Amazon Changes Affiliate Commission Rates For Associates Program (UPDATED)

Amazon changes affiliate commission rates for all participants of their associate’s program. If you’re an affiliate of the Amazon associates program, you probably received an email from them notifying you about advertising fee rate changes (commission rates earned by affiliates).

These changes come to effect on March 1, 2017. Some will be hardly hit with their income from the Amazon affiliate program, and only a few affiliates will benefit.

As I am an Amazon affiliate participant and know many of my readers are, I wanted to notify everybody who is not aware of these changes and their effect.

The biggest change is that Amazon commission rates will go from having both variable and fixed commission rate schedules to only one fixed fee rate schedule.

Participants in Amazon Associates program know that the more you sell (refer people to buy on Amazon), the more you earn.

No more “sell more/make more” volume-based commission rates. Now you probably think that this change could be good for smaller affiliates that didn’t have high commission rates.

And you are right. If you sell about ten or fewer items as an Amazon affiliate each month, this change probably won’t affect you. You maybe will earn a little more.

But, all is not so black and white. Even smaller affiliates are affected depending in which category are products you promote.

NOTE: I am writing about the affiliate program. Other locales may have different fee rates. Amazon Associates in the UK already gives category-based commissions.

Here are also other valuable articles you can check: Amazon affiliate rules, Amazon API usage limits, how to upgrade Amazon API, how to set Amazon OneLink.

BIG UPDATE: Amazon has again made a significant change and decided to drastically reduce affiliate commission rates effective April 21, 2020. You can read more about it below.


Amazon Changes Affiliate Commission Rates

They are removing their entire “Variable Standard Program Fee Rates,” so you are no longer able to earn commissions based on the volume of sales.

The variable rates used to be applied to “Other Products,” which are the majority of the products on their massive online retail shopping site. These were products not found on their fixed-fee rate schedule.


amazon old fixed rate fees

Amazon old fixed-rate fees for particular categories

amazon old Variable Standard Program Fee Rates

Amazon old volume-based program fee rates for other products which are not in fixed fee rates category


The above fee rates will no longer be valid on March 1, 2017. New commission rates come into play. This means no more volume-based fee structure as it will be just a fixed fee structure. But fixed fee rates are also getting changes.


new Amazon affiliate fee structure

Amazon new (and only) fixed commission fee-based rates 


Now, as of March 1st, you can sell one item or 30 million items. It doesn’t matter. You get the same commission rate for that item (category).

So if you are a high volume seller and earning the top rate of 8.5%, you will feel an impact if the products for your niche are ones that will have a low fixed rate as of March.

On the other hand, if you were a small volume seller earning 4% – 6.5%, but your products will change to a higher fixed rate on March 1st, then you’re going to be a happy affiliate.

By checking this, you can see approximately how these changes will affect you. Will it be more or less money in your pocket.

For me, it will be slightly lower. Products that I promote have higher rates now. But most of my affiliate earnings are from products that I don’t promote (other categories which are now 4%).


Amazon Affiliate Commission Rates


It all now depends on buyers and what they will buy through your affiliate link. Will it be something from the high rate category or low rate category.

It also depends on Amazon’s third-party sellers. I have often seen that products which, by logic, should be in a particular category are in an entirely different category.

This is Amazon’s advantage. You earn no matter which product buyer purchases from Amazon. You could promote tools, but the customer can buy toys, and you still get the commission.

We just need to wait and see how this will affect our earnings in the long run. I just hope your niche is not in the wine category as then you need to find a new affiliate program.


What Can You Learn From Amazon Changes in Rates?

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! As an internet marketer, you should always have plan B, C, D. Long time ago, I have started to add price offers from different shops next to my products using Content Egg plugin. Check Content Egg review and Content Egg vs Datafeedr for more info.

If I write a review about some product, I put price from Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Target, etc. (using Content Egg prices get automatically updated).

Let the buyer compare prices and choose where he wants to buy. In this case, if it comes to drastic changes or you get banned from one of the affiliate programs, you have others.

There are also different ways you can monetize your blog. Affiliate marketing is just one way. Whatever you do, diversifying your streams of income will help avoid any negative changes made out of your control.

On the other hand, you can now build new niche websites that can take advantage of the new higher fixed rates.


Amazon Commission Rate Changes – April 21, 2020

Amazon is again making a significant change to its affiliate program. They’re making changes to their commission payout structure for some categories.

They’re changing the rates and, it is not in favor of Amazon affiliates. Here are the categories being affected:

  • Furniture, Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets Products, Pantry – 8% down to 3%
  • Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments, Business & Industrial Supplies – 6% down to 3%
  • Outdoors, Tools – 5.5% down to 3%
  • Grocery – 5% down to 1%
  • Sports – 4.5% down to 3%
  • Baby Products – 4.5% down to 3%
  • Health & Personal Care – 4.5% down to 1%
  • Amazon Fresh – 3% down to 1% 

Most of the major product categories, with typical topics covered on websites or blogs, took a significant hit. Here is one quick example. Let’s say you have a site in the ‘Lawn & Garden’ niche blogging about lawnmowers, and all your products promoted are in the same category.


amazon affiliate fee changes
Changed Fixed Standard Program Fee Rates (April 2020)


Your commission rate is going from 8% down to 3% for products in that category. If your site was previously earning $1,000 per month from Amazon Associates, now it will earn only $375.

I am sure many will now try to find alternatives. The change has still not come into effect, and already people started selling their Amazon affiliate sites while they still can get decent money for them.


Is This Death of Amazon Affiliate Program?

The question is, will smaller affiliates now have higher chances if bigger players decide it is not any more worthy of being Amazon affiliate?

Does this mean categories with higher fee rates will now have more competition as everyone will want to promote those? How many affiliates will now look for alternatives, and if this is steps of soon, Amazon affiliate program shutdown?

What is Amazon’s logic behind this new fee structure? Perhaps there are categories that they want to boost up the sales significantly.

It seems Amazon is moving into the fashion/apparel/personal products if to believe recent news. Amazon has established itself as a go-to for many tech products people buy.

Moving into fashion and personal care and home items in a bigger way mean focusing on that portion of the market and encouraging affiliates to do the same.

Paypal and many other services used “affiliate commissions” to increase their business when they started. Once the company is well established as a brand, they don’t need affiliates to the same degree.

I don’t think Amazon is going to shut down their affiliate program any time soon. They’ve actually been investing in it quite a bit. They completely changed their affiliate portal dashboard, they introduced native shopping ads, and they’re actively developing other affiliate tools.

So why invest so much in something you intend to shutdown? That said, you can be sure the Amazon affiliate program is here to stay. They are just targeting strategic product categories rather than just trying to drive more traffic generally.

They sell just about everything, and there is a vast difference in mark-up, traffic, storing and shipping costs, competition, etc.

Ever since Amazon went to the volume incentives, one of the primary strategies has been to promote a lot of low-cost items to raise the commission rate on higher-priced items.

It makes sense of making this affiliate rate changes. After all, different product categories have different average profit margins, so Amazon wants affiliates to target products that bring more margins.

I would love to hear how these changes at Amazon Associates have affected you and your online business. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

DISCLOSURE: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, I might get a small commission, without any extra cost to you. Read more about it here.

19 thoughts on “Amazon Changes Affiliate Commission Rates For Associates Program (UPDATED)”

  1. M Ehtesham Shafiq

    Hey Kasa, I really like amazon affiliate rather than others affiliate programs because it is a trustworthy platform with a high conversion rate. People like its products as well so we should go with it without seeing its commission, our earning will increase when we have lots of user sites.
    Thank you!

  2. Hey Kasa, it was a very informative article. I am new to this field and I am very glad to know that the amazon associate program will not shut down in the future. Because amazon invests in their associate program.
    Is there a bright future or career in Amazon affiliate?

    1. Hi,

      Amazon has very low commission fees. I would suggest that you go through all pros and cons of being an Amazon affiliate, and decide if you want to promote Amazon products or other stores which offer higher affiliate commissions.

  3. i am really feeling sad that amazon cut of commission structure. someone said to me that in future after lockdown amazon will increase the commission.

    1. No, Amazon Associates affiliate commission will not be increased. Amazon support has confirmed this. Amazon commissions can only go lower.

  4. I have seen huge impact on daily revenue due to this. Previously my website daily earning was around $40-$50 but after amazon are cut off my daily revenue are between $7-$12.

    So it a big impact on sale. Even my Google ranking and traffic are continuously increasing. Is any one have any Idea how we can overcome this issue and increase daily sales.

  5. Hello kasa can you please share some tips with me, how can i sell more products of I have a website

    1. First I would recommend changing the theme or making some style changes because your current is not visually appealing.

      Also, you can’t just use Amazon product descriptions. It will get you banned and it will not help your SERP rankings.

      Add your own content or at least rewrite existing from Amazon. If you like you can even use tools like Spin Rewriter or Content Machine.

  6. Well, my site has a lot of different categories, with a lot a variability in what people actually buy. So far this month my total revenue is down but its mainly from a drop in big ticket items, which coincidentally are now higher earning categories, so its been a fairly big blow at this point.

    I’ll have to take some time and go back through and see if I can find a way to compare past earnings by category.

    Most likely this change has come about because of Walmart’s new free shipping program cutting into Amazons market share.

    I too missed the email, but I noticed on Amazons own blog they announced a big rate increase for one category while not mentioning a thing about the others. I’m going to guess that quite a few other associates haven’t noticed the policy change either.

    1. Thanks Dave for your insights. When I compare past earnings with the current month it seems for now my earnings are the same.

      But this doesn’t mean anything. After few months we all will have better picture of what to expect and how this situation impacted our earnings from Amazon Associates program.

  7. Kasa, I remember seeing this email in my inbox last week (or was it two weeks ago?). Funny thing is, I’ve been so focused on building up my new blog that I ignored the message! Seriously, how crazy is that?

    As for the subject of changing the terms of the Affiliate Program, it does indeed appear that Amazon is taking money off the table & putting it into their pockets. Hmph, can’t be mad at that.

    And I agree with you when you state

    “It makes sense making this affiliate rate changes. After all, different product categories have different average profit margins so Amazon wants affiliates to target products which bring more margins.”

    Looking at the matter objectively, it is hard to find fault with this strategy. We, as affiliates have to respect Amazon’s profit motive & them acting in their best interests.

    It’s a bad break on our end, but as we all know: that’s business.

    Thank you for the post.

    1. Hey Otis,

      Exactly. It is business. We need to adapt. Some will lose revenue while some will profit.

      Affiliate fees, though low, are stil better than some other affiliate programs. For example, Walmart has fees for electronics 0% and all other categories 1%.

  8. Really useful information, especially for those, who miss their emails due to any reason like me.

    I was out of Country for almost a month and miss my email or deleted it!

    For this month March, I was not seeing my Referral Rate, so today I contacted Amazon Representative. Then I Came to know about this change.

    I am selling through my Blog-Ease Bedding, Bedding Sets. Do you know, which area they come and what is the Referral Rate according to new Changes from March, 2017?


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