As far as affiliate programs go on the Internet, one of the best known and most easily accessible is Amazon Associates. This makes sense, given the instant name recognition that the Amazon name has with just about everyone, whether or not they are interested in making money online. You can buy just about anything on Amazon these days and, as an affiliate, this means you have the opportunity to earn a commission on just about anything too.
The potential earnings from the program will depend on a great number of factors and there are plenty of strategies you can employ to boost your revenue. You should at least experiment with the various tools that Amazon provides you, like Native Shopping Ads, ad banners, direct linking, bounty programs and so on.
One of the newer developments that’s been flying under the radar is the Amazon Influencer Program. It’s an extension of the main Amazon Associates program and not a replacement for it. The idea is that you get to have your own personal page on Amazon, complete with a vanity URL, where you get to share products you want to highlight or recommend.
The commission structure works exactly the same way as it does with the main Amazon Associates program, so you earn a percentage when someone completes a purchase from your page. You could have set up something similar on your own domain using any number of possible tools, or you could have created a workaround by making a wish list of recommended products, but the vanity URL and the “landing page” type layout are what cinch the deal here, at least for now.
Not everyone qualifies for the Amazon Influencer Program. They’re looking for people who have a certain minimum level of social media influence, but they’re not being explicit about the exact requirements. I was denied when I first applied, then I received an email asking me to re-apply and I got approved a few days later. To apply, go to http://www.amazon.com/influencers and go through the process. It only takes a few seconds.
To qualify, you’ll enter your username/handle on your choice of YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. They recommend you attempt to qualify with the platform where you have the greatest influence. You’ll also be given the opportunity to enter your information for the other platforms and these will all appear on your influencer page as clickable icons. You’ll also have the chance to upload a profile image, as well as enter both a page title and a page tagline.
The net result is a dedicated page like the one shown here. I was able to get my vanity URL at https://www.amazon.com/shop/michaelkwan, so just like any other platform out there, if you can claim your preferred handle/username as early as possible, that’d be in your best interest.
As you can see, the page features a basic grid layout with all of your product recommendations. You add products to this list the same way you would add items to your regular Amazon wish lists; they’ll create a new list called “Influencer – username” and you just add them there. The most recently added items appear at the top and you can rearrange the order as you see fit.
For each item, you can add a comment (via the wish list dialog) to provide a little bit of context about the product or why you might be recommending it. When people click on the little comment icon in the corner of each item on your influencer page, the comment appears. That’s really about it.
The Amazon Influencer Program is very much in its early stages and it feels remarkably bare bones at the moment. It is a little cumbersome that you can’t re-arrange the items or add comments from directly on your influencer page and that you have to do it through the regular wish list interface. It’s also too bad that they are not yet supporting additional features, like uploading your own photos or videos, or linking to your own product reviews and other content. Of course, they want users to stay on Amazon, so I guess that makes sense for now.
It will be interesting to see how this program evolves over time, but like anything else, it’s just another tool you can add to your affiliate marketing toolkit. How much success you manage to reap is completely up to you.