Some publishers already suffering revenue loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are about to take another blow.
Amazon says it will soon dramatically reduce its affiliate program’s commission rates — the sales cut it rewards for participating websites that get customers to buy one of its products using a unique URL — across several categories.
Updates to the Amazon Associates operating agreement reveal that, starting Tuesday, April 21, several product categories that were previously the most lucrative end of the program for affiliates will see commission rates reduced by up to 60%. Commission rates on products in the furniture, home or garden and garden categories, for example, will be reduced from 8% to only 3%.
Obviously, lower commission categories such as various electronics, as well as other specific categories such as kitchen and jewelry, will remain unchanged. We’ve compiled a summary of the changes below, using prices pulled from the operating agreement as well as an update.
CNBC.com — which obtained an announcement emailed to members of Amazon Associates that does not mention any particular reason behind the price cuts — reports that an Amazon representative declined to comment on whether the changes were related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A screen-recorded email shared on an online forum for members of the Amazon Affiliate Program, purportedly from an Amazon representative, stated that the price changes were “not related to current events.”
Although it is not the only player in the space, Amazon operates one of the oldest and largest affiliate marketing platforms, helping to provide lucrative side business to a number of publishers, some of which have grown into large businesses in their own right.
Four years ago, The New York Times spent $30 million to acquire Wirecutter, a product recommendation site that is monetized primarily through affiliate revenues. Meredith Corp. followed. — which claims to generate more than $1 billion in annual sales for its retail partners through “affiliate and shopper marketing efforts” — filed suit earlier this year, accusing product recommendation site SwearBy and telling us Digiday Most recently, its affiliate business has grown “by nearly 100%” year-over-year.
They are not alone. To name a few: Active Interest Media, Bauer Media, Bonnier Corp.And Condé Nast, Hearst Magazines, IDJ, interested in tradeAnd BuzzfeedAnd Digital trendsAnd luckAnd New York magazine, the outside And time They all have a disclaimer on their sites advising readers that although advertisers do not dictate reviews of their products, they may collect revenue from purchases of those products made through affiliate links.
Nella Ali, “Advertisers want to do more things that are optimized for conversions that go beyond ads,” BuzzfeedVice President of Strategic Partnerships Folio: Back in September. “A lot of advertising money goes to affiliates. It’s no longer seen as passive acquisition but an active acquisition that requires strategy.”