Amazon recently notified members of it’s affiliate program that the behemoth will slash commission rates starting on April 21st. There are a number of product categories being affected. Furniture and Home Improvement products will fall to 3% from 8%, Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments have fallen to 3%, Grocery has fallen to 1%, Health and Personal Care fell to 1% as well. Other product categories have also been affected.
What Does this Mean for Affiliate Marketers?
So clearly this will significantly impact the income stream of any affiliate marketer who is dependent primarily on Amazon affiliate commissions. I’ve spoken with several people who are concerned about this change. But there’s no need to panic. This change highlights the need to diversify our income streams if we happen to be in the business of making money from online content creation. It also drives home the point that any affiliate program can change it’s commission structure at any time, so as an online marketer we have to be consistently looking for creative ways to bring in revenue.
Other Affiliate Programs?
There is a pretty large variety of affiliate programs out there, and depending on your niche you may be able to become partners with providers that service your particular subject matter.
So what are some of these other affiliate programs? Here’s a short list. In addition to these, you will want to visit websites that sell products for you niche and inquire directly if they have an affiliate program. For example, if you have a music blog you might be able to reach out to Guitar Center and see if you can get in their affiliate program.
- Commission Junction
- SEMrush (affiliate program is BeRush)
Diversify Beyond Affiliate Revenue
Something else to consider is branching out beyond just affiliate sales and find other ways of bringing in money. Many of us who create content online for a living have a variety of ways that we bring in money.
- Write and self publish a book in your particular niche.
- Create a course to sell in your niche.
- Freelance writing for other blogs and websites.
- Freelance editing for other blogs and websites.
- If you’re good at code or WordPress development you can do some freelance development work for other bloggers.
- Build and sell WordPress themes or plugins.
- Invest your money. This one is often overlooked, but in my opinion is the most important way to make “passive income”. Investing early in mutual or index funds is the way I do it.
The goal for most affiliate marketers is to build a brand around your niche and become an authority in that niche. Once you can do that you’ll be able to offer products and services around that brand that go beyond affiliate marketing.
Affiliate programs have the ability to change their commission structure at any time, so be prepared. It’s also good to remember that it’s possible that Amazon may raise their commission rates again in the future. It’s may be the case that the COVID-19 pandemic is currently affecting commission rates, and once that is under control things may change again (hopefully for the better for us affiliate marketers). Ultimately though this serves as a good reminder that we all need to diversify our revenue streams where we can. I’ve heard the analogy that your financial portfolio should be a table built on many legs, so if one leg is ever removed it will stand on it’s own. I like that analogy.