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  1. #1
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    Removed on Amazon.ca and .com for having cashback program
    Hello there, let me introduce myself. I'm Sally Affiliate manager from Smart Canucks.

    Friday January 16th around the dinner hour I recieved this email.

    ______________________________________________________________

    Greetings from the Amazon.com Associates Program.

    It has come to our attention that you may be paying some of your referral fees back
    to customers as a form of rebate. While we are certain that your idea would meet
    with some success, we have decided against working with any Associates who employ
    this rebate model.

    Under the Associates Program, Associates may choose to recommend either individual
    products or our entire service to their visitors in exchange for a small percentage
    of the resulting sales. The goal is to introduce our services to new customers this
    way, helping them find us through sites that offer value-added editorial assistance
    or which provide trusted advice in choosing e-commerce sites.

    Given our relatively slim retail margins and our strong discount pricing, the
    referral fees we pay can only be sustained as we meet new customers through our
    Associates. Many of these customers return to us later for items unrelated to those
    recommended by the Associate web site, and this future business helps to offset the
    referral fees we pay. For this reason, we're able to pay nearly all of our margins
    to Associates in referral fees.

    When an Associate re-directs these fees to the customer, it changes the entire
    relationship in ways we did not intend. Under the ‘rebate’ model customers actually
    have a disincentive to return and shop with us directly, undermining the expectation
    of repeat business that is necessary to fund the program.

    In order to keep the Associates Program viable for the long-term, we've concluded
    that we cannot continue our Association with rebate-oriented sites, and your account
    has therefore been closed. Please note that your Amazon.ca account,
    (account name removed available by pm to an Amazon rep) has been closed as well. We hope you're able to make other
    arrangements for your visitors and thank you again for considering Amazon.com for
    your needs.

    Best regards,

    Associates Account Specialist
    http://www.amazon.com
    =============================


    I have been with Amazon for a few years now and just recently started having more success with their program on our site, promoting them on our featured blog, and using a keyword linker. Most of our actual refferals were not even part of the 'cashback' system that we have. I would of at least expected a request to remove them from the program, not just cancel our account on Amazon.ca and .com. It really has me upset and perplexed as to why they would just decide this without discussing with us first. Even further I have replied back to them in a very long letter on Friday night with no response yet. Questions like will we still get paid money owed to us? I feel like they got rid of us because the program was becoming too successful with us. I find it odd that Amazon is not appreciative of how much traffic we had been generating to them, Chapters is always more then happy when we direct traffic in fact, all merchants are ecstatic when we drive traffic and sales to them.

    Is there anyone that can help? I am more then willing of removing them from our cashback program (they already are) and just promoting them on our forums and blog. I just don't get why they didn't request that in the first place.
    Last edited by Smartcanucks; January 19th, 2009 at 04:39 PM.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    I would ask them how your incentive site differs from the We-Care toolbar that sends them repeat customers with the incentive of donations per purchase. Since sending repeat customers to them seems to be their issue and reason for discontinuing your participation in their program they should apply this policy evenly. Have you viewed the terms and conditions of the Amazon agreement? I would check there first for an answer.
    BTW, if you are sending traffic to a merchant, you are the affiliate, not the merchant. Referring to merchants as affiliates can confuse some people who might like to help.
    Good luck and welcome to ABW

  3. #3
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Amazon prohibit any form of Cash Back and a good example is FW.

    2Busy brings up a good point about We-Care.
    I would say that they might yank We-Care down the road..

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    The goal is to introduce our services to new customers this
    way, helping them find us through sites that offer value-added editorial assistance or which provide trusted advice in choosing e-commerce sites.
    I don't really have opinions re: cashback sites, but I would bet that sites like yours provide more value than certain parasitic toolbar adware sites, (which don't seem to bother them up to now).

    Maybe stores who want new customers could just use 'new customer coupons', 'new customer incentives' etc. Too simple?

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    2busy has a good point about We-Care. If Amazon doesn't want to work with rebate incentive sites you could ask them why We-Care is allowed and you are not. Basically, the model is very similar in that someone is being rewarded/getting a rebate for a sale.

    As an affiliate manager, based on what they're saying it makes sense. I know merchants would like all affiliate referred sales to be from new customers. If that was the case they could probably pay out more in commissions.

    Promising to not offer a rebate probably won't fly with them. There wouldn't be any way for them to realistically police that. If you have a rebate site, it would be too easy to turn that on and off.

    If Amazon means that much, maybe try creating a non-rebate site and reapplying.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

    Join us! - MiNeeds.com | DiscountCandleShop/CheeseSupply | Feng Shui Plaza

  6. #6
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    Cashback for the Amazon program was such a small part of the traffic that we sent to them, I had talked before to associates about our program a few times for transactions we didn't recieve credit for and it was fine before now.

    I was more then willing to remove them and keep working with them on other aspects of our site.

    I just don't understand why they didn't reach out to us to discuss. I just find it a horrible way to deal with things especially of how much success and how much we promoted Amazon ( ca not com) over the holidays.

    I don't see why it wouldn't fly with them as there is many counterparts to our site, were not just cashback, we have a thriving forum about coupons, freebies, discounts, deals and flyers, and a blog that was awarded best group blog in Canada for 2008, If you were familiar with our site you'd see removing them from the rebate program is simple as it is completely seperate from the rest of the site. Its not just one site address, theres tons of different sections and points of interest. If we were just a rebate site, yes I could see why it wouldn't work being reinstated, but were not.

    In figuring out stats really quick way more then 90% of our sales to them were not cashback related, or rebate related. I never thought it was a problem since I had openly discussed it with associates before.

    I've been the Affiliate Manager for just about a year and the program had been offered long before I joined the team.
    Last edited by Smartcanucks; January 19th, 2009 at 05:14 PM.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    It definitely is in the Amazon Associates Operating Agreement
    In addition, you may not: (a) directly or indirectly offer any person or entity any consideration or incentive (including, without limitation, payment of money (including any rebate), or granting of any discount or other benefit) for using Special Links on your site to access the Amazon Site (e.g., by implementing any "rewards" program for persons or entities who use Special Links on your site to access the Amazon Site);

  8. #8
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    If it is in the agreement why in my termination did they not say that then? Also they knew I had a small rebate program and they never said anything before so I can't quite figure out the reasoning of why I was not informed earlier by an Amazon associate.

    If I would of been informed I would of removed them immediately from the cashback program as its not really a sector that makes us the money with Amazon, as stated roughly 90% of our sales (probably >) were driven by our own advertising and promotion and had nothing to do with the cashback program at all.

    Some of or merchants only want to introduce first time customers, so their first time buying we offer them a high rate then after that the rate is so low that they don't bother using the rebtate links again, this sounds like something Amazon could of definetely benefited from, offering a first time customer drive.

    But no theyd rather tarnish their name completely from our site.
    Sigh.

  9. #9
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    From the OneCause site:
    Shop millions of products at Amazon.com. *Contributions earned at Amazon will go to the cause or school selected at the time the transaction is reported to OneCause, which may be
    6-8 weeks following the date of purchase. Contributions will not be earned on computer purchases over $1,250.

  10. #10
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    Interesting.

    Just to add another point.

    In the past I've dealt with Amazon .ca and gone as far as emailing amazon customer service to say this customer purchases haven't shown up on the cashback program and sent them the order confirmations and such, and nothing was said they just explained why perhaps why it didn't link through right. I did that maybe 20 times, and not once did anyone say '"Hey you can't have a cashback program.''

    I guess I should of went over the user agreement when I joined the Sc team, but I honestly had no idea they didn't want this type of traffic since they already were in place when I became Aff. Manager.

    I just find it so strange the amount of times I emailed them back and forth and not once was anything said until now when our program is becoming more successful due to all the heavy promoting I've been doing that had nothing to do with the small rebate program we have.

    I really wish that Amazon would correspond with me since I have sent 4 emails since Friday to no avail.

  11. #11
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    You want a fast reply ... send a registered letter from your attorney. What they are doing is cherry picking their TOS by allowing One Cause & others ... which is a breach of contract on their part. A contract is a two party agreement. BOTH SIDES have to abide by it. Now they can toss you. But you can sue them for all the traffic and sales generated before the toss which happened when their side of the deal violated the agreed to TOS.

    You would think these idiot would be able to hire attorneys who actually went to law school. Contract Law 101. Been there. Done that.

  12. #12
    Full Member TerriFalcone's Avatar
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    If it is in the agreement why in my termination did they not say that then? Perhaps they did not deem it necessary because they assumed you had read and understood TOS? Or it might be that the minion sending you the form letter was too lazy to do the right thing.

    I would not harp on the "your treating me unfairly" because they are undoubtedly allowing One Cause to do this as a perceived act of charity. That you and many if not most people here on ABW do not view One Cause that way is pretty much moot. Most people not in this industry DO see them that way and I'm afraid perception does count. Far better is the aim to get proper communicating with the big A. Not an easy task yet earlier by far than dealing with the big E ( as in Ebay ). If you are willing to meet the terms of TOS then they should be willing to reinstate you.
    <a href="http://www.buzzymultimedia.com/afpr.html"><font color="#FF0000">Buzzy Multimedia Publishing Affiliate Program</font></a>--<a href="http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=13023"><font color="#FF0000">SAS Sign-Up</font></a>
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  13. #13
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    Amazon investigated and looked into things, there was a misunderstanding on both sides and we allowed back into the program. Thanks for all your suggestions.

  14. #14
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    you were allowed back as a cashback or just on a non cashback basis?

  15. #15
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    Non cashback which is great since thats were most sales were generated from

  16. #16
    Member talentcn's Avatar
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    So a cash back site can be an Amazon associate as long as the cash back site does not give rebate or cash back on Amazon sales, right?

  17. #17
    Newbie sava's Avatar
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    FatWallet?
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Ewe View Post
    Amazon prohibit any form of Cash Back and a good example is FW.
    Do you mean FatWallet.com? What happened? Did they used Amazon and suddenly Amazon stopped to work with them?

    I was always wondering that Amazon does not work with reward websites, but how FT works with Amazon!

    Share please!

    thanks

  18. #18
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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