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Today is Friday and that means it’s time for Q&A, a weekly article series where I answer questions about online business from readers or answer questions that I find interesting and would like to share with readers.
“What if a customer clicked several affiliate links from different websites that all lead to Amazon? Who gets the commission? I guess the first one? Thoughts?”
So Ian wants to know which affiliate would get credited with the sale and get the commission if a reader was to click on his website first, then visit other websites and click on their affiliate links before finally buying something on Amazon.
Would the sale be credited to the affiliate who got the first click or the affiliate who got the last click?
How Cookies Work in Affiliate Marketing
To answer this question, you first have to understand how cookies work in affiliate marketing.
A cookie is a file that gets stored in the browser of the user so that it can track certain activities. Cookies allow you to stay logged in on certain websites (like Facebook or YouTube). They also allow advertisers to follow you around the internet, showing you ads that you’ve shown an interest in previously.
In affiliate marketing, when you click on an affiliate link, a cookie that identifies the affiliate who is referring you to a merchant site is stored in your browser so that the merchant can properly credit the referred sale to that affiliate.
In most cases, but not all, the cookie is overwritten in favor of another affiliate’s if the reader was to click on another affiliate link to that same merchant.
This is the case with Clickbank and a lot of other affiliate networks.
There are some conditions where the first click gets the credit. For example, if the reader was to register an account with the merchant site then the credit may go to the affiliate whose cookie was in place at the time of the registration even if the reader was to click on other affiliate links after this action before purchasing.
Some merchants also credit the first cookie but not overwriting the initial cookie that was set.
So when the question was asked, I wasn’t sure what the answer was. Another member said that Ian had answered his own question meaning that he agreed that it was the first click that got credited.
I decided to look to Amazon’s Operating Policies to see if I could find the answer.
How Amazon Credits Affiliate Sales
Amazon Associates operating policies on “qualifying purchases and qualifying revenue” explains how an affiliate is credited when someone clicks on their special link.
The answer to the question can be found in the first two clauses of the “fee statement”.
“We will pay Standard Program Fees described in Section 3 of this Fee Statement in connection with “Qualifying Purchases”, which (subject to the exclusions described in this Fee Statement) occur when:
(a) our customer clicks through a Special Link on your Site to an Amazon Site; and
(b) during a single session, which is measured as beginning when our customer clicks through that Special Link and ending upon the first to occur of the following: (x) 24 hours elapse from that click, (y) our customer places an order for a Product, other than a digital item sold under the name “Amazon MP3,” “Amazon Shorts”, “eDocs”, “Amazon Video”, “Amazon Software Downloads”, “Game Downloads”, “Kindle Books”, “Kindle Newspapers”, “Kindle Blogs”, “Kindle Newsfeeds”, or “Kindle Magazines” (a “Digital Product”), or (z) our customer follows a Special Link to the Amazon Site that is not your Special Link (a “Session”), any of the following happens:
i. our customer purchases a Product via our 1-Click feature, or
ii. our customer purchases a Product by adding a Product to his or her shopping cart and completing the order for that Product no later than 89 days after their initial click-through of the Special Link, or…”
In the above extract, the bold line is what answers the question.
It says that Amazon will pay commissions when the customer clicks on your affiliate link on your site and during a single session makes a purchase. The session ends if that customer follows an affiliate link that is not your affiliate link.
In other words the affiliate who registered the last click would start a new session where he would be paid commissions if a sale were to occur.
The Last Click Gets the Commissions
So according to the Amazon Associate’s operating policies, if someone visits several affiliate sites before purchasing something on Amazon, the last click is the one who gets the credit.
This is just like most other affiliate programs and a norm in the industry.
Have a question that you want answered? Ask a question by submitting it through the contact form on this site or in the comment section below. I’ll answer your question in another edition of Friday Q&A.