Amazon Updates Affiliate Program – Changes in Fee Structure

Amazon's New Commission Structure - February 2017Well, it’s official. Amazon has updated its affiliate program and has moved from a tiered commission structure to a fixed-fee structure effective March, 1, 2017.

You might have noticed recently that when you logged into your Amazon Associates affiliate dashboard that things looked a little different. Now, your earnings were broken down by category as opposed to purchases just being listed out.

Let’s take a look at what our commission looks like now!

Amazon's New Commission Structure February 2017
Other bloggers I know suspected that Amazon was moving away from the tiered commission structure and moving to a flat-fee type of structure, where you earn a fixed rate of commission depending on the type of item you sell.

What does this mean for you?

Well, it means that some of you will see a decrease in earnings and others will see an increase – and it all depends on the type of products you promote.

Amazon’s UK program already had this structure in place and it looks like we’ll see how well it’ll work for us.

Here’s the bummer – depending on how you look at it: your commission rate does not increase if you sell more items. What you sell, you sell, and you’re paid X% based on the type of products sold…period.

What’s the Deal, Amazon?

Well, Amazon is a business and wants to make money. As affiliates, we get a sweet piece of that deal by being rewarded for promoting products. I’ve always been a happy Amazon affiliate and will continue to use their program.

We get to sign up – for free – and earn income for sharing products with our audience. That’s a great opportunity.

So why is Amazon paying out more for some products and less for others? Because they want to encourage us to promote the products that do the best for their bottom line. 4% for product X vs. 8% for product Y…which one are you more likely to lead readers to – or even build a business around?

Sure, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to promote what you know, like, love, and use, but if you’re going to build an affiliate review site, you’re going to pay attention to those commission rates.

In fact, with the new structure, one product I was considering for promotion down the road is completely a non-issue for me now as it relates to my site. I might include these products as a service to my reader, but knowing full-well that I don’t make a dime from purchases in that category.

However, if someone uses my link to purchase said products and then buys from a category that does make me money, that’s still a win-win.

What are Your Thoughts?

You can get the detail straight from the horse’s mouth over on the Amazon site. What do you think about these new changes? Will you be changing anything in your business because of this update? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

8 thoughts on “Amazon Updates Affiliate Program – Changes in Fee Structure

  • February 23, 2017 at 10:08 AM

    Bout Time ! The tiered structure forced me to promote a bunch of cheap products in order to attain a decent commission rate on the High Ticket items that focus on-

    Also their new structure is most likely based upon the available margins within various catagories – Those with a better margin offer a better commission ??

    • February 23, 2017 at 11:21 AM

      Exactly. They’re doing what’s best for them, which is, ultimately, good for us. It’s really not going to change how I promote because I have a bigger picture for my business. But I will take this new structure into consideration when launching new sites.

      And we can still promote lower-priced and add-on items and benefit! 🙂

  • February 23, 2017 at 11:48 AM

    Thanks for explaining the changes!
    Well, my thoights are there are always going to be changes in the world of affiliate marketing so I not a bit surprised.
    For me, Amazon is like the “Google” off affiliate programs. So I will conginue to use them too Plus my biggest sales still come my reader’s additional Amazion purchases durung the 30-day cookie period..

    • February 23, 2017 at 3:30 PM


      Here’s the thing about Amazon – they have a built-in trust factor and are masters of selling and upselling. So our job is to get the buyer to them and they do the rest! I love that.

      PLUS, buyers are more likely to purchase more than what we’ve recommended, so we do ultimately make more.

      Not to mention that we can promote just about anything in many different ways, in many different places.

      It’s still a solid program.

      I can imagine it’s VERY hard for some marketers, though, who will go from 8% to 4% or less. But that’s why we diversify and build lists and create products. This is still the best job in the world!

  • February 23, 2017 at 3:57 PM

    Thanks for explaining the changes, Julie! They don’t really other me and we’ll, you can’t fight City Hall so even if it did, not much you can do about it, right? But I can see how this will affect some businesses.

    Great post!!

    • February 23, 2017 at 4:17 PM

      Exactly. They gotta do what they gotta do. I’m not going anywhere! I linked a post from another blogger in the Facebook group and even though she wasn’t talking about this, it directly applies and I love her attitude about being an affiliate. It’s a great read!

  • February 23, 2017 at 6:32 PM

    Thanks for being one of the first to explain Julie! I actually like the new fee schedule better. It always drove me nuts when the first of the month came (like it does every month) and I’d see my commission rate drop back down to 4. I’m much more comfortable with the new structure. Luckily – I’m not losing out very much for my current sites.

    One thing I DON’T like about Amazon and how this whole deal works… many products can be (and are) sold in multiple categories. It might be difficult to predict which category Amazon will choose to use for they payout. I’m guessing they’ll default to whichever pays out the least… Who knows…

    Regardless… we long time internet marketers know by now that we just have to roll with the changes, adjust and move on. No big deal. Amazon certainly could have screwed it’s affiliates in a much worse way. Overall, I think they’re being fair.

    • February 23, 2017 at 7:26 PM

      One of the first to update, but many were well aware of the potential changes when the reporting structure changed. Me? I didn’t think too much about it! LOL

      You are so right about the payout fluctuation. And I agree that the category will most likely be the one with the lowest commission, but they could surprise us.

      Definitely just gotta accept and go with it. Like you say, it could have been worse. They’re just doing what’s best for their biz, and it works for us, too. We get to participate in their program and make money! Another thing that can be said about IMers/bloggers is that we know how to adapt and keep growing our businesses. This is just one more thing to have to work with.

      Thanks for stopping by, man! 😀


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