Little reason to smile
As of May 1, 2009, web retail giant Amazon will cease paying referral fees to Associates that use pay-per-click programs on search engines to send traffic to amazon.com, amazon.ca or endless.com.
The news was covered in the Amazon Associates FAQ section and is a permanent change. According to Amazon, the decision was made after an overall review of how the company invests its advertising resources. Only Associates Programs in North America will be affected.
Crucially, access by North American Associates to the Amazon Associates Web Service and the Amazon data feed will be terminated unless users notify Amazon directly.
"As long as you stop your paid search activities relating to our US and Canadian sites and otherwise remain in compliance with the terms of the Associates Operating Agreement (e.g., by sending users to our websites through links on your site), your Associates account will not be closed," Amazon added.
Referral fees earned through April will be honored as long as users complete the purchase on or before July 29, 2009. Clicks that stem from paid-search clicks and result in shopping cart adds after May 1st will no longer be eligible.
In another effort to bolster net revenue at the expense of Associates, last month Amazon debuted a program called Product Ads, which enables third-party e-commerce sites to promote their own items on Amazon product pages.
The e-tailer was also sued for trademark infringement related to Google pay-per-click ads. The plaintiff argued Amazon willfully uses its company name to generate PPC ads to competitive sites.