Amazon Affiliate Commission Change: My Thoughts and Strategies Now

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So it happened again. It was inevitable.

On 14th April 2020, Amazon associates received a harmless normal-looking email that changed their lives (once again). It was another commission cut from Amazon.

If you are new to the affiliate marketing game, Amazon offers one of the most popular affiliate programs around the world in terms of the number of affiliates. When I joined the program back in 2016, it was decent. They had a tiered commission (the more you sold, the higher you made per unit) and in early 2018, they did their first change.

They cut commission on some categories and they also closed the tiered commission to a unit-based one. That generated a lot of anger among affiliates but everyone still stuck with it. The commission range was around 8% in some categories and averaged at around 5%.

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But they changed it again. This is what the latest change looks compared to the previous one:

amazon commission change

As you can see, Amazon had massive commission drops across all categories. Just to put this into perspective, if you had a website in Furniture or Home niche that was making $1000/month, it will now make $375/month. That’s a big drop if you ask me.

But didn’t we all see it coming?

Think about it.

What is affiliate marketing for a company?

It is a way of marketing their products/services using third party marketing people. With the world pandemic and the growth Amazon was having, it didn’t make business sense for them to continue paying affiliates that high of a commission fee anymore.

When everyone’s buying from Amazon anyway, why pay a third party to send traffic, right?

This is exactly why I tried to educate people on why it is important to diversify your business and to use different monetization strategies on each of your websites.

Remember, you don’t build an affiliate website, you build a business and then think about the monetization strategy for that business later on. Me and Matthew Woodward had a great discussion about this exact process.

If you were building a business, you are safe. You just replace the Amazon affiliate links with some other company and it’s business as usual for you from the next day. If you have a solid business, maybe you don’t need to monetize it with affiliate marketing anyways.

You have lots of other monetization methods available to your website:

  • Auto Ads (Adsense, Mediavine, Adthrive etc.)
  • Renting out ad spots (manually reaching and getting a deal)
  • Selling your own info product on site (eBook, courses, videos, scripts, consultations, recipes etc)
  • Doing lead generation for companies
  • Promoting companies on email blasts

And the list goes on.

If you are building a new site now, you shouldn’t build it focusing on Amazon’s affiliate program. Follow my process of building a website which is basically this:

Step 1: Find a topic that you like. A topic, not something stupid like food processors. That’s not a topic, that’s a product. If you are thinking that way, you will end up falling into the Amazon affiliate trap again. A topic can be, Kitchen Maintenance and food processor can come naturally in that article in a relevant topic.

Step 2: Build a site. Don’t focus heavily on review type articles. Do a 40-60 (60% informative content, 40% review style content).

Step 3: Once you have enough traffic with SEO, social media etc, start thinking about monetizing the website using the strategies I mentioned above.

Pretty simple.

For now, I am expecting the market to go a little crazy. There will be lots of people who will sell their affiliate websites (rightly so) and exit the market. There will also be smarter people who will buy sites, focus on content, invest in the right type of website and win this.

At the end of the day, this was coming and this will keep happening if you don’t have a real business and are too focused on the mercy of a giant company like Amazon.

That’s about it.

I am Khalid, a blogger and a geek when it comes to anything related to online marketing. Stay connected to me. Leave a comment if you like my articles.


  1. Yes, you are right brother word by word. Moreover, it has been predicted by many that in upcoming years it may slash down to more. I wonder, how would an online industry like Amazon changed the entire ball game of affiliate marketing. it is indeed utterly demotivating. Your article obviously showed some of us a beacon of hope to put up with the horrible changes.

    Anyway, the given link for resourceful books was helpful. Keep up the good work.

    • I’m new in the marketing world. I’m joining with you want to focus on the Amazon affiliate business. But Amazon changed their rules about commission. Now I’m getting confused to concentrated to stand out the business main theme. I’m on my way to fixing my keyword. I don’t know this comment important or not. But as a newbie, this is really important for me. I want to start a business perfectly. If I’m wrong to choose a target first, I think everything will be hard for me to gain success.
      I’m waiting for your valuable response.

  2. Tobibur Rahman Reply

    Dear “Khalid Farhan” Vaiya,
    Thanks for sharing this helpful post. I’m waiting for your next post. Thanks in advance.

  3. Arman Arif Reply

    Yeah, you are absolutely right about what should be our thinking before starting a real and solid business. I do want you to write more about the other alternatives of Amazon Affiliate in detail under the current circumstances. Thanks in advance and take love brother.

  4. Farabi Hossaim Reply

    Thnks A Lot Vaiya,, You Are Great For Affiliated Marketer❤❤

  5. If can’t adapt at the consequence of sudden change at any industries, therefore, you won’t survive there long time. That is why, skill & creativity is really important to thrive the game. Thank you Khalid Farhan sharing your thought.

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