Come March 1, Amazon is making substantial changes to its affiliate program — or the system by which creators earn referral fees when visitors purchase products on Amazon through designated links on their websites or social media channels.
The revamped rates, as outlined here, mean that the typical cut per purchase could drop from 8% to 6%, reports The Verge — meaning that some creators, including beauty blogger Tracy Robey, could see their Amazon earnings drop by roughly 20%. While other companies offer affiliate programs, Amazon’s so-called Associates program is by far the biggest and most lucrative. There are even websites like The Wirecutter, a gadget blog owned by The New York Times, which subsists entirely on Amazon affiliate links, and many YouTubers include affiliate links in the description boxes of their videos as a key source of income.
Previously, Associate members were given higher rates for driving more traffic to Amazon every month — though those days are over. Going forward, affiliate link rates have been placed into a categorized system that favors certain types of products over others. For instance, digital video games and luxury beauty products will both tout a 10% referral rate, while toys will generate a 3% kickback, and PCs and televisions will deliver 2.5% and 2% cuts, respectively.
For its part, Amazon says most associates stand to benefit from the forthcoming changes.
The Verge also notes the ways in which the changing fee structure could impact content creation. For instance, in beauty, if luxury products boast a 10% referral fee and standard beauty products earn creators just 6%, it is conceivable that some might retool their content to focus on the former category.