Amazon associates closed my affiliate account And How I Recovered From It


I still remember the day clearly…. On Saturday February 6th, 2015, I got an email from Amazon notifying me that my account was closed and no payment would be made for the advertising fee that I had earned up to that point.

Interestingly, I actually went through the typical 5 phases when someone gets a bad news.

Phase 1 : Denial – Why they closed my Amazon Associates account?


Initially, just like everyone would do, I thought this was a mistake. I read through the email again and again….. and again
I logged into my Amazon Associates account and sure enough, there it was, a large “Account Closed” sign.

I went back to the email clicked on the URL they gave and read their Linking Requirements.

It clearly states that using a cloaking software to mask their affiliate links is not a good idea.

Sure enough, I did do something wrong and I was well aware of it.

Phase 2: Anger – Why oh why did I cloak Amazon affiliate links!

A week earlier, a member on my team forwarded couple of websites that talk about why cloaking the affiliate links is a good idea.
These sites talk about the benefits of user experience; instead of the ugly affiliate link, we can show a nice URL such as www.yourdomain.com/affiliate.
They also talk about SEO benefits such as by aggregating those cloaked links in a sub-folder structure www.yourdomain.com/go/affiliate, you can block search engines from access that folder by using Robots.txt.
Then there are other benefits such as click tracking, affiliate link management etc.
I thought that was a good idea, so I looked into how this could be implemented. I eventually chose a WordPress Plugin – Pretty Link Pro to do the job.
The Pro version has an auto-cloaking function that it can mask every single links on the site. I had been using the free version so I was pretty confident that it wouldn’t take too much time for me to figure it out.
I set it up and let it do the job.
However, to my horror, the plugin did not have the ability to restrict which URL should be cloaked and which should not. Not only that, every time it cloaks a link, it would actually click on it.
The site I used the cloaking plugin on had hundreds of Amazon affiliate links and while setting the plugin, I actually paused the process couple of times to check a few things. As a result, thousands of clicks appeared in my Amazon Associates account within a few days which was clearly unnatural.

Phase 3: Bargaining – Please forgive me. Please!

After processing all the information in the head, I immediately wrote back to the Amazon Associates team explaining why I did it and apologised.
Since I did do something wrong, at this point all I could do was just apologise and hope for the best. I also mentioned why I did it by referring to the Yoast post.


After 4 days, someone from the Amazon Associates team wrote back to me telling me that I was still not in compliance.
Apparently, some of the content on the site are making “inaccurate, overbroad, deceptive or otherwise misleading claims”.
This time I was confused. I did not intentionally do any of these things but apparently I did it.
To find out what I really did wrong, I asked them to explain why my site was not in compliance.

So my team and I audited the site and there were a few things that might have applied to this.
We have had produced a lot of questionable content on that specific website.
Some posts had about only 300 words content with large pricing table containing 10-30 products. Some posts just had a list of products with brief description without much content.
Pricing table – we created these tables using the product price on Amazon. Obviously the pricing changes very often and we did not update them. Even if we did update them to show the current price it would take a substantial resource. So we removed all such tables.
Review rating – we collected these data from Amazon as well. Obviously this can change rapidly so again we removed all those.
After taking care of all these, I wrote back and asked if they could reopen my account.

Phase 4: Depression – Should I forget about Amazon affiliate program?

Few days went by and I got no response. I did some research online and found some people talking about how they got clicked out of Amazon affiliate program.
Some complained about Amazon closed their account without much reasons.
Some talked about opening a new account but since Amazon can easily find out whose account it is (IP address, bank account, mailing address etc) they might just shut it down again, so this method doesn’t really solve the issue.
I was desperate, so I started looking for phone numbers to call and sure enough, there was a number I could call (I wonder why didn’t I think of this earlier?)
A lady answered and I explained what had happened up until that point.
She looked into the case and told me that someone on their team was looking into the issue and there was nothing she could do. She did suggest to open another account and if everything is in compliance, I should be able to resume as an affiliate.
As far as reopening the closed account and getting paid, that was not possible.

Phase 5: Acceptance – Lesson learned. Let’s move on.

I created a new Amazon Associates account and waited a few weeks to ensure it would not get shut down again.
Weeks went by, nothing happened so I started adding Amazon affiliate code to my site.
Since I already had the links in place, all I had to do was to replace the tracking code. To avoid making the same mistakes again, we did eventually improved the way we present the affiliate links. I will share what we did with you in a separate post some other time.
Overall, this was a really good lesson. There is no fast and easy way to make money. Creating quality content with best practice SEO is the way.
Also, I was treating being an affiliate as a hobby rather than a business. I took way too much risks doing something questionable and got what I deserved.

Please share your experience

Have you ever got your Amazon Associates account closed down or came close to it? Please share your experience. I would love to hear what you have to say.

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Amazon associates closed my affiliate account And How I Recovered From It Amazon associates closed my affiliate account And How I Recovered From It Reviewed by jimi cater on 10:37:00 pm Rating: 5

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