now looks like in one of our Showcase Boxes…
Don’t Risk Your Amazon Associates Account
If you are already using an earlier version of AmaLinks Pro® – please update your plugin or plugins as soon as possible. All of your existing Showcases or Product Comparison Tables will update automatically once you have the update in place.
If you are using another WordPress plugin that inserts any Amazon Marks on your website – you may want to consider removing any links that include Amazon Marks (like the Amazon Prime logo). The only way you can insert links that include Amazon Marks is if those special links are created on and served by Amazon. Ex: Native Shoppings Ads by Amazon inserts products onto your website and sometimes those include Amazon Mars (like the Prime logo).
AmaLinks Pro® is 100% Committed to Amazon Compliance
Admittedly – we made a mistake. We are humans just like everybody else. But we worked as quickly and diligently as we could to correct this mistake as soon as we found out about it. Going forward – we will always remain committed to staying compliant with Amazon’s Policies.
Did You Know?
AmaLinks Pro® works great for the Amazon Affiliate Canada program, the Amazon Affiliate UK program, the Amazon Affiliate Australia program just to name a few. Check out our guide on what Amazon affiliate countries are supported by AmaLinks Pro®.
Try AmaLinks Pro® Today!
If you’re not already using AmaLinks Pro® – what are you waiting for? We recently added a brand new pricing option that we’re calling the Blogger plan. It includes ALL of our features (including Table Builder) at a very low price.