This is the dreaded email subject that you never want to see arriving into your inbox.
Unfortunately, I just did.
UPDATE: I'm happy to say that my Amazon account was restored in full after about 48 hours. Read more information below.
Getting Kicked Out Of Amazon Associates Program – Not a Nice Feeling!
When the dreaded email arrives, and you absorb that subject line, it’s certainly not a nice feeling. You know you’ve probably lost money when booted out of the Amazon Associates Program.
However, the first thing to do if this happens is to take a long deep breath and try to be calm. I know, I know, easier said than done.
Think rationally about it, was this closure email deserved or do you think a genuine mistake has been made?
Trying To Fix The “Your Amazon Associates Account has been closed” Situation
Depending on the exact circumstances, there may be an appeal option.
Every situation might be different of course. Here’s an extract of the email I received:
Hello [STORE ID], Effective today, Amazon is terminating your Associates account as well as the Operating Agreement that governs it (link below). Why? We reviewed your account as part of our ongoing monitoring of the Amazon Associates Program. During our review, we determined that you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, found here: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/agreement. The violations include the following:
An account belonging to you (or a person or entity connected or affiliated with you) has previously been rejected/closed for violations of the Operating Agreement or one of the other Amazon marketing programs.
What’s next? You must stop using the Content and Amazon Marks and promptly remove all links to the Amazon site. Because you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, Amazon will not pay you any outstanding commission income. Please be aware that any other related accounts may be closed without payment of any commissions. Amazon reserves all other rights and claims. In limited cases this closure may be appealable. See Appeals help for more information, found here: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/node/topic/GACDBRFKVDTXSPTH.
So, above, I’ve bolded the reason why Amazon is claiming they’ve terminated my Associate’s Account. They believe I once had an old account that was closed for violating their terms.
Huh? That was news to me. After doing a deep dive into my emails, yes, it turns out that I did have an old Associate Account.
However, I did find an email from Amazon that confirmed the account was closed because I didn’t get three sales within 180 days from the date the account was created. That’s completely understandable. I had actually completely forgotten about that because it was so long ago.
Notably, within that email, I was informed that I was “free to reapply to the Associates Program at any time, but we recommend only doing so if your website receives consistent traffic.“
The Appeals Process
Thankfully, the dreaded email does mention that an appeal may be possible.
Their Amazon Associate Affiliate Contact Link brought me to the following form:
In the comments section, I calmly explained that I believe the account closure was a mistake. I acknowledged that I had another account years ago but explained that it was closed for lack of sales and not for a violation of their operating agreement.
I think it’s important to be very polite when communicating in situations like this. You wouldn’t be doing yourself any favors at all by getting all irate and angry with them. It probably reduces your chances of a successful outcome.
At the end of the day, actual human beings will look at these form submissions. Be nice and polite, it’s the right thing to do.
After properly completing the form, it wouldn’t actually send. I kept getting an error.
The error was highlighting the subject field, “Closed Account Appeal” as being the reason for the form not working.
The form did eventually submit when I selected “Other Questions and Comments” as the Subject line. Hopefully, it will get routed to the correct department team.
And that’s the current state of play. My Amazon Affiliate account is in limbo after they have terminated it.
As it is now closed, do my tracking links continue to work? Yes, I believe so. If, after a successful appeal, I’ve heard from colleagues that the tracking links continue to track and no earnings will be lost. Fingers crossed for me.
Website Owners Should Not Rely On One Income Stream
The big lesson here is that niche website owners should always try to have more than one source of income.
This strategy makes sense to spread the risk.
Thankfully, I have my sites earning good money from display ads.
Many other niche site owners also recommend using other affiliate programs and not relying on Amazon alone.
The outcome of My Amazon Associate Closure Situation
This is just day one. I’m assuming I’ll know one way or the other what’s happening within another week or two. I’ll update this post when I know more.
UPDATE: My Amazon Associate Account Was Restored
I got my Amazon Associates account back!!
I sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I kid you not. I don’t think it is the actual email address belonging to Jeff Bezos. However, it does seem to be picked up by an Executive Team at Amazon that is courteous and professional.
I’ve checked my account dashboard and no money was lost.
Time to resolve: 48 hours.
Here’s the response I got:
My name is XXXXXXX with Amazon Associates team. Jeff Bezos received your email, and I’m replying on his behalf.
Thank you for your cooperation in complying with the terms of the Operating Agreement. As a result of your response, your Associates accounts and your pending commission income payments have been reinstated.
To say I was relieved to receive this email is an understatement.
So, if you do find your Amazon Associate account unexpectedly shut down, don’t panic.
If you were fully compliant with Amazon Associate’s Operating Agreement, then I suggest that you contact the executive team and calmly and politely outline your case.
Explain why you feel your account should be restored and hopefully you’ll receive a review and a positive outcome.