Why Amazon ditched its affiliate store feature
Not everything Amazon touches turns to gold. Amazon is officially retiring its aStore affiliate feature after years of disappointing revenue returns. The feature, which Amazon will shutter on Oct. 27, offers Amazon affiliates the ability to generate returns from placing their Amazon stores directly on their websites.
Amazon incorporated aStore into its Amazon Affiliates Program in August 2006 with the idea that followers of influencers and their blogs would want to buy the Amazon products referenced on those websites. By clicking on a product from a website’s aStore, users are redirected to Amazon.com, where they can make a purchase. Affiliates then get paid a cut, ranging from zero to 10 percent, depending on the category of the item. For instance, affiliates see no compensation on sales of wine products and Amazon gift cards, but 10 percent from selling from categories like “Amazon Fashion Women” and “Luxury Beauty.”
The retirement of aStore comes at the same time as Amazon is increasing its involvement with influencers. In March, Amazon created its Amazon Influencer Program for YouTube celebrities. Amazon influencers receive vanity URLs to stores they can curate within Amazon, so their followers can see what products they recommend from Amazon. This similar to the aStore concept for affiliates. The move to shutter the affiliate store model can be seen as an endorsement by Amazon of influencers as the backbone of an affiliate network of their own, according to Cooper Smith, director of Amazon research at business research firm L2.
“Amazon decided to hit the refresh button on the aStore concept and roll it into its influencers program, which has greater potential as an affiliate network because of its roots in social media and video,” said Smith.
Several affiliates said they either dropped their aStores or have not updated them because of disappointing levels of engagement and sales. Amazon said as much in its “retirement” fact sheet for aStores. The influencer stores also give Amazon the ability to track how many people click to view these curated stores, whereas only the affiliates had this information before. It’s likely that Amazon will continue to press into using influencers. In July, it launched Amazon Spark, a social feed for Amazon Prime users that influencers describe as a cross between Pinterest and Instagram. So far, Amazon is compensating a select few influencers from its Influencer Program to create #sponsored posts for the feed, but overall, the platform has not been beneficial to influencers in general as far as reach and compensation is concerned.
“Affiliate marketing often has this feel of being a bit more transactional and promotional,” said Ashley Banks, director of digital strategy and media at Iced Media, “whereas influencers, because they’ve built up this trust and authenticity, it feels like they are only talking about products they want to be sharing.”
Influencer Justin Livingston, who has more than 400,000 followers on his social channels and millions of visitors to his lifestyle blog a month, said he stopped using aStore nine months ago. Livingston discovered that even in the months he heavily promoted his aStore, he only made $400-$500 a month, a little less than 2 percent of the nearly $50,000 he makes monthly from sponsorships and other affiliate programs.
“While it was nice to have the breadth of Amazon’s marketplace at my fingertips,” said Livingston, “I found the commission rates were often extremely low, which made putting the effort into using the aStore function not worth the time.”
‘I’m worried about my job’: Confessions of a stressed out ACD on homeschooling his son and working from home
An associate creative director is stressed about overseeing his son's remote learning this fall while successfully meeting client needs.
‘No one is rushing to commit Q4 budgets’: With its future in the U.S. increasingly uncertain, media buyers are holding back spending on TikTok
The executive order signed late last week has now spurred advertisers who were considering testing the nascent platform to steer clear for the time being, especially since TikTok now has until September 20th to sell its U.S. operations or face the consequences of President Trump’s order.
Member Exclusive‘Like being conned’: Agency employees say that fake job listings are making the already difficult job market even harder
If you ask agency talent about the job search you’ll hear them bemoan alleged fake job postings as an industry scourge.
SponsoredSeeking revenue stability, publishers are assessing buy-side credit risks
As the industry navigates the continued impacts of COVID-19, here’s the questions publishers should ask their programmatic partners or ad management providers to protect themselves from clawbacks and lost revenue.
WTF is redirect tracking?
Redirect tracking offers an alternative to the third-party cookie, which is why web browsers are clamping down on it.
‘Let’s put it out in the world’: Why Code and Theory is creating its own thought leadership publication, Decode
The publication gives the agency a home for opinion and thought leadership pieces from its staffers, many of whom have been writing pieces for industry publications in recent years.