One of our more frequently asked questions that we get from people who are interested in purchasing AmaLinks Pro has to do with whether or not the plugin is able to link to websites other than Amazon within some of our features. Specifically – people want to know whether they can link our CTA buttons to other websites or whether they can add links to other websites in our product comparison tables.
At the time I am writing this post – No – AmaLinks Pro is an Amazon affiliate WordPress plugin only and it can only be used to create links to products on Amazon. But this brings up a much bigger and more important issue that a lot of people seem to be unaware of!
Can I use Amazon content (images, product data, etc.) to promote products on other sites?
Here is an exact question that we got from Marcel, an AmaLinks Pro user…
If you are using your plugin (or any similar one that uses the API) to pull in images, can you link to websites other than Amazon under the product image for price comparison?
I see this often on sites, a product image pulled in from Amazon with two or more CTAs underneath (i.e. one to check price on Amazon and a second button to compare price on another site)
But this part of the operating policy is what confuses me:
Content on your Site
(z) You will not display on your Site, or otherwise use, any Program Content to advertise or promote any products that are offered on any site that is not an Amazon Site (e.g., products offered by other retailers).
The image itself is linking to Amazon and I link a CTA to Amazon but another CTA underneath links to a second site…is that a violation of using their “Program Content” since I’m using the API to pull in the image but “promoting” another retailer?
And here is my response to him…
Good question Marcel! This is something I’ve never really paid attention to because I never link to other retailers on the same page that I promote Amazon products.
That policy doesn’t look confusing at all to me. It looks very clear. You absolutely cannot use any of Amazon’s ‘Program Content’ to promote products for other retailers. I would say that this absolutely includes doing a price comparison – as you described. I think it would be totally fine to do price comparisons – as long as you aren’t using anything from the Amazon API on that page or as part of that comparison.
I’m sure people get away with doing this all the time. But if you want to go 100% by Amazon’s rules to avoid the risk of getting banned – I would steer clear from promoting products on other sites on the same pages where you use Amazon API data to promote Amazon products.
If you choose to do price comparisons on your site
The Amazon Associates operating agreement and policies pages are notoriously confusing and even seem contradictory at times. To further add to the confusion – I also found this buried deep in one of their policy pages.
In addition, if you choose to display prices for any Product on your Site in any “comparison” format (including through the use of any price-comparison tool or engine) together with prices for the same or similar products offered through any web site or other means other than an Amazon Site, you must display both the lowest “new” price and, if we provide it to you, the lowest “used” price at which the Product is available on the Amazon Site.
In other words – you CAN do price comparisons with products on other sites – but Amazon makes it even more difficult for you to do so by adding the requirement that you MUST provide the lowest “new” price AND the lowest “used” price.
Keep in mind though – that this doesn’t null the previous rule listed above. If you do price comparisons with products on other sites – you still cannot use any of Amazons ‘Program Content’ (like images) on the pages that are linking to other retailers.
So, should I publish pages that link to Amazon AND other retailers?
Well… lots of sites do this and they seemingly get away with it. But, for how long? Lots of sites violate a bunch of other policies set forth in the Amazon Associates operating agreement and policy documents and seem to get away with it as well.
Personally – I would not even take the risk. If I wanted to promote the same product from multiple retailers in addition to Amazon… I would include ALL links to Amazon within the main product review (because AmaLinks Pro has so many great options to create unique link styles!) then include a button or a text link somewhere near the bottom linking to a DIFFERENT page that has buying options for that product from other retailers. I would make sure that different page opens in a new window so that readers can easily refer back to the review article if they want to.
If you do choose to publish content that links to both Amazon and other retailers and you want to stay safe – be sure that you are not using any of Amazon’s ‘Program Content’ anywhere on that page if you want to stay 100% safe. The most obvious violation would be using a product image pulled from the Amazon API and then linking to a different retailer. Don’t do that!
As long as you aren’t using any of Amazon’s ‘Program Content’ – you should be totally safe to link to both Amazon and other retailers.