Amazon, on 14th April, announced massive fee changes to its Affiliate Program. These changes took effect on 21st April 2020. Publishers/affiliate marketers were affected, no doubt, but they aren’t alone as you’d soon see.
Breaking down Amazon’s Affiliate Program Fee Changes
As per the 14th April announcement, commissions for the different categories of products have dropped. In other words, categories, where affiliates used to earn 8%, have dropped to 3% while categories, where affiliates used to make 4%, have dropped to 1%. See this chart for before and after fee schedule for different product categories:
To put things into perspective, if your client were earning $1200 per month pre-Amazon update, post-update, and with a 5% price slash, they would now be earning $450. You can do the math for a category that drops from 4.5% to 1%.
Not only that but with the Coronavirus of a thing, it even gets uglier, especially if the website in question is promoting non-essential products. Worst still, more than 36 million have filed for unemployment in the US, which means lower disposable income.
The implication for writers
Running an Amazon niche website is already cost-intensive, considering expenses on links, PBNs, expired domains, paid advertising, software, etc.
Without mincing words, the demand for Amazon niche website writers will decrease.
Right now, it’s hard putting a timeframe or number to how quickly one can recoup the cost of the outsourced articles. I own Amazon niche websites, I have already stopped hiring writers, and I know I’m not alone. Also, I have reduced publishing frequency and write a couple of times per my availability.
The implication for the writing Industry
These are challenging times, no thanks to Covid-19. People have lost their jobs/furloughed, and businesses have gone under.
The thing is, we’re still going to see more of those days when clients treat freelancers as shit while paying mill rates. Why? Supply keeps increasing. If you are a generalist writer WITHOUT domain expertise, you’re likely going to struggle to land freelance writing jobs, whether during or post the Covid-19 era.
Writing for Amazon niche websites is no longer making sense due in part to recent events that are out of your control.
Regardless, now is the time to take action. Do you have background, knowledge, or credentials in particular topics or fields? Pivot, start building a portfolio, and marketing your new freelance writing services.
Do you want to be able to respond in time to changes that can significantly affect your life and source of income?