If you’re like me – you probably see it ALL the time. It is not uncommon at all for Amazon Associates to violate Amazon’s policies in one way or another. Whether they do it willingly and knowingly or whether they just don’t know the rules – the fact is, many webmasters put their Amazon Associates accounts at risk by blatantly violating one or more policies that are clearly spelled out for Amazon Associates.
So, what should you do if you see a website that is violating the Amazon Associate policies?
I like to live by the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” I think that I would want somebody to tell me if I were violating a policy that could get my Amazon affiliate account banned. So that is exactly what I do when the opportunity presents itself.
Although, some would say that I violated this rule when I published a post that publicly called out a bunch of very popular and successful websites that blatantly violate Amazon’s policies. If you haven’t seen it yet – you should definitely take a look at my post – 7 Successful Amazon Affiliate Websites (Find out which ones are breaking the rules!) – where I go into extreme detail showing exactly which Amazon rules many of those sites are violating.
Should I have tried to contact those site owners before publishing that post? Well, I did not – and for good reason. All 7 of them are well-established sites with owners (and possibly legal teams) that really should know what they are doing. Furthermore – all 7 of those sites were previously featured on the Ahrefs blog, touted as ‘successful’ websites and showcasing exactly what they do that makes them successful affiliate sites.
I felt that it was irresponsible, on Ahrefs behalf, to feature those sites as successful – without pointing out the Amazon compliance violations that most of them are committing. Why is that irresponsible? Because people tend to copy other successful sites! You can see where this is heading, right? We can’t let people copy other ‘successful’ sites and then put their own Amazon Associates accounts at risk – so I published that massive post that I linked to above.
What if I see another website that is violating the Associates Program policies?
If I’m just browsing and I happen to see a site that is violating any of Amazon’s policies – I usually do nothing. I just keep browsing.
But… if I’m in contact with somebody and they show me their site for any other reason, and I happen to notice violations – then I definitely let them know. This actually happens quite a lot for me – as I’m very much involved in providing support for AmaLinks Pro. I see lots of sites that promote Amazon products as an affiliate!
Did you know that Amazon actually WANTS you to report violators?
Here is the exact wording found on an Amazon FAQ style help topics page…
If you find an Associate that is violating our policies, please contact us with as much information as you can provide, including the type of violation, the exact URL of the offending site, and any other information you feel may be useful.
What should you do if you see a website that is violating Amazon’s policies?
You can do whatever you feel is right – or whatever you want to do! If you have the extra time and feel like sending out some emails – have at it!
If the violating site is an obvious massive website with a ton of resources (like the 7 mentioned above) – I wouldn’t suggest that you waste your time. They probably won’t listen to you or take you seriously anyway.
If the violating site is a smaller blog or affiliate website – I would certainly start with trying to contact the webmaster first and kindly point out the violation. Who knows! You might gain another ‘internet friend’!
But if that webmaster becomes defensive or rude and insists that they aren’t breaking the rules – then I might report them to Amazon out of spite. Who knows… I probably actually wouldn’t take the time to do that. But if they pissed me off – then I absolutely would report them! Lol.
How do I know if a website is violating Amazon’s policies?
Amazon’s policy documents can be very confusing and difficult to interpret. Luckily for you – I’ve spent the last couple of years scouring over Amazon policies and making sure I obtained clarity on anything that was questionable. I’ve written several blog posts that highlight some of the most common compliance violations that lots of sites make. Take a look at any of these posts to learn more…
- 7 Successful Amazon Affiliate Websites (Find out which ones are breaking the rules!)
- Top 5 Reasons an Amazon Associates Account Will Get Banned
- Can I Show Amazon Star Ratings on My Website or Blog?
- Can I Use the Amazon Logo or the Amazon Prime Logo on My Website?
- Can I Use rel=”sponsored” for Amazon Affiliate Links?
- Does the “noreferrer” tag put my Amazon Associates account at risk?
- Can I link to Amazon AND other online stores on the same pages?
Enjoy! And may the Amazon compliance gods be kind and gracious to you… 😉